Monday, April 9, 2012

a happy birth story

as my due date came and went with this pregnancy, my anxiety grew and grew.. memories of how difficult my daughter's delivery was 3 years prior, (15 hours of induced back labor, followed by a placenta abruption that caused hemorrhaging, followed by debilitating anemia that lasted months...oh, and did i mention a precious baby girl who had colic and major breast feeding issues? yeah, it was bad,) had me torn between wanting to not face the delivery at all and wanting to get it over with as quickly as possible.

i started losing my plug on my daughter's birthday, 2 days past my due date. contractions picked up some intensity, but would not stay regular. i continued to do everything i had been doing for weeks in hopes of inducing my labor naturally - walking up to 2 miles a day, taking lots of evening primrose oil, bouncing and rocking on the exercise ball, but by monday evening contractions were painful but still irregular. at my midwife's appointment that monday night, i prayed there would be some sign of progression, but to our dismay after all that work to get things going all week, i had made no progress at all. i cried while my midwife handed me an order for an induction in four days, just in case i didn't go into labor before hand. i cried all the way through dinner with my husband, (poor guy,) and all the way to my mother in law's house to retrieve olive. i was terrified about going through another induced labor and felt really defeated. i had really hoped this labor would be more easy and natural.

early the next morning, at midnight to be exact, i woke up with a really painful contraction. i went back to sleep but woke up about 20 minutes later with another one. these painful, back centered contractions continued all night, every 15-20 minutes. i waited optimistically for them to get stronger and closer together, but they never did, so at 6a.m. i got up and showered. the contractions continued to come every 15-20 minutes all morning, but didn't get closer together. they did start getting more painful, and i found i felt too distracted to pay much attention to olive. matt encouraged me to let him ask his mom to come get olive. i refused at first, just "knowing" this was more false labor and was going to lead nowhere, and i hated to inconvenience my mother in law, but eventually i let him call her.

as soon as olive left, the contractions started getting really uncomfortable. soon i couldn't lay in bed through them anymore, and sat on the edge of my bed wincing my way through them. getting on my hands and knees helped me get through them for a while, and when that didn't help anymore i walked through them. but around 4:30pm i could no longer walk through them, in fact walking seemed to intensify them.

through all this, it never crossed my mind that i could be in real labor. the contractions were still not regular, and i was completely convinced i was being a big baby and handling the pain poorly because i was anxious and hadn't had any sleep the night before. i did start thinking about calling in to the hospital, to see if i could come use their laboring tub, knowing it would take some of the awful pressure off my back, and would perhaps stop the contractions if it were false labor, but i was determined not to go in only to be sent home with a diagnosis of being in false labor.

i talked to my mom on the phone through some of the contractions, and every time one would hit me i'd have to put the phone down and focus on breathing through it. my mom encouraged me to keep waiting until the contractions got to 5 minutes apart before going to the hospital. at this point they were coming every 8-12 minutes.

at 6pm matt finally finished work and came upstairs to check on me. we talked about it, and decided he would go grab us something for dinner and we'd make a decision about whether or not to go into the hospital after we ate. while he was out getting dinner, the contractions started coming quickly and erratically, sometimes as close as every 3 minutes, sometimes 8 minutes. when i walked, they seemed to come one on top of the other. i took a few bites of my sandwich and told matt i was ready to go. i was tremendously uncomfortable and having a hard time focusing to breathe through the contractions anymore. i prepared myself to be sent home from the hospital, but i really wanted to know if these contractions were doing anything useful.

at the hospital i refused to let matt drop me off at the door, and insisted on walking through the parking lot to the emergency entrance, because i was still so sure i was being a big baby. it was a long slow walk because the contractions were so much worse when walking. as soon as the nurse at the reception desk saw me, she rushed me back to get registered as quickly as possible. before i knew it we were in triage on the birth center floor.

my midwife, lisa, came in to see me, and i struggled to keep it together while she examined me. i was so sure i was going to be sent home. during the exam, i told her how i was just checked the evening before and was only 2 cm.

"well, you're not 2 cm anymore," she told me, surprise coming over her face. "more like 6 or 7. your water is bulging, we need to get you to a delivery room quickly. this baby is coming!"

words cannot explain the relief and shock i felt at that moment. i could tell by looking at matt that he was shocked too! i had spent all day feeling like a wimp and failure who couldn't even handle false labor, and now i couldn't believe i had labored for real all day at home, coming into the hospital at the very end!

during the next 2 hours, i received an iv, and a low dose epidural which took the excruciating back pain away but left me in full control of my legs and still allowed me to feel the full extent of the pressure of the contractions. then lisa broke my water, and things started moving very quickly. as soon as my water broke, the contractions finally became regular - as in 1 every minute. the pressure was overwhelming, but i focused hard to breathe through them and not allow myself to tense up through them. lisa did a good job encouraging me to stay relaxed as we let the contractions bring the baby down.

around 10:40pm, just 3 and half hours after being admitted into the hospital, i was ready to push, and just 20 minutes of pushing later at 11:03, silas made his appearance! there was a tremendous feeling of relief as the pressure from the contractions disappeared, and tremendous joy as i was able to hold my son as soon as he was born. he took his first breaths and cries in my arms, and matt cut the cord. it was perfect. just writing this i feel overwhelmed with thankfulness to the Lord for allowing matt and i to experience such a wonderful birth, in spite of my anxieties and fears. thank you Jesus!

just as the delivery was dramatically easier than olive's labor and delivery, my recovery since silas' birth has been miraculously easy in contrast with that of his sister's three years ago. breast feeding has also been natural and easy, and silas has had no sign of colic. he is an easy going, content baby, who loves to eat, cuddle and sleep. matt, olive and i feel well rested, happy and very very blessed!

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