The Contraction That Tried To Kill Me (Owen’s Birth Story)
“If it was going to be easy to raise kids, it never would have started with something called labor” -Anonymous
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I was in labor.
My eyes darted open. A contraction crested over my belly and I curled into a little ball under my covers. It was like God flipped the labor switch on at 2:20a.m. Having had many random contractions in the middle of the night I tried to brush it off and go back to sleep. That is until the next one came. By the time number three and four rolled around, I started getting suspicious of labor.
Even though I was suspicious, I was convinced I wasn’t in labor because it was my due date. What baby actually comes on his due date? As I sat silently in my bed battling contractions, I contemplated what to do. Should I get out of bed? Should I lay there and act like nothing was wrong?
My original plan for the day was to go to women’s prayer at our church at 5a.m. In my delirium, I decided I should stick with that plan. I told myself I could get up and take a shower so that I could go to prayer and that if this was real labor then I would be ready for the hospital.
Hoping into the shower, I created a foaming crown out of shampoo until I was struck with pain. Hunching over I nearly blinded myself with shampoo, and all I could do was wait for my stomach to be normal again. After about a minute it was over, and I continued showering like that was a perfectly normal thing to do at 3:30 in the morning. Stepping out of the shower, I decided I needed medication because I wasn’t feeling that great. I tried to find Tylenol because I knew that would really help my labor pains.
I snuck into my bedroom and began wrestling the Tylenol bottle open when Mark’s eyes popped open. He looked at me with wild eyes and asked, “What are you doing? Are you ok?” I gave him a crooked smile and began pouring out my apologies for waking him up. Since I didn’t answer either of his questions he sat up and looked at me very suspiciously. “Are you in labor?” he asked me. “No, I just need some Tylenol for a little bit of stomach pain.” He laid back down and I snuck out of the room. I went to blow dry my hair.
After a few minutes, Mark was fully awake. He met me down stairs and insisted I tell him the truth. “Have you started timing the contractions?” he asked. I looked at him guiltily and answered, “They are about every five minutes.” He laughed and started packing his hospital bag. I insisted he was overreacting and that it would be hours and hours and maybe days before we needed to do anything, but he kept packing because he is a smart and sensible man.
I told Mark I was going to women’s prayer. He again laughed at me and insisted I stay home. He thought it was a bad idea to separate with contractions coming so close together. Being the submissive wife that I am, I stayed home.
I looked like a crazy lady. I was listening to Christmas music and was dancing across the living room floor to prove to Mark that everything was completely normal. Of course I was proving the opposite because who dances in their living room being 9 months pregnant at 5:30a.m.
I was enjoying myself and the Christmas music until about every fourth minute. As the pain struck and surged through my stomach, I stood at the kitchen table and laid my head down and felt like moaning like a dying cat. Labor makes people make really weird noises that don’t even sound human. Mark was getting ready to take me to the hospital every time I did this because he didn’t like seeing me in pain.
I decided to eat Cocoa puffs. I poured a full bowl when it struck- the contraction that tried to kill me. For some reason I ran from the kitchen when it attacked me. I fell to my knees in the living room and began to groan and make noises like a monkey. All I could say was, “ouch, ouch, ouch!” Mark came and began to rub my back, but nothing would help. I thought about howling like a wolf, but I didn’t have enough energy to do that. The pain would not stop. For minutes I was paralyzed with pain. I tried talking, but all that would come out was a whispered, “ooouuuuuuchhhh.”
Mark took this as his cue to call my mom. She was going to come and watch Elias when we went to the hospital. By the time my contraction was over, my Cocoa Puffs were soggy and looked like wet dog food. They were nasty!
Mom came over to our house, and we sat around the kitchen table and talked. Mark and Mom thought we needed to go to the hospital, but I didn’t think we needed to. The truth was, I did not want to get an IV. I’m telling you IVs hurt worse than getting an epidural. It may even be worse than labor. Just the thought of it makes me cringe. I really hate IVs.
After much stalling, Mark said it was time to go. In reality I felt great. I was doing so good that I thought my labor had stopped. Mark wasn’t convinced and said we should at least make sure I wasn’t in labor. As we left for the hospital, I yelled to my mom, “I’ll see you in an hour when they send me home.”
We left, and this time we actually had gas in the car.
We arrived at the hospital and had no idea where to park. We found a random spot and hoped it was patient parking. Getting out of the car, I was smiling, talking and feeling totally normal. I thought maybe I was faking labor somehow. I felt so good I could have gone shopping. I thought about asking Mark to stop by Starbucks, but that would have looked so strange carrying a coffee into the delivery room. Contractions were barely hurting, and I knew they would send me home.
After getting checked in, a nurse did a short exam. I smiled at her and waited anxiously for her to tell me to leave. To my great shock, she said I was definitely in labor and that I needed to be put in a room. When she left I started crying like a baby. I was so excited that this was the real deal. Did I mention that I was shocked???
My doctor came in and told me I was 5c.m. dilated and 100% effaced. He said he wanted to break my water. He asked if I wanted the epidural or if I would rather wait. I told him I felt great and that I didn’t feel like I needed one at all, but he said that once my water was broken I would feel terrible. “The contractions you felt at home will feel like nothing” is what he told me. Remembering the contraction that tried to kill me, I signed up for the epidural.
The epidural drama began. After sticking a giant needle into my back, everyone stared at me to see how it was working. Right as he was testing it, I had a huge contraction that sent my heart rate up. This made me fail the first test. He tried again. My heart rate went up again. After five tests, I was so numb that I didn’t even know I had legs. I looked at where my leg was laying and felt shocked that it belonged to me. I had so much medicine in me that I soon started flopping on the table like a fish out of water. My chin was chattering as if I was freezing and then I nearly passed out. I was feeling so weird, but at least it was working. The doctor broke my water shortly after this.
A small amount of Pitocin was given to keep the contractions strong. And boy howdy they were strong.
Family came to visit me. I enjoyed seeing everyone, until I developed a “hot spot.” A hot spot is a place where the epidural doesn’t work. As I was laying in my bed, contractions formed my stomach into what felt like a rock. The more intense they got, the more my left side cringed. I wanted to scream for the nurse to help me because it felt like someone had taken a steak knife and jabbed it into my side.
Needless to say this made me cry probably two or three times. As she watched me the nurse said, “Get someone in here…I can’t stand the tears!” After she said this the Lord sent an angel. A lady brought some numbing medicine that actually worked for the hot spot. Once I felt better it was onto birthing bliss.
The doctor came in to see how I was progressing. It was a standard check up, or so I thought. He said, “Well… you are about at 9c.m. No, 10c.m” … “Actually there is the head.” In a matter of minutes people were swarming around the room setting it up for delivery. I had no idea I was about to deliver. I thought he was just checking my progress. The doctor asked me to push so I did. I then pushed maybe 7 rounds and Owen was in the world.
My eight pound eight ounce baby boy came into the world. I cried when I saw him and heard his strong newborn cry. I held him in my arms and thanked the Lord for his life. He was perfect, ten fingers, ten toes, and a head full of hair. Mark prayed a blessing over him and we rejoiced over new life. We both stared into his dark little eyes and fell in love.
Owen Miles Baker was born on his due date, November 15, 2011 at 1:42p.m. He weighed 8lbs. 8oz. and was 21 inches long.
Right after Owen was born.
Owen after he got his first bath.
Our first picture as a family of four.
To read about Elias’ birth click here.