My husband and I decided the time was right to begin our family after we had been married nearly four years. Because I had been diagnosed with endometriosis and ovarian cysts, we made a trip to the OB-GYN office to have a pre-pregnancy meeting and testing to make sure things were OK. The doctor told us it may take a while to get pregnant, but everything looked fine.
Two months later, I was experiencing strange aches just before my period was to start. I went back to the doctor fearing it was another cyst and was thrilled to find out I was pregnant instead! I attached the positive test stick to an “I Love My Daddy” bib and placed it into a plain brown paper bag. That evening when my husband came home from work, I gave him the bag, and that was the beginning of it all. We passed the bag around to our family to share the good news.
Other than being a little tired in the beginning, the pregnancy was uneventful. I didn't experience morning sickness or the aches and pains I’d always heard about. My growing belly was the only sign of pregnancy. When we had our first sonogram, my husband and I both got tears in our eyes to see that little heartbeat fluttering. It was one of those awesome moments you just can't explain. We decided to find out the sex of the baby at my 18-week sonogram. It took a little coaxing and shaking but we were able to get our modest little girl to move her hands so we could see what she was.
At 38 weeks, my feet began to swell and my shoes wouldn’t fit. At that same time, my midwife began to question the size of the baby. She suggested that we plan induction before the baby got too big for a normal vaginal delivery. I had planned to have a totally natural birth experience, so the idea of a big baby and induction scared me. We agreed to induce at 39 weeks on the following Monday by breaking my water rather than starting Pitocin. Then Friday morning, I began to have contractions. I timed contractions all day long, but they were never anything regular. I called the doctor because my back was aching and they told me to come in because it could be back labor.
In the office I found I was dilated to two and about 75 percent effaced, but because the contractions were not regular, they didn’t send me to the hospital. I went home and took a walk, still having irregular contractions. I went to sleep, and when I woke up Saturday morning, I was still having contractions. I meticulously logged every contraction with time and duration. My husband and I went to the local department store and walked and walked. The contractions were painful enough to notice, but not enough to make me stop walking, so we kept up. Around 5 PM, my mom and sister came over to walk with me. I was so sick of walking, but I was also so tired of contractions that I really wanted to get this thing rolling.
About 9:30 that night, I was exhausted. My contractions were getting a little more regular, around six to eight minutes, but I was instructed not to head to the hospital until they were regular for more than an hour at six minutes. I was frustrated, tired, and uncomfortable. I took a hot shower and went to bed. At 2:30 AM Sunday, I had had it. My contractions had been six minutes apart for 45 minutes, and I decided we were going to the hospital.
I checked in, and was even more frustrated to find I was still dilated to just two. At about 7 AM, my midwife checked and I was about five centimeters. She thought things were moving fine, but I wanted to move faster so I asked to have my water broken. She warned it would make contractions stronger and because I wanted to go into this naturally, she asked again if I was sure. As soon as I had my first contraction after she broke my water, I wished I hadn’t done so. It was so intense and radiated around my back! I let two more contractions go by and I asked for an epidural. Expecting instant relief, I was disappointed when it didn't work right away. It took more than an hour to get any relief and then it was a lesser pain, but I could still feel the pressure of each contraction.
At 10 AM, after I had taken a 20 minute nap, I was totally dilated. I began pushing when my contractions peaked. As the baby crowned, I was feeling more of the pushing contractions, which were more tolerable than before. And at 11 AM, my baby girl Rhett Amber was put on my belly. I'll never forget the way her back arched and her eyes strained up toward me as if to say, “It's about time, Mom!” Although it took my body a while to get things moving, the end result was a beautiful little girl and a healthy mom, which is all I really wanted anyway.