i wanted so bad to not be pregnant anymore. so bad. i wanted to hold my baby, to see his face, to start our life as family of three. i had rehearsed that moment in my head - maybe i'd call matt at work or wake him up in the middle of the night or annoy him with a running commentary of "is it or isn't it?" while we watched television in the evening. i'd tell him that my water broke or that those annoying contractions i'd been feeling for weeks were finally consistent and this was the real deal. but as much as wished and hoped, i knew we might be waiting another week or two for that moment.
then at my 39 week appointment things were a little off. my little baby bump was always small, but that day it was a little more worrisome. not only did it not grow, it got smaller. this could be explained any number of ways - some concerning, some not. we needed more information. an ultrasound was scheduled and then an non-stress test. when we finally got to meet with our consulting obstetrician, we basically got a neutral answer. the baby is perfectly fine, but my placenta and fluid levels were less than optimal and it was probably time to coax him on out before he was negatively affected.
my midwife came to the hospital to talk through everything again and help us finalize our decisions. we scrapped our plans for a med-free out of hospital birth and registered for a medicated induction the next morning. the best laid plans of mice and men, and all. matt and i went home a little shocked. this was it. i don't either of us really slept that night.
the induction, as explained to us, would happen in two phases. phase one is like induction lite; it just preps your body for the real deal and it can take up to 24 hours. the second phase is where it gets real, you're leaving here with an outside baby come hell or high water, and is typically another 12-24 hours. you can imagine my joy when the obstetrician determined that my body had already surpassed the intended goal of phase one and we could go straight to phase two. cross a hypothetical 24 hours off the timeline? yes, please.
i got comfy in bed and the hooked me up to the monitors and medication. i spend the next eight hours wondering why women complain so much about labour. i mean, i was having contractions and i could feel them, but it wasn't that bad. oh how naive i was! about that time the obstetrician decided to break my water and then it. got. real. medically augmented labours are notoriously painful, but nothing could have prepared me for just how awful it would be.
the only saving grace in this part of the story is that things moved a lot faster. i agonized for two hours before deciding that the ideal of a med free birth was long gone and there would be no prizes awarded for denying pain medication. that sweet, sweet epidural came just in time. it didn't take the feeling away, just the pain, and that's all i needed. within thirty minutes it was time to puuuuush. and push i did. forty minutes later there was a sweet, squishy baby laying on my chest.
the long 9 months of pregnancy were over. the 12 hours and 15 minutes of labour were over. it was finally the end. and yet, in probably the most dramatic instance, the rest of our lives were just beginning...
Rhys William Cooper Fitzgerald
8lbs 5 oz. 21 inches. 10:46pm. February 28, 2014.