Laboring for a Most Precious Delivery

Labor is defined as: Hard work, toil, an especially physical job, task or duty.

I don’t think that there could be a better word to describe child bearing other then this choice word,  LABOR. For me, with our third child, it was nothing short of all of these terms… times ten.

With our first labor and delivery we were completely spoiled. I was having twins “naturally” with an epidural and everything went almost too smoothly. I had gobs of nurses, doctors and an anesthesiologist all at my beck-and-call. Everyone rallied around me with supportive words of advice and fabulous go-get-’em attitudes until my two babies made their entrance into the world. It was complication and pain free. Probably one of the best ‘laboring’ experiences that anyone could have asked for. Then I got pregnant again, with a singleton. No more weekly ultrasounds or being fawned over by important people in light blue scrubs and white coats. Just some cold gel on the belly, a quick baby heartbeat check every month and I was sent on my way. For this reason, I had a feeling that my labor would be a bit different, too. And boy, was I right.

I always wanted to experience that “Oh my gosh, my water just broke” moment while being pregnant. You know… the ones in the movies where the non-swollen, mall shopping, happen to be wearing a dress that day, beautiful actress is chatting with a perfume/makeup saleswoman and then realizes that the floor is wet and her water must have just broken… to only then, within moments, be in fully active labor and rushed to the nearest hospital in a taxi with an ironically hilarious cab driver?  You know what I’m talking about right? Well, while I didn’t get THAT type of melodramatic experience, my water DID break while sleeping peacefully in bed about a week before my due date. The hubby and I drove nervously to the hospital, checked in, changed into our lovely hospital attire and started THE LABOR known as “child #3?.

Everything was going smoothly at first. There was chatting, laughing, breathing and light hand-holding. After a while of feeling a bit uncomfortable  (mostly from the lack of not being able to stand up because of sitting in a bed for 3 hours), I decided to get an epidural. Was I in pain?  nah. But I wasn’t going to risk it. The night was going so great, why ruin it now!? Our family was checking in on us every few hours and we were even watching some of our favorite TV episodes, like we had nothing more important to be doing… Then the labor really started, and I quickly became aware that my epidural wasn’t working. Something wasn’t right. My legs were completely numb, but not my belly or the laboring half of my body that the epidural was meant for… if you get my drift. Things went quickly from bad, to worse and I was NOT prepared for the next 45 minutes of my life.

Remember that Labor definition above? Hard work… physical toil? Well, I finally understood it ALL. Between the crying out for help and dealing with the pain of unexpectedly REALLY having a child ‘au naturel’ I rapidly gained a whole new appreciation of what this child birthing business was all about. To ease my mind between contractions and people yelling at me through my slightly deafened ears, I thought of all of the other mothers who I had known that had labored JUST like this, before me. My Mom, my sister-in-laws and a few friends. Not thinking “I can do this too!”, but more… “They’re still alive after all of this excruciating pain, and so I KNOW I can live through this, and even though I feel like it’s going to kill me, it won’t!”

After coming to terms with myself inside of my mind that nobody can make things stop hurting, but me… I started to push. I zoned everyone out, except for myself. I vaguely remember a nurse saying “Oh no, stop, wait! The doctor isn’t here!”  (why do nurses do that? don’t they know you can’t just STOP laboring to wait for a doctor to catch your baby?) Luckly, my amazing doctor was entering our room at this moment. She literally changed faster then super man in a telephone booth, into a pair of gloves and a plastic drape JUST in time to catch… baby #3.

Can I tell you the most amazing thing about labor? Once it’s over, It’s over. The pain, the feelings of inadequacy, the doubt and the thought of “WHY did I do this to myself ?”… It all just flies right out the window. All of a sudden you have a beautiful baby sitting on your chest and not IN your belly. You see their pink little body, hear their tiny squawky cry and all in an instant the pain, task and duty that comes along with the labor part of pregnancy, you find out… was completely 100% worth it.

Childbirth is such an incredible moment, and I’d love to know what went through your mind when you held your baby for the first time? By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and a $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs October 17 to November 13, 2011. A random winner will be announced by November 15, 2011.

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