An Awfully Big Adventure: Birth Story
Giving birth to my daughter was by far the most terrifying, most challenging, most rewarding and simply amazing experience of my life. Borrowing the words of Peter Pan, I can only say that it was “an awfully big adventure.”
Contractions started coming the night of July 25th. They were relatively weak and sporadic, some coming every three minutes and others waiting ten. I thought little of them and went to bed that night a little disappointed that I had not gone into labor on my due date. I woke up several times during the night, the contractions growing more painful. By 6:30 AM on the 26th I could no longer sleep through them. Drawing myself a bath, I texted Josh to let him know that I was having some contractions and just had a feeling that this was it. While I soaked in the bath I started timing the contractions and they were steadily coming at four minutes apart, lasting around 30 seconds each. My mum, who lives two ours away and was planning on visiting me that day anyway, got in her car and headed over. I told her that she didn’t need to rush, in case it wasn’t anything.
But it was. The contractions kept coming. After tidying up the house, adding last minute things to my hospital bag and painting my nails while stopping to breathe through contractions, I decided it was time to call my doctor. They told me to go in to L&D. I gave Josh the go ahead to come home. Being that I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible I was in no rush to go into L&D and we didn’t arrive until around 11:30. They hooked me up to the monitors and sure enough my contractions were strong and steady but much to my disappointment I was only at 2cm and 80% effaced. They told me that I was in labor but being that I didn’t want any interventions I could go home and labor if I wanted to. After walking the halls for an hour with no progress I decided to go home.
Back at home Josh and I laid down in bed for a nap. While he slept soundly I struggled with each contraction, each coming harder and stronger. As I had feared I would, I began to feel contractions in my back. It was the worst pain I’d ever experienced. With each contraction, I found myself saying Hail Mary’s, something I hadn’t done in quite a long time. I began to memorize at which point during the prayer the pain would peak and would get some relief waiting for that point to arrive and pass.
After a while I decided to go labor in the shower. I could no longer concentrate on praying each time and stood with my back to the hot, running water. At that point my brother and sister arrived to wait for the baby. I told them I had a while yet. I labored in the shower for several hours. Josh and my mum came in often to check on me but gave me moments to labor in private. They kept telling me how strong I was being and how proud they were. Their encouragement made all the difference, even though I couldn’t really concentrate on anything other than the pain of each wave. Contractions were about two and half minutes apart now, lasting forty-five seconds each. They tried to convince me it was time to go back to the hospital but I didn’t want to move from the comfort of the shower.
Finally they won out and we headed back to the hospital. I was only at 3-4 cm at around 7:30, nearly 24 hours since my first contractions. I couldn’t believe it. I asked if I could shower but I found little comfort in the water this time. The contractions were too strong to mask and my back labor was growing unbearable. My in laws arrived soon afterwards.
Back in the bed, I labored in what can only be described as excruciating pain for another four plus hours. Time was such a blur. The only time that mattered was the two minutes of relief I got between each contraction. People came in and out the room. I answered in one word responses or ignored them altogether. This part is still fuzzy to me. It took all I had to focus on breathing. Josh stayed by my side and spoke sweet words to me through each one. For a while, squeezing my hips helped with the pain but soon even the touch of hands on my back was unbearable. I was so exhausted and barely 6cm now. I couldn’t imagine finding the strength to push when the time would come. I couldn’t even focus on my baby. Everything in me was being channeled into making it through each contraction, now two minutes apart. I could feel my body tightening more each time. I writhed, even the bed touching my back was too much. I felt like I was splitting and I wanted to enjoy giving birth to my baby. I asked for the epidural. I told them I was sure.
Thirty minutes and one epidural later, I opened my eyes and said, “So this is what the room looks like.” I instantly felt like a human being again. I originally did not want an epidural but let me say this, I have never felt such relief, such immediate rejuvenation. I will never doubt that I made the right decision. The pain was gone but I could still feel each contraction, I was still able to move my legs and I was finally able to focus on what was really happening. I was about to meet my baby. They checked me again and minutes after the epidural I had already jumped to a “loose” seven. After visiting with some of my family members, Josh and I decided to sleep for as long as we could. He laughed that his arm had gone numb from me squeezing his hand so hard.
After a few hours of interrupted yet glorious sleep, the nurse Charlotte (who was a complete doll) came and checked me. Nine! She said there was only a small piece of my cervix separating me from being a ten! She suggested that I sit up and place my feet together in a sort of froggy position. “It might break your water,” she said. As she was lifting the bed, I wasn’t even sitting up straight yet, I heard a loud pop and felt a gush of water. I laughed.
Everyone was bustling after that. They sent for the doctor, my husband went out to tell everyone waiting that the baby was coming. I’d previously wanted only Josh in the room when I delivered but my mum had been my rock during labor and I really wanted her to be there when Wendy arrived. I asked her to stay too. At this point I was a ten and ready to start pushing. This is the crazy part. Pushing was actually kind of fun. I know that makes me sound like a nut but I was so motivated, so ready to meet my baby and each push brought me closer. I couldn’t feel much pain, though there was a lot of pressure. Even with the epi I felt each contraction and new exactly when to push. After about three sets of three pushes I heard the nurse say, “We have hair!” I asked if I could touch her head and the nurse let me. She was so close. The doctor arrived shortly and after about three or four more sets of pushing I heard my mum say, “We have a head!” I said, “Wait, it’s out?” One more push, and I felt an immense surge of relief. The doctor lifted her up for us to see and her daddy immediately started crying. I held out my arms for her and they placed her on my chest, still new and breathing her first breaths. The little noises that she made. I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. I held her close and quieted her, just looking into her face through my own tears.
I don’t remember any pain after that. I didn’t even notice when I birthed the placenta and the stitches were a breeze. They eventually took her to get cleaned up and weighed. Six pounds even and eighteen inches long. Born at exactly 3:59 AM on July 27th. They brought my sweet baby back to me and I held her on my chest for some skin to skin. Her daddy and I talked to her, cried over her, kissed her and told her that nothing bad would ever happen to her. She’s already made us better people. Her daddy asked if we could pray so we looked down on her and thanked God, praised Him for his goodness. I held her up to nurse and she latched right away, nursing for half an hour. She was still nursing when the nurse came in to take her to be bathed.
I still can’t believe how perfect she is. The love I feel for her and her daddy is overwhelming. She is what I was born for. I’ll never doubt that for one second.
9 months ago · 6 notes
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- forest-lights said: I read this at a restaurant (because I always tumble when I’m eating at this sushi place), and I started crying. I am so so happy for you. <3
- carryonyoungsailor said: Aww, reading this was so beautiful
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