I had no idea that little Wells would grace us with his presence any earlier than his due date. I was prepared to go past my due date for a few reasons – I was born two weeks past my due date; it is very common for first-time moms to go past their estimated due date; and I had not shown any progress at my 37 and 38 week appointments as far as effacement and dilation were concerned. Enter my 39th week of pregnancy. I went to work as normal on Monday and Tuesday and did not really feel much different on those days – with the exception of a couple of aches and pains that seemed a little out of the ordinary but nothing to necessarily put any stock in. On Wednesday morning, I woke up with a little bit of spotting. I was not concerned and just assumed that my cervix was changing. It was exciting to know that my body was starting to prepare itself for labor, even though I had no idea how far off labor may be. However, my mom was in Texas this week for a family emergency and was not due to arrive back in Savannah until Thursday around midnight. So, I decided that it may be best to head in to the doctor just to see if my body was showing any indication of a nearby labor, just in case we needed to find my mom a quicker flight. The doctor was not in the office that day, so I was advised to go to Memorial to get an evaluation. Eric and I headed to the hospital Wednesday around 10am, loading the hospital bags in the car JUST IN CASE. My cervical examination revealed that I was not dilated but that I was about 25% effaced. The doctor of course was not really able to tell us when labor might start – that it could be hours or it could be days. While I was hooked up to the monitors, we were able to see that I was having contractions. They ranged anywhere from 2-7 minutes apart and were not very painful. I had been crampy all morning, and it turns out that those cramps were contractions. The doctor discharged us, and I felt pretty good that my mom would be fine to hold off on finding an earlier flight.
Eric and I stopped to grab lunch downtown, and while we were out and about for that short time, I could feel that the contractions were getting more intense. They were not bad, but they were definitely more noticeable than they had been that morning. When we got home, I rested for the rest of the afternoon and night so as to not speed anything up and risk my mom missing my labor. I fell asleep early that night and woke up around 1am. The contractions were strong enough that I could not sleep through them, and it was at that point that I started to wonder if labor may be coming sooner that we thought. I called my mom and we decided that it was probably best for her to book an earlier flight in case this was the real deal. We booked a flight for her to get in on Thursday afternoon – a few hours earlier than her original flight. By the time I had found and booked the flight, it was around 3am. I tried to go back to sleep but it was no use. Eric called his mom to update her, as she had planned to drive down early Thursday morning if things continued to progress. I stayed up the rest of the night, timing my contractions – which mostly ranged from 5-7 minutes apart. I finally got up and took a warm bath, which helped to ease the pain. Then I got ready for my doctor’s appointment that was scheduled for that morning at 9:15.
Eric and I headed to the appointment, me still timing the contractions on the way and while we were in the office. Dr. Crenshaw performed the cervical exam and told us that I was still not dilated but that I was effaced about 50%. She basically echoed what the doctor at the hospital had told me – that I could go into labor that night or it could even be a week away. She did say that if the contractions continued and I could not take it anymore that I could schedule an induction for Sunday. She told me to go to the hospital if the contractions got worse, and we left the doctor. When we got in the car, I had a meltdown. I had been contracting for hours at regular intervals and was frustrated to hear that my body was still not making progress the way it needed to for labor to really get underway.
