Today is my daughter’s 13th birthday. It is also my 44th.
I had prodromal labor with her for three weeks. THREE WEEKS.
We went to the hospital twice thinking labor would keep going. It didn’t.
That prodromal labor was making progress, because I was walking around at 90% effaced and four to five centimeters dilated for three those weeks.
When it was actually true labor that wouldn’t stop, she was born in three hours. Pretty much one push and there she was, perfect.
Not everything was perfect though.
The doctor broke my water without asking me. Made for an uneasy feeling and likely contributed to the precipitous nature of my labor.
The doctor ordered pitocin without even assessing me first, but thankfully I overheard him talking with a nurse. I told them they would absolutely not give me pitocin because I didn’t need it! (What would’ve happened if I hadn’t heard them? No big mystery there.) He must’ve felt silly when she came flying out about 20 minutes after.
That labor was my shortest or my longest, depending on how you measure it. Active labor was three hours, the rest of it was three weeks.
There are no prizes for longest or shortest labors. Whatever kind of labor we experience, they become part of our story, part of who we are.
I remember connecting with a nurse during one of those “false alarm” hospital visits – meeting her changed so much of my future. The people we meet and interact with create ripples in our lives, and we in theirs.
I will always remember leaving the house in a hurry that morning, my mother caring for our other two children. Later she and the kids brought a birthday cake with homemade icing to the hospital.
I will always remember feeling shocked at how fast things were happening.
I remember a friend who owned a diner brought a huge brunch spread for us in the hospital, and we celebrated our new daughter with pancakes and bacon.
Despite some things not going quite the way I would’ve liked if I had that kind of control, I look back to that labor with joy. I was strong: for nine months of HG, for weeks of prodromal labor, for three hours of precipitous natural labor and birth.
Now I can marvel at the amazing things my body has done.
Thank you, God, for my daughter, the best birthday gift I ever received.