I made 7 or 8 calls until I finally talked with labor and delivery.
Ok, hun. It’s time. I’ll grab a quick shower to calm these contractions for the car ride. Everything is packed.
Let’s back up a little.
This is my third baby. We had a bump in the road with potential preterm labor at 29 weeks but that worked itself out. We had another bump in the road when the creeping crud caused me to crack a rib and my tailbone.
My due date was Jan 1st. We really wanted a 2011 baby. I also REALLY wanted to go to our church’s Christmas eve service. You see, I missed 6 weeks of church in a row because of sickness of one form or another be it myself or my boys. I’ve felt almost cheated out of the Christmas season.
I didn’t want an induction. I feared a failed induction ending in a c-section. I went ahead and scheduled an induction for Dec 27th just in case. I kept praying that baby would come at a time when my parents could make it in time (they live an hour away) and when I could still go to the Christmas eve service.
I guess I didn’t need to do that!
Here’s how it all went down.
Tuesday morning, I had a visit with the OB. She said I had only dilated maybe a half centimeter in the past week. We scheduled an induction for the following Tuesday but she thought I would go before then. All day long, I had mild contractions about 7-10 minutes apart.
My parents decided to make arrangements to take the rest of the week off work and come out to stay with us in case we needed them. I just had this gut feeling that we would. They made it by dinner time. I just kept feeling “off.”
The Hubs was able to teach his two private lesson students and make some much-needed spending money!
By midnight, I decided that the contractions were close enough (6 minutes apart) and reasonably strong for me to call about going in. I grabbed a quick shower and we loaded into the car (the Hubs, my mom, and me) and drove the 5 minutes to the hospital.
And here’s where things get interesting.
My plan was to labor for a bit and get the needed antibiotics for group b strep then get the epidural as soon as I could. I just needed to get one bag of fluids first. I was just 3cm, so waiting an hour shouldn’t be a big deal.
My contractions got really intense really quickly. I had such a hard time getting up to use the bathroom that I was checked again after being there 45 minutes and I was 5cm but baby was still high. At every turn, I let the nurses and my P.A. (physician assistant) know that I wanted an epidural asap.
After that check, all I remember is Mom talking me through breathing while the Hubs pressed on mt back. I had found one position on my side where I could hold on to the bed rail and focus a little bit. I know at one point when I was 5cm screaming that my water had broken. I felt like pushing right away. I was checked again and assured that I was still 5cm but that the fluid looked great.
At this point, the anesthesiologist was called. I am guessing it was around 2am. I just know that I was contracting at least every 2 minutes. I could breathe through most, though there was a lot of grunting and moaning and some screaming. I felt very much out of control.
It took 30 minutes for the anesthesiologist to arrive. I was checked and cleared to get one at 7cm. It took about 3 minutes of me sitting up and writhing through contractions before the nurse, PA, and anesthesiologist got stern with me to sit straight and still no matter how it hurt. During a contraction here, I thought for SURE that I had bitten the PA!
I COULDN’T sit up straight, I felt like I was sitting on baby’s head. Between that and a contraction that didn’t let up that had me screaming that I couldn’t hold back from pushing, I got moved to my back and pronounced complete at 10 cm (just 3 minutes after being 7) though baby was still high.
The doc was called. I couldn’t keep from pushing. Within 2 contractions, my baby was out! The PA caught. Baby arrived at 2:42 am. The doc didn’t make it until it was time for stitches. Baby was screaming and peeing everywhere – the picture of health.
Total time in labor – 2 1/2 hours.
- I was so focused on getting to the epidural that I wasn’t focused on the task at hand – getting through each contraction to the end result of birth. I think I may have handled some of the contractions better if I had thought from the start that I may not get pain relief.
- I know I dreaded each contraction and shouted many times how I couldn’t do it anymore. At one point I was begging for any drugs they could give me – this was BEFORE the attempt at the epidural.
- If I had changed positions, I would have probably been pushing an hour sooner because as soon as I sat up, I went complete.
- I was terrified of pushing without pain meds. TERRIFIED. I didn’t realize that the worst was over during transition while they attempted the epidural (only ever cleaned my back). I didn’t realize that the pain I felt while pushing was his HEAD! It all happened so fast! I do remember breathing between contractions and feeling burning like crazy. One more contraction with two pushes and the rest of my baby was out! The pushing was actually quite a relief.
- The feeling of relief as the head and then body came out was unbelievable.
- The pain of the after care and stitches was surprising.
- My legs were so sore – I had been shivering from hormones and shock for about an hour. My tailbone was so sore and they needed me on my back for stitches. Ouch!
I remember thinking throughout the birth process that my body was telling me to do things that were opposite of what mom and the nurses were saying. My instinct was to grunt and moan and give little pushes. My coaches were having me breathe instead. I don’t know why I was so focused on the difference!
Recovery and Final Thoughts
The recovery has been awesome. Almost immediately, the memory of the depth of pain was gone. I know it was there but it doesn’t seem so bad now. Within an hour, I was walking around (they gave me a narcotic in my iv after delivering for stitches and such. After napping and waking at 7am, I was ready to go home. (not that I GOT to go home…. I am typing this from my hospital bed)
Now, we just keep moving forward. I feel empowered and part of an elite “club.” I don’t know if I would opt for a natural labor again. The Hubs did GREAT. He was there with counter pressure. He ran for a nurse each time I felt I had to push. He even cut the cord! This birth was a lot messier than my other 2 – no time to keep changing out linens especially after water breaking. The hubs is quite squeamish but he held his own! He is, however, working through some anger towards the anesthesiologist and doctor for not being there in time. He is very protective of his family!
God’s timing is perfect. I am amazed at how He orchestrated this pregnancy.
- Preterm labor scare right when many friends had extra time to come help me
- Sickness right at a time when Mom could take off work to take the boys for a whole week
- Allowing me to stay pregnant long enough for baby to be healthy AND to stretch my faith and work through some “wall” issues (more on that in the future)
- Starting labor after the Hubs was able to teach lessons and parents could arrive, after the worst of Buggy’s sickness, and before Christmas eve
- Giving me a fast labor to stretch me in ways I don’t fully understand yet. The Hubs was even able to get rest and make it to worship team practice for our Christmas eve service
- Timing the delivery so that e can go to the Christmas eve service and celebrate Christmas as a family of five!
When I have struggled with trusting God during this pregnancy, He showed me that He is faithful and will not give is more than we can bear (though it may seem different at the time).
So, this wasn’t the birth I had wanted. It’s not what I expected. It was painful, messy, loud, and frightening. But it was good. It was beautiful.
I am struck with the realization that the unmedicated birth is the norm for most in the world and has always been. My great grandmother delivered her babies at home. My grandma was an 11 pound baby!
Mary delivered Jesus in a stable. Unmedicated. No midwife, coach, or doula.
Is a “natural birth the “right” way to go? No – not for everyone. I am now thankful that God allowed it for me.
How has God used birth to stretch your faith?