After waiting 40 long weeks and seeing my due date come and go, I had grown to accept that my baby girl was not going to come on her own. I spent the 40th week crying a lot- crying because I was so anxious to meet her, but also because the reality of our lives changing forever was so near and just wasn’t coming quickly enough. I loved everything about being pregnant. I loved building a connection with a life from the very beginning & experiencing a birthday from the other side. However, I will admit that I was a bit cranky towards the end.
I was scheduled to be induced that Monday night (a week after my due date). All week my fiancé and I tried everything on the list to naturally induce labor (spicy foods, walking, bouncing on my ball…SO MUCH BOUNCING, pineapple, etc.) and nothing helped. I think I binge watched five different shows in one week while he was at work LOL. Anyway, Saturday came and it was the first time that week I wanted to forget about giving birth. We packed a picnic and took a long walk to the park. Everything was crisp and felt like fall. We laid on our blanket in the park talking about what our little girl would be like and how she would play in that same park one day. All of my anxieties were lifted.
We took a long and beautiful walk home and spent the night in. After we ordered Chinese food, I went to the bathroom only to see a spot of blood. Since I hadn’t had any spotting during my entire pregnancy, my heart sank. I told myself it was probably nothing. Steven went to his man cave to play video games and I started cleaning the kitchen like a mad woman. I was having weird pains but everyone constantly told me “YOU’LL KNOW” when it’s real labor so I thought for sure it was just my body getting itself ready. Then I started feeling the pains over and over again so I thought I would time them JUST FOR FUN…haha. That’s when I realized I was having contractions that were 10 minutes apart. I still wasn’t really convinced it was labor though. I googled false labor every time a new contraction came, and read so many stories of women getting sent home by the hospital. Steven came and checked on me and I finally told him something was happening. I must have made it seem so nonchalant because he would’ve been ready to take me to the hospital in a second if he thought something was actually happening. I kept cleaning and kept timing. Then they were 8 minutes apart and I could barely breathe through some of them. It was about 1 a.m. and I yelled for Steven to come sit with me. At this point we were just confused on what to do. He had to work in the morning and needed to go to sleep, but I was fully awake having semi-painful contractions. I let him sleep and continued to have contractions at a steady 8 minutes apart for another 5 hours.
At 6 a.m. I got up, did my hair, and got dressed to go. But then my contractions seemed much less painful so I swore I wasn’t in labor and laid back down. AND THEN ANOTHER. Steven couldn’t stay asleep at this point and started making arrangements for work as I continued to tell him “I don’t know if I’m in labor or not!” LOL. We called the doctor’s office only for them to tell me to try to wait until the contractions were closer together. I was so bitter. I knew I was supposed to wait, but nobody told me the contractions could get more intense without becoming closer together. We somehow managed to wait until 10:30 that morning to go to the hospital when the contractions were five minutes apart and I was in so much pain I could barely get up to go to the car. When we got to the hospital it was suspiciously quiet. I was the only woman in the labor unit and they immediately took me to a room to get checked. I was nearly fully effaced but still only dilated about 1 cm -_- …so the nurses let me be and told me the doctor would be in sometime to give the final call on whether I’d be staying or sent home. It was a lot of time spent watching news on Hurricane Irma. HOURS went by and still no word. My contractions quickened to only 3 minutes apart but I wasn’t dilating so they decided to let me labor there. My nurse told me not to worry because I would be leaving with a baby. I needed that.
I never imagined labor would feel how it did. I couldn’t sleep or rest from the pain at all and by the time I got over one contraction it would be time to prepare for the next. I finally accepted pain medication so that I could try to get some sleep. I got so drowsy, but I swear the pain never went away. By that point we had family members waiting in the waiting room and my contractions had gotten FURTHER apart- about 6 minutes. My mom snuck in to question the nurses multiple times because she was so concerned it was taking so long…HA. I could fall asleep but then 6 minutes later I would wake up to the worst contractions. It was almost worse to try to sleep through them because when they would wake me back up it would take me a while to get my breathing right to get through them. My nurse came in several times to hook me up to an oxygen mask. I didn’t say anything, but I was so scared of what that meant. They told me that her heart rate was slowing down too much during my contractions. I felt so helpless by this point- it was about 10 or 11 p.m. Looking back now, I feel so strong for staying calm through all of this. Then FINALLY I could have my epidural…YAY!! It helped SO MUCH. I had been in labor for over 24 hours and seriously don’t know how women go through the whole thing unmedicated. We slept/waited until around 6 a.m. and the nurses came in to tell me that their shifts were over at 7 and a different doctor and round of nurses would be here soon. I was checked by a doctor I had never met and introduced to the new nurses, only to hear they wanted to wait even longer and that I should rest. WHAT?! Okay…things must not be progressing, right?
Steven and I fell asleep and all the sudden the nurse was back in to check on us. I said I felt fine but had a little pressure. He looked at my screen and noticed my contractions were coming constantly. I had no idea! The doctor came back and checked me and told me “Yep, that’s the head! Let’s push!” Before I even realized what was happening they were counting “3, 2, 1” and I was supposed to push. I snapped back into things and started pushing. A short 11 minutes later she was here. I was asked if I wanted to feel her head coming out and I did. It was so soft I started crying and looked up for support. I realized instantly that Steven could see her face. The look he had will never leave my memory. It was pure amazement and pride. His first crying parent moment. Everything was so still and silent before she let out her first cry. And then she was on my chest- a full 30+ hours later.
Aurora Jean Padgett, born September 11th, 2017 at 9:23 a.m. Born more beautifully than we could ever have imagined. A whole 7 lb. 3 oz. and 19.5 in of love.