“Wow! You look like you’re about to pop!”
“Are you having twins?”
“There’s no way you’re going to make it to your due date?”
Unsolicited comments come from every direction as I waddle to the bathroom for the tenth time today.
It didn’t matter where I was. Everyday people blurted out whatever their minds conjured; in the grocery store, out of their car window as they roll through a parking lot, and certainly at work.
I was pregnant and working full-time, again! ::insert eye roll::
Wait for it…
With baby number three :: second eye roll::
Highway Driving with Contractions
THAT Tuesday morning was like every morning. I woke up before my husband and children so I could give myself extra time to get ready. Now that I was at the end of the third trimester, I slowly teetered around the house before I drove myself to work.
As part of my morning routine, I stopped by the nearest McDonald’s to get my breakfast. I frequented there so much that the lady knew my voice when I pulled up to the drive-thru.
I was busy doing my “happy to have breakfast” pregnant dance when I stopped at a red light to make my upcoming u-turn into my work parking lot. In the middle of thanking myself for making it to work with time to spare before my shift, the WORST contraction of my life hit me.
“OOOOOUUUCCCCCHHHHHHH!” I screamed for no one to hear.
I was sitting at the street light covered in 5am darkness where a normally busy intersection was empty.
Red. Green. Yellow. Red. Green. Yellow. Red. Green. Yellow. Red.
The light probably changed five times as I tried to steady my breathing.
Thankfully, I was not impeding traffic since I was the only car on the road.
“Quick!” I thought to myself. “Pull over into the Publix parking lot beside you! Call your husband to come and get you.”
That’s when it dawned on me, it would take him forever to get here. He would have to wrangle our 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son. I could probably get to him faster if my uterus could stop the eviction for just a second.
I knew the baby was coming and I didn’t know how much time I had until she arrived. With one shallow breath, I mustered up the courage to reluctantly drive back home.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “YOU DROVE BACK HOME?!”
I asked myself the same question as I drove the 3 miles back on the highway. Trust me, I’m still as alarmed as you are. I swear I drove like 2 miles per hour. I had to put my hazard lights on so that nobody ran me off the shoulder. I could barely drive through the contractions.
“God, please don’t let me have this baby on the highway,” I breathed shallowly.
I was so tempted to pull over and deliver the baby myself. But the part of me that refused to give up took the lead. When I finally parked my car, I called my husband profusely. Yet, to no avail.
“Get Up! The baby is coming!”
He was still asleep and did not hear any of my phone calls.
As Christian as I am, I’m sure I cussed in that moment.
That’s when it happened.
As sophisticated as I wanted to be, I could not stop what happened next.
“Should I lay on the ground?” I thought. We lived in a cul de sac and it was probably 6am at this point. My neighbors would start coming out of their homes to go to work any minute.
As I wrestled with the idea of what was to come, I simply closed my eyes and let it happen.
Your girl…pooped herself.
Yup! You read that right.
There is a moment in every labor and delivery story where all common decency flies out the window. Normally, it happens in the comfort of a hospital bed. This time, it happened to me in the middle of my street as I stared at my house.
Once I had lost all dignity and relieved myself, I slowly hobbled to my front door. With my bags in hand, I crawled up my stairs and entered my living room.
BANG! That was the sound of me dropping my bags.
BOOM! That was the sound of me kicking my bedroom door open.
AH! That was the sound of my husband waking up from his sleep.
“Get up! The baby is coming and I pooped myself!” I yelled.
I made my way to our bathroom, turned on the shower, and stepped in–fully clothed. I could hear my husband frantically pulling on his clothes as he entered the bathroom.
“You what?” he asked.
I probably looked deranged as I let the water pour all over me and my clothes.
“I pooped myself,” I cried as my tears and the water poured down my face.
And just like any loving husband would, he helped me peel off my soggy clothes and soiled pants. While I cleaned myself up, my husband got our daughter and son dressed to go.
We made it to the car in what felt like a whole day later. The look of concern on my daughter’s face let me know I wasn’t hiding my pain well. I couldn’t help releasing some animalistic groans during the car ride to drop off the kids before we headed to the hospital.
Once we dropped the kids off, I started to find my breathing rhythm. Before I knew it, I was in the delivery room ready to deliver my third child. Although I had found a rhythm in my breathing, my mind was racing.
Anxiety and Dr. “Know it All”
I was 37 weeks and 4 days. I knew I barely made the cut off for my baby not to be considered premature. The anxiety I felt was due to the fact that none of this was going according to plan.
I had 2 more weeks before my short-term disability kicked in at my new job. Therefore, if our baby came today, I would go unpaid for the next 6 weeks before I was required to return back to work. Also, the doctor we wanted to deliver the baby was not on the schedule.
“The doctor who will be delivering your baby today is…%#$*@!”, the nurse announced.
That’s when my anxiety kicked up another notch. The doctor who was going to deliver our baby was the one doctor (out of the practice’s 11 possible doctors) that we did NOT like. We met her once when we were pregnant with our first child. And that one encounter was all we needed to write her-off completely. It was like having your hoohah checked by an MMA Fighter.
On top of that, her bedside manner and matter-of-fact demeanor left us feeling jaded in our experience as first-time parents. I even joked and said that if she was the doctor on call for any of our deliveries, I would find a way to deliver our baby myself.
My husband saw the panic in my eyes and whispered, “Everyone who is supposed to be here is here.” He was right. So, I tried my best to go back to focusing on breathing.
Before long Dr. Know It All entered the room. Surprisingly, she was pleasant under these circumstances. So much so, I trusted her enough to allow her to break my water. That was a big deal for me because I never allowed medical intervention during my first 2 deliveries.
That’s right! Not an ounce of medicine or medical assistance.
Delivering at the hospital was simply a formality that I chose in the event of an emergency during our delivery. However, I believe that a woman’s body was designed to deliver without any medicine–especially the ones that cause distress during labor. The more natural the delivery, the better for me.
Also, over the years I’ve discovered that I do not labor for more than a few hours from the time I feel the first contraction to the time that my babies are born.
With my daughter, I labored for 3 hours (Initial home contractions to birth).
With my son, I labored for 2 hours (Initial ultrasound contraction to birth).
With my baby girl, I labored for about 3 hours (Red light contraction to birth).
Letting God Take Control
In my previous births, the labor came naturally in the sense that I felt my body push the baby out. With this baby, I felt like I physically pushed more in order to get her out. That in itself caused me to panic.
“Why doesn’t it feel like before?” I kept thinking as I tried to push her out. “And why can’t I get it right?”
That was the perfectionist in me.
Over the years I’ve realized my need to be in control always cancels the God-factor in my life. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I’ve gotten better at casting my cares on God so He can take care of my needs and wants.
And true to His Word, when I finally got out of my head and let Him take over, I heard my daughter’s voice cry out for the first time.
“I did it!” I sighed. “No, God did it.”
Everyone from Dr. Know It All to the lactation nurse was extremely impressed at how well my daughter and I were recovering.
Today, I get to write this as I nurse my one-year-old daughter.
She is the picture of health and joy to everyone she encounters.
This may be my third time on this journey of motherhood. However, overcoming the fear and anxiety that comes with it is a daily fight for me. Every time you win the battle, you get stronger for the next fight.
If I could leave all first-time and many-times mamas with any advice, I would say: Trust God. His way is always perfect.
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