A Vaginal Delivery Birth Story

The Contractions Worsen

My cousin, Sibel, was waiting on our front steps -- my mom had alerted her. I smiled and waved as we pulled up, but just then, six hours after that first contraction, a big one hit. The kind that you have to pause and breathe through. The surprise must have shown on my face, because Sibel rushed to the car to help me out.

The next six hours were blurry. I was determined to stay home as long as possible, using the coping techniques we'd learned in childbirth class. The contractions weren't the sharp pains I had feared. They really were like the waves described by Lamaze teachers. But the waves didn't fall into an orderly pattern -- they'd be eight minutes apart, then five minutes, then 10 minutes. At the beginning of one I'd second-guess whether it were actually happening. As it intensified, I'd say "I'm having one," and lean on the wall, or grab Byron, or bounce on my yoga ball, or lie on the bed, clutching a pillow -- whatever seemed right. At the peak, I had to think hard about breathing. Then it would pass and I'd wait for the next. We called the doctor and agreed to meet her at the hospital at midnight, and I labored on.

At 11:30, my mom walked through the door, introducing a degree of panic. "You can't let her have this baby at home!" I told her that we were still hours away from the birth, but she ignored me. "Get her to the hospital!"

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