Anxious isn’t even the word. I had been experiencing on and off contractions half of the week, and then the other half of the week, they stayed. We went to the maternal assessment center at least three times that week – and each time I waddled into the assessment center I was so sure that it was time. We went through two years of fertility issues. Two years. Four very painful miscarriages. Two D&C’s, and two rounds of clomid before we conceived our miracle baby. At 38 ½ weeks, I was more than ready to meet him. The pregnancy hadn’t been that easy of a pregnancy – I was put on bedrest at 18 weeks for premature contractions. At 20 weeks, my cervix had started shortening, and at 22 weeks I was diagnosed with low amniotic fluid. All of the doctors in my group were completely surprised that I’d carried for as long as I had – as they all thought that I would go into labor at 27 weeks or sooner – but thankfully… Landon proved them wrong.
On May 18, I sent my little sister off to her junior prom. I had prayed over and over again that even though I wanted to meet the son that GOD had given my husband & I, I didn’t want to go into labor that day or even that night. I was miserable – with the South Carolina heat and humidity… I was miserable. I felt like a walking oversized pumpkin, even if I hadn’t even put on that much weight. No, I honestly didn’t.. I lost about 30 pounds and gained 10 pounds back in my last trimester. That night, as my sister was off at prom, I started feeling strange. After loosing my mucus plug days before, I was on complete standby & alert – and so was everyone around me (not that I gave them much choice to be anything but..)
My sister (Stephanie) and our dad right before Prom
We’d had a family gathering at my cousin Donnie’s house – nothing special.. Just family. I left his house about 11 that night… only to walk into the house and get this sudden urge to clean from top to bottom. My husband kept trying to tell me to hold off until tomorrow because he didn’t want me to over do myself… and I looked him dead in the eyes and said I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep unless this house was cleaned. I remember my husband looking at me as if I had lost all of my marbles – which, probably by that point I had lost some.. If not all. My best friend Ashley laughed and probably held the same opinion he did. After pulling out what cleaning products I had underneath the kitchen sink, and finding that I didn’t have what I needed… I waddled back up to my cousin’s house and got some of their’s. I cleaned like I had never cleaned before. Now, let me first tell you.. I am seriously OCD. I have very bad cleaning OCD.. If it isn’t cleaned a certain way.. Then it isn’t cleaned at all and I’m not happy and it WILL be cleaned again until I feel satisfied. That’s how it was that night. I cleaned like a maniac for about three hours. The contractions were there, but for some reason, they didn’t slow me down. And after I felt as if my house was cleaned.. I was finally able to rest. So, after the house was cleaned to my high standards – I crawled into bed beside my [already] sleeping husband and fell asleep beside him.
Then.. I woke up.
At 8 a.m.
Due to contractions.
Can we say pain?
I mean, it wasn’t like any of the horror stories people had been telling me about for 9 months – no, they were like very strong menstrual cramps.
But they were strong enough to wake me up. I wanted to go into labor and delivery that morning – but I decided to hold off. After going there three times already in that one week alone, I was sick of going and being turned away. I timed them, and they stayed persistent, never going away. Ashley and I went to Target to get some things for her daughter, Mackenzie, who was also staying with us… anticipating the arrival of my son. We were gone for about two hours.. And in those two hours, I felt the contractions getting stronger and closer..
We came home.. And they were even stronger… and I was to the point to where I really wanted to go into the hospital.. But I held off a little longer. I figured that maybe I had pushed myself too hard the night before with the cleaning – so I went to mine and Jerry’s bedroom and sprawled all over the bed (and this was a treat, considering he was at work. Normally if he’s home… I can’t take up the whole bed… but hey.. Me? Take up the whole bed? Nahhh…..) I laid down. I changed position after position. I had all 15 pillows (yes, pregnancy made me have to have FIFTEEN pillows for me to even sleep right.. But.. This is my husband’s fault for not buying me that oversized body pillow that I had requested eight months prior..) either under my tummy, head or feet, between my legs, or squeezed with my arms. I did this for an hour and forty-five minutes. And then…
I couldn’t take it. I remember thinking… “What if I am in labor? What if THIS is truly it?”
