I still can’t believe this perfect tiny human is HERE. Wyatt Everett Griffing was born on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 4:38am weighing 8.3 pounds and 20 inches of long-legged love. I had an unmedicated vaginal birth with the support of my husband, mom and sister as well as my amazing labor and delivery team and the hospital.
I felt like I had been in early labor for weeks. My Braxton Hicks contractions came frequently and regularly. My one concern was that I was wasn’t going to truly know when I was in labor because I have a high pain tolerance. Friends and my doctor laughed and said, “Oh, you’ll know!” Instructions from my doctor were to call when contractions were coming every five minutes for at least an hour. Well, this happened day after day, but I just wasn’t convinced it was “go time” yet. I didn’t have that “know” feeling…
On Monday, June 15, 3 days before our due date, I woke up at 3am feeling different. I wasn’t worried, but I had an inkling that something was brewing. I started to doze back off when at 3:10 I woke up again. Then 3:20. Like clock work, contractions came every 10 or so minutes and I was unable to fall asleep. I was getting so used to these false alarms that I tried to just ignore them. Around 8am, I decided it would be fun to play with the contraction timer app on my phone. As I recorded each one, I started to realize this “fun” was getting real. Coming every 5 or less minutes and lasting about 90 seconds each, I found myself grasping the coffee table and automatically finding a squatting position most comfortable.
I knew from the time I got pregnant that I wanted to labor at home as long as I could before going to the hospital. Once you go and are admitted, everything gets very medical-ly (yes, that’s a word now!) The IV goes in and food/drink goes out. I’ll never understand how women are expected to persevere through the biggest workout of their lives without nourishment! You do not want to see me “hangry.” Every 2 hours I ate something and I chugged on my water bottle all day. Everett came home for lunch and was hesitant to go back to work although I assured him I was fine. Even though I knew it wouldn’t be long, I still wasn’t convinced…I mean HOW can it be real? I wanted it to be real, not because I hated pregnancy. I am one of those weirdos that loved being pregnant. I am just the least patient person on planet earth and I could not wait to meet our little guy.
These frequent and intense contractions lasted from 8am until Everett got home around 4:30pm when I calmly told Everett let’s get the car packed and ready to go. I wanted to keep the experience as non-hectic as possible. Thankfully, our bags had been packed since week 36 and the car seat was already installed. I called my mom and suggested she “carb up for dinner” because it might be a long night. I showered, did my hair and even got ambitious enough to throw on some eyeliner. Just like the night before my fitness competition in college, I had a big bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and all fruit preserves. I started to get emotional and cry-laughed my way through the meal which Ev found to be the perfect moment to take our final pregnancy video. Our dog, Cabo, knew something was up. I kept hugging her knowing everything would be changing soon.
On the way to the hospital we picked up my mom. At this point I was white-knuckling the inside of the car and started getting quiet. Ev gets nervous when I am quiet but I was already in the zone. But even on the way to the hospital, I still wasn’t completely convinced Wyatt would be here by the morning.
Fast forward to the triage room. I was hooked up to the contraction monitor and was asked by the staff what my pain level was on a scale of 1-10. I replied that out of everything I experienced in my life, this was a 10. A doctor checked me for dilation at which point I felt like the world came crashing down – still only 2 cm since my last appointment 3 days before…which means all the pain and breathing had not progressed anything! I started sobbing as the doctor said they were sending me home, as I was still in early labor, and could stay this way for “weeks” – (I was scheduled for an induction on the 18th, my due date, due to gestational diabetes. Although very well controlled with a strict diet, this was determined to be best if he didn’t arrive on his own.) Once again, I was told “you’ll know.” But at this point I KNEW! Contractions were coming hard and fast every 3 minutes.
I couldn’t imagine going back home but had no choice…
It took about 15 minutes (from 6:45 to 7pm) to make our way back to the car because I had to stop with each contraction, grasping the railings in the halls. We got to the parking garage I suddenly felt a gush – like nothing I felt before. “Uh, guys? I think my water broke!” My mom and Ev laughed, thinking I was joking. No really, my water broke. I knew I knew my body – I WAS in labor! We started cheering and quickly high-tailed it back into the hospital.
