September 1, 2014
A Labor Story for Labor Day

In honor of Labor Day (a play on words, if you will), I wanted to share with you all my journey in labor.

It was July 8th and I was ready. Everything told me that it was time...maybe this had something to do with my personality...I'm innately impatient (a trait I will work on improving for all of my days). I was ready to meet my son.

My mother, Leslie, my husband, Dave, and I walked my packed bags into the hospital to start the journey. Dave slept beside me while I slept. Tasia, my nurse, was so vigilant, checking on me every hour (Ugh, I'm ok! Let me sleep). Tasia was amazing and doing her job. I woke at 2A with my first set of contractions. Mmmm, these are kind of uncomfortable. But if this is it, I can do this. Dave and I didn't sleep after that. Tasia called my mom with hourly updates on my dilation, mood, and energy.

"I'll come in at 7 this morning to check on you, Emi." Ok, I thought, this is not so bad!

7A:  "Hi Mom! Hi Papa! Hi Linny (sister) and Lucas (youngest brother)!" Coffee for Dave. I have an unbelievably supportive family. I felt good, but it was time to move around. Dave, my Papa, Linny, Lucas, and I went on a walk. I was in my bamboo robe and flip flops, no undergarments...it really doesn't matter when you're about to birth a baby anyway. Anson started moving his way down and I needed to focus my walking a bit more...circles, let's walk in circles. My mom on one side, my husband on the other, holding hands, my eyes were shut. Deep breathing, head down, the sun was warm, change directions, 25 minutes. Let's bounce. I need to bounce. Yoga ball! Tasia came in to check Anson..."I'll check back in, I'm not sure if he likes it. His heart rate keeps dropping." What? "I like it," I thought selfishly.

My mom asked how I was doing. "Fine, I think I'm in labor." She lovingly smiled at me and said, "No, not yet." What do you mean not yet? It hurt. I was uncomfortable! Then it happened--my whole world needed to be quiet, no talking, no talking, just controlled movement.

So, this is what she meant.

Music. Mmmm, reggae. "When the music hits you, you feel no pain." Thanks B. Marley, except for just one thing. I DO feel pain. Water. Water always helps-into the tub. I spent 2 hours in the tub, nearly passing out. My breathing was backwards. Linny was rocking. She was helping me find my cadence. Feel the rhythm. Don't be scared. Dave looked straight into my eyes as though to say, "I want to take it away. I can't." So steady, that man is.

5cm. That's all?

Time to move. I remember feeling so exhausted at 5cm. Everything was sore, my eyes were sore. Whispers were too loud. Touch had to be intentional, or none at all.

"Who you are out of labor, is the same as who you are in labor." My mom was right. Pain meant no talking, just intense and quiet focus. I was being true to myself. I looked at my husband and said, "I need help."

5P: So, the epidural came. It provided a relief like none I have ever felt. Don't get me wrong, I could still feel most everything, but it did take the edge off. I knew Anson would make me work at the end. I needed to sleep. Sleep came, 9 cm did too. I wanted to push. My Mom told me not yet. "Hi Bev (my mother-in-law)! Hi Elliot and Carolyn (my oldest brother and sister-in-law)!"

"Let's take a picture," someone says. Smile. Smile? Yes, smile. Cheese.

9P: 10cm--Time to push. My Papa held my neck, Linny was on my right side, holding my floppy, numb, 'epiduralized' leg, Dave was on my left side. My mom down where she was supposed to be--receiving Anson.

"Take a deep breath and push down like you are focusing all of your energy to the very bottom of your bottom."

What?

"Like pooping?"

"Yes, kind of like pooping, but constipated pooping."

My mom laughs. I love her.

Papa was his ever-present and calming self. Linny was humming. My husband was counting. Thank you, I need to know when to push. "If you don't come out before midnight, I'm canceling Christmas!" Dave says. We were 20 hours into it.

"Does anyone have a flashlight?"--Mom
"Ya, I do actually."--Dave
"Oh my gosh."--Linny
"He has 25 flashlights."--Me

Papa chuckles.

"Look there is the top of his head!"--Mom
"Oh my gosh! Hon, he's right there."--Dave

Are we going spelunking here, I thought.

Huddled around the bottom of the bed stood, Mom, Linny, and Dave. Papa held my neck. I looked at him.

"You need to push again?"

Yes.

I looked at Dave. I don't know if I can do this. "Yes you can, two more big pushes."

I could feel my face fill with all the pressure that was left inside of me. It was all I had...and there he was.

July 9th, 11:40P. We can have Christmas. "Oh, Baby boy, oh Baby boy." I held my son, tears streamed down my face. He looked right at me. I was a mom. I earned that. I would never be the same.

I have never been the same since...

Anson Michael Rydbom, I love you.

Happy Labor Day, Mamas!