And so.. I called my doctor, who was VERY prompt on calling me back. He called, I explained everything to him and told him I was entirely too frustrated and that was why I hadn’t gone to the hospital yet – and he told me to come in so he could take a look. The drive took FOREVER. The check-in took FOREVER. The normal maternal assessment procedures took FOREVER. I wanted to yell at the nurse because she wasn’t moving fast enough. And then.. When I least expected it, the doctor came in. He hadn’t been there the previous three times I’d come into the maternal assessment center, so he had reviewed everything from that week.
My son was fine – perfect heartbeat.. My contractions were good and strong, and about five to six minute apart. He checked my cervix – and I was only dilated to 3 ½ centimeters. I remember saying “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” I had only changed half a centimeter since that Thursday’s visit. HALF a centimeter. I was beyond frustrated. The doctor said he was a little concerned because, after reviewing everything, I had been showing signs of labor (as far as contractions go) for the past few days and he was starting to worry about how much my body could take. He wanted to keep me a little longer and told me I might want to start thinking about inducement options. We had discussed induction at previous office visits – and he knew more than anyone in my family (besides my husband) how against induction I was – but I was truly at the edge. I was sick of being pregnant.. And I was sick of not knowing my son..
They moved me into a labor and delivery room, where I was told I could shower if I chose to because I’d be there for a while. Shortly after my shower, the contractions started picking up – and right when my doctor got down there to do another cervical exam an hour later (which we HAD discussed breaking the waters if there was still no progress) my water broke. And oh my, that is the weirdest feeling in the world. It honestly felt like I was peeing… warm fluid seeping out every time I moved? Yeah.. I didn’t like that at all.
Our labor & delivery room.
And so, this was it. I was truly in labor and within twenty four hours, I would be holding my son in my arms because due to risks of infection… they won’t let you go past twenty four hours without delivering after your water breaks.
So.. I labored.
And I labored.
And I labored.
Jerry (husband) my father, my baby sister, Ashley, and her one year old daughter (Mackenzie) stayed with me at the hospital. My father had parked the truck in the parking garage and so, that was where he, my sister and Mackenzie slept that night. Jerry and Ashley on the other hand never left my side. Well, they never left the room for more than 10 minutes. Jerry was in a chair that was right beside me and Ashley was over on the sofa – all three of us stayed awake except for a five minute power nap here and there, anxiously waiting.
The contractions kept coming, and my husband held my hand through each one of them. At a little after midnight on May 20th, he looked at me after I had just finished a contraction and practically begged me to get the epidural, morphine, or something. He didn’t like seeing me in pain.. And here, I will be completely honest with all of you. I did not cry, yell, call him names, tell him I hated him, or even threaten divorce. I handled the contractions well.. And we’d all thought I wouldn’t. I remember distinctively everyone saying that I’d break Jerry’s hand or I’d yell at him and tell him I hated him. Nope. I never, not once, did I do that.
I told Jerry that when I started feeling like I needed the epidural, I would ask for it.. And if I wanted the morphine, I would ask for it.. But until then, I was going to hold off. I had been having contractions for sixteen hours straight by that point. I was at 4 ½ centimeters.. And just ready to meet my son. A few hours later though, I gave in.. and requested some pain relief. Yes, I gave in.. but, after having contractions for almost 19 hours straight.. You can’t blame me. I was getting worn out. They asked if I wanted an epidural, I turned it down.. So.. They gave me a shot of morphine. Ahhh.. Relief..
I had been worried throughout the pregnancy about pain medications. I was worried about not being in touch with my emotions when Landon arrived and just.. Not being able to feel anything. Let me just say, I felt it. Despite the contractions being edged off a little bit, I felt all of the emotions. Let’s fast forward, shall we?
