All I ever wanted was to be your mother. Welcome to the world, Silas Bradley Johnson.
It all began on Monday, May 8. Like all Mondays, also known as my day off, I pack it full of activities and to-do’s. This Monday had an extra long list, including a window installation in the morning, a grooming appointment for Calvin and Winnie, and a pedicure date with my friend Kari. I was trying to get things done before Baby arrived, and thought I was planning well in advance since he wasn’t due until May 23.
I even joked about it on Sunday, at a friend’s baby shower, that my baby could arrive early, as long as it was after all of my Monday tasks were complete. Little did I know that he was listening and planning his entrance to this world very soon.
On that Monday, I was able to enjoy a nice and (mostly) peaceful walk with my dogs. (They’re Chihuahuas and love to bark at anything that moves.) I even had time to snap a picture of a blossoming tree, in hopes of warmer weather coming soon.
I got my nails done and ate lunch out in the sunshine with Kari. Despite the dogs getting tangled in their leashes and spilling water everywhere, I wasn’t going to let it ruin my happy and productive day.
I headed home to see the finalized window project, which went perfectly. Afterwards, I made some padsicles for postpartum relief and threw them in the freezer. I vacuumed, dusted, cleaned the bathroom and made my bed. I finished up laundry and cooked tacos for dinner. This day was successful.
At dinner, Seth and I made guesses on Baby’s birth weight. I guessed 7 pounds 4 ounces, while my husband took a stab at 7 pounds 2 ounces. I told Seth I would be fine if Baby came anytime now. We watched a TV show and headed to bed around 10:00PM. I do not always pray out loud before bed, but I just felt like it that night. I prayed for a safe and healthy delivery and baby. I prayed that labor would not be super painful and I thanked God for the little blessing inside of my belly.
I turned the light off. Seth started to snore. And that’s when I heard a little “pop”. It came from my lady parts and it was pretty quiet. I decided to go to the bathroom to check my underwear, and they felt wet. Is this really my water breaking?
It seemed like this kind of thing only happened in the movies, and it was confirmed in our birthing class that only five percent of women have their water break before they go into labor. I already knew three of my friends whose water broke prior to labor, so those statistics had to be off.
It wasn’t a ton of water, but I decided to yell to Seth and notify him of this occurrence. He mumbled something in his sleep and told me to come back to bed, which means he probably was still sleeping. It is not unusual for him to have full conversations while he is sleeping, so I decided I would reawaken him if I needed to.
I laid back down and within minutes, noticed some cramping. These were not the usual Braxton Hicks contractions I had been feeling for the last few months, since there was some pain involved. It almost felt like period cramps. Then I started to notice that there was a rhythm to these cramps.
Is this really happening?
I decided to use my contraction timer app to see if there was a method to this little madness going on inside of me. For an hour, I laid there and timed my contractions. They were averaging five minutes apart, about one minute in duration, and lasted for at least an hour. This 5-1-1 rule was what our doctor told us to look for before we headed into the hospital. My heart started to race.
I got up to go to the bathroom. More water was leaking out of me and onto the floor. That’s when it really hit me. I must be in labor.
I decided to take a bath. I wanted to shave my legs and have clean hair. I made phone calls to my mom, Seth’s mom and my sister to give them a heads up. I yelled to Seth that he needed to wake up and finish packing his hospital bag. He was groggy, but eventually made it out of comatose and started to pack.
I couldn’t believe this was happening. We were two weeks early and of course, it was after I got all of this stuff done around the house. Thank you, Baby! I don’t know if it was an instinct I had, or that I pushed myself too hard during the day, but it just was meant to happen and it was meant to happen then.
The plan was for me to finish packing my “last minute” items, such as my toothbrush and makeup, whenever I went into labor, but when the time finally came, it all felt too rushed. I was too excited to even think straight. Eventually, we zipped up our bags, said goodbye to the dogs (I tried my hardest not to cry), headed out the door and arrived to the hospital a little after midnight.
We were checked into triage and a nurse confirmed that my water did in fact break. She checked my cervix and I was still only dilated to 3 cm, which was the same as my last doctor’s appointment. (For those of you who don’t know, you have to be at 10 cm to push a baby out.) Because my water (or “bag of waters”, as Seth and I like to say) broke, and I was having contractions, they admitted me into labor and delivery.
It was always my plan to go into labor with an open mind. Ideally, I was hoping to labor as naturally as possible for as long as I could. I wanted to be able to move freely around the room and change positions as necessary to help me through each contraction and hopefully help me progress as quickly and as naturally as possible. I also wanted to use nitrous oxide (laughing gas, commonly used at dental offices) to help me with the pain. As a last resort, I would opt for an epidural, if the pain got too bad.
When we got into our room, I was hooked up to an IV for extra fluids and a monitor to keep track of the baby’s heartbeat. My nurse asked me what I wanted to do for pain relief. I asked her about nitrous oxide and she basically laughed and said it doesn’t work. So that was out of the picture. I told her I didn’t want pain relief at that moment and she left the room.
