For several days, I had been feeling Siobhan extremely low. I was getting more and more tired. It was harder and harder to sleep with my enormous belly. I could barely walk anymore. Actually, I wasn’t really walking – it was definitely more of a waddle. At my 37-week appointment, I was 3 cm dilated and mostly effaced.
I called Tim after the appointment to tell him, and he took a half-day, so we could finish getting some things done with the house. That evening I suggested we leave Chiara with my mom and go to the movies (our first in over a year) because I had a feeling it might be our last chance in a while. We saw Deepwater Horizon – probably should have picked a less stressful movie. I had a couple contractions during the movie, but I’d been having contractions for a couple weeks, so I didn’t think anything of it.
At about 3 in the morning, I sat up to switch positions in bed and felt a gush of water. I gently woke Tim up and said,
“I think my water broke…”
He sprung up out of bed and turned on the light. “Are you sure?” He asked.
“I’m pretty sure…I don’t know…”
He got dressed, got the hospital stuff together, grabbed my slippers, and I just stood there dumbfounded, staring at the amniotic fluid on our bed. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. Strong contractions started coming every 3 or 4 minutes. Tim reminded me we needed to get moving.
We decided not to wake up my mom, so I wrote out a note explaining where we’d be, taped it to the door, and then changed my mind because I knew she’d be mad if she wasn’t able to pray, so I gently woke her up and told her my water had broken, and we were leaving for the hospital.
We got into the cold car and put the hospital into the gps. The contractions got stronger and stronger, and I got more and more nervous that we weren’t going to make it, but we finally did.
Tim dropped me off at the entrance and went to park the car. Once we got inside and the nurse verified it was amniotic fluid, she immediately called for a room for me because she could tell I was in quite a bit of pain.
We got to our room, and I decided I wanted to try the tub. As we were figuring that out, I got extremely nauseous and started vomiting and yelled out to the nurse, “Nevermind, I don’t think we’re going to have time for the tub.”
I couldn’t labor out of bed anymore; the contractions were too strong, and I was having trouble focusing. I was flying through centimeters, and I started to panic that I was going to pass out, so I asked for laughing gas and tried to maintain control while they were getting it ready. I just kept asking Joan* to pray for me, focusing on the picture of her we had brought with us.
Once I put the mask on, I was able to focus again on breathing through the pain and zoned out a bit. I distantly heard Tim ask, “Is she okay? I know it’s really important to her to be able to push.” The nurse assured him I was fine since I was a little too zoned out to answer.
After a few minutes, the urge to push became too overwhelming, and I looked in pain at the nurse. It was amazing how she just understood! She said, “You just tell me when you’re ready,” so I nodded several times. She checked my dilation and left the room to look for a doctor.
I tried hard not to push, as I heard her yelling and yelling for a doctor. Finally Dr. Martin showed up, sat down in front of me, and I immediately started pushing with the next contraction. As Siobhan crowned, I yelled right in his face, “That hurts so much!!!” and he chuckled and calmly said, “I bet it does.”
I hadn’t had time to switch into any other position, so I was just sitting in the bed and was able to see Siobhan slide out onto the bed at 7:22 A.M., tiny and beautiful and screaming, with a head full of dark hair.
They placed her right on my chest where she fell peacefully asleep after a bit of crying, as the placenta was delivered, and Dr. Martin stitched me up.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude yet again at the gift of motherhood, at the privilege of carrying life within me, another beautiful light that can go on to fill the world with joy!
*Siobhan is the Irish Gaelic of Joan – Joan of Arc is my patron and a faithful friend!