Kate's Birth Story
Sometimes I tend to expect the worst in order to prepare and protect myself. This was definitely the case when I envisioned my labor experience. I had convinced myself that I would be frantic when the time came, so I would get to the hospital too late to get an epidural, meaning I would have to birth a HUGE baby with NO pain meds. (Side note, my pain tolerance is practically non-existent.) When it came to my birth plan, the only thing I cared about was getting that epidural!
I always had a feeling that I wouldn't make it to my due date of June 3rd. My husband, on the other hand, was convinced we were having a June baby. Practically everyone in his family was born in June, so naturally, his baby would be born in June too!
Since I had convinced myself that labor was going to be horrific, I tried to do everything I could to prepare in advance. I did exercises regularly to get the baby in the correct position. I was so motivated by my fears. What if she gets stuck in the birth canal?! What if I have to be induced; doesn't that make the contractions worse? If my water doesn't break on its own, then it will have to be manually broken; I'm sure that hurts! The fear of pain kept me going. I would literally put my makeup on in a squatting position. I would be on my feet all day and take the long way to all destinations. Anyone up for a walk?!
When we started going to the doctor weekly for regular cervix check, it seemed as if each appointment I was progressing closer and closer to labor. My doctor asked me how often I had been feeling contractions, and I just gave her a blank stare. I hadn't been feeling any contractions. I thought those were supposed to hurt! By my third appointment, my doctor looked at me and said I would be going into labor ANY day. Apparently, I was already at least 4cm dilated, though I still hadn't felt any contractions!
At this point, my husband realized that this baby was most likely coming early and that a June birth date was not looking very likely. He couldn't handle that! He started trying to limit my walks or he went with me so that I had to walk at a snail's pace! I was so frustrated with him, so naturally, I started going on walking dates with friends instead. At this point, I just wanted labor to keep progressing as painlessly as possible. I knew Courtney would be game for some speed walking, so we went out on a Friday morning. 3.6 miles later, I came back home, nervous I would catch some grief. I told my husband it was just a leisurely stroll then hopped in the shower to avoid eye contact!
He and I went to lunch later that day, and by 2:30 that afternoon, things finally started feeling uncomfortable. I looked at Trey and said, "I think I am in labor..." It was 8 days before my due date and definitely still May, so Trey, thoroughly entrenched in denial, decided to google false labor. He then proceeded to ask me how much water I had drunk that day and other ridiculous questions (insert eye roll here).
In the meantime, I started timing my contractions - they were 10 minutes apart, but my doctor said not to call until they were 5 minutes apart. Next thing I knew, the contractions were coming on strong! I tried to breathe through them and remember the relaxation techniques from birthing class, but 30 minutes later I couldn't remember a thing from birthing class. By this time, I was feeling extremely nauseous. Maybe that heavy lunch wasn't such a good idea! Not to mention, NO ONE mentioned vomiting could be possible during labor. I was literally throwing up until the final push! Thanks, friends.
At 5:00 that evening, I called my doctor. It took her 30 minutes to call me back - the longest 30 minutes of my life! Eventually, we headed to the hospital. My first priority after getting checked in was to immediately ask when I could get that epidural. I was still afraid it would be too late to get one.
In the midst of laboring and breathing... and vomiting... and breathing... I started to get the shakes. I literally felt like I was having a mini seizure. The nurse assured me it was completely normal and happens to a lot of women. Again, I had no idea this could be a symptom of labor. Thanks, friends.
At this point, I was seriously started to get anxious about missing my window for an epidural! I asked the nurse about it who informed me there was a discrepancy in my blood work. My blood type did not match what my doctor had on file, so they had to repeat my labs. I'm sorry, what?! How long was this going to take?! Can I still get an epidural?! The thought of doing this without an epidural was beyond my comprehension. I am not one of those super powerful, amazing natural birth mamas. I am an overly prepared, overly anxious mama with a very low pain tolerance. As I began to unravel at the potential of giving birth like women have done for centuries, in strolled my epidural.
By the time it was placed, the nurse told me I was already 7cm dilated! At this point, I finally felt more relaxed and started to enjoy the experience, getting more and more excited about meeting our little girl. Next thing I knew, my water broke, and I was 9cm dilated. Once I finally was able to relax, everything moved so seamlessly. The nurse told me it was time to push and 4 contractions later, our little girl was here! I hadn't felt anything resembling labor until 2:30 that afternoon, and by 11:30 on the dot, Kate Deanne Asberry had arrived, weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces with the cutest little head I have ever seen.
Like usual, I had psyched myself out and convinced myself that labor was going to be the most painful, grueling experience of my life. Instead, it ended up being the most remarkable. Meeting our daughter for the first time was the highlight of my entire existence so far. To think I spent so much time focused on the pain when all that ever mattered was her.
When you feel paralyzed by your fears, don't forget, "God has you in the palm of His hand." Isaiah 49:16