On August 14, 2011 at 1 p.m., Henry James entered this world. This is the story of his entrance.
My pregnancy, all in all, went smoothly. I had no morning sickness, ever. I didn't have swelling or any of the terrible things that can occur during a pregnancy. I didn't have weird cravings...unless you think eating lemons by themselves is weird. The main thing I experienced was tiredness -- particularly in the first and third trimesters. This made staying awake in some of my classes difficult.
On Saturday, August 13, I was having my first-ever noticeable contractions. I was so excited to finally feel as if Henry could actually be born sometime soon! That day was spent writing thank-you cards, going for a walk with Anthony, having friends over for dinner, and we finished the evening playing a nice round of croquet (which, by the way, I ended up winning by taking a bit of a risk!). The evening was over and Anthony and I went to bed. Then, midnight came.
Midnight is the time when the contractions started getting painful, noticeably stronger, and closer together. We timed them -- they were approximately 10 minutes apart. We were wondering if that night was going to be the night! We listened to music, got through more contractions...talked, got through more contractions...walked around the apartment, got through more contractions. We were waiting until they were three minutes apart, one minute long and going consistently for an hour. That never happened. They varied in how long they lasted and were especially varied in how spaced apart they were. 4 minutes apart, 7 minutes, 3 minutes, 6 minutes...
At 5 a.m., Anthony was ready to go to the hospital. He didn't want me to have Henry in the car, that's understandable. I made him call first, though, to make sure they thought I was ready to come in. They confirmed my "symptoms" and away we went! What a surreal moment, for real. Were we really going to the hospital to deliver our baby? Yes, yes we were.
We arrived and when the nurse saw me walking in, she didn't think I could possibly be in labor (this was due to the fact that I walked myself in and seemed to be in decent spirits). When she checked me, I was already at a 6!! That was welcomed news to my ears. The sweet, encouraging nurse said we would have a baby in a few hours...YAY!!! I thought. Well, she turned out to be wrong, but that's okay.
I was admitted to a room and left with Anthony, he was such a supportive, wonderful husband. Around 7 a.m. the doctor came in and asked if she could break my water - this was to strengthen the contractions and make them closer together. I agreed; that was a strange experience. That took me to an 8 (we were getting closer!) and there I stayed. And stayed. And stayed. I think I was stuck there for about an hour, doctor returned and asked if she could give me Pitocin. I didn't really want that as I knew that would cause my contractions to grow unnaturally strong, but agreed anyway as that seemed to be the only way to make me progress. Well, the Pitocin took me to a 9 (oh my goodness, Henry is near!) and there I stayed. And stayed. And continued staying. By this point I was exhausted, it was around 11 a.m. Sunday morning, and the contractions kept getting worse. I was ready to quit. I even told Anthony I did not want to have any more kids. He wisely responded by saying we'd talk about that later.
An epidural sounded like it would be a wonderful option at that time, but, being at a 9, Henry could have been there at any moment. The nurse discouraged my epidural and encouraged me to keep going. She was really great -- in fact, ALL of the staff at Norman Regional Health Plex was really, really great. She gave me the boost I needed. Anthony was still at my side holding my hand, and for that, I was VERY thankful.
Around 12:30, my room was full of people. SO many people. The doctor returned and they started making preparations for Henry; I was finally at a 10 I guess, and the real test of strength was coming whether I was ready or not. I was ready insofar as I wanted to not be in labor anymore!
After approximately 25 minutes of the most physically exhausting thing I've ever done, Henry was born. Anthony cut his cord and they laid him on my chest. What sweet relief! He was crying, I was crying, Anthony was in awe. We had a healthy baby boy! Thank you, God.
That was my labor. All natural - aside from the Pitocin (I'm kind of proud of this fact). Will I do natural again? Most likely, I'm 99.9% sure of that.