The evening of Nov. 10 I fell asleep feeling a little off. I told Sean that I was feeling some contractions but I thought nothing of it because it was a busy day so I just assumed I was tired. I woke up the morning of Nov. 11 at 3 a.m. by a contraction. I felt 3 or 4 more contractions by the time I decided to wake up Sean, it was now 3:30 a.m.
I think it took him a minute to wake up and then another couple minutes to realize what was happening. After a few more contractions, Sean grabbed his phone and began to download the contraction app that I’ve been asking him to download for weeks.
It was now 4 a.m and I was feeling contractions every 2-3 minutes. Each contraction was 20-30 seconds long. By 6 a.m. I decided to take a shower and eat some breakfast. The contractions were still no more than 30 seconds long. Meanwhile, Sean was filling up the car with gas, taking out the trash, packing our hospital bag, loading everything in the car, cleaning the stove, making sure the dogs had plenty food and water etc.. (I’m pretty sure I had heard that women normally do this while in early labor but Sean took my place in this role). Instead, I turned on some John Mayer, danced and sang and worked my way through each 30-40 second contraction. By 7 a.m. the contractions stretched to nearly 40 seconds, at this time we decided to call my family and let them know that we may be going to the hospital today. My parents live 2 hours away so we wanted to make sure to give them plenty of time.
By 10 a.m. the contractions were holding steady at 45 seconds every 4-5 minutes. Sean asked if I was ready to go to the hospital. I said we would go if we heard John Mayer’s, Why Georgia (this song has always been my “power song”). So we continued to work our way through the contractions at home. I spent almost the entire time laboring on my exercise ball while Sean performed the double hip squeeze to help me get through it. By noon the contractions were coming strong at 50-55 seconds every 4 minutes. After laboring at home for 9 hours and listening to John Mayer for 7 hours (still no Why Georgia), I decided it was finally time to go to the hospital. It was now just after the noon hour.
The 20-minute ride to Verdugo Hills Hospital was the longest, bumpiest ride of my life. Once we arrived (12:30 p.m.) they took one look at me and rushed me to the Labor and Delivery room. We left the ball and all our other things in the car just in case they sent us home but the nurses quickly told Sean to get all the stuff out now. He ran to the car while one of the nurses checked me, I was 8 cm dilated. I texted my sister and my mom and told them to get to the hospital…..quick!
Then the worst part of the entire labor process thus far happened, the nurses tried inserting the IV just in case of an emergency. Since I was so far along into labor the nurses had a hard time identifying a vein. After 6 attempts they finally got one.
During the very many painful needle pokes, my water broke and once that happened everything intensified.
Up until this point I felt like I had everything under control but this is when doubt really began to settle in. This is also the point where Sean really stepped up his game and transformed from my coach to my EVERYTHING. I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe unless I heard his voice. He was in my ear every second telling me that I could do it and that this was the transition period and that we were almost there. He saw the pain that I was going through and turned that into power.
The nurse checked me again and confirmed that I was now at 9cm but I had an anterior cervicle lip. Sean knew this meant I had to switch positions and move. The last thing I wanted to do was move an inch but he convinced me to get back on the ball. Since I had now surrendered to his confident guidance, I got up from the bed and moved swiftly over to my exercise ball. I labored there for a while when I felt a slight urge to push. The nurse checked me again but this time said she was going to stay inside during the next contraction. I’m not sure what happened next (my guess is that she actually pushed the lip back) but it was the most intense feeling of my entire life. I instantly felt the baby move her way down and all I wanted to do was push her out. I lost complete control, my body was pushing and I was just along for the ride.
The nurse then grabbed me and told me I needed to breathe through it and fight the urge to push. She ran out to grab the doctor but the doctor was in another room delivering another baby. I had to fight this feeling to push for 5 or 6 contractions. I was so scared, I didn’t know why she was telling me not to push. I feared for my life and the life of my baby. Then Sean put his face directly in front of mine with tears in his eyes and said, “This is it! We’re about to meet our baby.” And I relaxed knowing everything was going to be okay.
FINALLY, the doctor came running in the room. The nurse grabbed one leg and Sean grabbed the other. The nurse told me how to push but I needed no direction. I knew exactly what I needed to do because I could feel EVERYTHING. I was so ready to push!!! The doctor then told me to hold on a second (not sure why) but I was already well on my way and could not stop it. I pushed once and out came her little head, then with one final push she came launching out onto the table. The doctor had to literally stop her with her body from rolling off.
As soon as she was born they lifted her up and placed her on my chest. She was looking around and reaching her little arm up to touch my face. I felt like I was floating with my tiny little child pressed firmly against my chest.
Sean tells a much more animated version of this story but this was my version, the one where Sean carried me through the most thrilling experience of my entire life.
**all images courtesy of my amazing sister.