A Life Lesson on the Delivery Table
It has been ten years since my first child was born, but I can still remember it like it was yesterday. My contractions started early in the morning but they were 15-20 minutes apart, so I went about my day. I completed an interview for a story I was writing, putting the phone on mute when I felt the pain coming. Later, I decided I better get my hair done. Who wants to deliver a baby on a bad hair day? So I went to the hairdresser, grabbing my belly every 15 minutes and totally stressing out the beautician.
With my work done and hair looking fab, it was time to walk this baby out, so I hit the mall—walking up and down, down and up for hours. By the time, my mall marathon was over, my contractions were about 8-10 minutes apart. In fact, I was so busy getting things done and walking it out, nobody really believed that I was in labor. Including my own doctor, who said I should come in and he would check me. When I arrived he gave me a, “I don’t think so” glance, but when my water broke in his lobby, he finally agreed I was the real deal.
My mom whisked me to the hospital, grabbing a dozen of those blue-on-one-side hospital pads, to put underneath me for fear I would mess up her new leather car seats. LOL! I insisted we hit the drive thru for a quick snack, and my mother was certain that I was out of my mind.
When I finally arrived at the hospital, I still hadn’t dilated enough to push. And so the waiting began. Hours and hours of it. I think this is where the American-style of labor of delivery could use a bit of tweaking. We tend to wait lying down in a bed, when everyone knows walking and being active helps labor become more productive. So I waited. Then came the pitocin, to try to further me along. That didn’t work either. So we sat there—my doctor, my mom, sister and I, talking, cracking jokes and me thinking about how my life was about to change forever.
Finally, by about midnight by doctor said that it may be time to call it quits. I wasn’t dilating, they were starting to get concerned about the baby’s heart rate and lack of fluid. My dream of a vaginal delivery was disappearing before my eyes and I was headed toward a C-section delivery. I was petrified but making sure my baby arrived safely was all I could think about. I remember laying fretfully still for the epidural and being rolled down the hallway into surgery. Lying there, with a curtain blocking my view of all the action, I heard the words no woman should ever have to hear, “Lift up the uterus.” And then there was an awful lot of pulling and tugging, and then finally, out of the commotion and voices of the doctors and interns, I heard it: the cry of my baby girl. It was the most beautiful sound ever, followed by the most awesome sight ever—my beautifully brown baby girl being lifted into the air.
All 8 pounds, 10 oz of her.
She was more perfect than I could imagine. I couldn’t hold her because the epidural gave me the shakes, but they held her close to me and I told her my truth: Hello Kayla, Mommy has been waiting to meet you.”
And so began my love affair with motherhood. My doctor, who has been my Ob-Gyn since I was 17-years old, later joked that my small frame probably would not have been able to push out a nearly nine-pound baby. But I would have liked to try. But in the end, I learned that how you get there is not as important as getting there.
And that simple, yet powerful lesson has served me well as a mom.
Tune in to the new unscripted series "One Born Every Minute." Premieres Tuesday, February 1 at 10 pm et/pt on Lifetime.