If you’re just now joining in on my #31Days series, you can click here to read all the posts. I suggest reading them in order because they build on one another :)
When I had my daughter, I felt misinformed and went along with what my doctor and nurses told me. It resulted in a 21 hour labor and an assisted delivery. She emerged breathless, blue, and not responding. Her first Apgar test was only 2, and nurses worked frantically to get her to breathe, move, or do anything. A 2 is a very scary score, but after some interventions, it jumped to 7 at the second Apgar test. You can read my birth story here. I was fortunate to be able to deliver vaginally but after my experience, I had some strong desires for my second delivery.
I told my husband that I was open to whatever would save Elijah’s life, if needed, but that I wanted to have as unassisted of a delivery as possible. I prayed that I would go into labor on my own, I planned to labor at home as long as I could before going in, prayed my water would break on its own [it actually did with Jael], that I would wait as long as I could possibly stand it before an epidural [which I was still convinced I could not do without], and that his delivery would be shorter than my first.
Well, this is a story of God’s provision because He gave me what I wanted and more. And in His humor, it was an experience that, at the time, I didn’t want but was grateful for afterwards.
Mid-afternoon one day, I started to feel weird. Anxious but just weird. My sweet hubby text messaged me that he was coming home early at 4:30 and that we should have an early dinner, go get some ice cream, and walk this baby out. It sounded great to me!
But come about 4:00, I started getting contractions. I thought nothing of it but they felt slightly different than the good ol’ Braxton Hicks ones I’d had all throughout my pregnancy. My husband got home at around 4:30, and I smiled saying, “I think we’re having time-able contractions,” not really believing it myself. His eyebrows raised, “Really?!” It was at about 4:30 pm that they were truly ten minutes apart and started to hurt. We went ahead and served dinner, which I suddenly had no appetite for, and decided to not go for ice cream. I didn’t want to risk it in case something happened.
Still, this whole time, I really was in denial. I was scared so I didn’t want to believe that this was finally it. I kept praying that God would give me peace, but I also kept worrying and dwelling on the things that would scare me and let my anxiety take over.
Over the next three hours, my contractions started getting more painful and closer together. I stayed home for this part, wanting to do as much “work” at home as I could before going to the hospital. My mom came over as well as my mother-in-law. They rubbed my face and stayed with me as my contractions really got hard. I breathed calmly through each contraction and tried to stay focused through the pain. Then at 7:40 pm I felt something slam into my pelvis and my water broke. Later I realized that this was probably my little guy’s head engaging that caused my water to break.
I instantly started crying and shaking. I suddenly realized that this was REAL and that I was having a baby!! The fear I had been holding in spilled out as I sobbed to my husband that I was scared. We started to the car to go to the hospital, and at this point, my contractions were starting to get to the point where the peak was almost too much. I was really struggling to work through them but when we got in the car, the sitting position somehow helped the pain because I was able to post to Facebook that we were on our way to the hospital. Oh, social media. ;)
When we got there, my contractions kicked up even harder. After we signed in [why do they make you sign a bunch of papers when you’re almost crying out in pain??], I changed into my gown with the nurse. I was able to smile and joke between the contractions up to this point, but as soon as I stepped out of the bathroom in my gown, I felt out of control with pain. I literally threw myself onto the bed and clutched the side rail for dear life. I was on my side and the contractions were now one on top of the other and not relenting. The pain was excruciating, and I had lost my focus. That was the one part I regretted. If I had stayed focused, I think things wouldn’t have felt so out of control. I was going through transition and when people tell you at this point you feel out of control, they are NOT lying! With my daughter, I felt none of this process; I only felt during the pushing. This time, I was feeling everything. The nurse checked me and to all of our surprise, I was at 8cm!!!!! I was amazed and you could hear an audible gasp from everyone in the room.
I begged for an epidural, which they never verbally denied me [even though I didn’t get it] but I am thankful that they never told me no. Even though every person in that delivery room knew I would never get one, they never said a word to me. Kind of a false hope, I guess. Allowing me to think it was coming all knowing that I would have the baby before the anesthesiologist could even prep me. Thank you Jesus for that!! I think I would have gone crazy if they had told me no.
I started to panic. Losing my focus in the midst of all those contractions was awful. I had nothing to help get me through them and was begging my mom to help me. I’m sure it broke her heart to look down at me and just blow on my hot, glistening face and tell me it was going to be okay. My husband just held my hand and tried to be encouraging. Suddenly, I felt a burning sensation and a MAJOR urge to push. Almost involuntarily, I pushed a really hard first push and out came his head. I mean his WHOLE head. But no one knew that yet. I was still on my side, so the nurses started bustling around trying to get me to turn over.
Let me tell you, turning from my side to my back with NO assistance [why didn’t they grab a hand or leg and help me turn over??], during contractions, with an entire baby head sticking out of me was beyond uncomfortable and difficult!! But when everyone saw that Elijah’s head was out, it was a shock. Mid-turn, I felt the urge to push again and the nurses all said, “No no no!!! Don’t push!! You’ll tear!!” Yeah, right. So I “hoo-hoo-hoo”ed while holding back my extreme urge to just shoot this kid out of me, lol ;) It was then that they told me that I could push again, but I felt all cramped up and my second push was really half-effort because all my muscles were screaming. I felt immobile for a second because my body just locked up. My last push was my suck-it-up-and-be-Wonder-Woman push and he came right out.
That is such an amazing feeling. Feeling that warm little body slide out and the instant relief it brings.
Then, I just lay there in disbelief that this all happened. Then the nurses call out, “Eight pounds 9 ounces!!” and everyone gasped and congratulated me on the great job I did with such a large baby. He was born at 8:32 pm, only 50 minutes after my water broke and after only 30 minutes in the actual delivery room. I seriously couldn’t believe it. I even said, “This better not have been a dream.” ;)
Oh, and my doctor?? He never made it. ;)