Last week I shared about the birth of our first born. This week I'm going to share about my next labor experience. This is really part two of a two part story on my second labor experience. God really used this time to help me work through some of my guilt (but I have to admit, I'm still a work in progress). You can read the pre-birth story here. But since this post is geared on the actual birth, here's how it all went down:
Thursday afternoon and evening, my appetite began to dwindle. My mom said it was my body preparing me for labor. I tried to not get too excited about that possibility, but I was praying she was right. My time was running out to be able to have this baby without surgery.
After dinner, since it was rainy outside, we went to Sam's club so I could attempt to "walk this baby out," like I'd been trying to do most evenings. I must have looked pretty miserable. The door greater offered me a wheelchair to shop in. Any other day and it might have seemed fun to try one of those motored wheelchairs out, but not this day. I needed to walk.
On our ride home I felt a few contractions and these were different than the ones I'd felt before. As a side note, my mom was saying on our way home that she wishes it would just snow if it were going to be so cold and yucky. I told her (jokingly), "Be careful because Columbus can deliver." We put Noah to bed and I made sure my mom knew were everything was for in the morning, "just in case." This was around 8 PM on March 25th.
I was attempting to time my contractions while watching the UK game. It didn't work too well, but I also knew they had to be more intense before going to the hospital anyway. The game provided a good distraction to them. During halftime I decided to call and tell my dad to be on standby since I knew he'd still be up then. While I was talking to him, I looked outside and it was SNOWING!! Crazy!!
After the game (our last victory of the season), I decided I would go ahead and take a shower and try to lay down to get some rest in case this was it. I had a hard time deciding whether to try exercising to help progress things or rest, but thought I'd try to rest b/c that'd also help me know if they were the real deal or not. I had a couple of really intense contractions in the shower that confirmed to me this was not just more Braxton Hick's contractions.
I laid down and Nick rubbed my back and my contractions were actually happening about 5 minutes apart and lasting for about a minute. All of this was within the range of "when to call." But I thought they could probably get more uncomfortable. However, since I was electing to VBAC, I didn't want to wait too long and put the baby or myself at risk so around 3 am I called the hospital. The doctor who called me back said to go ahead and go to the hospital to be checked out.
So we got our things together and headed out through the snow to the hospital. We arrived around 4 am. I was dilated a 4 and 90% effaced upon arrival. They had me go walk around for an hour and come back and see if I was progressing. After walking for an hour (and both of us wishing we'd worn different shoes) they checked and I was a "4-5." The doctor suggested another hour of walking because they hated to send me home and then my contractions intensify and have to come back again, especially since I was a VBAC patient they wanted to be able to monitor the pressure. Before my second hour of walking was up, my contractions were too intense to walk through. I would have to stop and try some methods to deal with the discomfort. So we went back and at this point they decided to admit me so that they would be able to break my water, which should help me progress more and allow them to monitor the pressure inside my uterus (again, doing a VBAC they want to watch this closely).
Sometime just before 8 am I got my epidural, which wasn't a minute too soon because I think if my contractions got much stronger I would not have been able to sit still for an epidural. Around 8:20 or 8:30 am they broke my water. I was as upright as I could be in the birthing bed trying to let gravity help things progress. About an hour or so later they came to check on things and I was 100% effaced an a 10! Nick and I both couldn't believe it! They told me that at 11:30 we would begin pushing. My dad made it to the hospital just a few minutes before that so we were able to see him before I began pushing.
I loved my nurses! Debbie and Jen both were great. They were very excited that I was a VBAC patient and very determined to help me succeed. I cried because they were so great. That was an answer to my prayers as well- having medical staff that was supportive and who really worked with me to make this happen. They encouraged me that "we would get this baby out of there."
All morning my blood pressure seemed to be low and there were a couple of times they had to give me something to get my blood pressure back up again. I generally have lower (still in the normal range, but the bottom of the normal range) blood pressure, but they did not want it that low through all of this. After delivery my nurses were still concerned about my blood pressure but it eventually returned to "normal."
My dad left the labor and delivery room at 11:35 am. A few minutes later, we began "the hard part." It was an amazing experience feeling the pressure of the contractions and the pressure of everything as I worked to push the baby out. I could hear changes in the nurses' and Nick's breathing that indicated progress was being made, which encouraged me more. During some of the contractions I would just pray, "Lord, help me get this baby out!" and "Lord, thank you for allowing me to do this." I would also pray for strength and ask Him to make this happen successfully.
And the Lord delivered! I heard them say, "It's a girl!" while I was attempting to catch my breathe and take it all in- It had happened! I could hardly believe it. Our daughter was born at 12:09 pm on March 26, 2010. I was sure she was a smaller baby but the nurses didn't think so. Eventually they weighed her in at 9 pounds 7 ounces! She was even bigger than her brother! I was thankful that my doctor had thought she was smaller previously or I might have chickened out of attempting labor.
I have been so grateful for this experience. The whole process helped my prayer life and I was very encouraged by all the people I had praying for me through this too. One of my aunts even woke up at 3 am Friday morning feeling like God was prompting her to pray for someone but she didn't know who until she saw that I was in labor later that day, she said she then knew it was me she was praying for.