At some point in the early evening the real contractions started. They were pretty mild and not regular, so I didn't dare get my hopes up that you were actually getting ready to come into the world. I just thought of them as nice practice. But then! At around 11pm, right when your dad and I were getting ready for bed, the contractions started being regular. I stayed in bed for a while, timing. 6 minutes here, 5 minutes sometimes. It seemed like the real deal to me and the doctor had told me to head to the hospital when they were 5 minutes apart, but I wanted to be absolutely sure. There was no way I was going to get all worked up just to be sent home from the hospital! So I timed contractions, took a bath, timed some more, tried to lie down. When they were 3 minutes apart I finally woke up your father and told him it was time.
We got to the hospital around 3am. Checked in, but it was a full house that night: no empty rooms. What did this mean? Your dad and I sat in the waiting room at Labor & Delivery for about 2 hours, with me groaning and breathing hard in front of a bunch of strangers every 3 minutes.
At around 5am we finally got a room. A nurse checked my dilation. 3cm. They got in touch with my doctor and he told them to keep me for an hour and if I dilated to 4cm, then admit me. During that next hour I tried so hard to send you vibes so you'd make that dilation happen. Did I mention that I did not want to go home?
And you did it! You made it happen and I dilated to 4cm and they admitted us. And then? We waited. We hurt. We breathed.
A few hours went by and everything became more intense and difficult. I stopped being able to talk. Riding out the pain from the contractions took all of my energy. They had offered me an epidural earlier and I'd declined, but as the morning progressed my resolve to go all-natural and avoid interventions really weakened. Contractions on their own were taking so much of my energy that I knew if I had to deal with that pain for who knows how many more hours and then still somehow have to push you out, I wasn't going to be able to do it. I needed rest. So I made the decision and at 8:50am they gave me the epidural.
What did I get from the epidural? Four hours of rest without pain. It was lovely. Your dad and I were finally able to sleep a little bit. And the magical part? You were still working on getting out! While we napped, stuff kept happening for your entry into the world. Our water broke and the nurse told me you had pooped in your sack. That was worrisome but I tried not to think about it. Things kept progressing.
At around 1pm, the pressure feeling from the contractions started turning into pain again. I just hung with it for a while, thinking it was normal that things should get more intense. But it then got REALLY intense. I couldn't take it anymore and told my nurse that I hurt. She called the anesthesiologist and checked my dilation. After the people in charge were consulted, they told me that I couldn't have any more epidural because it was so close to pushing time that if they gave me some and it took away too much feeling I wouldn't be able to push you out. My nurse knew how badly I wanted to avoid a c-section so she said it was for the best. So: ONWARD!
My memories of the hour before your birth are a little fuzzy, to be honest. I was in pain and it all happened pretty fast. At some point my nurse said I was fully dilated and it was time to push. I pushed and pushed through contractions. Pain and pressure and pushing. I remember the nurse calling your dad over to peek at the top of your head coming out a little. Pushing some more.
The doctor was there at the beginning of the pushing but he left to let me progress some more. So me and the nurse and your dad worked on some pushes. It hurt so much. I remember saying, "Oh my god, oh my god, I can't do this!" Sherrie, our nurse, kept encouraging me and guiding me through the pushing and telling me that things were really happening and you were almost out.
After some more epic pushing, I remember Sherrie saying you were crowning and calling for the doctor again. Everybody told me not to push anymore--to wait until the doctor got back--but you had other plans. I didn't push, but out you came anyway.
When they finally brought you to me, you were perfect. I was so happy to meet you and look at every part of you. Feeling your skin on mine filled me with joy. Everything else didn't matter.
We are so happy to finally have you.
Clara Marie Rocha, born 3:30pm on August 17, 2010. 5 pounds, 15 ounces; 19 inches.