As I approached the end of my first pregnancy in the spring of 2012, I cannot tell you how many women said to me, “Don’t worry, you won’t remember being in labor or the pain once they put that precious baby in your arms.” Even then, I felt like they were completely full of it. My birth story? I remember it all.
I Remember Knowing It Was Time
My birth story begins with me silently having the most painful contractions while having dinner with my in-laws at Square Burger in downtown McKinney (I had the high society burger and sweet potato fries, which I highly recommend). But I wanted to be sure I was really having contractions before I announced that it was time. I remember coming home, showering, and blowing out my hair. Then I changed into my new black pajama set, baby blue robe, and slippers because even though I wanted to labor at home for a while longer, I knew this was the real deal. I even put my lucky pearl earrings on. I was ready.
Every bump on the Dallas North Toll Road as we approached Baylor Frisco was felt. In the elevator with Derek, we headed up to labor and delivery as my father-in-law parked the car and gathered our bags. I remember him saying, “The next time you ride down this elevator, there will be a baby in your arms,” with the biggest smile on his face. Despite the excruciating pain, my birth story includes feeling so blessed to be doing this with my dream guy.
That this was why God brought us together. That this surely is love. I remember walking down what seemed like the longest hallway ever to get to the check-in desk. I remember the nurse who checked me in complimenting how organized my medical information and birth plan were when I handed her a folder and stated, “This should be everything you need.” (Yes, I’m type A, even in the throws of childbirth.)
My Birth Story Includes a Slight Birth Plan Change
I remember being annoyed when they said I had to have IV fluids even if I was going to attempt a drug-free labor. In my birth story, I remember waiting for my mom to arrive before discussing an epidural with anyone. I remember feeling like it took her an eternity to get there. I remember crying tears of joy when she burst into the delivery room, saying, “Are we having this baby or what?” and hugging her neck tight, inhaling her perfume as she comforted me, her baby, as I was becoming a mother myself. This is love. I remember confessing to Derek that I wanted the epidural and that I had never felt pain like this.
I was almost ashamed that I couldn’t cope with the contractions as I’d hoped. He said how proud he was of me and my courage and that he didn’t want to see me in pain as he called for a nurse. He held my hands and kissed my forehead as the anesthesiologist gave me the epidural, and Derek said, “You’re amazing; I still think you are superwoman.” I looked deep into his eyes, knowing this was love.
My birth story includes Derek and my mom both sleeping in the delivery room on a tiny couch and armchair with only the flicker of the monitors to illuminate the room. Praying to God for a safe delivery and a healthy baby, I asked for forgiveness and confessed my love for Jesus. I asked that if anything happened to me, I join my family in heaven. I promised to raise my son to have a servant’s heart, and while I was scared, I was comforted in knowing God. He knew me, and I could relinquish my fears to him. This is love.
This Birth Story Needed a Compromise
I remember waking up after a restless sleep to a nurse asking me to sit up a bit. She wanted to check my progress as my contractions seemed to fizzle out overnight. There was a group discussion on whether to administer any induction medications. I put my foot down and insisted we break my water first, conceding that if that didn’t start my contractions back up, I’d take the medications.
I remember asking Derek to hand me my purse because I wanted to put some makeup on before the doctor came in to break my water. He laughed and said, “You are insane, you look beautiful, you’re having a baby!” When a man tells you you’re beautiful while in labor, that’s love. I remember feeling my doctor breaking my water and thinking, “Should I be able to feel that?” My birth story included nervousness about what was to come.
I Had No Choice But to Push
Derek’s parents and my dad came in for some last-minute encouragement, hugs, and kisses. I remember thinking how blessed we were to have a family who was just as excited as we were about this new little life! This is love. I remember the overwhelming feeling to push and the nurse saying, “Let’s try a practice push. I will tell you when to start, and don’t release until I count down from 10. Here comes a contraction … Ready, push! 10, 9, 8 … stop, stop, stop! We need to call Dr. Branning; you’re ready!” I remember thinking there was no way I could NOT push. This was happening, and I was not waiting on anyone. I continued pushing, and she kept counting me down.
My Mother Gave Me Strength
I remember feeling an intense burn in my shoulders from holding my legs up. I was saying how I was happy I took prenatal yoga, or I would have never been strong enough to do this. My mother looked at me in amazement, giving me the strength I needed to continue. I remember Dr. Branning coming into the room at the last second to give me an episiotomy. It seemed like I was pushing for an eternity when, in reality, it was only about an hour.
I remember touching Emerson, flooded with joy and love as Derek cut the umbilical cord. The nurse put my son on my chest, and I praised God for this miraculous being. I remember crying, my mom taking pictures, kisses from Derek, hugging my doctor, more crying. There was pride in Derek’s smile and the excitement in his eyes. I remember the feeling of this baby’s brand-new skin on mine and how overwhelmingly in love I was at the first sight of him. My husband held our son to his chest, vowing to love and protect him for always. I thought … now THIS is love.