26.2 … Hours of Labor

Hey friends! I am back, but in a completely different form. My son, William Carl, was born Monday, June 19th, and life has been a whirlwind ever since. After twenty-six point two hours of labor he was lying in my arms and I became a mother.

The Starting Line

Saturday, June 17 was an awesome morning. My husband and I had a lovely morning with my in-laws at a small diner. The sun was shining, so we headed to the lake to enjoy a little time on the beach. I was slightly top-heavy, so I mostly sat in the sand and relaxed while my husband went searching for sea glass.

I skipped the run I planned because it was pretty hot. I ran the day before though, and even averaged under nine-minute miles. But on this day, I used my run time to get in a nap before work instead.

I wasn’t due for another week and a half and wasn’t even thinking labor was imminent. But at 3:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon when I woke up from my nap, little did I know I wouldn’t be able to sleep for days after that.

Hour 1

Work wasn’t terrible that night, though I was steady busy. Around 1:00 a.m., while sitting for a moment, I noticed how absolutely crazy my little one was going, kicking my name badge so much it was popping off of my belly. It concerned me a little, but I sort of laughed at it.

I went to “lunch” at 2:30 a.m. I went to the bathroom, and there it was — some fluid that wasn’t there before. Not a lot, but a little bit. Could it be? Was it …? No, it couldn’t be …

Lucky for me, the hospital where I work is the same hospital I plan to deliver in. I texted a friend who was working in the birthing center that night, who talked to the on-call doctor, who then called my cell phone and told me to walk over to triage. Next thing I knew, around 4:00 a.m., I was being admitted!

Hours 2 – 8

The next couple of hours, I knew were just the warm-up. Several nurses and doctors approached me saying things like, “We have a long road ahead of us here,” or “Your family doesn’t need to rush, we have a while to go.” I was only a centimeter dilated, but my water had, in fact, broken around 3:00 a.m.

My husband arrived around 6:00 a.m.; lucky for him, he was fast asleep during all the previous events, sleeping like a baby. Our neighbor had to wake him up because he slept through my 15 phone calls and texts!

The doctor induced me around 7:00 a.m. with a pill, and by 11 a.m., they started an IV of pitocin. That’s when the real race began.

Hours 9 – 13

Unlike a marathon, these “miles” were the hardest. The pitocin hit me like a stack of bricks in the face, and my exhaustion was settling in hard. It had now been 24 hours since my last sleep, and I was starting to feel it. Never did I imagine I would experience so much pain all at once. Then the nurse presented the idea of the epidural to me. As much as I didn’t want to take it, I knew that I was still only between two and three centimeters dilated, and had a long way to go. How would I be able to push with this much pain — and no sleep? And, in the end, how would I ever muster up the strength to enjoy the first moments of motherhood once it was over?

I accepted the epidural, but we had a few problems with the positioning of it. After a couple extra boluses of medicine, by 5:00 p.m., I was well on my way to a pain free couple of hours.

Hours 14 – 20

Similar to the corresponding marathon miles, these hours were quite a blur. I was in and out of consciousness, wavering between excitement, exhaustion and worry. The clock was ticking; when can I start to push?! My mother-in-law sat next to me keeping me company, and she reminded me about the time I ran up Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor, Maine a few years ago. She told me to remember what that was like, and how getting to the top felt so amazing.

Running up Cadillac Mountain, much easier than laboring for 26.2 hours!

Miles 21 – 24

Everyone was getting anxious, now. We were going on 24 hours of labor at this point, and my little guy’s heart rate was getting faster each hour. Worse, I spiked a fever, likely due to my water breaking 24 hours earlier. The doctors and nurses were getting a little more concerned, making me worried too!

Hours 25 – 26

It was now Monday, June 19. My nurse checked me around 5:00 a.m. My fever finally broke, my cervix had almost completely dilated, and my pain was under control, after a few more issues with my epidural were resolved. She said, “It’s go time!”

My husband said, that upon this news, my attitude did a complete 180°, and I put the pedal to the metal. I dealt with these last hours like I would a marathon — push through with every ounce you have left.

Hour 26.2

I remember qualifying for Boston for the first time, thinking how that would be my biggest accomplishment ever. I remember finishing the Boston Marathon, thinking that that would be the hardest thing I ever had to go through, but one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had.

At 6:17 a.m. on Monday, June 19, my son was born. He is my newest, biggest, and most awesome achievement. The amount of joy and love you can have for a six pound little human being is immeasurable and indescribable!

Post-Race Party

… and what a party it has been! Learning to be a parent has been a challenging but an amazing experience. I have so much more to learn, but each day gets a little easier and we fall a little more in love with our little guy. Thanks for tagging along during my pregnancy journey! Up next: my postpartum comeback!

What life experience have you had that made marathons feel easy?

I am a full-time critical care nurse, who, in my spare time, loves to pound the pavement around the west side of Cleveland, Ohio. I am originally from Wisconsin, and ran for the University of Minnesota where I learned how to run smart, healthy, and happy. I enjoy writing about my adventures in running and what I have learned from racing. I hope to be an inspiration to other women to reach high!

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  1. Congratulations! What a sweet little baby. And a great story that you were already at the hospital for work!