Wow... it has been a while since I have blogged!!!! Blame it on motherhood! :) I am the proud mother of a soon to be 4 month old!!! She will be 4 months on March 17, which is exactly a year since we found out we were expecting the little one! "Oh the luck of the Irish!"
I have been going back and forth about whether or not to post Gray's birth story, but after reading one on another blog... I decided to do it! Here goes it...
Jeremy and I decided early on during the pregnancy that we wanted to attempt a natural delivery. Why you ask? For numerous reasons, but ultimately... I felt it was what God desired for this delivery. I did LOTS and LOTS of research, attended child birth classes, and prayed and prayed and prayed over this. Whenever you tell someone that you want to have a natural delivery, you get 1 of 2 responses: 1. ARE YOU NUTS???????????????????? or 2. There is no way you are going to go through with it! People... what do you think women did for YEARS and YEARS and YEARS? Btdub... I completely respect whatever delivery mothers choose for themselves... COMPLETELY. Just thought I needed to say that! So... to get off my soap box, I chose natural.
One week before my due date, I was dilated 1cm and 40% effaced. I had been this way for 2 weeks... so I wasn't making much progress. I DID NOT want to be induced, but my doctor ultimately decided that an induction was going to be necessary (another side note... I do believe that I delivered 2 weeks too early and would have more than likely gone into labor naturally on my own, but... it all worked out!) We opted to check into the hospital on Wednesday, November 16 (Gray's "due" date) and have a balloon (foley catheter with 40 cc's of saline) inserted into my cervix. This was the longest night of my whole night. To sum it up... the balloon is re-dunc-u-lous!! Painful and no fun. Cervidil (a cervix thinning medication) was inserted at around 12:00 a.m. I wanted to try all of these options first before I tried Pitocin. I had contractions most of the night. They were small, but I could tell something was happening.
At 7:30 the next morning, Dr. McMinn came in and checked my cervix and I was 5 cm dilated! So it worked!!!! At this point, she broke my water (another not so fun experience...Jeremy described my body position as almost contorted! haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa). So the water was broken and it literally does feel like a "gush" of water...or at least it did for me.
To sum up the next 3-4 hours of labor is hard... probably because I don't remember much. What I do remember is my AMAZING husband, mother, and mother-in-law fanning me and trying to calm me down as much as possible while I was laboring. Every time I had a contraction I would start sweating profusely. The kind of sweat you get before you pass out. It was nauseating. Labor pains are hard to describe. Honestly...it is like the worst vibration imaginable in your pelvic area... but the painful vibration radiates up your back, sides, stomach...even down your legs. I couldn't focus on breathing...I couldn't focus on talking... I couldn't focus on anything. This is not good for natural labor because breathing and relaxation are KEY! You have to breathe to allow your body to relax so your pelvis can expand and your baby can descend the birth canal. Every time I had a contraction I would clinch my fists and my pelvis as well as every muscle it seems like. I just couldn't relax. So I was surprised when the nurse came back in at about 9:30 a.m. and I had progressed to 7.5cm!!!! I was so excited that my body was doing what it was supposed to do, because the pain was getting very intense at this point. My amazing nurse had gone through 3 natural deliveries and was a great encourager and supporter. She stayed out of the way, but was present enough to answer every question. She informed me that if I had progressed by the next time she checked me we would be able to walk around for a little while to help with the pain (relieving pressure off my back and basically allowing gravity to assist with the labor). I was so excited to hear this! I began to say to myself that I really could do this!
Around 11:00... the nurse returned to check me. I was in so much pain and this point that I was delirious. I had lost control over my body and I was really beginning to wear down. I told Jeremy several times that I didn't think I could make it anymore. He was so encouraging and so reassuring. I don't remember what he said, but I do remember him watching over me and staying at my side the whole time. I looked down at the nurse while she was checking me... she didn't look like it was going to be good news this time. Turns out...I was stalling out. My cervix was still very thick and I was still 7.5 cm. This news hit me really hard. I began to sob and I looked up at Jeremy and I told him I couldn't do it. He looked at me and told me that it was o.k. and the decision was mine to make. I was so upset with myself, but all I needed was for him to tell me that it was ok to get the epidural. Not that it was his choice, but we are a team and I wanted his support!
Before I was able to get the epidural, I had to have fluids pumped in me. I had been in labor with no fluids for a while. Unfortunately, the nurse that put my IV in did not do a very good job. She stuck me several times and finally put one in the most uncomfortable position in my left wrist. Another side note... I couldn't flex my wrist or put any pressure on the hand at all, which makes it very hard to go through labor pains because I couldn't hold on to anything. Plus... this made it very hard for the fluids to get into my vein because the IV kept getting plugged. With the help of my mom, Jeremy, and the nurse holding my arm in the exact position, I was able to get the fluids in. By the way...that same IV later "blew" that vein out... urrrrggghhhhhhhhh. The anestiologist came in about 15 mins later. Jeremy had to leave the room and this was a very scary moment for me. The side effects of epidurals can be bad...very bad. Both my mom and sister had bad reactions to the epidural so I was terrified. He even had to insert the needle twice... my body just wouldn't relax. To say that the epidural made me feel better would be an understatement... I got a "high" from it. I had been in pain for so long that it was like a "drug" to be pain free. I could feel my body relaxing, but my body began to shake really bad... I couldn't control my legs and I was cold (for the first time). Jeremy was so nervous. He watched the monitor like a hawk... constantly checking my blood pressure and guarding me like I was his child! :) It was cute, but I felt so bad for him. He was really stressed.
At about 12:30 the nurse came in, checked me, and I was 10cm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jeremy, my mom, and I all cried at this news! We knew it was almost over and that Gray would be here before long. I literally pushed 10 times before Gray came out. 10 times peeps... it was the easiest thing ever. I felt nothing... I mean NOTHING!!!!!!! I didn't even know she had come out until they laid her on my stomach and everyone screamed, "LOOK AT HER HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" The cord was wrapped around her neck twice, so after she was cleared by Dr. McMinn, Jeremy cut the cord. She cried her sweet little cry and Jeremy and I became parents to a beautiful baby girl.
6 lbs, 11 ounces of beautiful perfection. I became a mom in a millisecond, and my life was forever changed.
Although I didn't have the delivery I initially dreamed of... I KNOW that it worked exactly the way God intended. Getting the epidural was absolutely the right thing for me. The nurse told me that as soon as I got the epidural my pelvis relaxed. It was like magic... she and the doctor both said that if I had not gotten the epidural I would have had a c-section probably later that afternoon (4:00 to be exact). Whether this is true or not, I am glad it didn't happen.
So...what did I learn?
1. You can PLAN all day long, but you never know what is going to happen during your delivery.
2. I commend any woman who has her baby naturally... it is painful and VERY humbling.
3. I am stronger than I thought I was.
4. It is very hard to have your baby naturally in a hospital. Not impossible, but hard. People are constantly messing with you, popping in on you, pulling on you. There are monitors and tubes everywhere. And pain medicine is just a breath away...so you have to be strong and resist a lot of temptation!
5. Being a mom is truly a blessing from God.
Sorry this is so lengthy, but I like to let people know the facts, so that maybe I can help someone in the future with a natural delivery. And yes, I plan to attempt a natural delivery with our next child as well. I am hoping that I can go into labor naturally and deliver without the use of pain medicine.