For as long as a woman lives, she will remember the birth of her children. My 90-year-old grandmother couldn’t remember what she had for breakfast, but she could recount every detail of the birth of her twin babies, my mother and uncle.
I kept telling myself that I needed to get this story written before it slowly started disappearing from my memory. Truth be told, it was nearly three months ago and I still recall every contraction, every curse word said under my breath, and every excruciatingly long minute it took for that damn doctor to appear.
sober pregnant, rockin’ waddlin’ around the Christmas tree.
It was Saturday, December 12th. Piper’s due date was a day away and the control freak in me was determined to be punctual. I had been walking in circles at work for the whole week before trying to get labor going. I may or may not have even done some lunges and squats.
So, on Saturday morning I got my big 40-week pregnant ass out of bed at the crack of dawn and dragged Blake out of the house. I kept reminding him, “we must be ACTIVE!”
Contractions began when we were about halfway through the flea market. I’ve never felt so victorious in my life! I texted everyone I knew! “Contractions! Contractions!” Rookie mistake. The pains stopped just an hour or so later.
Then we were off to none other than the zoo!
…where I ran into an old boyfriend.
Contractions stayed on and off throughout our wildlife adventures, but they started to come stronger and closer together while we were enjoying a lovely oyster lunch (they were baked, calm down).
On the way home from lunch, I texted the masses again. “I think it’s for real this time!”
Contractions abruptly stopped about thirty minutes later.
*Insert exasperated sigh here*
At this point, I was exhausted and Over it with a capital O. Blake and I settled in for a couple episodes (okay, four) of American Horror Story.
By 4:00 pm, with no further activity in my uterus, I was feeling pretty defeated and sorry for myself. I tried to sleep to take my mind off things, but to no avail.
Now I was just downright grumpy. I stomped into the bathroom and yelled to Blake something like, “I’m taking a stupid bath!”
As I laid in the lukewarm bath, giving the belly that was sticking out of the water a few dirty looks, I tried to relax. I turned on Nora Jones. I lit a peppermint candle. I drank a cup of chamomile tea. I went full white girl. I started feeling GOOD.
Then, all of a sudden, POP. It felt as if someone took a needle to a water balloon somewhere inside my womb. There was a big gush. As I was standing up, Blake appeared in the doorway. He saw my look of fear and said, “what’s wrong?” I said, “I think my water just broke…” I’ll bet you can guess what he said next. “How do you know? You’re in the bathtub.”
Less than an hour later, around 6:00 pm, we were hooked up and awaiting admission. For some reason the nurses and doctors didn’t just take my word for it when I told them my water had broken.
Triage took HOURS. I wasn’t fully admitted and comfy in my delivery bed until about 9:00 pm. At this point, my contractions had resumed on their own and they were stronger than ever. I met my night nurse, exchanged a few pleasantries, and promptly said, “you got the goods or what?”
Shortly after being admitted and starting the pitocin, we finally got to receive our guests who had been waiting patiently into our humble birthing room. Among the early spectators were Roban & her Chicklets, our mom, my best friend, Caitlin, and our long-time family friend, Mitzie.
It wouldn’t be Piper’s birth story without sharing Roban’s epic visitor pass photo bomb that nearly made me blow ice chips out of my nose.
We were all nestled in, but the nurse had stacks of paperwork to complete before she could administer the good stuff into my IV.
So, everyone just gathered around to stare at me while I grunted my way through contractions. If you’ve ever had a contraction before, you know how delightful this is. At one point, on the uphill climb of one particularly nasty contraction, I looked at everyone and yelled, “CAN YOU GUYS JUST TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES OR SOMETHING!?”
Blake’s look of terror here is claaaaassic.
It was getting late, around 10:30 pm when my angel of a nurse pumped me full of pain meds. I was throwing up some peace signs in no time.
At this point, everyone kept asking her “how long?” like my baby’s birth was pizza delivery or something. I was only two centimeters dilated, so she assumed that we were likely in for a long night. Yawning and rubbing their eyes, our visitors kissed us goodbye with promises to return bright and early in the morning. They told us to “get some rest.” CHYEAH. Okay.
Blake got as comfortable as one can be on a hospital cot and tried to settle in for the night.
Although the IV pain meds took the edge off, the contractions were still pretty obnoxious. Angel Nurse kept reminding me that I could have my epidural whenever I wanted it. “All you have to do is ask.”
Guys, I really wanted to be a warrior. I took labor on as a challenge. “I’m going to see how long I can go without it,” I said. I may have caught an eye roll from Angel Nurse on that one.
A couple hours passed of me and Blake trying with all our might to sleep. My happy juice kept wearing off and those contractions just kept coming harder, stronger, and closer together. I fell into a vicious cycle of dozing off, groaning through a contraction and Blake whispering “you okay, honey?” from across the room, and dozing off again.
Around 1:30 am, between clenched teeth I asked Angel Nurse for a refill on my bag of drugs. She said, “honey, do you just want your epidural?” Exhausted and no longer wanting to be a hero, I succumbed.
My epidural was administered and in full force less than an hour later. I’d never been more grateful for a needle to the spine. Sweet relief washed over me and SLEEP! Sleep was on the horizon!
