Have I mentioned that I love my sorority sisters? The story of Jack is one that is also special to me as well as he is the firstborn of one of my college ROOMIES, Katie! Katie is not only my ex-roomie, but she is also a fellow ZTA and Rockhurst University graduate (as is her hubs, Kevin). Katie and I continue to keep in touch and we have been there for eachother through all of our life events. I am so lucky to have met her and so grateful that, although we are on opposite sides of the state right now, that our friendship continues to be as strong as ever. Here is the story of Katies first born, Mr. Jack...
May 23, 2011 is a day I will never forget. Even 6 years later, I still can remember every detail of that day like it was yesterday (although being a working mom of 3 means I usually do NOT remember yesterday that well).
The day before May 23rd is actually an important one to the state of Missouri anyway. May 22, 2011 is when the Joplin tornadoes destroyed that entire city and was determined to be one of the deadliest tornadoes in the U.S.
Then, the next morning, I woke up at 6:45 AM and began watching the Today Show. This is something I do quite frequently if I have nothing that I need to get to in the morning. As I watched Al Roker broadcasting live from Joplin, I began to feel a little funny. My stomach began to hurt as if whatever I had for dinner the night before was not agreeing with me. After a while, I realized the pain was coming and going. I was 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant (yes, only one day shy of 40 weeks) so I knew that labor could come at any moment. However, I was a little skeptical, so I waited.
At this time, I began to time the uncomfortable pains (or cramps) that I had and they were about 9-10 minutes apart. I called my sister who (at this point) had two kids of her own. She said I was probably experiencing pre-labor, but it would be a while before my baby would get here. Her advice was to bounce on a yoga ball, do something to take my mind of the feeling, and take a shower. She said that later we could meet at the mall and walk around. So, while I kept tracking “the uncomfortable” feeling (a.k.a contractions), I did the dishes, picked up the house a bit and took a shower, as my sister had advised. However, once I got out of the shower, I had a contraction that literally brought me to my knees it was so painful. I had only been experiencing the “uncomfortable feeling” for about two hours so this seem pretty sudden; but I knew that I was having labor contractions. They were about 7 minutes apart at this point so I decided to call my sister again (not my doctor, because obviously sisters know best hehe).
As I was talking to her, I was having contractions and they hurt so bad I would stop what I was saying. This was so I could catch my breath. I told my sister that I had just taken a shower and was getting dressed. I wanted to know what time to meet her at the mall, I mean, she DID say that this was going to take a LONG time. However, my sister could tell, at this point, that I was in real pain and that it was about every 5 minutes I had to stop what I was saying. She said, “Katie, you may need to head to the hospital. Those contractions sound pretty bad and they are close together.” That's when it hit me. This was happening! I immediately got off the phone with my sister and called my husband to let him know it was time. As any first time dad would do, he asked, “what should I do?” At this point, I was in real pain and I said, “GET HOME!!”
We headed to the hospital and I was screaming every time I had a contraction. My husband, Kevin, did not know what to do with me. We arrived at the hospital and I got checked in. As I was walking back to the labor and delivery room, I had the worst contraction of the morning and threw-up all over the place. My breakfast was all over the nurse’s station wall. In Kevin’s words, it reminded him of "The Exorcist." (In case you were wondering, no, my head did some questions and got me settled into the room. She said I was only 3 cm dilated. Dilated, fully effaced, water had not broke and that it would be another 10-12 hours before my little one would be here. WHAT?!?! I could not believe that I was going to have to go through this for another 10-12 hours?!? The nurse proceeded to get me a yoga ball, and I began to bounce on it to help speed things along. This was at about 10:30 AM. I was miserable. Not only was I in pain but every time I had a strong contraction, I threw-up. This went on for another hour. The in house OB had talked to my doctor and they didn’t like all the fluid I was losing via throwing-up. It was then decided that it was time to speed things up. They wanted to give me an epidural, break my water, and give me pitocin. I got the epidural, which trying to sit still for during contractions may be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
At around 12 PM, they checked me and were going to break my water. I was 7 cm. Dilated. Woohoo! I was finally making progress. At some point, my water had broke on its own. I could only assume it happened while I was bouncing on the ball since the towel they put on it was soaking wet. The house doctor said I would be having this baby sooner rather than later at this rate. I was excited and scared.
Now, back to the tornado I mentioned earlier. Storms were moving through the state again. Right in the middle of the laboring process, my nurse told me that if a tornado hit while we were in the labor and delivery room she would move me into the hallway. SAY WHAT?!? The thought that I could have my baby in a hallway with a bunch of other people was not something I wanted to think about. Luckily, that never happened. However, the electricity flickered a few times. Good thing for back-up generators.
Finally, my epidural kicked in and I was feeling pretty good. I decided it would be a good time to call my family. Before I had a chance to do this, my phone rang. It the principal of a high school that was looking to hire a school counselor for the next school year. (I forgot to mention that I had just completed the requirements and obtained a graduate degree in school counseling and was applying for jobs for the next school year.) The principal wanted to set up an interview in two days. I explained that I was in labor and wouldn’t be able to come in for a while but I would be willing to do a phone interview. Much to my surprise, he agreed. By the way, folks, do not every set up a job interview while in labor, especially while on an epidural (in case you wanted to know, the interview went awful and I didn’t get the job).
I labored for a few hours longer (apparently epidurals are strong), At 2:00 PM, they checked me again. I was 10 cm, dilated and fully effaced. My doctor didn't believe that I would progress so quickly so he hadn't made it to the hospital yet. I wasn't even sure that he would make it at all with the storm moving through. The nurses began to prep the room. I was so excited, scared and tired. I thought to myself, "when this is all over, I am going to be mom!" Whoa!
They got me all set up and my doctor walked in right when they said I needed to push. They had to tell me to push. I had no clue what I was doing since the epidural was so strong. I decided that the meds were too intense. I mean you need to know when to push.
Even though I had no clue what was happening from the waist down, I would imagine I was pushing. And after nine pushes, my beautiful baby boy, Jackson, was here. I couldn't believe it. I had had a baby. It did not take the 10-12 hours like I was told. It was a total of 7.5 hours. My OB nurse said, “Next baby, you need to go straight to the hospital with the first contraction.”
This birth was not at all what I thought it would be like. You always see this dramatic scene like in the movies of water breaking and rushing to the hospital. Or the hours and hours of labor that many people told me about. It wasn't dramatic; and I was so happy.
About the Author: Katie is a working mom of 3 little darlings. She is also a wifey to a man named Kevin. When Katie is not partaking in the joys of motherhood, she is working at an elementary school where she is a guidance counselor.