My pregnancy was pretty easy. I didn't have any morning sickness. I was able to sleep through the night most nights. And I didn't feel handicapped by my pregnancy. I hiked through some caves at 28 weeks pregnant while visiting my sister-in-law in Montana. My husband and I bought beach cruisers and rode them around town. We went on lots of walks. Basically, my life didn't change a whole lot because I was pregnant. I even substitute taught while I was 4cm dilated.
In short, my pregnancy was easy as far as pregnancies go.
When I was 35 weeks, my doctor sent us to have a final ultrasound to check on the size of the baby. Even though my stomach was measuring right on, my mom had larger than normal babies (my brother was 10.5lbs!) so she wanted to check the size just to be on the safe side. At the ultrasound, we were told that Nate was already weighing 9+lbs. At 35 weeks that is huge. Some of his other measurements, like his head size, were also on the large end. I was pretty concerned. Actually, terrified might be a better word. If he was big at 35 weeks, how big was he going to be at 40+ weeks?
I met with my doctor later during the day and she checked my cervix. Not only did I have a baby who was supposedly measuring large, but I was also already 4cm dilated and 70% effaced, which is pretty unusual for a first-time mom. She told me just to be prepared to have the baby at any time. I wasn't in labor yet, which meant that we didn't need to take any drastic measures.
I went home thinking that this baby just might be delivered within the next week or so. Despite the news, I still substitute taught during the week.
A week went by and it was time for another doctor's appointment. My husband and I made the 70 mile drive to the doctor with our bags packed. Maybe this time I would be dilated far enough to be sent to the hospital. The doctor checked and I was 5cm dilated and 75% effaced. That wasn't enough progress to justify inducing me and taking the chance that Nate's lungs would be underdeveloped.
It seems silly now, but at the time I was pretty disappointed. I was at the point where I was ready to have him. I was just so anxious to meet our little boy. I might have gotten a little emotional as we drove away from the doctor's office.
The next week seemed to drag by. My discomfort level was at an all-time high. I was having braxton-hicks contractions all week. There wasn't much pain but my stomach would get so tight. Even though it was a bit early, I was praying that at my next appointment, it would be time.
Whoa! Look at that 37 week belly!
The day of my 37 week appointment came. Once again, Ryan and I loaded our overnight bags in the car and headed back to the doctor. During the drive, I began having more painful contractions. To be honest though, I wasn't sure if they were real contractions. They just felt like gassy pains. But they would come and go. Ryan seemed pretty convinced they were contractions, but I didn't want to get my hopes up.
A different doctor (my doctor's father) checked my cervix this time. Now I was 6cm dilated and 100% effaced. I told the doctor how uncomfortable I had been this last week and he suggested that we go ahead and break my water and get things going.
Was he serious? Was this finally going to be the day?
We headed to the hospital, texted our family, "It's go time!"and stopped at Quizno's so Ryan could get a quick bite to eat.
Once we got to the hospital, things went pretty quickly.
The doctor broke my water and my contractions were instantly much more intense. That's when I knew what I had been feeling earlier really were contractions. These felt the same only much, much stronger. Ryan had already informed the nurse that I most definitely wanted an epidural. And when the contractions intensified, he kept asking when the anesthesiologist was going to show up (I think I even begged at one point). And you know what? The epidural wasn't bad at all. Ryan stood right in front of me and held my hand and before I knew what had happened, it was over. It took effect immediately and the pain was gone.
A few hours went by. Our families began showing up and we spent the time just hanging out and waiting.
About 4 hours after my water had broken, I found out that I was at 10cm. Yay! Push time. We were just about to meet our baby! Surely it would be like TV right? A few pushes and he'd be out, right?
I pushed for 2.5 hours. I kept pushing and pushing and pushing. Ryan would put wet towels on my forehead. He counted during every contraction. He even held one of my legs that was too numb for me to move. He was the best partner I could have asked for. At one point, I remember him telling me "Good job! You're getting there, babe! You're doing great!" In my frustration, I snapped, "No I'm not. Don't tell me I'm making progress if I'm not. I've been doing this for 2 hours! I'm not getting anywhere." Not my shining moment.
At some point, the nurse left. Ryan and I were by ourselves and we kept going. He kept counting during contractions and I kept pushing. It was during that time alone that I actually made progress. When the nurse came back, she was surprised to see that Nate was just about to come out. She got the doctor who came in and grabbed a pair of scissors.
"Are you going to cut me?" I asked in between contractions.
"Yep" she said.
"Ok...that's fine. Just numb me first."
Apparently, she already had the anesthetic in a syringe. She showed me the needle as an affirmation.
Once the cut was made, Nate was born pretty quickly.
I was so incredibly relieved that it was over. Nate laid on my chest and calmed down quickly. I looked at his head and was surprised at the massive cone head he had. Because it took me so long to push him out, he had developed a lot of swelling. I remember apologizing to him for taking so long. He was fine though and the swelling went down during the next few days.
But remember how they told me that he already weighed 9+ pounds at 35 weeks? Well, those numbers were off. The first thing Ryan said after seeing Nate was, "That's no 9 pound baby!" and he was right. He only weighed 7lbs, 12oz at birth. He had a large head measurement on the ultrasound, which threw the rest of the numbers off a bit.
But he was perfect and Ryan and I were immediately in love with this little gift from God.
And now, almost 2 years later, he just continues to bless our lives and keeps growing into a smart, funny, and handsome little boy.