One of the scariest moments in life has to be going into labor. I imagined it a million times, even dreamt of it but nothing compares to actually going through it. My due date was September 1, 2017. Now, here I was almost the entire 9 months saying I couldn't possibly go all the way until September. A few of the reasons being: I’m a nurse that works 12 hour shifts on my feet, turning, moving, and pushing patients (as much as I tried to avoid doing these things its really impossible), I felt as if my belly was growing so fast meaning my due date could possibly be wrong, and lastly just a feeling I had. WRONG! There I was 2 days after my due date, still a pregnant whale. My OB agreed to induce my labor starting on Monday September 4th at 5pm and continue into Tuesday. So as David and I laid down in our bed at night on September 3rd, we talked about our having our last night alone before the scheduled induction. Before I went to bed, I prayed that somehow I wouldn't have to be induced and I could just go into labor on my own. Spontaneous labor catches you by surprise but being induced felt like I was going to walk into a torture chamber knowing pain would be inflicted on me. Maybe I was being a little dramatic but still it was a fear I had.
On September 4th at 2am, I woke up having some minor cramps. My feelings at that moment were excitement, could this be it? I tried to go back to sleep but the pain wouldn't stop. Now this wasn't earth-shattering pain but I really couldn't sleep through it. I finally woke David up around 4am to tell him and now he's staring at me rocking myself on the rocking chair just clueless. I decided a hot shower might alleviate some of the pain because I knew I wouldn't be taking a trip to the hospital unless I was sure this was labor. So now the pain is pretty consistent in the 2 hours I spent in the shower, washing my hair and just letting the hot water hit me. As soon as I stepped out, I felt a stream of water come down my leg. I called for David and said “Umm I think my water just broke”. So here goes my husband, like a bat out of hell running around the house getting dressed to leave. I hear him running down the stairs saying he's going to get the car. By the time he comes back upstairs, he's looking at me like I've lost my mind saying we have to go and why am I not dressed. There I was with no clothes on, calmly brushing my hair because I refused to go to the hospital looking like mufasa.
So my mom, David, and I made our way to the hospital at 6:30am. After checking in, going straight into the labor room, I started feeling the contractions getting stronger and stronger. For the first few hours I thought, okay this isn't so bad I’ve felt worse then this. By 5cm, I was praying every time my room door opened it was the anesthesiologist coming to give me my epidural. All I could do was lay there, waiting for each contraction to pass and watch my support team look at me with their concerned faces. My body was tired and the pain was reaching unbearable levels. Finally, the anesthesiologist arrived and it was EPIDURAL time! I once cringed at the thought of having a giant needle stuck in my spine but after feeling the pain of my contractions, I was literally begging for it. After the epidural, life was great. I was able to take a nice numb nap, smile, eat some ice chips, and even watch some tv. A few hours later, I was checked again I had made it to 9cm and it was almost pushing time.
Now at 10cm, the nurse told me it was go time. Epidural was shut off and I had to push out my not so tiny human. The pushing at first wasn't so bad considering I was still numb, just an immense amount of pressure. The hardest and longest part is pushing a fairly large head out of your birth canal. The nurse, my mom, and David were repeatedly saying his head is right there! Its almost out! Every time you stop it moves back up! This went on for probably 30-45 minutes. By now, my epidural was wearing off fast and I was breathless and exhausted. Between pushes I would have to put an oxygen mask on to help catch my breath. Once the doctor came in and realized I couldn’t get my baby out without some assistance, he told me it was time for an episiotomy. If your unsure what that is, its when they cut (with a scissor looking tool) from the opening of your vagina pretty much to your butt hole for lack of better words. I was not a happy camper hearing this but at that point the pain was coming, the pressure was unbearable, and I wanted my baby OUT. After the episiotomy, Miles Jacob Mercado was born about 2 minutes later.
Watching as they lifted my son into the air so I could see him should have been the happiest moment of this whole experience but instead I watched my purple baby boy with a umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck taken away to the incubator in the room. Everything I imagined that moment to be was gone, no skin to skin, no breastfeeding as soon as my son touched my chest, I didn't even hear him crying. Panic was an understatement as I watched the pulse ox machine struggle to get a reading of my baby’s oxygen level. A neonatologist flew into the room to see what was going on and told me he would have to go to the ICU immediately. My first response was “I didn't even get to hold him yet”. After some reluctant looks I was told I could hold my son for a minute and then he had to go. One minute? One measly minute was all I would get after waiting so long to finally meet him but I understood why this was so critical. Holding him for the first time was an experience I would never forget because it felt like my heart was going to explode. Though I could barely even see his little face through the tears coming down my eyes, the most satisfying moment of holding the baby I carried around for 9 months and 2 days in belly had finally arrived.
Miles spent about 3 hours in the ICU before the doctors decided that his breathing was where it should be and that he could finally be in the room with us. The relief that comes from finding out everything is okay after agonizing for 3 long hours is unlike any other. All I could think about was him, I couldn't rest, I couldn't concentrate on all the family and friends that filtered in and out of the room. My heart already belonged to him, my life owned by a 8 lb 9 oz baby boy.