I hope I have the energy to type this.
That's the problem with these birth stories. After you've lived them, it's not as easy to find the time to sit down and write about it. Alas, Georgia is asleep, my husband is brewing some tea for me and finishing the dinner dishes, and new little Owen is fast asleep in his swing for the next little while.
It's a sweet moment.
These past few days since arriving back home have flown by. And though it all seems like a crazed blur of events, I'll do my best to recount while it's still fresh in my mind.
It was, after all, an incredible birth.
So last week, you may remember, our Doctor was concerned about Owen's size. He seemed to have reached his capacity (perhaps I have a funky uterus) and after visiting and confirming this with a specialist, both felt it would be most beneficial to get little Owen out so that he could begin to breast feed and ‘thrive' on the outside.
After lots of prayer and a few days to consider our options, both Stuart and I agreed.
So during a visit to our Doctor last Monday, we decided to go ahead and induce labor that day. At this point, I was already dilated to a 2.5 and was 90% effaced, so my body was ready. I knew it wouldn't take much to set the ball rolling.
We scrambled home to back up our hospital bags, took Georgia to our friends Kate and Matt's house for the night, and set off for the hospital. We only had about two hours to prepare for our induction and need-less-to-say, it was a crazy few hours. Even though I wasn't supposed to, I crammed down a lunch of cheese, apples, bananas, raw milk, and soaked bread.
I know. Doctors hate people like me. Disobeying orders and all. But I didn't know what I was in for and girlfriend didn't want to be caught unprepared and hungry.
The drive to the hospital was intense. I was crying – mostly thinking about leaving Georgia behind for her first “sleep-over” and pondering all the various ways this new baby would change our relationship. Before I left, I kept telling her that I would always love her. And that I would always be there for her. And that having a new baby was an exciting and wonderful thing. And that one day she would love having a sibling.
No, she didn't understand what I was saying. She just wanted to play with Lydia's cupcake set. But still. I had to say it.
So here we are – driving to the hospital.
We arrive. We check in. We walk up to our appointed room. Batta bing, batta boom.
I strip down and put on a hospital gown. Then, I asked for socks because I had mismatched ones on (one brown, one black – really classy) and I felt stupid. So at this point, I'm naked – in a hospital gown – with grey fuzzy socks on. I also have to keep blowing my nose, which really adds to the ambiance of it all.
Crap. Did I forget to shave my legs? And did I really arrive at the hospital with chipping red finger nail polish?
Stuart reminded me to focus on important things. We were, after all, about ready to have a baby.
Mind you, at this point, it's about 2:00. I get my IV and hooked up to the monitors and begin to await the arrival of our Doctor. Stuart and I laugh out of nervousness and excitement. We joke about my socks and talk about Georgia. We got to spend a few moments alone together to pray and prepare – I am thankful for that.
And wouldn't ya know.
The peaks went up and the peaks went down.
Talk about good timing! The contractions were already kind of strong and steady. Maybe I could avoid the induction after all!
When our Doctor arrived at 2:45, he was glad we had timed it all so well! Apparently, my body was quite ready after all. Even though labor was in progress, he still wanted to break my water and start me on the lowest drip of Pitocin to ensure that things didn't stop progressing. He also encouraged me to get an epidural so that if we needed to be rushed in for a cesarean, the process would be quicker (though he also reminded us that he would get the baby out either way).
I knew he was really going out of his way to make our vaginal birth a success and I really wanted to return the favor by listening to his expertise and trusting in his judgement. It was important to me that he knew how much we appreciated him being willing to attempt to do this for us, even despite the odds being stacked against us.
Since we were trying very hard for this VBAC, our labor had to be monitored very, very carefully. If Owen began to show distress, we would be headed straight for another cesarean – and our Doctor lovingly reminded us of this. Little babies don't handle the stress of being born as well, so everyone wanted to error on the side of caution.
And this Mama had no problem with that.
I've said it before and I'll say it 1,000 times again – my main objective in this birth was to have a healthy and safe baby. By any means necessary.
As soon as they broke my water (side note: it's very difficult to have a serious adult conversation when you're laying there and feeling as if you're wetting yourself…very contrary to normal social behavior) the contractions hit me like a freight-train.
And because I had to be monitored so closely, there was nothing I could do. I couldn't walk around. I couldn't shower. I couldn't use the birthing ball. I couldn't even sit up.
Grr. That's not how I pictured getting through this bit of it.
I just had to lay there. And y'all, it went from zero to sixty.
A little while later, when they started the pitocin, I was already having contractions every two minutes that were lasting for about a minute each.
It was (you know me, I'll be honest) awful.
Having to just lay there without being able to move was awful.
The speed with which it all happened was simply overwhelming.
I clung to Stuart like a drowning rat, trying my best to breath carefully through the pain. But my body could find no relief on that bed. I felt trapped.
Honey, I need to get up and walk around. I need to move!
This is awful. So awful. I've got to move. I've got to stand up or something.
Honey, I'm dying. I'm officially dead. Tell them they killed me by making me lay down.
Luckily, I didn't die. Though I did get an epidural about an hour later. Sweet Jesus, I was so thankful for some relief. I felt like a prisoner, just having to lay there and writhe in the pain and would have traded anything for the ability to move through the contractions. I tried to remind myself that the monitors were for Owen's good – that it was important for us to know he was okay through this process – but even that brought little relief at this point in the game.
I shouldn't say I begged for the epidural…but I did. Oh, I totally did. And it was awesome.
Poor Stuart. I could tell he felt so helpless. He was strong and encouraging and loving and comforting – but you hit a wall where there is just nothing anyone can do for you. I still clung to him like a little monkey baby on its Mama's back. His arms felt so wonderful.
I was anxious.
At this point, I had dilated to a four…or five (this is when it all gets fuzzy…things were moving so fast!) and was moved to the delivery room. Within another hour, I had dilated to a nine and was ready to push.
Girlfriend's cervix was doin' some work!
The rest gets pretty crazy, exciting, and terrifying – so alas, I must split this into two posts. Sorry. I know that's not as fun as getting all the juicy details in one bite.
But my quiet moment has passed and now little Owen is ready for his last feeding before bed. And I'll be honest, no blog post can beat those sweet little eyes staring up at me while he nurses.
Love. These. Moments.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the rest of the adventure!