The Birth That Taught Me Strength – My Birth Story: Part 1

Just as each child is unique, each pregnancy and birth story is, too. I found that out through the birth of my three daughters. Each was so different, and with each, I learned something special. I’m excited to share all three of those stories and lessons in this three-part series! 

When my first daughter was born in 2006, I was 23 years old and a single mom. For 12 years, it was just me and her against the world. I never could have imagined on the day she was born we’d be where we are today which is a family of five! 

My pregnancy with her was relatively uncomplicated and easy. I basically had no morning sickness. After the breeze of a pregnancy, I thought maybe the labor and delivery part wouldn’t be bad after all. I’ve never been so wrong in my life!

A very miserable eight days past my due date on a Sunday evening just after dinner, I began having regular contractions. So, I went to the hospital. I still was not far along but, given the time past my due date, they felt it was time to be admitted.

I have a very high pain tolerance. Seriously, when the doctor asks your pain level, my answer of say three or four is more like a six or seven to others. I’ve had doctors even be surprised by my pain thresholds. So, I felt sure I could have my daughter without pain medications or an epidural. 

After about 13 or 14 hours of painful contractions, often lasting a minute or more, and so much walking around the hospital, the doctors told me late Monday morning that my labor was still not really progressing much. They recommended an epidural and to break my water. 

I made it through the epidural and water breaking, even with my fear of needles, and remained hopeful my baby girl would arrive soon. She had other plans and apparently didn’t get the eviction notice.

It took forever, okay clearly not forever, but it felt that way to finally get dilated to 10 centimeters and 100% effaced. I finally got moved to the delivery room in the late afternoon on Monday. 

While 24-hour or more labors are pretty normal for first-time deliveries, what came next was not.

I had to push for more than six hours. Yes. I said MORE THAN SIX HOURS. To this day, those hours probably remain the hardest physical pain I’ve endured. 

Around hour four or so, they actually had to put me to sleep. You know when you’ve heard in movies or TV medical dramas that the body can only handle so much pain? It’s so true. Therefore, they put me down for a mini nap. I’m not even sure that could be called sleep but unconsciousness. 

I woke up in excruciating pain and still had a couple hours of pushing ahead of me it turned out. At this point, the epidural was doing nothing. Actually, before then, it had worn off. 

I remember at one point being in so much pain that I told my sister to push the pain medicine release button for me. She so sweetly told me no one else should push it for me. To which I’m pretty sure she got an explicit word or two. She pushed that button though! 

After feeling like I couldn’t push more and the pain was getting the better of me, I told my mom I didn’t think I could do it anymore. Did she offer words of wisdom in that moment of distress? You bet, but not quite the ones I thought she would. Her response, “Well you need to keep pushing because you can’t exactly walk around with a baby between your legs!”

When my sweet baby finally arrived a little before midnight that Monday, it was all worth it. In that moment, she taught me that I’m much stronger physically, emotionally and mentally than I ever gave myself credit for!

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