I’m not one for explicit birth stories. It’s just not my cup of tea. But there are things I wish to remember about Eliot’s arrival, because it is, without a doubt, one of the top five most special days of mine and Daniel’s lives. I feel that I must also say that if you were on the fence about laboring exclusively with your husband, don’t be anymore. Eliot’s birth was probably one of the most enriching marriage moments we’ve ever had together and it required a lot of trust, empathy, and compassion from both of us.
Things said during labor:
Hannah: Wow, our nurse is really nice!
Daniel: Yeah, that’s just what we were praying for!
Hannah: But maybe she should help somebody else…
Daniel: What? Why!
Hannah: I’m just worried that maybe somebody else could use her more, because I think we got the best one here! I don’t deserve the best nurse here. Somebody else could need her!
Daniel: You’re being ridiculous, and that’s just what you always do when we’re in a hospital for you. You start worrying about everybody else–mainly the nurses!
Hannah: (Right after getting into the bed in the laboring room and in between contractions) Go get the cookies out of the car, Daniel.
Daniel: Can we please just finish getting you settled first?
Hannah: I’m good, go give the nurses their cookies.
Random Nurse: (five minutes later and peeking in my room) We LOVE you. Nurses love cookies!
Doctor: (After a couple of hours of laboring, coming to see me the first time and in the middle of a contraction) Well, you look pretty good, *insert contraction here* do you need anything?
Hannah: Tell me a joke!
Doctor: A joke?
Hannah: Yeah, one of your six year old jokes that you like to tell.
Doctor: Why was six afraid of seven?
Hannah: *still contracting* I don’t know.
Daniel: Wait, wait, I know this one! Because seven eight nine.
Doctor: Aaaww, look at that, he knew it!
Intern who had been following Doctor all day: *incredulous look*
Doctor: (coming in to check up hours later) *walks in, observes the serene scene of me in the bed smiling* Did you have an epidural?
Doctor: (laughing) I was gonna say, you look very relaxed!
Random Nurse: (walks in right before intense pushing) Hi, I’m one of your nurses, and I just have to say, I had one of your cookies and they were delicious!
Hannah: Oh… Great!
Hannah: (At the intense pushing part) Okay, I’m having another contraction.
Nurse Lauren: Okay, we’re going to push on this one. *looks at Doctor who just arrived* (sarcastically) If Doctor will hurry up and put his gloves on today…
Nurse Lauren: (while Eliot was crowning) I’m just going to scratch his head to keep his heart rate up.
Hannah: (looking at Daniel and whispering) Baby’s first noogies!
Leading up to the labor:
Two nights before Eliot was born, I was having pretty different contractions than the endless braxton-hicks that I had been having all of the pregnancy. I was getting excited because I was so uncomfortable, and so I finished grabbing things for labor, watched a ton of HGTV and sat on the birth ball to get through the tough ones. I told Daniel that I thought we might go to the hospital that night. Daniel then began cleaning like a crazy person and I tried to get some sleep. Unfortunately, my contractions kept fluctuating in time. I would have a few that were 8 minutes apart, and then go a full 25 minutes before having another one. They were pesky. I was able to sleep, but would often wake up to them. Every time I woke up, I noticed Daniel’s absence in the bed and our room was cleaner and cleaner when I woke.
Clutter was gone. Surfaces were dusted! And since I had to go to the bathroom seemingly every twenty minutes, I noticed IT was clean too! When I woke up the next morning, the place was spotless and Daniel was exhausted in bed next to me, but sleeping very lightly. He had a huge nesting craze and being too excited to sleep, really didn’t sleep much at all.
To me, it was just as well, because my contractions had slowed to a crawl by morning. I was very grumpy and felt like I was going to be pregnant forever. I don’t remember how many times I did, but I definitely cried a bunch that day. Daniel was so sweet, even in his sleep deprivation, and comforted me every time. He patiently listened to me telling my stomach “If you don’t come out by your due date, I’m going to the beach,” and “Why doesn’t he want to come out?” and he only tried to convince me a couple of times that it was totally normal because I hadn’t reached my due date yet. The next night, I woke in the early hours with more sporadic contractions, and managed to sleep until about 4.
At 4 am, things got harder.Contractions were closer together and I woke Daniel to help me count them. At this point, I think he had only slept for 3 or 4 hours. I had to get out of bed and use the birth ball again to get through them. Daniel grabbed his last minute items and phone chargers and piled our bags next to the door. He walked the dog and fed the cat. Around 6, we called the hospital to tell them we were coming in and the walk down to the car was really weird! It felt completely normal except for the contractions and the fact that we were carrying overnight bags down at six in the morning. I called my mom and ended up making her wait while I moaned through a contraction. She, as agreed, called my aunt and the two of them started getting ready to travel to us (they had a four hour drive). Two minutes later, she texted me and said, “you sounded like you were around 5 cm.” After a check in triage, it was confirmed that I indeed was at 5 cm! (Really exciting news to someone who had only ever been checked before to have been informed that she was 1 cm)
At that point, all of the hospital craziness (good crazy) happened and some parts are just too intimate to type up for the blog. But it was pretty amazing. The closeness that Daniel and I shared (in between me being a neurotic crazy worry wart) was beautiful and I will never forget it. I remember crying a lot afterward and telling Daniel, “I couldn’t do it without you” over and over. I guess that’s really surprising to me because I was really unsure about whether or not laboring with just him was something I was going to want to do. I’ve always been the “run to mom” girl when I’m sick or in pain, but I guess somewhere in the last three years of marriage, that’s changed to “run to Daniel.” I felt completely safe and comforted by his presence and it was so intimate! I just can’t recommend husband coached labor enough.