Over the years for me, Labor Day has signified the symbolic end of summer... one more day at the beach, one more barbecue, one more iced-coffee before the leaves start to change color and the cool air sets in for the Fall. The ending of one season and the beginning of another. Now, when I hear that word “labor”, it has taken on a whole new meaning for me. When I hear the word “labor” I look back through the rear-view mirror at my very own “labor day” nearly 5 months ago. In many ways, it still is the ending of one season... the season of ME. And it marked a whole new season in my life... the season of HIM... my sweet baby boy.
I’ll never forget when I went to the hospital because I hadn’t felt my baby moving for several hours. I was relieved when his heartbeat was normal and nervous because I was told that I would be induced the next morning. “Order some food and get a good night’s rest, because tomorrow the real work starts” is what my doctor told me. My husband and I ordered a pizza and put the TV on in the hospital.
I was told that the medicine they gave me to help soften my cervix might cause some cramping, but the real pain would happen the next day once I was induced with pitocin. I started to feel the cramping around 9pm and pretty soon, that cramping was becoming unbearable. I was in labor, with contractions around three minutes apart for five and a half hours and I didn’t even know it! I didn’t want to make a big fuss, or wake my husband up and frankly, I thought the pain I was feeling was just the “cramping” I had been warned about and I thought I must have the lowest pain tolerance ever if this was so hard for me. “What am I going to do tomorrow?” I thought. Finally, the nurse came in at about 2:30 am because my heartbeat kept speeding up on the monitor. “Are you in a lot of pain?” she asked. When she checked me, I was nearly half way dilated and we were shocked. My first words were “call my mom” to my husband and I was moved into a delivery room. Thinking back on that, I realize that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was.
Aiden wasn’t born until 11 am the next morning, but the time went by so fast! When other friends who are pregnant ask me about my labor experience that is the one thing I always say... it goes by so fast. But still, in the roughly 14 hours I spent in labor, I was transforming into a new woman. Aiden has given me so much over the course of the months we have spent together. He has given me a joy that never ceases, a love greater than anything I could have imagined, a new-found zest for life... but labor, labor was the experience that taught me just how much I can handle. It was the experienced that revealed a strength that I never knew was there and a confidence I needed to know that I could succeed at this new job as a mother. That this new season, less about me and more about my sweet baby boy would be the best yet!