My vision for my labor: Meditation music would be playing in a dim room, I would be laying in the bed with Kyle holding my hand as I looked so beautiful in a moment that I shouldn't, as candles and essential oils filled the room. I would then give birth to our new little angel. SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS NOT WHAT MY LABOR LOOKED LIKE.
I'm just going to go there with this. It will be TMI but when has that ever stopped me before? My labor wasn't what I envisioned, but it was raw, it was real, and the proudest moment of my life. So here it goes... I was three days past my due date, still working out, still going to the grocery store and getting around fine. Kyle was convinced this kid was never coming out of me. But at 2:30 in the morning on July 1st, I felt my first contraction. It felt like a very deep internal cramp. I rolled over thinking it would go away, but then another one came on a couple minutes later. My amazing doula had told me that contractions could go on for days and at the beginning are usually 10-20 minutes apart and to try and rest and save energy for when I would need it in active labor. So I laid there, trying to be all zen and relax through them and not time them, but there was one thing I knew - there was no way in hell these things were 10 minutes apart - more like 2-3 minutes. Come to find out later, I had skipped all of the early steps and was already in ACTIVE LABOR. Still in denial that this was really happening, I didn't want to wake up Kyle in case it was a false alarm. I took a bath, then a shower, then a bath again, but they weren't going away. They were getting stronger, faster, and more painful. Finally at 4 am, I was pacing around our room in circles every time a contraction would start and Kyle woke up. I told him to call the doula and put our bags in the car. I then asked for a protein bar and water and proceeded to throw up the bite I ate. I thought I was done with this crap in the first trimester! Our doula came over and I got back in the tub to try and labor a bit more. The goal was to do as much as I could at home before I got to the hospital. Because of my blood clots and the shots I was on twice a day, if I took a shot within 12 hours of labor I could not get an epidural because of possible bleeding in the spine. So my goal was a natural birth because that freaked me out even more than labor! At 6 am we headed to the hospital. As I got to get in the car in the front seat, I could not sit down, I could not be on my side. I yelled to Kyle, "CLEAR OUT THE BACK." And he started moving all of our belongings out of the third row of the Tahoe. I then proceeded to make the drive up to UCLA on all fours while pressing my head against the seat as hard as I could. During all of these contractions, I was absolutely silent. I wasn't sure how I was going to react, but it turns out I didn't want to be talked to. I just wanted to be in my zone and left alone. Every time I would feel the brakes, I would pray to God we would not hit traffic and that I would have this baby on the 405, but thankfully we were able to make it to UCLA in 30 minutes. Once they wheeled me into triage at the hospital, they did the initial exam and I was 7 centimeters. At this point, my gown keeps falling off and I am ass out on all fours clinging to the top of the hospital bed. Once again, NOT WHAT I PICTURED MY LABOR TO LOOK LIKE. The pain was getting to be so intense and I knew I couldn't push until 10 cm. I wasn't sure if I could do it, I wanted the pain to stop. They said they could break my water and that would speed things up - my response, "Well then what are we doing? Break the freaking water!" They asked me to now head to my delivery room and I was about to walk in the hall completely naked. I was that delirious and could give two shits at this point what I looked like. Someone quickly threw a gown on me and I made it to the other room. Once there, that would be the hardest part of my labor. Of course the doctor was in a C-Section and couldn't come break my water. The nurses thought I was being funny, but I was begging them to break it. I was asking Kyle to go out in the hall and pay someone to do it. I would have shelled out any amount of money to make the pain go away. They are dumb, someone could have walked away with some serious cash! This is when the 'Welcome to Atlanta' moment happened as they were trying to do anything to keep my mind off of the pain. At this point, mind you - I am now still butt naked hovering over the side of the bed as Kyle was putting pressure on my hips every time I would have a contraction. Once again - STILL NOT WHAT I ENVISIONED LABOR TO BE LIKE. Finally at 8:20am, a resident came in to break my water. As soon as she did, I could feel the baby drop. I quickly jumped back onto all fours on the bed and now had the sensation of the Alien from Predator coming out my ass. I literally had this vision. No joke. It was like the alien had now switched holes and wanted OUT! Now my silence had stopped and I was starting to yell, "I have to push!" Everyone just kept telling me to breathe and I wanted to kill them, I had to freaking push. So they flipped me over, and I heard someone say, "Oh, we see hair..." Well, no crap people - I told you I had to push! The doctor, residents, and nurses quickly rushed in. They flipped me over, and held my feet up and I could now start pushing during the contractions. Not that this felt "good" but I liked that I could start to do something with this energy rather than just sit there and take it. In five pushes, she was out. There was no way in hell this kid wasn't coming out of me. Once my baby with a 97th percentile head (gee, thanks husband) made it through the 'Ring of Fire' as they call it and made its way out, they asked if I wanted to reach down and Kourtney Kardashian style pull out my baby. I scooped it up and lifted it in the air. They asked if Kyle wanted to reveal the sex, but the umbilical was dangling in front, so both of our responses were, "Uh, we don't know what it is!" A nurse moved it and I said, "It's a girl!" Kyle started sobbing, and I laid my head back and let out the biggest sigh of relief. I believe my first words were, "I'm so glad that's over," followed by, "I can't believe I did that. I'm so proud of myself." At 8:42am - twenty minutes after they broke my water, there she was. Rynn Carter Kelley. A fierce, 8 pound 15 ounce beautiful beast of a woman. I had never worked so hard or been so happy in my life. I now realize why it is called LABOR for a reason, but any which way you slice it - all of you women out there who have given birth any type of way, C-Section, vaginal, with or without drugs, it doesn't matter, you all are the true definition of WARRIORS! Now I hope this didn't scare any of you mamas-to-be, but I wanted to share my story to show that your birth may not be how you envisioned, but it will happen how its supposed to. Just let nature take its course. You are strong. You are able. And you and your baby will do it together. And as Jermaine Dupri and all of those folks in Atlanta say, "The party don't stop 'til 8 in the mornin." Well, according to little Rynnie, at eight in the morning on July 1, 2016 - my party had just begun.
Don't worry - I haven't forgotten about you guys! We've kept this little gal alive for officially three months now, and yes, she is just as surprised as we are.It's gone by fast, yet slow at the same time when I think of all that has happened, but I've been trying to stay as present as possible throughout this whole motherhood thing! Here are some snapshots from Rynnie's latest photo shoot:
I will be kicking off my blogging/writing sabbatical with my first piece for Huffington Post Parents next week as well as starting to share my adventures in parenting so far on here. There are some good ones, so stay tuned!