I have had every intention of whipping up a soppy, sentimental, ugly sob-inducing summary of Townes’ birth, but each time I went to write it, it just didn’t feel quite right. To be honest, those just aren’t really the feelings I have when reflecting back on the experience. In summary, after months of agonizing over whether or not my body would afford me the pleasure of going into labor on it’s own, I got what I wanted. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I might go so far as to say that this experience was wonderful and easy.
During a work meeting on the afternoon of Friday, September 5, contractions started up (this wasn’t the first time so I didn’t get too excited). I excused myself from the call and then spent the next several hours hemming and hawing about whether or not labor had actually started. I half-heartedly timed my contractions, binge-watched 30 Rock, and stuffed my face with cookies (as one does when childbirth is looming). Eventually I called Justin to ask him to come home because I thought this might, just might be the real deal. He tore through the house, picking things up, packing the car, checking on me, and by about 7:30pm a car ride was sounding less and less appealing, so we decided to head to the hospital. Justin, Finnegan, my dad, and I all drove over together, and all I could think in between contractions was how much I didn’t really feel like I was in labor and how sure I was that we were going to get sent home.
When we arrived at the hospital, I gave Finnegan a heart wrenching and tearful goodbye. Justin and I made our way to the front desk and I was sent to triage to wait for my midwife while Justin worked on getting me checked in. When my midwife showed up, she gave me an exam and I found myself 4cm dilated. I was so disappointed to have only progressed 1cm in the past week since my last appointment. However, lucky for me, something convinced the midwife that it was worth having me stay at this point. They started preparing my room, which took longer than I ever expected. I ended up laboring in triage for about an hour, chatting it up with nurses and making my midwife question my sanity. (“Are you always this funny, or just when you’re in labor?” Nope, always this funny, trust me.) Probably the hardest part about this experience was trying to stay still while getting my blood drawn during a contraction. The rest was pretty manageable, thanks to the support of Justin.
Finally a nurse showed up with a wheelchair to take me to my room. I hopped on for my ride, braced myself for some uncomfortable sitting-position contractions, and onto the elevator we went. Now, the Megan that went on to that elevator was not the same Megan that came off. At the start of the journey to our room, I had been experiencing painful contractions for a little while, but I was keeping it together fairly well. When I got off the elevator, my hilarious, light, Ina May demeanor had turned sour and I was headed towards a panic-induced meltdown. I won’t confirm or deny whether epidurals were demanded, but I’m comfortable admitting that I grabbed Justin by the shirt collar and gave him a very stern talking to. Keep in mind that we’ve been in transit from the triage room for oh, about three minutes at this point. It was a quick degeneration. By the time we had reached the door to my room, I announced that I was pushing and no, there was nothing I could do about it. I can’t say why exactly at this point, but I know that no one else in the room believed me. Justin helped me onto the bed and the midwife promised to give me another look but encouraged me not to push. Well, well, well, guess what happened next? Justin super-coached me into the “zone,” I pushed three times and at 9:15pm, Townes was born. Thats right, I was in the Alternative Birth Center for less than three minutes before that whole process came to a close. The midwife was literally scrambling around the room looking for gloves. I gave birth while my nurse was on her ten minute break. Are you understanding how fast this was?!
Townes was quickly passed my way, and I would pay big money to see the looks on Justin and my faces in that moment. We were both stunned by everything that had just happened. But we were in love, too. One of my most favorite memories ever are the hours that the three of us spent resting in bed together, a tiny baby cuddled between us, music and lights soft in the background. It was really lovely.
In the wee hours of the morning, the pediatric team decided to admit my little boy to the NICU due to tachycardia (AKA he was breathing really quickly). He spent the next several days there being cared for by some of the sweetest nurses of all time, working through some antibiotics, and getting chest x-rays. By Monday morning, pneumonia and any other signs of infection were ruled out and we were given the ok to go home. That afternoon, my two boys met. But that is another story for another time.
Killian Townes, you are a dream.
^^^ This is the little private NICU room we were moved to after I was discharged from the hospital.