Or not. My little defiant unborn baby refused to let the kind nurses and doctors monitor her heartbeat. They would find it and she would swim away shortly after. For the rest of that long, tedious night I was flipped and turned and contorted into some of the strangest and most uncomfortable positions imaginable. Every half hour or so, Angel Nurse would come in and say, “sorry, honey. We have to flip you again.” Then she would flop me and my numbed lower half around like a dead fish once again.
Several hours and 232 cups of ice chips later, around 7:00 am, the audience returned expecting Piper’s head to be popping out to greet them. To their disappointment, I was only seven centimeters dilated. “Few more hours,” our new day nurse told us.
The morning crawled on with lots of laughs, inappropriate comments, ice chips, and stomach growls. Mind you, I hadn’t eaten since our wonderful oyster lunch almost 24 hours earlier. The epidural failed to numb the hunger pains. My thought process was something like, “let’s get this baby out so I can have some damn Chinese food!”
Around 10:00 am, I was nine centimeters dilated and nearing a ten! Day Nurse said she would notify the doctor and was hoping we could start pushing within the hour. What!? Panic set in. I had spent the last fourteen hours or so… who am I kidding… the last nine months or so anxiously awaiting this moment and now I was losing my shit.
I promptly burst into tears. The room was engaged in conversation. I could have gotten away with it if it weren’t for Mitzie noticing and then announcing, “SYDNEY’S CRYING!” Cool. Thanks, Mitz.
Blake soothed me with reassuring words and then one of my little nieces sidled up to me and simply took my hand. Her worried little face made my brain scream “GET IT TOGETHER, SYDNEY.”
What seemed like hours later, Dr. Pokey moseyed on in and checked me. I was at a nine and a half. For some reason, Dr. Pokey decided he had plenty of time to perform a c-section on the mama next door. He basically told me to keep my legs closed and he’d be back in an hour. AN HOUR? Did I just have a mental breakdown for nothing? I said, “why do you hate me?” and the doc gave a little chuckle before he was out the door.
At 11:00 the nurse told me we could start pushing at 11:30. At 11:30 she told me we could start pushing at 11:45. At 11:45 she told me we could start pushing at 12:00. Were they just f**king with me at this point?
Meanwhile, Blake’s parents were arriving from north Georgia in the nick of time with a speeding ticket in tow.
As 12:00 neared, my epidural bag became empty. My requests to have it refilled were not answered. You could say it was all in my head, and in hindsight maybe it was, but in that moment I swore that it didn’t take long for me to start feeling every. last. pain.
At 12:05, I told Day Nurse that I was pushing this baby out with or without the doctor. She reciprocated that comment with one hell of an eye roll. If you haven’t noticed, I’m really good at provoking eye rolls from nurses.
Minutes later, Day Nurse announced that she had gotten approval from the doctor for me to start pushing. Shit was getting real.
Everyone except Blake, Roban, my mom, Blake’s mom, and Roban’s 11-year-old Chicklet was booted to the waiting room. I know what you’re thinking. Roban’s 11-year-old? This girl is a tough cookie and had practically begged to be present for Piper’s birth in the months prior. Who am I to say no?
I started pushing around 12:10. Day Nurse ignored my pleas for a refill on my epidural when I explained that I could feel everything. She smugly stated, “if you could feel everything then you’d be hollering like that lady next door.” Oh. I’m not screaming like a banshee, so I must be fine! F**k me, right!?
Clearly labor makes me sassy.
Waiting for contractions was the absolute worst part of this process. I can feel Piper’s huge nugget pushing apart my insides, but I’m supposed to calmly lie there and wait patiently? Please just kill me.
After about fifteen minutes of pushing and feeling like I was getting no where, I had a “come to Jesus” with myself internally. The pain and pressure were agonizing. I couldn’t do this much longer. I was going to push like no woman has ever pushed before. I was going to push so damn hard that Piper was going to go flying across the room and Dr. Pokey was going to have to catch her one-handed like Odell Beckham.
About three beast mode pushes later and Day Nurse was yelling “wait wait wait! Don’t push anymore! I have to get the doctor!” You weren’t expecting me to get my shit together and Hulk push this baby out, were you, Miss Priss!? Now get that doctor in here STAT because it feels like someone just set my lady parts on fire with a blow torch.
By the time Dr. Pokey leisurely strolled into the room, I was yelling profanities and feeling like I was on the edge of fainting from the pain of the ring of fire coming from my Britney. So much for being a warrior, am I right?
Dr. Pokey told me that I didn’t even need to push. My next contraction eased Piper right on out and into his hands. Smooth like butter. No big deal.
And then, at 12:35 pm on December 13th, 2015… there she was.
This is that feeling. The feeling that every woman remembers until her dying day. The moment she meets her new reason for living.
The moment that every ounce of pain disappears and suddenly it’s just the three of you.
Piper only cried for a matter of seconds. She simmered right down once she realized that she was just born into the coolest family ever.
Welcome to Planet Earth, Pip Squeak. There’s lots of people here who love you already.
This brave Chicklet attempted to remain up by my head during the goriest parts of Piper’s birth, but it turns out there was a mirror across the room and she. saw. everything. She witnessed blood, guts, and even my profanity and she’s fine! See? Totally fine.
Six pounds, six ounces, and nineteen inches long. I don’t know what you’re supposed to do with that information.
This little beauty put me through hell, but I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t do it a thousand more times just to relive that moment. The one that I’ll carry with me to my grave, even when I can’t remember what I had for breakfast.
Happy birthday, Piper baby. We love you.