LABOR: Ryland & Mila Mercedes

I was weeks away from delivery with my first baby, Ryland, and my doctor told me, “You have a lot of amniotic fluid in there.” I asked her what that meant. She said that I might be embarrassed if my water broke in public. A week later, my water broke in public. My sister and I had just left a restaurant when it happened. She got a yoga mat out of her trunk and put it in the passenger seat for me. It was hilarious and terrifying all at once. I tried talking myself out of the fact that I was officially in labor. The great unknown, being a mother, was right around the corner. Well, 12 hours around the corner. I called my husband and he left his office right away. He got home so quickly; he must have hit every green light.

We got home and I stood in the shower for a few minutes. Once I regrouped, we made our way to the hospital. I wasn’t having any contractions so they had to give me a Pitocin drip. I knew I wanted an epidural, but a part of me wanted to feel some labor pains. I endured contractions for a few hours and then got an epidural. Ten hours in, I got the go ahead to start pushing. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I pushed as hard as I could when they told me to. His heart rate was dipping low, so I had to wear an oxygen mask. He was born about an hour later. They handed us a beautiful baby, with no instruction manual! Needless to say, we figured out the whole baby thing and got pregnant a few years later.

The birth story for our daughter, Mila, is a bit different. She was the same gestational age as our son. They both came exactly one week early. My water didn’t break. I started having real live contractions that were three minutes apart. We casually made our way to the hospital and checked in. I got the epidural sooner this time around. After a sleepless night, they broke my water. I had great nurses there to coach me through pushing. Mila was born about thirty minutes later. I was more relaxed this time around. I knew what to expect, and I was already a mom. Parenting is one giant free-for-all, and we were as ready as we could be. As I write this, Mila is a month old and Ryland is three years old. Disregard any spelling or grammatical errors, as I’m a bit sleep deprived. Loving every minute of it!

-Mama & Artist Emily Mercedes
@emilymercedesart