I took approximately 18 pregnancy tests before accepting that I was, in fact, going to be a mom. The first test that confirmed my pregnancy I threw in the trash. I’d never taken a pregnancy test before and so I figured both lines needed to be bright pink if the test was positive. When a faint double line showed up I figured it was just from getting wet and tossed it. Hours went by and when I went upstairs to bed, I glanced in the trash. The line had gotten darker but it still wasn’t the bright pink I was expecting. I of course asked the question on google “What does a positive pregnancy test look like?” and to my surprise, the beginning tests looked exactly like mine. This is where the 18 tests took place. I tried 4 different kinds. All confirming I was pregnant EXCEPT the digital test. After 5 positive tests, the digital one read “not pregnant.” Completely confused I continued to take tests. All of them showed two lines, plus signs, a smiley face, and finally after the second day of testing my digital test confirmed “Pregnant.”
As luck would have it, Chris was in Kuwait where he’d be for the next 5 days. I’m absolutely incapable of keeping things to myself and so the thought of waiting FIVE DAYS to tell him we were having a baby felt like a form of torture, but I survived.
I had all of these ideas about how I’d surprise our parents. All included video and screaming and laughing and winding up on Ellen. But the reality was that I called my mom at 1 am on a Wednesday night and whispered “Mom…I’m pregnant. Don’t tell dad yet.” To which she silently giggled and squealed and shared in the news with me just the way I needed her to. She talked about how she couldn’t believe her baby was having a baby and where did the time go and I laughed about how I’d need her to help me every step of the way and OMG how much weight did she gain? And we both secretly hoped it would be a girl.
It took ALL of my energy and will power not to tell Chris on the phone. Each time he called I had to make an excuse to get off before I normally would so that I wouldn’t by accident say something that would give me the hint.
On the day he finally came home i woke up early so that I would be able to tape his reaction. Kuwait flights are through the night and I knew he’d be home between 7 and 8. I got up at 6:30, set out a sign that let him know his new name was daddy and put out the 18 pregnancy tests (knowing he’d question it, too).
At 6:50 Jobe needed to go out, I knew I’d hear the garage so I wasn’t worried about missing his reaction. Chris decided that morning he’d come through the front door so that he wouldn’t wake Jobe and me up and as I was letting Jobe back in I hear Chris scream “BABY, OH MY GOD. ARE YOU SERIOUS? BABE WHERE ARE YOU? ARE YOU SERIOUS.” And in that moment, we were parents.
During the last trimester of pregnancy I started to feel the effects of staying active during pregnancy. Taytum had fully engaged and was already 75% effaced which I found out during a bout of pre-term labor symptoms that led me to L&D. I came home from L&D and told Chris I was put on modified bed rest because they were afraid I’d deliver before 37 weeks.
At 1:00 AM that same night Jobe woke up to go to go out. I let him outside and went to the bathroom. I didn’t bother turning on the lights. When I stood up I tripped on what I originally thought was soap. Mad at whoever the culprit was who got soap all over the floor I angrily turned on the light and noticed there was water ALL over the place. Only it didn’t look or feel like water and it definitely wasn’t pee. I rang my midwife who told me I needed to come in immediately because she was convinced my water had definitely broken. After a nerve wrecking night, the water stopped leaking, and because Taytum’s head was so low in my pelvis already, we figured out she had actually temporarily sealed the leak.
I spent the next four weeks expecting her to come any day. We made it to 39 weeks and I could hardly walk. I could literally feel her head each and every time I walked. At my last appointment pregnant, which was on a Tuesday, I was 100 effaced and 2.5cm dilated but her head was crooked and wasn’t putting direct pressure on my cervix which was causing labor to stall. My midwife handed me a bottle of Clary Sage and told me to rub it all over my uterus, the bottom of my feet and my ankles. Clary Sage is known to bring on contractions if your body is ready.
On Wednesday I woke up and told Chris today was the day Taytum was coming. He laughed and rolled his eyes “you’ve been saying this every day!” “No, I’ve been saying she MIGHT come every day, but today she is definitely coming.” My body felt different and I knew she was on the way. At ten pm Chris got in bed and said “So much for her coming today, right?” “Babies come in the middle of the night!” I rubbed Clary Sage all over and went downstairs.
Within minutes I felt contractions. I had felt what I thought were contractions but these were different. These were strong, continuous and just as the books say, took my breath away. At this point I was still able to talk through them and I ran upstairs, anxious and excited to tell Chris our little girl was on her way. “Babe, I’m having contractions lets go!”
