My Easy Delivery

At 38 ½ weeks pregnant, I thought I was as emotionally ready as I would be at 40 weeks. I woke up at 12:30 a.m. feeling … wet. After going to the bathroom, I couldn’t tell if my water broke or not, or if my squished bladder was merely not cooperating again. My husband and I spent 20 minutes rereading our books and searching online “how to tell if your water broke.” The most telling advice I discovered from last-minute online searching: Lay down for 15 to 20 minutes, and if you get up and are leaking a lot (more than a trickle), it’s probably time.

It was good advice, as it turned out my water had broke, which means an immediate visit to labor and delivery to prevent infection to the baby. After a 20-second, in-shock-that-this-was-it panic attack, I ate a bagel, and off we went to the hospital. New mom tip: If possible, eat something before going to the hospital, since once you’re there, the rule is no food allowed.

On the way to the hospital, my contractions started, and over the course of the 17 minute drive, they increased in pain while decreasing in intervals. Once we reached labor and delivery, my contractions had greatly intensified, and no amount of breathing techniques seemed to ease my pain and discomfort. What kept me going was knowing our bundle of joy would enter our world very soon.

I was 2 cm dilated when we first got to the hospital, so I decided to get an epidural to help me through the physical pains of labor. It helped tremendously. I was able to rest and relax, since I knew the next 18 years would be far from restful.

After being examined at 8:30 a.m., my doctor said I would still be a while. But less than an hour later, I was feeling more intense pain and pressure. After receiving additional pain meds, the pressure just intensified. We informed a doctor who examined me again, and couldn’t believe I was 10 cm dilated. I knew to trust my instincts and was right.

At 10:05 a.m., I started to push. It turned into an out-of-body experience. Every possible ounce of energy that my body had stored was used to push, and just when I couldn’t push anymore, my doctor said to push harder. I was told to take a deep breath, and push for 10 seconds at a time. After pushing for what seemed like an eternity, my doctor announced that “this next part is called the ‘ring of fire.’” Note to doctor: Don’t tell a woman in labor she should anticipate feeling a ring of fire. The most surreal part of the experience was the doctor telling me to reach down and touch the top of my baby’s head, which was part extremely bizarre, part extremely fascinating.

Once the head made it through, my baby seemed to swim right out into the world. In total, I pushed for 27 minutes -- a relatively easy delivery -- and the most amazing love of my life was born. She was 6 pounds 9 ounces of perfection. As I held my new child in my arms skin to skin, I could not have ever dreamed up a better feeling.

by Lauren Fischer