** Warning: Photos of a pregnant lady in a sports bra in this post. If that makes you feel weird, don’t read this or watch women’s soccer.
**Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by Adidas. Although, I am sponsored by Willy Wonka Candy Company.
We got on the elevator and went to Labor and Delivery. We checked in and I asked if they had any midwives available. They did! I made my way to the tiny room for assessment. I was expecting them to tell me I was at least seven centimeters dilated. I was four. “WHAT?! Are you sure?” I squeaked in between contractions. They were sure. Sam handed them my birth plan and stared each of them in the eye and told them how important it was for us to abide by that birth plan as much as possible. I wouldn’t have argued with him. That is one of the first things that made me fall in love with my husband. No matter the situation, he has a confidence and sense of leadership without being arrogant. It still makes me swoon.
We made our way to the hydrotherapy room. I changed into my sports bra and climbed into the tub. It felt nice but not warm enough. Sam always thought I liked my water too hot, he called my baths “human soup”. But they made it a little hotter and I was finally comfortable in between contractions. Sam and my doula, Sarah kept it warm throughout the whole ordeal. It was around 10:30 when I made my way into the tub.
The next two hours were filled with painful contractions, Sam giving me gatorade, constantly giving me encouragement, rubbing my back and nurses frequently checking on me and the baby. My mom and doula were also in the room. My poor dad was waiting in the waiting room trying to occupy himself. After 2 hours, it was lunch time. I told Sam to go grab some lunch since I thought it might be awhile. I’m pretty sure that was the quickest lunch he’d ever eaten. While he was gone, I felt an extremely painful POP and some blood and other liquid came out. I had been silent through my labor, just breathing and funny horse mouth sounds. But that pop made me yelp. I looked at my mom and doula and told them I thought my water broke and it hurt like a mother licker. So my doula went and told the nurses.
After my water broke, things got real. The contractions seemed to last forever and there was no break in between. Sam was incredible support. He was encouraging me, praying for me, and rubbing my head. There was one weak moment when I looked at him and told him I didn’t think I could do it anymore. But we had made a pact that unless I said the code word for an epidural, “I want waffles” then he had to ignore me. I didn’t say the extremely mature code word so he just told me to take a breath and just focus on getting through the next contraction. He kept telling me how much he loved me, how proud he was, and that he knew I could do this. I remember standing up through one of the toughest contractions and hanging from a bar in the room. Sam told me later that my belly looked almost like a complete 90 degree point it was so contracted. I don’t remember saying much but after a really hard contraction Sam asked me how I was feeling and I said, “I feel like this kid is a pain in my ass.” That’s all I remember saying during my labor… is that bad? The good news is, for a brief second it made us all laugh.
I had worked up quite a sweat so my mom was putting cold compresses on my back and shoulders. This felt like a tiny piece of heaven. I don’t know how she knew to do that but it felt amazing. After a couple of contractions I found myself grunting at the end of it.
“What was that?” my doula looked at me concerned. Sam asked if I was pushing.
All I could muster was, “I think so.”
I asked my doula to go tell the nurses that I was ready to push and to grab my mom. I looked at Sam with a determined but scared look. I was not planning on a water birth and I had told Sam in the prior week to pull me out of the tub with his giant muscles and put me in the bed. So, he asked me if I wanted to move. I looked at him and told him that I couldn’t move and we were just going to have to stay put. I was afraid if I moved I’d lose momentum and I had the eye of the tiger to start pushing. I smiled at my husband, we were about to start pushing our child into the world. He helped me make my way to the back of the tub.
