At 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant I was used to waking up a few times a night to pee no matter how dehydrated I was. I groggily rolled out of bed and trudged to the bathroom, cursing the few little trickles that came out from waking me. As I schlepped back to bed I felt something…different. I sat on the side of my bed and glanced at the clock, 4 a.m. I breathed deeply, hoping to relieve the tension I was feeling in my belly so I could go back to sleep. A awoke and asked me what was going on; “I think we’re going to have a baby today” was my reply.
We both got dressed, A in his usual jeans and T-shirt while I pulled on a comfy pair of sweats and tank top. I sat down to do my makeup because I’m one of those girls and well, I really didn’t know what else I was supposed to do. I remember talking to my dad who kept telling me to breathe, my mom told me to keep walking and breathe and A’s mom reassured me that I was strong and that I could do this. Oh and to breathe. Apparently that’s something people forget to do.
At 6:30 I called my doctor to fill him in. By 7:30 my contractions were coming every six minutes and lasting 45 seconds or longer so we decided to head to the hospital. The drive to the hospital was the longest 20 minutes I think I have ever encountered. A was trying not to freak out and I was praying my water didn’t break all over the leather seats.
I hadn’t done the pre-delivery walk through of the hospital because well, I would’ve had to put pants on for that and that just wasn’t at the top of my to-do list. Once we finally found it, I was admitted to L&D. The anesthesiologist came in and administered my epidural, he was quick and the relief felt amazing.
My sister arrived a short while later, rushing into the room and greeting me with a big hug, we chatted while I had more hands up my hoo ha than I had in my entire life combined. I was put on oxygen and turned this way and that way to stabilize baby’s heart rate. My cervix wasn’t thinning out evenly so I was made to sit up, lie on my side, lie on my other side, and do the hokey pokey to get the thicker parts to thin out.
I was a little over 9 cm dilated when my water broke all over the nurse’s arm as she was checking me. Poor girl, good thing she was wearing glasses. Everyone started moving around, opening drawers and cabinets, laying out instruments and donning their scrub gowns. Everyone was in position. A had my right foot in one hand and my head in the other, my sister had my other foot, my hands were behind my knees and the nurse told me to get ready to push.
I lost it.
Here’s where I’d like to mention that I was terrified of giving birth. The thought of pushing out a baby was quite possibly the scariest thing I could imagine. All of that fear and anxiety came crashing down in this moment. I started crying. The nurse asked me what was wrong but I had forgotten what words were and could only shake my head and try not to hyperventilate. I remember her telling me “It’s okay, you’re going to have a baby” as if it was the easiest thing in the world but to me, this was be hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and I didn’t think I could do it.
After a few minutes that felt like hours, I pulled my shit together, wiped away the tears, took a deep breath and said “Okay, I’m ready.” I had the contraction monitor in front of me and I could feel the pressure of my contractions but they weren’t painful. The contraction was coming, everyone got ready, and I took a deep breath and bore down while the nurse counted to ten. I stopped, took a deep breath and we did it again. I got three good pushes from that first contraction. I laid there confused. I felt like nothing had happened and began to panic that maybe I wasn’t pushing right. It didn’t feel like I was having a huge bowel movement or anything like I had heard it was going to feel like.
My doctor rushed in and we set up for the next contraction. I pushed another 3 times with my nurses counting out loud and cheering me on. My sister kept assuring me that I looked gorgeous and was doing so good while A was trying not to look. It was hard for me to look at him while I was pushing, it made me want to cry and since losing my shit earlier I really didn’t want to do it again.
After 45 minutes of pushing it started to hurt and I felt like we were getting nowhere. After two painful pushes I looked at A and said “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” I grunted and pushed a few more times, half crying and faintly remembering letting out an “Oh God!”
Everything stopped. No more pushing and no more pain. I didn’t even have time to blink before there was a tiny human lying across my stomach, so small and fragile. The nurse whisked him away and brought back the tiniest little bundled up baby I had ever seen and placed him in my arms. I stared in disbelief and wonder, forgetting everything I had just gone through.
At 6:30 p.m. on July 30, 2013 after 14 hours of labor, Dexter Thomas Vazquez came into this world and turned ours upside down.