Friday, March 17, 2006. Normal day of school. I wore green. I drove straight from school to my doctor's office for my 40-week appointment. She regrettably informed me that although I was continuing to efface (cervix thinning out), I still was not dilating at all. Bummer. I left mentally prepared to be pregnant for at least another week. Three hours later, I was sitting in bed watching "Reba." It's something I hadn't watched before and haven't watched since. I think I was reading too. I remember feeling like I was getting the flu. Not stomach, but I was achy and feverish and just felt yucky. Then I had some odd cramps. "Surely not contractions," I thought. "I'm going to be pregnant for at least another week!" But they kept coming with some consistency. Weird. So I went to bed (Dan the snorer was sleeping downstairs--I didn't want to disturb his sleep with this possibility of news--one of us should be sleeping!). I was able to sleep with minimal cramp disturbance until about 3:00 am Saturday. I still didn't bother Dan until about 5:00 am, when I thought I had lost my "plug." (Fastforward to just before my water broke--I definitely had NOT lost my plug that morning. Yuck.) Anyway, he got up with me and started timing contractions. We called the hospital and they said to come when the contractions were a certain length and a certain distance apart. They weren't yet. So we called my doula, who came and waited out the day at our house. I remember going for a very short walk outside. I remember eating grapes. I remember Dan getting the video camera out and knowing that I'd regret him making an account of my blown up body. (I did). I remember making the decision to go to the hospital at 3:00 pm. In hindsight, I would have known that the contractions I'd been having for a few hours were nothing compared to what I would feel later on. I would have waited longer at home. I will next time. I remember Dan driving like a maniac to the hospital and our doula trying to follow him without breaking the law. We got to the hospital safely. I was wheeled into the labor and deliver triage area. They checked me. 2-3 centimeters. Crap! I should have waited! I will next time. So we walked around the LD floor. And we walked. And we walked. And we finally got a room. I was hooked up to an IV and all sorts of monitors. I changed into my own clothes. Something needed to feel familiar. Even if it was a nightshirt I'd bought at Kohl's only a week prior, it wasn't a hospital gown, and that's all that mattered. At some point, I remember getting into the bathtub. It didn't feel as good as I'd hoped. They decided to check me again at about 8:00 pm. Still 2-3 centimeters. Seriously? If contractions this bad aren't doing anything, I don't even want to know what kind are in my future! Since I hadn't slept since 3:00 am, I was given an antihistamine to help me relax and maybe even sleep between contractions. They also gave me a shot of morphine. I wish I hadn't gotten any of it. I won't next time. Although it was nice to sleep between contractions, it was quite the rude awakening when one came on. And the morphine just made me throw up and did nothing for the pain. After a few hours, the antihistamine wore off and I was completely coherent again. And things were starting to get serious. They checked me at 11:00 pm and I was about 8 cm. Yay! Something actually worked! Well, then all hell broke loose. For two hours, I was in what they call "transition." It's a really nice name for something that makes you feel like you want to grab the nearest sharp object and cut the baby out yourself because you're not sure how much longer you can deal with the contractions. For at least an hour of it, I had the urge to push with each contraction, but I couldn't because I wasn't fully dilated. Unless you've been through it, you have no idea how hard it is to stop your body from pushing. It's the craziest thing I've ever felt. FINALLY at a little after 1:00 am (30 HOURS since the first contraction), I was allowed to start pushing. My first push broke my water. After only a few more pushes (when it's still just the nurse coaching you through what to do), the nurse had to go get the doctor because this kid finally meant business and was coming very quickly. (I've heard first-time moms push for an average of 2 hours). The doctor came in and I continued to push. I really don't remember much of the pushing, actually. It lasted about 25 minutes, but I really only remember the very end of it. The doctor told me to give her a really hard push to get the head out. I gave her a really hard push and the whole baby came out! I guess I meant business too. At 1:36 am, Jackson Reed Bennett came into this world in all of his 9-1/2 pounds of glory. They put him up on my belly and all I remember thinking (after he lifted his own head up to look at me--no lie) was that this was a big baby. The next thing I remember thinking was how hungry and tired I was. Once I was stitched up and cleaned off and had my little bundled up babe, I was allowed to eat. It was the best hospital boxed lunch I've ever had. :) As for the sleeping, that didn't really happen until Sunday night. It was way too many hours to be awake at one time. But God gives something amazing to pregnant women and new mothers. It's an energy that is completely unexplained. I knew I was exhausted, but I knew I wasn't going to die. I would make it. I had this new life to take care of. I had to make it.
Reflecting on all of this a year later makes me remember how hard it all was. But there is something in me that can't wait to do it all again.
For those of you who stuck with this until the end, thank you. It was really more for me. And I realize that not all of this was one year ago today, but I thought it would be silly to split it up into three days. :) Plus, Monday (his actual birthday) will be his monthly letter from me.