I wasn’t afraid of labor.
I imagined that I would be walking around town and would notice some cramping and that over time, it would get more intense until I got to the 5-1-1 and I would know it was time to go to the hospital.
I wasn’t afraid of the pain. I’ve done painful things before. I worked out through my pregnancy and assumed I would labor hard for a few hours and be able to focus on my breathing and relaxing and be able to manage just fine. I had decided there was NO WAY I would have an epidural. I “knew” I could do without.
I felt ready. I felt confident. I felt anxious for it all to start.
I felt pretty cocky about it all, to be honest.
And what’s that saying? Pride comes before the fall?
So, the night before my due date, at about 10:30, I noticed a strange “trickling” sensation. I’d heard that water breaking didn’t necessarily mean a big gush so we called the hospital. They told us to come right in.
Since contractions hadn’t started, they had us walk around and bounce on a ball to see if we could get anything happen. When that didn’t work after a few hours, the nurse hooked me up to pitocin to get things going.
When the contractions started, I had Seth put counter pressure on my lower back and I’d breathe slowly and calmly. That worked fine for awhile, but as they raised the amount of pitocin, the contractions got increasingly more intense. I felt like my body was being torn to pieces. It felt like the contractions were coming each one on top of the last and getting progressively worse. Contractions that painful HAD to be making a huge difference. I HAD to be almost there. According to all the books I’ve read and everything I’d heard, when the pain starts to get so bad that you don’t think you could it anymore, that meant you were almost there.
After 11 hours on pitocin, I was dilated to a three.
For those who don’t know, you’re supposed to get to a ten before the baby can come out. Which means the amount of pain I was in then was just going to get a lot worse.
I was completely emotionally and physically fatigued. I felt defeated. There was no way I could keep going.
I felt like my body was failing me, that I was failing my body, but the doctor basically said I could have epidural then or need surgery later, that if I kept forcing my body to endure that level of pain without relief, I would wear it out and we would have to have a c-section. I’d heard so many horror stories about the epidural and am terrified of needles. But my doctor said it would give me the best chance of having an uncomplicated delivery which would be what was best for my baby girl.
They placed the epidural at about 4:00 in the afternoon. And after all the monitors and sensors and things were in place, I was able to sleep for two fabulous hours. At 6:30pm, there was a shift change for the nurses and when the new nurse came in she said that one way or another, I would have a baby on her shift. Which was true-I had 4 hours left to be ready to push since my broken water meant I had a 24 hour time cap. I was at a four when she checked me at 6:30, and had progressed to a ten three hours later. I felt so blessed that the epidural had been placed well so I wasn’t in pain and that the epidural hadn’t slowed progress at all and that my sweet girl’s heart rate stayed perfect the whole time.
We started pushing at 10:00, and even though I had no sensation down there to tell if I was pushing effectively, my nurse told me I was a champion and that my strength training was paying off. My beautiful daughter was born at 10:42pm, healthy and beautiful with a full head of dark hair.
Holding her for the first time was incredible. I have such love for her already and love seeing my husband be a daddy as well. And when I try to be bitter about my birth experience not going the way I’d planned, I look at this beautiful girl snuggling on my chest and know that my birth experience was perfect because it brought me my baby. She’s so sweet and so precious and she came into the world according to God’s plan. I don’t know why it had to happen the way it did. Maybe because I needed to learn to not be so prideful or to learn to trust God better. Mostly I feel grateful for that last nurse for being so positive and encouraging, and to the rest of the hospital staff for taking such good care of both of us. I feel grateful for my family members and friends who send me their positive thoughts and prayers. I’m grateful for my husband for standing by me and being there for me-I know it wasn’t an easy day for him either. I’m grateful for my Heavenly Father for His hand in keeping us both safe and for giving me the most special little girl to love forever.
It’s been three weeks since she was born and we are both doing great. In three more weeks, when I get the go ahead from my doctor, I’m going to share with you all my journey as I work back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I’ll get back into blogging more consistently then. For now, I’m going to keep enjoying my bonding and recovery time with my sweet girl.