Unconscious and delirious Chris replied “Okay babe, ten more minutes.” Had he not been incoherent and confused that may have been a really scary moment for him, telling his wife ten minutes while she’s in labor, but he quickly realized what I had said and woke up. “Oh my God really?” “REALLY!” And off to the hospital we went. And the ten minutes comment was forgiven (but not forgotten) 😉
When we got to the hospital I could still talk but walking was getting harder. Each time a contraction came I had to stop in my tracks.
They hooked me up and saw my contractions 5 minutes apart. I was so excited because I knew we would meet our girl soon (and didn’t realize just how much worse the pain would get). Expected to be admitted we sat patiently for my midwife to come in and bring the good news, only she didn’t. She watched the screen, checked my cervix and because I was only 2.5 cm still she sent me home with an ambien. I almost thought she was kidding until they brought it to me with a water and told me to swallow. “We’ll probably see you back in a few hours. Try to sleep through the beginning of labor” And each and every curse word one could think of ran through my head as we made the drive back home.
I labored for seven agonizing hours at home. In the bath, out of the bath. I put on seven different pairs of sweat pants thinking maybe the next one would help with the pain. I used ice packs, heat packs. At one point I sat indian style and tried breathing exercises that were supposed to relax me only to realize that there is just no relaxing while laboring and I would surely die if we didn’t get to the hospital.
At around 6 AM I facetimed my mom. Contractions were about 3 minutes apart now and each time a contraction came on I turned the camera away and cried. I couldn’t stand another second and finally called my midwife back. I told her the pain was unbearable and I was coming back to be admitted and that no one better even try to offer me an ambien. (JK I didn’t say that but I really wanted to).
When we got there I couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk and tears were streaming down my face. All hopes and dreams of ever doing a natural child birth were out the window, many miles away. When I got checked for the second time I was 5cm and when they told me I could get the epidural I hugged them and called them my Christmas angels.
They could have put the epidural in my eye at that point. No pain could compare and I didn’t even bat an eye when I saw the length of the needle. I jokingly asked if I could have three and they assured me one was enough.
I went from “Oh my God I’m surely going to die,” to “Guys, go enjoy yourselves. take a nap. get some lunch, I’m GREAT” within seconds. If I could marry a medicine I would.
I progressed quickly but was enjoying labor so much at that point I didn’t mind the wait. When my midwife came in and told me it was time to push I had an out of body experience. In minutes, (or in my case hours) I would never be the same. We would never be the same.
After 45 minutes of pushing I spiked a fever. I was exhausted at this point and the fever was making me both cold and hot. I looked over at Chris desperately and told him I was so tired. I pushed for another hour and 15 minutes. She was so close. We both had extremely high fevers at this point and Taytum’s heart rate was dangerously high. “You need to push her out now Hayley. This has to be one of your last pushes.” It took three more pushes for her to come out. All 9 lbs 2 oz of baby. She didn’t scream at first and that was the first time I’ve ever felt real panic. We didn’t come this far for her to not be okay. After a lot of suctioning and smacking she let out a howl. She let us know she was here, she was alive. I cried tears that reminded me I was too.
Labor was excruciating, and I don’t remember the pain but I know that it was there. But as the story goes, I would do it again. I’d do it all again.
99% of my friends and family called me a pregnant hippie but there are a few things that I swear by and will continue to swear by in my next pregnancies.
- Evening Primrose Oil – This is a pill and it helps to ripen your cervix and help with tearing. I effaced quickly and went into labor early with Taytum. I also didn’t tear and I truly believe the EPO was the reason for all of it. I started taking EPO at 37 weeks and took 2 in the morning and one in the evening.
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea – This is beneficial for a LOT during pregnancy and after (breastmilk production) but during pregnancy it is supposed to help tone your uterus and help strengthen contractions. My contractions (once my body was ready) went from 0 to 100. I also really liked the taste of this and it was something I looked forward to that helped me relax during the end of my pregnancy.
- The Birthing Ball – From 30 weeks to 39 weeks I spent every single evening on this. It helped lower taytum into my pelvis early on and swaying back and forth on it helped flip her into the right position for labor. It also was much easier to get on and off of then the couch.
- Clary Sage – This shouldn’t be taken without your doctors permission because it DEFINITELY causes contractions once your body is ready but if you’re late, or you’ve been in prodromal labor for a long time, it can be an effective way to start labor when your baby is healthy and full term!