I felt a little defeated. I was stuck to an IV stand and a bunch of wires. I couldn’t move around like I had hoped. I didn’t want to stay within a small and limited area and labor away, as I knew that wouldn’t help me mentally or physically. I also had a plugged nose from a cold and I hadn’t slept since Sunday night.
Despite these little setbacks, I tried to remain positive and worked through my contractions with Seth. He brought a little hand massager with him and helped me by providing massage and pressure on my back when needed. He was also my cheerleader, giving me encouragement during each contraction.
After about two hours, a doctor from my clinic came in to check on me. I told her how I was feeling bummed out that I couldn’t move around freely and she instantly told me that wasn’t the case. She said she would send the nurse in to get me hooked up to wireless monitors and take my IV out. She even made me laugh.
By 4:00AM, I was hooked up to wireless monitors and I was able to walk around the room. I tried different positions during each contraction, including the exercise ball, the couch, standing up, leaning against Seth, leaning against the bed, you name it. I even tried to venture into the main hallway with Seth and we only made it one room over, before I had to turn around and go back. Big mistake, but it was funny seeing the nurses’ faces when I ventured out of the room. They were probably thinking, “What the heck is this girl doing?!”
After a few more hours, they checked my cervix, and I had progressed to 6 cm. Progress had been made and I’m positive it was because I was moving around and being active!
The contractions were getting more intense. At around 6:30AM, I decided to take a dip in my giant birthing tub. For some reason, we were given the gigantic suite at the hospital, and I had the coolest birth tub in my bathroom. I was tempted to use it and see if it would help.
Sure enough, it helped my breathing. The contractions seemed easier when I was in the water. They were still very painful, but I could breathe through them much easier in the tub.
A new nurse came in and told me she was taking over from 7:00AM-3:00PM. Her name was Holly and she was so incredibly sweet. I knew that she was just the perfect nurse for Seth and me.
After an hour in the tub, I decided to get out and have my cervix checked. I was still at 6 cm and about 90 percent effaced. The pain from my contractions kept getting worse and I started to doubt that I could do this naturally.
I started to talk about getting an epidural because the pain was so bad. I couldn’t even have Seth comfort me during my contractions because I didn’t want anyone to touch me.
Nurse Holly told me that she thought the hardest climb would be between 7-8 cm, and I already felt like I was reaching my pain maximum. I asked her what she thought of epidurals, because I really didn’t want one but I was starting to think I needed one, and she provided me a lot of reassurance. She told me that she tried to birth all three of her children naturally and ended up getting an epidural with each one. Because I liked her so much and felt an instant connection to her, I was sold.
An anesthesiologist was called for. It took a while for him to get up to my room, and when he arrived, I was in the middle of a really bad contraction. He was very rude and asked my nurse why I wasn’t ready to go or why my paperwork wasn’t filled out. He demanded a garbage in a certain spot and had a really arrogant attitude. Holly told him that I was in the middle of a contraction, and he said he didn’t have time to wait for me to get ready because he had patients in the operating room that needed his attention. So he left.
I was really disappointed with how we were treated and especially upset with how he talked to my nurse. Holly helped me get into the position he wanted me in and I labored through a few more contractions uncomfortably while we waited for him to return.
Finally, he made it back to my room and explained the risks of the epidural while he prepped my back. I remember thinking, “I don’t care if you are rude right now. All I want is for this epidural to work and not cause permanent paralyzation.” (Although this is very rare, we know of someone who this happened to.)
He said the epidural should kick in within 20-30 minutes. Within 10 minutes, I could feel the effects and some relief.
A little after 9:00AM, I was lying in bed, feeling like a million bucks. A very tired million bucks, but I was feeling much better than I did before.
It was such a weird sensation. During each contraction, I didn’t feel pain, but just a little pressure. There were some contractions I didn’t feel anything at all. I was also really happy, because I could still wiggle my toes and I knew that was a good sign.
Because my body was able to relax with the epidural, I progressed from 6 to 10 cm within a few short hours! It was time to push!
Holly prepped me and my legs were put in stirrups. It was fun to hear that there were four other births taking place around the same time. Things were happening at the hospital! I began to push a little bit before noon. Seth was on my left side and did an awesome job helping the nurse count during each of my contractions.
Eventually, a doctor from my clinic came in and it was go-time. After 14 hours of labor, I pushed for 50 minutes and at 12:35PM, Silas Bradley Johnson was born. A beautiful 7 pounds 2 ounces and 19.5 inches long. Daddy was right on with his weight guess!
They immediately put him on my chest for skin-to-skin and it was instant love. He stopped crying when he heard my voice too, which melted my heart. He has my heart forever.
When I look back, I am so happy with how our labor and delivery went. I am proud I labored naturally for as long as I did and I am happy that I listened to my body when I knew it needed a break. My body did what it needed to do and helped me bring my son into this world. I am so incredibly grateful for this experience and beyond thankful for Silas. He is my world.