When we got home, Eric and I went on a walk to the pool in an effort to induce labor. I also climbed up and down the stairs in our foyer to try to get things going. All throughout the afternoon, I bounced on my birth ball, too. Mrs. Hankin and Crystal (my mother-in-law and sister-in-law) showed up, and we all just kind of waited, not sure when things would get underway. I spoke to my mom that afternoon and the worst thing I could imagine had happened. Bad weather in El Paso had caused flight delays, leading everyone to miss their flights from Dallas. My mom tried and tried to get on any other flight out of the city – to Savannah, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Charleston, anywhere! My stress level was through the roof. I could not imagine going through labor without my mom there; and even though I felt sorry for myself, I felt even worse for her. She was stuck in an airport all alone, knowing that she might miss the delivery of her grandson. All I could do was cry. My contractions were still very regular and painful, and I didn’t know how long my body would hold out. My mom finally told me that she was able to book a flight to get in to Savannah at 2pm Friday. We both cried, and I told her that there was no way I was letting this baby come without her being there! After hanging up with my mom, and knowing that all chances of her getting into town that night were over, it was like my body finally gave into the contractions even more –almost like I had subconsciously been waiting for her to get in town. My contractions started coming every four minutes. We decided that it was time to head to the hospital. We loaded the rest of our things into the car and headed to Memorial. I called our friends Tiffany and Randa, who were taking pictures and video of the birth. I called my dad to let him know and that I would tell him if we were admitted so that he and the kids could make it. And lastly, I called my mom. I tried to sound upbeat and did not want her to know that I honestly thought I was going to have the baby that night or early the next morning.
Eric sped to the hospital, and I kept having to remind him that it would be better for us to arrive at the hospital in one piece. He was in a big rush and would not let up on that gas pedal! By the time we got to the hospital, my contractions were 2 minutes apart. I thought for sure the baby was not far off. When we got to the hospital, I was informed that I was almost 1cm dilated. I could not believe it! 1cm? That had to be incorrect! My contractions were registering on the machine and were INTENSE. After a little while, Tiffany came in to sit with me for a bit while Eric went with his family to the waiting room. My contractions were coming at less than a minute apart and were registering at the top of the graph on the chart that was printing off of the machine. The nurse said that the doctor would come check me, and it seemed like it took FOREVER. When the doctor did check me, I was at 1cm. She said that they would keep me to monitor any cervical changes, but I was not admitted yet. I was moved to a labor and delivery room, where Eric joined Tiffany and me.
I was so tired, and I had been laboring with steady contractions for 24 hours now. All I wanted to do was sleep because I worried that with my body dilating so slowly that it would be a while before the baby was born. I didn’t know how much longer I could keep up the strength to deal with the contractions. The nurse gave me some Phenergan so that I could sleep. I was knocked out immediately but woke up all throughout the early morning with the contractions still so painful that I couldn’t sleep through them. I think that the Phenergan did more harm than good in that it put me in such a fog that when I would wake up with a contraction, it seemed even longer and more intense than it did when not on any medicine. Once it was daylight outside, I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. Once again, the groggy, incoherent state that I was in due to the Phenergan had me so confused that the pain felt unbearable. I would wake up with such pain and confusion that I didn’t know what to do. I was making audible groans (you really do lose all inhibitions in labor!) that must have been heard outside the room because, finally, my saving grace came in in the form of a nurse named Amber. The nurse that I had had throughout the night was nice enough, but she did not seem very attentive or particularly helpful at times. When shift change came around, I got Nurse Amber. She did not make it into the room until probably around 7:45am but when she did, she immediately recognized the pain I was in and said “This is crazy. I am checking you.” She did, and I was at 4cm. Then I was admitted, and she called the anesthesiologist to set up the epidural.
I had planned for months to have a non-medicated birth, and I really was conflicted about getting the epidural. I honestly feel like if my body had done what I expected it to do – which was for my cervix to be dilated and effaced (or at least making progress in that direction) before the contractions came or during the contractions or whatever – that I could have made it without medication. However, at the time that I got the epidural, I was so worn out from a combination of 30 hours of painful, steady contractions and the Phenergan that I didn’t know if I could make it. I had no idea how much longer I would labor, and I knew that I needed a little bit of rest in order to be able to make it through. I was nervous about the epidural, but it was no big deal. Not near as bad as I thought it would be. Looking back, I wonder if I would have decided to get the epidural if my mind had been clear enough to make the decision with 100% certainty. Either way, I think it was what I needed at the time. I was immediately able to rest and even got a couple of hours of sleep. Tiffany and Randa showed up, and Crystal and Mrs. Hankin, too. We all just sat in the room and waited. My mom would call and update us as to her flight statuses, and that was the silver lining of the whole ordeal. Even though my body had acted so insane, and seemingly backward in regard to the order of dilation, effacement, and contractions, it bought me enough time that I was certain that my mom would make it for the birth. The doctor came in at one point in the late morning and told me that she was going to break my water. I knew that that would speed everything up and asked if we could wait to do that so that my mom would have a chance to make it. She agreed that we could wait a little while –and I will always be grateful that she respected my wishes and did not break my water then.
