Motherhood Mondays: Birth Story (Part 2)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Click here for Part 1.


The contraction log that Joe kept during my labor.  


It was 11:43 AM, and the text on my phone read, "Yayayayayayayayayayay!  Congrats!!!!!!!"

I read it and - for a brief moment - forgot I was in labor. 

I showed it to Joe.  He asked who it was from.  "Katie O'Brien," I replied.

"How does she know you're in labor?"

"She doesn't."

Joe didn't know why Katie was texting me, but I did.  She was texting me to let me know I had passed the Oklahoma bar exam.  As soon as I saw her text, I knew the results had just been released, and that I had passed.

The irony here was that when I was very, very early on in my first trimester, I took the Oklahoma bar for the first time.  The first day of the exam went well.  Later that night, I got sick, and continued to be sick until the following morning -- day 2 of the exam.  I told myself it was nerves (I had convinced myself that I wasn't going to have the perfect pregnancy without any nausea) despite the fact that I had to leave the exam room several times that day and didn't even finish my essays.  Even after the exam, I had refused to believe the sickness was pregnancy-related (until a couple weeks later when I was forced to succumb to the fact that I was going to spend the majority of my pregnancy lying on a cold bathroom floor whether I explicitly acknowledged it or not).  When results came out that first time, the list confirmed what I already knew -- I had not passed -- but many people (including my law school's dean who confidently told my mom's cousin that I had passed with flying colors) thought I had, when in fact, a girl who shared my first, middle, and a similar last name had passed in my place.  When Katie saw said girl's almost-identical name, she had texted me a congratulatory message, thus requiring me to let her know, "Actually, I did not pass."  She was understandably mortified.  It was fine, although the worst part was not being able to qualify my not-passing with a pregnancy-related explanation; we hadn't announced to anyone yet!

I then retook the exam a second time (at nearly 8 months pregnant!) and passed without any sickness at all.  It was only right for Katie O'Brien to be the one to let me know (and accurately so, this time around). 

I shared the news with my mom and Joe; both absolutely freaked out.  My mom immediately called my dad, and I spoke to him briefly before texting my sisters ("Mom wants me to text you that I passed the bar and also am in labor").  I called my mother-in-law to share the bar/labor news with her as well.  The only problem?  I felt like I was going to be in labor forever.  Contractions were still 7 minutes apart and had been for hours.  They didn't seem to be picking up at all, and I could tell I wasn't making progress.  I laid on the bed listening to a podcast, frustrated by the timing of my contractions and half-heartedly willing them to speed up while simultaneously wishing I could get some sleep, not having truly slept the night before.

At 3:06 that afternoon, I had a contraction and then waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I didn't have another until 3:57.  Feeling defeated, I sent my mom home.  She departed, ever so reluctantly.  I told her we'd give her an update when we had one. 

And then, at 5:45, the contractions picked back up again.

I took a bath and read over the affirmations my mom and sisters had sent me (I had asked for them a few weeks prior and had turned them into a Power Point which I played on an iPad I had set up on the lid of the toilet seat).  I then stood in the shower as I felt the contractions intensify.  I could tell "it" was really happening now.  I texted my doula, Megan, around 7:00 and asked her to come over.  My birth plan was to labor at home until just before I transitioned, and I knew I wasn't in transition yet, but wanted her to monitor my progress nonetheless.

When Megan came over, she encouraged me to eat something of substance - I hadn't eaten anything but a Kind bar all day.  Joe made me avocado toast with a boiled egg on top.  I ate what I could, but was largely uninterested in food.

We dimmed the lights and I laid on our green velvet couch, snuggling with a fuzzy gray and white Barefoot Dreams baby blanket for comfort (it was a baby shower gift for the baby and not for me, but whatever -- those things are soft).  At various points, Megan had me "give" her a series of contractions sitting backwards on the toilet, not unlike a trainee responds to their personal trainer's call for 3 sets of 10 push-ups.  I will never forget after one particularly brutal toilet contraction, Megan sharing with me how crazy she felt mid-labor on her second baby, having chosen to go through childbirth again after doing it once already.  It gave me an odd sense of comfort that she knew the pain I was enduring firsthand.

During these toilet contractions, I was fighting the urge to vomit.  Megan handed me a paper towel with several drops of an essential oil on it to inhale as I was fighting the nausea; she really didn't want me to throw up, as I needed to stay as hydrated and energized as possible.  I pressed the damp paper towel against my nose and inhaled, not expecting it to help, and surprised when it did.

I hated the toilet contractions so much that I unilaterally decided we were done with those, and relocated myself to the couch again.  Megan warned me, "The more backwards-on-the-toilet-contractions you give me, the quicker this will go" but I refused to believe her.  They sucked.

Lying on the couch, I stopped talking altogether.  I was entering my own world (Labor Land, as Megan calls it), where Joe and Megan were only distant figures. 

Finally, around 1:00 AM, Megan softly told us, "We can go to the hospital whenever you're ready.  I can tell by watching and listening to you that you're nearing transition, if not there already."

I sat up, suddenly alert.  It was time to meet this baby.

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