The anticipation, the uncertainty, that moment you first lock eyes with your first baby. It's all here as our client, Sarah McPeak, shares her story of her son's birth.
I grew up playing sports. During pregnancy I realized that I was training for a game I’ve never played. Basketball is my favorite sport, and I felt like I was soon to be participating in the Stanley Cup. I consider myself easy going but also like to be prepared. Somehow, yes, that personality combination is possible. Being a person that likes to be in control (insert giggles from parents everywhere), a natural birth sounded intriguing. That being said I was open to an epidural and willing to pull out whatever game plan was necessary when the time came.
At 41 weeks my body seemed to be confused about the timing of this championship game. I sat in the doctor’s office casually reading People magazine and undergoing the recommended stress test for 41 weeks. My husband and I planned to have a nice lunch afterward and had already made a reservation. Just as we were discussing what we might order, the doctor and nurse came in and said they recommended inducing me. Induce me? As much as everyone said have a plan but it likely won’t happen, I still found myself thinking, “this is not the plan.”
They insisted on pushing me in a wheelchair to labor and delivery. I asked if I could walk thinking it might be awhile until I could walk again comfortably. They explained it was protocol and off we wheeled. We were set up in a nice large room. It was honestly one of the biggest hospital rooms I’ve ever seen. The midwife suggested starting with a cook balloon as the nurse hooked me up to the monitors. The nurse said everything looked great, seeming somewhat surprised the doctor wanted to induce. The doctor had explained that given the minor change seen on the monitor during the stress test and being 41 weeks it was riskier to leave the baby baking them to move forward with labor and delivery. That seemed to mark one of many times that I would turn to my husband and ask, “so we’re doing the right thing?”
12 hours later the royal wedding was about to begin. I was having bad low back cramping. After some comforting words from my husband and mom, I decided to call my doula. I will take this moment to say that words cannot express my relief and gratitude for her healing touch and gentle wisdom throughout the labor and delivery process. I knew I should have slept but between the pain, the royal wedding, and anticipation it seemed hard to dose. After learning so much about the stages of labor my mind kept asking, “well how do those work during induction?” With the sun rising and the lowest dose of Pitocin possible, even lower than the doctor and nurses wanted to prescribe, things really got started.
My memory of labor is a blur. Here I will summarize, as for in all championship games strategy and heart are noticed but the end result is what’s most remembered. A run on sentence seems fitting: It was a tornado of pain like I’ve never felt, the loving comfort of my mom and husband, a constant desire to push, the ever present guidance of my doula, standing, lying, a shower, sick to my stomach, an underlying excitement of finally meeting my baby, what felt like going in and out of conscious awareness, an inner strength I never knew I had, staff in and out, forget it- give me the epidural- but just then at last the green light to push, learning how to breath when pushing, not too many pushes, and then there he was- absolutely precious.
Participating in a foreign sport seemed a fitting transition to tangibly becoming a mother. My body was in shock having won the Stanley Cup after never having played hockey before. My mind could not grasp it all. The definition of surreal took on a whole new meaning. Despite the near 24 hours my body and mind could not sleep. Staring at this sweet bug, eyes closed and chest rising up and down as if it were my own, time stood still. Motherhood seems a series of run on sentences and moments of sweet stillness. It is a closeness I could not fully grasp until the journey began when this little boy arrived. This moment in time is forever imprinted on my heart.