For my birthday my sisters took me out to lunch; Mexican food, my favorite! After lunch I had to go back to work. I remember walking in and looking at the time clock, it was 1:00pm. I thought to myself, “I could go into labor now and not have the baby on my birthday, Cool!” I was thinking, since this was my first baby, I would be in labor for at least 12 hours. I had prepared myself for that.
2 o’clock rolled around and I got a really bad headache, my hips and my back started hurting. Over the last few months I had gotten used to this. Sitting at a desk all day, looking at the computer had started to take its toll on me. I would get up and walk around, go get some water, or just make another trip to the bathroom. I did this until 4:30pm, watching the clock closely. As soon as it was time, I shut down and went to meet my husband.
At this time Clint and I worked for the same company, he was working nights in the press room, so as I was leaving work he was arriving to work. I greeted him in the parking lot crying. I just didn’t feel good! I just wanted to go home! My mom had baked me a cake and I was supposed to stop over and have some after work. Clint convinced me everything was okay by saying, “just go have a piece of cake and go home and rest”. It seemed like a good plan. I went and had a piece of cake and my mom still swears I only took two bites. She couldn’t believe how pale I was, and tells me I waddled around her apartment before I finally left.
I only live 10 miles away so it wasn’t a very long drive home. On my way, I called Clint twice. The first time, to warn him he might have to come home. Something just didn’t feel right but I KNEW I wasn’t in labor! It didn’t feel like what everyone else explained to be labor. My tummy didn’t tighten up and I didn’t have a “wrap around” pain, my back and my hips were just sore. I told him we might have to go to the ER to get things checked out. I had to set the cruise control on the car because I kept stepping on the gas and gripping the steering wheel unintentionally. The second time I called I was in the drive way. I said, “You have to come home, something is wrong.” He asked if he could finish up what he was doing and leave in 15 min. He insisted that I start keeping track of when my hips and back would hurt really bad saying, “maybe it IS labor.” I snapped back every time with an adamant NO!
I tried to take a nap, and take a shower just like I learned in the Bradley classes. I had previously had a false alarm and didn’t want to go through that again. I couldn’t get my foot over the tub to get in the shower; it hurt my hips too bad. I also couldn’t lie down. I decided instead, I would finish packing my bags for the hosital, just in case.
A few minutes later Clint got home and found me on all fours leaning over the steps. It was the only comfortable position I could find – I’d do that for a bit then I was good to go. Clint kept telling me how he thought “this was it” but I was in complete denial. He finally convinced me to call my Bradley teacher and tell her what was going on. She convinced me it was time. She said labor pains can be different for everyone. I decided that we would wait at home for a bit then go to the hospital. I thought with my first I would be in labor for at least 12 hours. I didn’t want to be in the hospital the whole time. At this time we really started keeping track of when the pains would come and go.
As Clint went to get cleaned up from work I decided to make him meals to go; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and more to keep his energy up while we would be in the hospital. I didn’t want him to have to leave me alone to go get something to eat. As I was making the sandwiches I’d have to stop to lean over the counter. You should have seen what those sandwiches looked like! For whatever reason I suddenly decided that we couldn’t leave our dog, Zoe at home alone.
I called my sister to come over and keep the dog company. I made her promise not to tell my mom or grandma what was going on. I didn’t want them to worry for the next day about how we were doing. Sami managed to get away from them by telling them I didn’t want to be alone on my birthday. By the time she got to our house Clint was downstairs rubbing my back begging me to let him start loading the car. I kept telling him, “it’s too soon. I don’t want to be stuck in the hospital the whole time.”
I’m not sure what I was doing, but the next thing I remember is lying over a deacon’s bench in our living room crying my eyes out. I was bawling like a baby saying, “I can’t do this. I don’t want to have a baby any more. This isn’t labor. I CAN’T do this.” Clint looked at me and asked again in the softest voice, seeming to know exactly what was going on (transition), and asked, “Can we go now?” I just replied, “Yes.”
Clint tells me while he helped me to the car our neighbors were outside yelling, “Is it time?” He waved and shook his head yes. We later found out it was 8:15 PM when that happened.
The car ride was the worst part for me by far! Sitting down for 20 miles to the hospital was horrible. I tried my best to relax and lean back to be comfortable. I remember squeezing the hood of the car with my hand out the window thinking, “You have to relax, think happy thoughts, and find your relaxing place.” It wasn’t working. I recall telling Clint, “I’m never going to be able to do this if I can’t relax. You have to help me relax.”
On the way to the hospital there are a few stop lights and stop signs. I think Clint knew we were closer to having the baby then I thought! At the first three lights he asked me if he should run them. I said, “I’m fine, just DRIVE.” At the next one, I couldn’t take sitting down any more. I told him to “PULL OVER NOW!” He did. I got out and walked around the car, pleading with him to let me walk the rest of the way. We were about three blocks away. I leaned over the trunk of the car as he applied pressure to my lower back. It felt sooooo much better when he did that. A few cars drove by and honked. As I begged him to let me walk I told him I could do it, I had walked further then that the day before! I couldn’t sit down any more. He assured me I would be ok for a few more minutes. Clint got me to get back in the car by telling me he would be more comfortable if we could just get to the hospital and walk around the outside of it. Reluctantly I got back in the car.
Finally we were at the hospital. I didn’t want to go in. I was still thinking I had 12 more hours to go before the baby would be ready to come out. Clint suggested walking around outside again. I was game. I took a few steps had another contraction and turned to him, “Let’s just get checked in.” He said ok. We grabbed all of our stuff. I brought a big suitcase full of stuff to help me get through this, radio with soothing music, candles, pictures, pillows, massage balls, honey. You name it I packed it. Anything I thought would make me comfortable. He carried the heavy stuff and gave me my purse, the diaper bag, and the camera.
We walked in the ER door, as I looked around I swear I saw 50+ people. I dropped my bags right there and went and hid in a corner where there wasn’t anybody else except for a chair. I got on my knees and leaned over it and just let my belly hang. It was still the only way I was comfortable. I’m not sure where Clint was at this point, but I remember a guy behind the desk, “UM do you need OB miss?” I just shook my head.
A nurse came down with a wheelchair. She told me to have a seat. Clint laughed. “I think she would rather walk” he said. I did. We loaded the wheelchair with our stuff and Clint held my hand as we walked to the OB floor. I recall having to stop a few times, must have been at least 4 different times. I would wrap my arms around Clint and go completely limp and just hang on him for a minute or so.
As we walked into the room I looked at Clint and said, “I think I have to push.” His eyes got real big. I was still fully clothed. The nurse pleaded with me not to. I wanted to yell at her. “I KNOW THAT!” I didn’t push. They helped me get undressed and into a gown. Clint grabbed the birth plan as the nurse checked me, I was 8cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it. She
said, “Don’t push; I’m going to call the doctor.” I tried to lie down but I couldn’t get comfortable.
I recall walking out of the bathroom hunched over. When I looked up, AGAIN, 50 people in our room it seemed like! That was the last time I remember seeing all those people. Clint helped me get in bed. I found a comfortable position on my side with my back to the door and the people. He held my leg up for me. I told him again, “I have to push. “
The doc was there now (not our planned OB). I pushed twice. With the second one my water broke, all over my poor husband. He tells me if felt like a water balloon hit him in the chest. It amazed me how pushing was the only time I didn’t feel any pain. It seemed to relax me for that little bit of time.
Two more pushes, 9:59PM on July 30th Anthony Warren Holthus was born. 24 years after his mother, to the day! I remember the doctor handing him to me. It was the first time I thought about medication. Not because I needed it, but because “I DID IT.”