My husband had been deployed to Iraq for three months, and I was due any day. It started to dawn on me that I was going to have to do this alone. My family was not able to come down for the birth and I was getting scared. The evening before my due date, the doorbell rang and my in-laws greeted me. I was so shocked and relieved to see them! It was a great surprise! We talked until around 11 PM, then I sent my husband a quick goodnight email and went to bed.
I woke up on the dot at 3 AM with what I thought was a horrible gas pain. Four minutes later, the pain came again. I thought it might be a Braxton-Hicks contraction, so I got up and walked around. Over the next 15 minutes, they kept getting stronger and continued every four minutes. I woke up my in-laws, and then emailed my husband to let him know this was it. He was on shift at the time, and called my cell phone immediately.
At the hospital, I found out I was five centimeters and fully effaced. The pains were still like gas pains and I told the nurse the pain felt like a seven on a scale of one to ten. She laughed and said, “Honey, I have three kids and unfortunately this pain is probably only around a two compared to what it will be.” I really wanted to sock her in the face because she had no idea how painful this was. Now that I think back, I realize she was completely right.
It was like my husband was right there with me because he called every 15 minutes to check in. He was on the phone with me during my contractions and he coached me through by breathing with me. I decided very quickly that I wanted an epidural, and it worked wonders! The nurse said she would dilate me the last centimeter manually during my next contraction since I couldn’t seem to get past nine centimeters. That is when the epidural gave out and I felt extreme pain. I felt the urge to push, and she said to go ahead. I pushed for two hours.
It was hard doing my Lamaze breathing because I couldn’t catch my breath the first 30 minutes. After I learned how to push, the last hour and a half was much easier, although very painful. It felt like I was pushing out shards of glass each time. Right when I thought I was about to die, the head came out and the pressure was relieved.
My husband experienced the birth with me. He called three minutes before the birth, and his dad held the phone out so he could hear everything. When our baby took her first cry, my husband was there with me, even though he was half a world away. It was a birth neither of us will forget. I was nervous giving birth alone, but the military doctors really took care of me.
I don’t remember much of the pain anymore. Most of my birth memories are of being excited to meet my baby throughout the labor. It was the best experience of my life, and I can’t wait to go through it again someday!