Sydney’s birth did not happen exactly as planned…as very few births do! Kyle and I were walking around Target around 7 p.m. on a Sunday and I had what felt like serious menstrual cramps…but I didn’t think anything was happening. Kyle decided to get a diaper genie just in case we had a baby that night. I married a smart man!
Around 9 p.m. Kyle read to baby Sydney (as he did every night during my pregnancy). Suddenly I realized I may be having contractions as I wasn’t really able to pay attention to the book because of the pain. At this point they were about 8-10 minutes apart. I told Kyle to get some rest and I continued to labor until about 1 a.m. My contractions were 5 minutes apart at that point so I called my midwife and doula (we had planned a home birth). When they arrived around 2 am I was only 2 cm dilated. Carole (my amazing midwife) decided to stay and rest at our house and my doula went home as it would likely be a long way to 10 c.m.
After 10 hours of laboring at home I was only 3 cm dilated. It was 6:30 a.m. and I was exhausted, dehydrated, starving but I couldn’t eat - the pain was too intense. I made the very difficult decision to transfer to the hospital. Unfortunately that meant my doula could not come, but we decided to go to the hospital that Carole could deliver at which was 45 minutes away. This was the longest 45 minutes of my life! At some point I was in the back seat praying (okay shouting) to god and Kyle had the audacity to make the joke, “You have to pray to the Jewish god now!” as I had recently converted to Judaism. It was not funny then, but I can laugh about it now.
We got to the hospital and I was 7 cm dilated and my water broke! Progress!
Saying that I underestimated the pain of labor is an understatement. It felt like someone was pulling and twisting my uterus out of my body while stabbing it at the same time. My contractions were long and strong - about 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 90 seconds. I remembered my friend Carly’s doula’s wise advise of trying to “stay on top” of the contractions (meaning taking deep breaths and preparing for the next one in between) but they were so painful and so close together I just found myself full of anxiety after one ended worrying about how strong the next one would be. I wanted an epidural but all of the sudden Carole said I was so close and wouldn’t need one - I made it to 9 cm dilated!!
At that point it gets a little cloudy but I do remember everyone (my midwife, hospital nurses, and Kyle) trying to get me to push…but I just couldn’t do it. I was in too much pain and I was emotionally and physically tapped out. Apparently part of my cervix was getting caught. Carole tried to move it manually so I could just go ahead and have the baby. Unfortunately it became inflamed so she agreed we should go for the epidural to let me get some rest (I had been in labor for almost 14 Hours with no rest, very little water, and no food at that point).
So I got the epidural, slept for and hour, pushed for an hour (I think…Kyle said it was 30 minutes…I still need to confirm this with Carole), and baby Sydney was born at 1:19 p.m. on March 18th weighing 7 lbs! The feeling of having Sydney on my chest right after birth was unreal. The flood of emotions came pouring out in joyous tears and I kept saying, “This just doesn’t feel real!” It was the most humbling experience of my life. I was immediately in love!
The deep remorse I felt about transferring to the hospital didn’t set in until the extreme adrenaline from the birth wore off. At first I felt confident I had made the right decision to transfer - After 10 hours of laboring at home I was emotionally overwhelmed with the pain of labor, I was exhausted, dehydrated, and I felt delivering in the hospital would be safer than a home birth. Soon after this confidence subsided I started doubting myself. I started having thoughts like “If I could have held out just a little bit longer…I made it to 9 cm without any drugs…I could have made it!” etc. I’m still struggling with this decision but I’m working through it. I’ve always been pretty hard on myself so it’s no surprise that I’m being hard on myself about how I handled birth. Little by little, I am working through my regret. I am SO incredibly grateful to have a healthy baby girl and I am SO incredibly grateful to have had a relatively smooth birth! Welcome to this strange and beautiful world Sydney Moon!
Thank you for reading! I would love to hear your birth experience in the comments.