Patrick's was an ideal first pregnancy. With the exception of one week in my fifth month during which I was placed on bedrest and told to limit what I do at work, the rest was smooth sailing. I read everything I could get my hands on about parenting, pregnancy, birth, and after the baby comes. I walked until I ached and then walked some more.
My son's due date was July 20th, and it came and went. On the following Friday, which was the 22nd, I went in for my weekly visit. I was told that I was 3 cm. dilated, and that I should go into labor any time. I was also told not to eat anything solid and to drink plenty of water. My doctor told me that if I did not deliver that day or night to go to the hospital at 10:00 a.m. the next morning and he would check me to see if any progress had been made.
I went home and went about my regular day. At about 3:00 p.m. I started having contractions, spaced roughly seven minutes apart, but they were not regular. They lasted all night long and into the next morning. My husband and I were at the hospital the next morning by 9:30 a.m. and were expecting the doctor to send us home. The nurse had me change into a hospital gown and get comfortable. The doctor came in and checked me and I was at 4 cm. They admitted me and broke my water at 11:30 a.m.
I have to say that I had the best nurse ever. She was my angel of mercy. From the start she told me the one thing that every mother in the delivery room needs to know: You are in charge, not the doctor or the nurses. This knowledge took the weight of anxiety off my chest. The contractions started to really take a toll at about 4:00 p.m. The nurse recommended that I take a shower as hot as I felt comfortable with. This did wonders! I relaxed, and the contractions did not seem as bad. I stayed in there for 45 minutes. When I got out, the contractions went back to full strength. They checked my progress and I was at 6 cm. My nurse had a rocking chair waiting for me and I started to rock (this helps contractions do their job). I tried to remain calm during the contractions and breathe. I moaned for the harder ones, but that helped me stay focused. After an hour they checked me again. I was at 7 cm. I then started walking around, and after 15 minutes of that went back to rocking. After another hour, at 7:00 p.m., I was at 8 cm. I then laid down on my side to get some rest and slept on and off for an hour and a half. I was checked, and there was no change. At this time I started to rock again, for another hour or so. I was checked again and I was at 9 1/2 cm.
The doctor was notified, and at 10:08 p.m. I gave birth to my son. He weighed seven pounds, one ounce, was nineteen and a half inches long and had a fourteen centimeter head circumference. My husband, who was there the whole time and gave me the silent support that I needed, was speechless. He declined to cut the cord but was very excited to hold his first son. I am proud to say that I had no drugs, even though I was offered that option many times.