Turns out this is kind of a long story. Whoops. (Also, I love parenthesis. You'll see.)
This story starts back in May. I attended a Mother's Day charity brunch and won the "expectant mother" raffle package. It included a few onesies, a couple of those decorated burp cloths that are cute but I don't really get, a carseat cover, and a hypnobirthing course. At that point, all I knew about hypnobirthing was that my coworker had done a similar program with her births. She had such a positive, empowering view of birth (even after two long, difficult deliveries of her own), that I was excited to learn more.
Ryan and I started attending the classes, and we were hooked. Total game changer. Did you know people who are allergic to anesthesia have used hypnotherapy to get through crazy surgeries? I'm talking slicing-and-dicing, hammer-and-chisel type surgeries. Incredible. Ryan and I started practicing relaxation methods that would help during the delivery. (Looking back, I wish we had practiced more diligently, but the little we did helped us immensely.)
Meanwhile, I began having doubts about the midwife I had been seeing. When I asked more details about the logistics of the actual delivery, she started throwing around some interesting stats. More than half of her patients were induced. Fifty percent of her deliveries ended with episiotomies because of sudden drops in heart rate. I'm not an expert, but those numbers sounded high. She assured me that she would only induce me if my water broke before going into labor, which doesn't happen often. Surely it wouldn't happen to me. But Ryan told me to go with my gut, so, at 35 weeks pregnant, we switched to a new doctor.
Fast forward a few weeks, and what do you know? My water broke at 2:00 on a Sunday morning. (My gut is so smart sometimes.) We were so excited. Free pass out of teaching sunbeams and sunday school! No correlation meeting! Oh, and right. We were gonna have a baby! Plenty to be excited about.
I started having contractions, but they were pretty random. Three minutes, then seven, then twelve, then two. I relaxed in bed while Ryan packed half our house to go to the hospital. We waited until 6 to start calling around--first the doctor (who said we could hang out at home until the contractions started coming more regularly), then our parents (who said get thee to a hospital are you sure you don't have to leave right now?), and finally the missionaries (who said woohoo we'll teach your classes).
Then we hunkered down and started watching movies. There was Stardust, then Nacho Libre, with Ryan faithfully timing the contractions (which were coming every 4-8 minutes) on his phone. By around 1 p.m., we were getting a steady stream of texts from family that either said
- "so-and-so said that at such-and-such hospital you have to be admitted x number of hours after your water breaks so what are you waiting for?" or
- "SO EXCITED!! CAN'T WAIT!! LOVE YOU :) :) :) :)"
- or both.
She checked me a little after 4, and I was dilated to a 4. No fever, no infection, but also not much progress. We decided to head back home and prepare for an early morning delivery. On the way home from her office, my contractions started coming every 5 minutes or so. We stopped at my mom's house and had dinner. The contractions started coming every 4 minutes or so. We drove back to Katy and straight to the hospital. By then, the contractions were every 3 minutes.
I was so excited. He was finally coming! But when they checked me, I was only dilated to a 5. At that rate, it'd be another 7 or 8 hours before we'd have our little boy. Which was fine, I thought. Up until that point, I was able to relax and the contractions had been fine--tight, but not painful.
Soon after we checked into the hospital, I started to feel some pretty intense pain in my lower back. I tried to use the hypnobirthing techniques to relax, but I was having trouble focusing. After only a few contractions like that, I decided I couldn't handle that kind of pressure for 7 or 8 more hours, so I told Ryan to get that anesthesiologist in there, pronto.
While we were waiting (they said it would take him 30 minutes to arrive), I couldn't shake this overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom. I absolutely had to go. In my mind, if I could just go to the bathroom, all this pressure would be gone, and then there would be room for the baby to come. (I'm really good with human anatomy, if you couldn't tell.) I was all ready to go through with my plan when the nurse came in. She pretty much had to pry me from the bathroom and drag me to the bed, where we discovered I had somehow gone from a 5 to a 10 within the half hour.
I was immediately relieved, mentally and physically. You mean I don't have to do that for another 8 hours? I was back in control. We sent the anesthesiologist away, called the doctor, and then nurses started streaming in. Ryan was such a champ. He kept telling me how good I was doing, how much he loved me, how proud he was of me. Made me feel like I could birth a buffalo, I felt so good. But, yes, a baby would be better.
The pushing began, and the pressure from before was gone. I just kept visualizing our sweet boy in our arms. I can't say how long I pushed for--everything seemed to happen so fast to me--but in retrospect it must have been awhile because he wasn't born until 9:50 that night. I just remember the room being very quiet, with us chatting a bit in between pushes. At one point, they had me feel the tip of his head that was poking out. It was like a warm wet nerf ball--super soft and super strange.
With my last push, Dr. Peterson helped to pull him out with her hand. According to Ryan, it looked like his head was being crushed like a sponge (and where was his brain?!), but he didn't say anything because how do you word that without making the lady on the bed freak out? (Excuse me, but did you just deflate my son's head like a balloon?) Plus, it all happened so fast.
Everything was suddenly perfect. One moment he was just the tip of a nerf ball, and the next he was our son. In our arms. Red skin and wide eyes. This little life that we created. We were in awe of it all.
Ryan cut the cord--which has produced a beautiful belly button, I might add--and not long after, my mom came in to meet him and take the photo above. The next day we settled on his name. Beau Ryan Tingey. Fits him perfectly, the way he fits us.