A little after 1pm on May 20th.. I started dilating an unbelievable amount in such a short time. I went from being 5cm to 10 cm.. and I felt every single thing. I’d been told over and over again that once I got past 5cm that the contractions would be unbearable – that was a lie (or at least to me & my body it was!). They were bearable.. But entirely uncomfortable. I had been telling the nurse for what seemed like hours that I needed to push – and of course, she didn’t believe me.
Excuse me, if anyone is in touch with their body.. It would be me. I know MY body, hence the fact that it’s MINE. I needed to push – no doubt about it. Finally, after I’d snapped at her, she got down there to check……
And what do you know?
I was ten centimeters and fully ready.
I don’t know how it works at other hospitals, but at ours, you have to get the baby to crown before the doctor comes in. So.. We started. I pushed.. And I pushed repeatedly for about ten minutes.. I was worn out.. I had been at the hospital for a little over 24 hours… I was completely exhausted.. I couldn’t focus, it was like I was in a fog (and mind you, not a medicated fog either.. This was natural…)
I guess my husband had been paying attention.. Because he was on my left side holding my left leg.. And Ashley was on the right side holding the right leg… All of a sudden.. He started motivating me like he’d never motivated me before. All it took was for me to hear him say “Shelby, you can do this! You’ve got this baby, you’ve got this.. You CAN do this!” to get me into focus. And next thing I knew, I was focusing on the clock behind the nurse’s head and I pushed like my body had never pushed before. And within five minutes of me focusing, Landon had crowned. The nurse frantically dialed for the doctor who came into the room within 40 seconds of getting off the phone with the nurse. My grandmother and aunt were sent out of the room to join the rest of the family in the waiting room (yes, they had been in the room for the crowning…but they could not stay in for the delivery..). As soon as they left the room, the doctor got down there to do an episiotomy. It was so funny, because as soon as I saw him getting prepared for it.. Well.. It went like this…
Me: “Is that really necessary?” *deep breath* “Because I need to push..“ *deep breath* “Can I please push?”
Doctor: *looks up* “No, we don’t have to do it.. And you can push, but I need you to be sure about this.. If you’re sure, then I have no issue going along and letting you push, but you have to be sure..”
Me: “I’m sure, can I please push?”
Doctor: “Let’s do this! On the count of one, two, three – big push!”
It took five pushes.
I remember after the last push, something weird happened. It was like I was in a fog and I couldn’t hear ANYTHING. Not the doctor, not Ashley, not even Jerry. Then.. All of a sudden, I came to. Jerry was saying “ BABY LOOK DOWN!” And my first thought? “Oh my god, what’s wrong?!”
But – as scared as I was – I looked down. And just what did I see?
My son. My beautiful, 6lb 14 oz, 19 inches long son.
I started crying. Immediately. My emotions overwhelmed me. They placed him on my chest, and I just.. I started crying. He was beautiful – absolutely perfect in each and every way. And, as you can tell from the pictures below… all of those times I kept telling my husband Landon would come out with a head full of dark brown hair due to the heartburn radiating my eyeballs…. Well.. I was apparently correct…
BEHIND THE NAME:
A lot of people ask me why we named our son Landon Christopher. Well.. Obviously, neither name is family related.. However, that’s not the reason. At 16 weeks when I took a trip to the emergency room we were told that the baby would be a girl… and much to our surprise, at our 18 week appointment we were informed that our “girl” was actually a BOY!
Funny thing – and I’m being 100% honest about this – RIGHT before the ultrasound tech revealed that we were having a boy.. I heard my mother (who passed away March 2012) whisper “Landon”… and not even a minute after hearing that, the Ultrasound tech said “IT’S A BOY!” How cool/freaky is that? So.. After hearing that, I couldn’t decide on another boy name – so, Landon it was. We picked Christopher because we liked the way it went with Landon & Long (our last name)
Jerry, at about 2 or 3 am
Ashley! Just relaxing..
Me! Trying to focus on something OTHER than contractions..
Jerry holding my hand through a contraction
Landon Christopher Long ❤
Very Proud Parents
I never knew love until I knew him.
And then there were three..
VERY proud daddy!