Warning:this is a wee bit long, but I had to capture every moment, emotion, funny story, etc from the day I went into labor.
It's only been just over a week since Josiah was born, so I figured I'd get this written while it's still fresh in my mind.
For a couple of weeks I'd been dilated to a 3 already and my doctor kept saying "any day now he's gonna come!" After two weeks of that any day now crud, I was getting quite impatient, and growing (literally) quite tired of being pregnant. I finally just resolved myself to the fact that I would be pregnant forever, which made the waiting, well, somewhat bearable. I'd also been wondering, what is labor going to feel like? Will I know if I'm in labor? I'd experienced some Braxton Hicks, but they were never bad, hardly even noticeable, so I wondered what the real thing would feel like.
Monday, Oct. 17th
Woke up at my regular 2 hour increment to use the bathroom. When I laid back down, I felt this strange sensation in my lower back that spread to my stomach that I hadn't felt before. It didn't last long, but then about 10 minutes later there it was again. I tried not to get my hopes up and make myself go back to sleep, but the pains kept coming every 10-15 minutes and were noticeably stronger. Finally around 5:30 I went to the living room and started timing them. They were coming less than 10 minutes apart, up until about 8:00 am, then they just stopped. I was frustrated to say the least. But then about an hour later, I felt it again. And for the next several hours, they would come every 30 minutes, then every 10 minutes, then back to every 20 minutes. It was completely inconsistent and I began to think nothing of it, that maybe it was just Braxton Hicks.
Around lunchtime I called my cell phone provider because I'd been having issues using the network on my iPhone. Whatever they had me do caused my service to completely shut off! So I started panicking! What if this is real labor and it picks up, I have no way to call the doctor, call family and friends...the issue must be fixed! So I prayed that my labor wouldn't pick up, and Rob and I headed off to the AT&T store to get it fixed. The iPhone 4 just came out a few days prior, so the store was still reeling in business, and we had a 20 minute wait. Whatdya know my labor would pick up while I'm sitting in this very public place?! So I suffered through some increasingly painful contractions with my happiest face plastered on, finally got the phone fixed, came back home...and it stopped again. Back to 30 minutes, then 10, then 20.
At 4:30 I decided to call my doctor, just to let her know what was going on. When I told her I'd been feeling them since 4 am she nearly had a fit and told me to come to the office before they closed at 5. Oops?! After the urgency of getting there before they closed at 5, we waited until almost 6 before I was seen. I was then told that I was 5 cm dilated and it was time to go to the hospital! Hearing those words, that it was time, kind of left me in a state of shock. As much as I had wanted the time to come already, I don't think I was prepared to hear it from my doctor. It made it official, that a baby would be here soon, and all of my wondering and questions and fears were about to have to be faced.
After briefly calling parents and a few friends, we checked into the hospital and by 6:30 I was hooked up to IV's, blood pressure monitors, fetal monitors, and who knows what other kinds of monitors. It didn't feel quite real, especially since my labor still wasn't that strong, and I had a hard time believing we were there to have a baby!
Here is where the timeline of things all mesh together.
Pretty quickly I noticed the contractions getting stronger and very close together, and I remember the nurses reminding me to breathe instead of holding my breath. Uh, holding our breath is what we all do when we're in severe pain right?! Okay, I guess not. Anyways, so here I am thinking this is so painful and everything, but then I'm informed they aren't nearly strong enough and they aren't doing anything. Well crap, that sucks. So what do they do? Oh, I guess I signed a statement while I was in pain giving them permission to administer various drugs, like pitocin. Which is exactly what they did. Mind you, I was already at 7 cm by this point.
Anyone who has ever had a natural childbirth and is then given pitocin knows exactly the hell that I was about to face.
It wasn't long and I was having unbearably strong contractions that were lasting for almost a minute, and they were barely a minute apart. It was constant, no break, no time to catch my breath and face the next one. I've never felt such pain before. So they tried administering an analgesic through my IV which is used to dull the pain and is safe for the baby, but it did nothing except make the room spin wildly around me. Then the nurses realized the pitocin was too much, it was slowing the baby's heart rate, and cut the pitocin drip. But the damage was already done, the [devil] was in my system, and the contractions would not let up. Baby's heart rate was still low, and something needed to be done to bring it back up.
I had to make a decision to do something that in my mind didn't even exist, was not an option, and I viewed as "ringing the bell" like in ESOAL at Teen Mania. But if I didn't choose to take an epidural, I might be putting the baby at risk. For the sake of Josiah's health, I took the epidural. At first I felt so defeated, I felt like I failed, and I had to let go of the pride in my heart that I had to prove to people I was somehow strong enough.
I think it was less than 10 minutes when the pain relief kicked in. I remember looking out the window and noticing it was storming, lots of rain and lightening outside. I commented on it and everyone laughed and asked where I'd been the past hour! Apparently it had been storming for quite a while, but I had been in so much pain that I had no idea!
Golly let me tell you, by this point I had no regrets whatsoever in getting the epidural! I was so relaxed and happy, and felt like I was just peacefully floating along waiting for Josiah to come. I was able to talk with Rob, and my best friend Emmie was there as well. We were able to joke around, take ridiculous pictures (which I made them swear would never be viewed by anyone on the face of the planet), and rest. By 11:45 pm I was dilated to a 10 and was ready to start pushing.
No one tells you how hard this part of labor is. During pregnancy I feel like I heard all about contractions this, contractions that, but barely a word about the pushing stage. [deep breath in, okay hold it and push with all your might! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, (counting gets slower and slower) 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Okay now quick, deep breath in, and again! ...deep breath in and one more time!]
I did that for almost 2 hours. Two exhausting hours.
Then all of a sudden, I knew the end was near. The nurses called for the doctor, then a team of like 30 people piled in to the room. Within minutes I pushed one final time and then I heard it - that first piercing cry, that beautiful sound that said welcome to motherhood! I began weeping, and just watched in awe as [my little boy] screamed and screamed while the nurses cleaned him up and weighed and measured him. After what felt like ages he was finally handed to me and snuggled next to my own skin. My heart melted and transformed and I felt emotions I'd never felt before. I immediately felt this fierce, intense, and unexplainable love for him. All of the fears of motherhood and having a baby were suddenly wiped away and replaced with a miracle that only God could do.
The past week has surprised me in many ways. The dirty diapers I dreaded changing? I find it to be a fun part of the routine. The losing sleep at night? Yeah, it's hard, but I'm mesmerized every time I get to look at my son's sweet face when I feed him. Already he's enriched our lives. Josiah has made what was already a good thing just that much better! I am so, so, so thankful to God. He answered all of our prayers about a healthy pregnancy, quick labor, easy recovery, and a peaceful baby. I am one very content and blissfully happy mama.