By Kyle Mills
Few things in life are as intense, painful, scary, and mind-blowing as the birth of your child, but I would say that excitement is probably what most people remember feeling when thinking back to the day their child came into the world. At least, that’s how it was for me and my husband when I had our daughter, Sydney Rose.
I remember beginning to feel some strong contractions around 3:30 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. I was putting some groceries away when they started, and by 6:00 p.m., they still hadn’t let up. We considered going to the hospital, but I didn’t think the timing was close enough and I didn’t want to be turned away. Besides, we had never attended a childbirth class, and we hadn’t even watched the Lamaze video we’d gotten. After dinner, we took a walk, and then settled in to attempt the video before heading to the hospital, all the while keeping a close eye on my contractions, which were getting worse by the half hour. Finally at 9:00 p.m., I said we should head to the hospital because I was definitely in more pain, the timing patterns were right on — anywhere from five to eight minutes — and I wanted to get checked before it got too late in case they were to send me back home.
We checked in around 9:30 p.m. and were told I was one centimeter dilated — one measly centimeter! They were going to monitor my contractions and check me again in an hour, and if I’d progressed another centimeter in that time, they would admit me. An hour later, I had not progressed, and although they could see my contractions were close together and acknowledged I was in active labor, it was their standard procedure to send people home and tell them to come back when the contractions were three to five minutes apart. By the time I walked in the front door of my house, my contractions were definitely closer to the three-minute mark, but I refused to get back in the car until I could barely stand it. After all, checking in, getting in a gown, waiting until the doctor can see you, getting checked, and lying around for an hour — just to be sent home — can take a lot out of an uncomfortable, nine-month pregnant woman. So I got in bed, and basically writhed in pain for five and a half hours, with minute-apart contractions until, at 4:30 a.m., I decided I was getting in the shower and then going back to the hospital.
We checked in by 6:00 a.m., and I was only two centimeters dilated! What the heck had my body been doing all night? Anyway, same idea: They’d check again in an hour for any progression. Well, I didn’t progress a centimeter in that longest hour of my life. You could tell nobody wanted to be the one to break the bad news to me. As it turns out, they let me stay. They could see how much pain I was in and how intense and close my contractions were, so they decided to admit me. Thank the Lord, because there was no way I was going home, again. I would’ve just sat in a waiting room chair until Sydney decided it was time to come.
After that, I don’t remember much. I don’t think I got my epidural until around lunchtime. After that, it was smooth sailing and lots of sleeping since I hadn’t gotten so much as a wink the night before. I ended up having Sydney via Cesarean section at 10:16 p.m. that night. That entire day and evening, regardless of the Pitocin that helped dilate me further and further, Sydney just hung out at a minus one in the birth canal. The doctors don’t even want you to push until you’re somewhere between a plus two or three, so a minus one was out of the question. Finally at 10:00 p.m., my doctor said we could be waiting for further progression for another hour or more. This wasn’t necessarily a problem, but her heart rate had gotten just a bit quick for his liking and he thought it best to get her out. Whatever was best for her was best for me, so I got used to the idea of a C-section real quick. Secretly, I was relieved I wasn’t going to have to push. My epidural was so strong that I couldn’t even think about pushing, much less do it. The nurses had to move my legs all over the place for me. What help would I have been?
Sydney Rose was born at 10:16 p.m. on June 22, 2009. She was the most perfect, pink, delicious thing I’d ever seen, and such an inquisitive, content angel. She’s still like that today at 16 months old. Having her was, by far, my most memorable and exciting life experience.