The next thing I know the midwives and the nurses along with my doula, my mom and Sam were all crowded in this small tub room. The next hour and a half were filled with encouraging words, a lot of grunts, and determined pushing. I remember feeling very determined to push our boy out and wanted to do it quickly. My midwife Amber checked me and I was fully dilated. She told me to push through the contractions but honestly, that’s all my body wanted to do. The pushing contractions were totally different than the labor contractions. My body would just push through them but when they were done, I could rest completely in between each one. I felt like he crowned for F.O.R.E.V.E.R! Amber kept telling me to push through because he was almost there. Sam was rubbing my head and holding my hand, just telling me how proud he was. When Amber told me part of his head was out, I reached down and felt him… something I thought I’d never do. But I think I instinctually did it because I thought they were all liars because if I heard “he’s almost here” one more time I was going to have to go Jersey Shore on all of them. I had been pretty silent through labor but there were a few pushing contractions that made me grunt. Later on, Sam said my red face looked like Chris Farley as the bus driver on Billy Madison and sounded like the woman who fell on stomping the grapes in that old viral YouTube video. For some reason, picturing myself still makes me laugh.
The next thing I know everyone in the room is getting excited and telling me he’s almost here and to just keep pushing. I had a new determination. I remember talking to my son the whole time. “We can do this together bud”, I kept saying.
Apparently my dad had been outside the curtain since I started pushing and when he heard the excitement I don’t think he could take it anymore. Have you ever seen Knocked Up? Well, remember when his friend pops his head into the delivery room as Katherine Heigl is pushing… yeah, my poor father did that and I don’t think he’ll ever be the same.
You see, the thing about natural labor is…. you feel everything. I mean everything. I felt the head and then I felt his face and then I felt his shoulders and the next thing I know, that little bundle of purple baby was being put on my chest. It was the most incredible mix of pure joy and relief that exists. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I was weeping and could only muster the words, “Love explosion”. The nurses cracked up and congratulated me on my natural birth. I winked and told them I was one stubborn broad… (ok, I didn’t use the word broad).
I held onto the baby and felt such an overwhelming love. But the most love I felt was towards Sam. I fell in love with him all over again. I looked at him and smooched him and my heart has never been so full for him. He was my rock and I could not have birthed our son without him.
I tried nursing and he latched on for a little bit. Once the cord stopped pulsating, Sam cut it. Then I looked at him and told him to get me the hell out of that tub. I stood up and they wrapped towels around me as I made my way to the other room. They checked me and the baby and praise the Lord, everyone was healthy. I nursed for a little bit and everyone held Bud. I was covered in blankets because I got the shakes from all the adrenaline and hormones. Then I wanted a shower, a cheese burger, and a milkshake like nobody’s business. And yes, in that order. So they took Bud to do some tests and I made my way to de-tub myself.
I remember taking the best shower and even used fancy body wash. When I came out I put on the awesome hospital giant granny panties and ordered room service. I nursed some more while Sam shoved food into my mouth… I told you I was hungry. Then the next thing I know they’re telling me that I have to move into the recovery room. I was bummed I didn’t get to enjoy the nice birthing suite. I thought flashing my boobs to the nurse would persuade her to let me stay in the suite a little longer but apparently they see those all the time around there. The recovery rooms at Madigan are double occupancy so it felt strange to be in there with another new family and all I could think of was the episode in The Office when Pam nursed the wrong baby. Don’t worry, it didn’t happen.
Luckily, the family was discharged and I had the room to myself the next two days. The other crappy thing is that they made Sam leave each night at 9 and he couldn’t come back until 9am the next morning. The nights were filled with nursing what seemed like every two minutes, trying to soothe a crying baby getting used to the world, changing diapers, getting checked every hour, and oh yeah…not sleeping. After the first night of not sleeping, I had enough. I finally grabbed Bud and pulled him into bed with me and we both slept for two hours. It was the sweetest feeling experiencing that connection with this sweet little pink baby that I loved so much.
We begged for them to let us go early but they wouldn’t budge. I had to stay for 48 long hours but when we finally left, I wasn’t scared. I just wanted to get home and welcome our son to our family. We named him Samuel Daughtry Metzler, Jr. but we didn’t have his nickname yet. Turns out we wouldn’t decide until we were eating supper later that week.
Welcome home our son, welcome home Bud.
On a final note, we debated on having pictures taken of the birth but decided to in order to capture the moments that we would normally forget. Never would I have thought I would treasure the pictures so much for the fact that they capture moments like the one below of pure joy as the midwife laid Bud on my chest for the first time that I will never be able to put into words. And yes, it was hard work but beyond worth it. I would do it again and again in a heart beat.