When I was checked a little later, I was at 7cm. The doctor did come in to finally break my water – I think I was around 8cm at the time. I started to feel the contractions again, which is what I wanted. I wanted to be able to feel what was happening so that when the time came, I would be able to push more effectively. We spoke to my mom and she had finally landed in Savannah! My dad was picking her up and they were headed straight to the hospital. When she got there, a huge weight was lifted off of both of us. I will forever be grateful that she made it to the birth of Baby Wells. When my mom arrived, I was 9.5cm dilated. I had the urge to push, but the nurse told me that I could not push yet, that we had to wait for the other .5cm to dilate.
I had never understood when people said that fighting the urge to push is so difficult – but, boy, do I understand now! All I wanted to do was push! I was given a dose of some medicine that would curb the urge while we waited for my cervix to continue to dilate. It took a total of 2+ hours to dilate that last .5cm. The nurse told me that if I really wanted to dilate the rest of the way very quickly and have the baby descend so that I could push, that I could get on all fours and let gravity take its course. Ummmm, no thank you. We all laughed at the thought of me rocking back and forth on all fours, and I couldn’t imagine a more humiliating scenario – which is exactly what I told the nurse. Nurse Amber really was the best. She laughed right along with us but still maintained that she knew it would only take 30 minutes for things to pick up if I would just rock back and forth on all fours on the hospital bed. So, I did it. And it was awful and hilarious all at the same time. Of course, Randa and Tiffany documented it all. Everyone took turns pushing on my lower back while I rocked back and forth. It was soooooo tiring. I was exhausted by the end of those thirty minutes. I kept asking for more ice chips, since that was all I could have to stay hydrated. When I was checked again, the baby had descended and I was completely dilated. What do you know? It worked. We were finally ready to deliver a baby!
Things moved pretty quickly after that, with all the equipment being brought in, the room being set up, and nurses coming in to the room. Finally it was time to push. I was directed on how to push, and things got underway. My mom was on one side of me, and Eric was on the other, both of them encouraging me and helping me the whole way. It seemed like no time at all that the doctor was called in to deliver the baby – so I knew that he must be very close. After about 35 minutes of pushing, I felt the instant relief that I was told comes after delivering the head and shoulders. And in an instant, it was all over, and I was staring at a slimy, beautiful baby boy. They placed him immediately on my stomach, and we all just stared at him while he was toweled off. We noticed that Baby Wells definitely had my nose and lips and Eric’s feet. The nurses then took him to the warming table where they did all of his exams. They called out his weight of 7lbs 15oz. I couldn’t believe he was under 8lbs. The ultrasound has predicted that he would be a very big baby. His length was 19 and ¾in, shorter than I thought he would be. He was born at 5:55pm. They brought him back over to me and laid him on my chest. Eric and I were immediately in love with the little guy. It was so adorable to see Eric take to a baby immediately (as he had never really been a “baby person”). I could tell how amazed he was at what he had just witnessed and that he now had a son. Wells nursed right away, another thing I am so grateful for. He never had a problem latching or eating (he definitely got his daddy’s appetite!). We were then moved to our recovery room, where I got to eat for the first time in over a day. Wendy’s never tasted so good!
When Eric and I were alone in our hospital room with Wells that night, my heart was so full of love and joy. I looked over from my hospital bed to see Eric holding and admiring his son. It was such a sweet moment. Before we went to sleep, Eric prayed over Wells, too. These two moments, some of our first as a family, are ones that I will cherish forever. Eric and I are so beyond thankful for such a healthy delivery and a healthy baby. We love our little Wellsie Bug, who has already brought us so much happiness!