I wanted to be sure, so my mom and I ran into the lobby bathroom. Oh, my water broke all right…and continued to “break.” Almost instantly, my “10” contractions became 20’s on the pain scale. I thought for sure I would deliver in that bathroom (I didn’t.) Someone from labor and delivery met us in the lobby and brought me right in to a delivery room. Without question, I was given the IV and they confirmed the fluid was in fact my water breaking. In those 15 minutes I went from 2-4cm and his head was making its way down. I was asked if I planned on an epidural and responded no. Since I was a kid, I planned on no epidural. But actually saying it during go time? That was some scary stuff and I couldn’t believe after all these years it was time to commit to that decision.
Our labor and delivery staff was incredibly supportive and patient but I have to admit at first they looked at me like I was insane…which I guess I kind of was for thinking I was able to handle this my first time. But I did…and I will (if we are lucky which a great experience again) again for every other child we have. I don’t brag and it is definitely not for everyone (hell, it was BARELY for me!) but it was such an amazing experience to feel everything and have it progress so quickly. I become very claustrophobic when I am numb (hello, pregnancy carpel tunnel!) and would much rather pain over numbness.
I surprised myself during this process – I did not write a formal birth plan, but I mentally pictured that I would walk the halls, refrain from laying down in bed as much as possible, soak in the bath, bounce on the birthing ball, socialize with Ev, my mom and sister who met us once we knew we were staying. In actuality, there was no way I was walking as contractions were maybe 1.5 minutes apart and too painful to walk through, the only place I wanted to be was in the bed in an upright position, I couldn’t soak because my water broke, not to mention I had no desire to be in the water, I last 15 seconds on the ball before a contraction came over me and I couldn’t take that position, ,and talking wasn’t happening. I wasn’t mean or yelling anything nasty, but I just wanted to concentrate for fear that distraction would cause me to lose my ability to handle the pain. To help me progress faster, one of the doctors convinced me to labor in the shower for a bit. I think it was maybe a half hour tops but it felt like hours in there. I am glad I did because I progressed very quickly. Within a short few hours I was 7cm, then 8. Around the 8cm mark, my body was ready to push. I had to hold off just a little longer but could no longer fight it. My body knew what to do. The doctor confirmed I was 10cm.
It was a this point I squeezed out a smile and jokingly asked the staff (who at this point seemed to be multiplying in the room) how long I would be pushing for. He said most first time moms push at least 3 hours. I remember replying “Oh hell no! Let’s do this!” and everyone laughed. It was a mixture of relief that the end was near and horror that the end was near. I was SOCLOSE to not being pregnant anymore and holding my baby and I couldn’t decide how I felt about that. I suddenly realized I was now facing pushing a human out of my body without an epidural and was terrified. Support really is key. I honestly don’t think I could have accomplished a natural delivery without my mom. On several occasions, I told her I wasn’t sure if I could keep going. She reminded me how strong I was and literally breathed every breath of my labor with me.
Only 20 minutes later this goobery, slippery, lanky-legged boy was on my chest and we were a family of three. Just like that. I remember pushing but I don’t. It felt like hours and it felt like seconds all at once. It’s amazing how you instantly forget what you just went though. I always picture myself crying at this moment but I was so amazed at this entire journey (and hopped up on some crazy adrenaline) that all I could do was simply stare in amazement. THIS is what I felt hiccuping and wiggling inside me. He was real this whole time. I think we didn’t really realize I was not just “pregnant,” a label given for all of my symptoms. But I was actually PREGNANT…like with an actual tiny human who was now ready to join us.
Country 92.5 was on during my whole labor, and I remember tuning in during the final push. Kenny Chesney’s Wild Child came on…for some reason this just seemed fitting…
I could go on and on about this perfect little creature, but I will end my mommy love fest here because I need to go sniff Wyatt’s forehead and kiss up those perfectly bowed lips…yes…I am a creep but pretty sure that is my job for the next 18+ years…