About an hour after they put the cervidil in, my contractions started. But the truth is, I didn’t really know they were contractions at first. I didn’t expect them to start so soon since I was warned that nothing could happen at all. I genuinely just thought I had to go poo. You’d think I could tell the difference but I’ve never had a baby so I was clueless.
I kept getting up to go to the bathroom and nothing would happen. I would sit there and every few minutes get these intense cramps. After spending 30 minutes in the bathroom I finally realized my labor was started. The contractions started about 7-8 minutes apart and would last 45 seconds to a minute each. They were uncomfortable but bearable at that point. In those moments, I thought ‘wow, maybe this labor is going to go really fast; I can handle this’.
I knew from the beginning I was planning to get an epidural but I didn’t want to get it too soon. I wanted to feel my labor and hoped that not getting it before 5 or 6cm would move the labor along faster. Frankly, I just had no idea what I was in for.
By 10pm I was dilated to 2cm and 50% effaced. At this point my contractions were getting closer together and felt like they were lasting longer but still manageable so I tried to sleep. By this point they had removed the cervidil because it was clear labor was started and progressing.
Attempting to relax and rest while you are having contractions every few minutes is a complete joke. I was wishing I was at home where I was comfortable instead of in a labor and delivery room. Our nurse would come in and check on me every hour or so and since we still had a long way to go and I was feeling okay, I told Cary to try to get some sleep.
By midnight I was 3cm dilated and still 50% effaced. Around 3am Cary was having trouble sleeping because of his allergies so he went home to get some medicine since it was only 5 minutes away from the hospital. He got back close to 4am and during that time I had somehow managed to doze off into a light sleep.
I just remember that right after he walked back in the room I woke up because I felt/heard a loud pop and a sharp pain. I swore it had to be my water breaking so I stood up and just a little tiny trickle of water came down my leg. I told him I was going to the bathroom to check but to call the nurse because I was almost certain that’s what it was. I went into the bathroom to pee but nothing.
I walked back to bed as the nurse was walking in and she helped me back in the bed; as soon as I sat down the gush of water came out and she said “yep, your water broke”. She said, “Your contractions might start getting closer to together and much more intense now so call me if you need me”. I hadn’t felt truly scared about what was ahead until that moment. But I remember looking at Cary and widening my eyes and it was almost like we were both thinking “well here we go, so close to baby Teagan”.
Cary went back to sleep and I sat there wide eyed and terrified to meet my fate. They warned me when they originally put the cervidil in that it can result in rapid contractions that were right on top of the other. Well, about 30 minutes after my water broke that’s what happened. I started getting contractions rapidly and so intense that I could barely breathe, my whole body was shaking. By this point it was about 4:30am.
I was trying to take deep breaths and really breathe through each contraction but I had no idea what I was doing and it felt as though I no longer had any control over any part of my body. I got up and tried walking around but it was so painful all I could do was stand there and sob.
Cary kept telling me that I should get the epidural so I could rest but it didn’t feel like the time yet. I didn’t know if I would know when the time was but it just didn’t feel like it was yet. By 5:30am I was 4cm dilated. By 6:30am I was 5cm dilated and 75% effaced. When our nurse came in to check me she was looking at the monitor and told me that I was really getting no reprieve from these contractions and that I likely wouldn’t and both of our heart rates were really high. She asked me if I wanted her to call the anesthesiologist and through broken breaths I said “I don’t know”.
Honestly this period of time feels like a blur. I couldn’t breathe, control my body, let alone talk or think straight. I just remember her saying she was going to call because it could take 30 minutes to an hour for her to actually get to me. Our nurse stayed in there the whole time with me, talking me through each contraction, telling me how to breathe and preparing me for the next one. The only way I can describe it is thinking of a wave. That feeling when you are at the beach and you get hit by a huge wave and you get back up and catch your breath for a second only to be pounded by another wave. Over and over and over again.
It felt like an eternity before the anesthesiologist got there but it was around 7am I believe. They gave me instructions but I honestly didn’t hear one word. They tried to give me the epidural between contractions but because they were right on top of each other I couldn’t even tell you if it was painful because I was having contractions through the whole process. I laid back and immediately felt relief but only on one side so they gave me another shot and everything went numb and I felt like for the first time in hours I could breathe again.
From there I progressed about a cm an hour. Around noon they called my doctor in because I was at 10cm and 100% effaced. He came in to check me and said he also had two other women in labor and one was about to go in for a C-section so he was going to let me labor down for another 30 minutes to an hour. I had no idea what that meant so I just nodded and said “okay.” When he left the nurse explained it was just allowing the baby to naturally get further down into the pelvis and down the birth canal so I didn’t have to push as long and exhaust myself. She said that even though I had an epidural, I would get the urge to push when it was time.
When I got my epidural I knew I wasn’t planning to push the button for more meds because I didn’t want to be too numb. This proved to be the best decision I could’ve made. By 12:35pm I was getting the urge to push and while I wasn’t feeling the intense pain with each contraction, I was feeling a huge pressure with each one which made the whole pushing process much more productive. I started pushing around 12:45pm.
Pushing is so exhausting even with an epidural. Cary was so encouraging and made me feel like I was the most powerful person on the planet in those moments. They had a mirror in front of me so Cary and I could see everything. My doctor ended up giving me an episiotomy around 1:20pm because her head was large and I was likely going to tear pretty badly. At that point, I just wanted her out so I didn’t even care. Once I could see her head in the mirror I knew the end was in sight. All I could see was a lot of dark hair and I knew I was about to give birth to a little Cary.
Her head finally came out and one more set of pushes later and our sweet Teagan Kendall was born. Thursday, June 16th, 2016 at 1:42pm. She was 8 lbs., 5 oz. and 21 ¼ inches long. And had one heck of a cone head because my pelvis is apparently very narrow. They immediately put her on my chest and Cary and I both just started crying uncontrollably. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen or experienced in my entire life. We just watched a life born; our little baby girl.
We let her umbilical cord pulse for about two minutes before they asked Cary to cut it. They wanted to take her and check her out because they said she wasn’t a very good color. After a few minutes they put her back in my arms and it felt like she had always been there. Looking at her was so surreal. We created that little baby, I grew her for 9 months, I just spent the better part of a day birthing her and there she was. Our sweet, perfect little strawberry girl. In that moment, I knew our lives would never be the same. I knew our hearts were finally whole.