The theme of this labor is this....
Ephesians 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think"
A couple of weeks ago, I expressed my hopes and dreams for the labor and delivery of Skylar. It was scary for me to tell you my hopes out loud, knowing that things may not turn out the way I desired. But, my heart and my mind were at peace, so I did. After I hit a certain point in pregnancy, I am anxious while I wait for my body to kick in to labor mode. I wonder if every twinge and pain may mean something is about to happen. I become so anxious about how everything will go. I imagine all the good, and fear some of the bad. My mind becomes constantly consumed with all of this, that I can't even relax. I hear this is totally normal. After I hit 38 weeks, I was 'ready'. All last week, I could tell that my body was doing something, and wondered how soon she would come. I was feeling a lot of Braxton Hicks, some stomach issues, etc. Saturday morning I woke up feeling mentally at peace, and strangely patient. My mind began to ease as I was doing my best to trust God's timing. Craig encouraged me to just let go and breathe, and to just be patient and know that our baby would come when she and when God were ready for her to.
Saturday morning, Craig and I did a little shopping, then he left me and Annabelle to walk around a shopping center to spend some time together, while he and Carter went grocery shopping together. It was a sweet time with Annabelle, and I was glad to be on my feet. It was a normal afternoon, with naps for the kiddos, and a little housework for us. Nothing crazy. I had been having the normal twinges and small contractions that I had been having for a couple weeks. But, did notice I was losing some 'fluid'. I am not going in to detail so that I don't gross you out. You're welcome.
We had a regular evening, too. Put the kids down at a decent bed time, and then popped in a movie.
Around 8:30 pm, almost exactly when the movie started, I got one pretty painful contraction. I pulled out my phone to actually start timing the contractions just to see what would happen. I kept eating my Ben and Jerry's Phish Food, and contractions kept coming. I knew they were real because it made me put my ice cream away. I expected them to fade off, but kept timing anyways.
I would get a couple really uncomfortable contractions, then would get a regular ole BH one. Some were 2-4 min apart, and some were like 5-6. Didn't seem consistent enough to me. I sat on my yoga ball, or paced the living room as we watched the movie. After the movie was over, I realized that they had not stopped at all the entire movie, so I told Craig I needed to just go to bed and that they would probably stop.
We both went to bed, probably around 10:30, and that is when they actually got worse for me. No position I would lay in would ease the pain I was feeling. I kept timing them, and they were much more consistent than they had been. I woke Craig up around 11:45, and told him I was giving it until 12:30, and then I was going to call labor and delivery just to see what they would say. Around 12, my body started to shake for just a second. (The labor adrenaline shake) I remembered this feeling when I had Carter and I delivered him like 30 minutes later, so it kinda freaked me out. So, I didn't wait, I called L&D and they said to come in just so they could check things out and see what was going on. I then texted my mom to wake up my dad so he could come be with the kiddos. It didn't take long for him to get here. I told him that I hope we come back with a baby, and that they don't just send me home in false labor. He was happy to be there in the middle of the night, no matter what happened.
On the way to the hospital, I was so so nervous that they were going to send me right back home. I told Craig that if I was only at a 4, then I didn't want to be admitted yet. I wanted to go walk around somewhere and then go back later. If I was any smaller, they would send me home anyways.
We entered the hospital through Emergency because it was the middle of the night. They made me sit in a wheel chair, and wheeled me up to labor and delivery. I wanted to walk! Hello! Craig needs the wheelchair more than I did at this point, with his ankle the way it is.
They wheeled me into the Triage room, and I couldn't stand up yet, I was in the middle of a contraction. A nurse came in and told me she was going to monitor my contraction pattern and the baby's heartbeat for about 10 min before checking me for anything else. So, she hooked me up, and left the room. They kept coming, which I was glad about. I thought, "Ok, good. Now she won't think I was just being hopeful about labor contractions. She will see they are real."
She came back about 10-15 min later and told me she could see a good pattern and wanted to check to see if I had progressed at all. (OH, I didn't tell you. I was at the doctor on Friday for my normal check, and was only dilated to about a 2, and she said about 75% effaced.) Anyways, so she checked and kind of giggled and said, "well you are at a 5, and almost fully effaced. I feel baby's head, and part of her back." YAYYYYYY!!! This was real labor, and I didn't have to go home. She said she would go find out which room I would be in, and asked me if I wanted the epidural. I said no, and told her I would like to not have anything to even speed things along, like pitocin. Eeek! She did tell me that if I changed my mind, then to let them know as soon as I could because it would take at least 30 minutes from the time I asked until they could actually come, and may even take longer depending on where the anesthesiologist was at the time. But, She was totally supportive and said she would get us to our room, and then just let me hang out and labor. I had to be in bed for 30 minutes, and then I could be free for 30 min. Off and on just to monitor contractions and the baby. I was ONLY going to be hooked up to those two monitors for 30 min at a time, nothing else. That was the game plan, and I was happy with it. So scared, but happy.
We got in to our room, and I immediately texted and called my mom and my two sisters. I wanted them there this time. I think this was around 1:45 or 2 by the time we got settled in our room. I was able to be free for the first 30 minutes, so I just paced and tried to find comfortable ways to make it through contractions when they came. I was trying to just really really relax when contractions came. I had read that it is best not to tense any muscle in your body and to try not to fight the contractions. Relaxing your hands and your face and just thinking about what the contraction is doing to your body is a good tip to making it through. That is what I did, and how I managed. I found ways to sit or stand where I would be most loose and relaxed. I closed me eyes, and tried to focus on what my body was actually doing. Not holding my breath, and not squeezing anything or fighting away from the pain, but just breathing through it. It was awesome, because once a contraction was over, I felt like I could hang out and maybe chat or just chill until the next one came.
Our room was dim, I had turned on Pandora to my Album Leaf station, and everyone was relaxed and calm. One thing I have loved about every birth I have had, is the background noise. The constant sound of the baby's heartbeat on the monitor, the occasional calming sound of the blood pressure cuff randomly taking my blood pressure. My sister, Lisa was closest to me the whole time. Either rubbing my feet or my back between contractions, or just laying a hand on me. I had told Craig to please just rest because I didn't feel like there was anything anyone could do but just be. I knew I would be needing Craig the most at the end, so I really truly wanted him to just close his eyes while he could. All I wanted during a contraction was a calming quiet, my pillow, and my own way to be comfortable.
My nurse was incredible. She came in only during the every 30 minute on and off time to hook me up to monitors or take me off. She was totally supportive of me and how things were going. She didn't ever ask me if I wanted anything for pain, only asked if I needed water or more blankets or pillows or something. She told me a couple times how good I was doing, and then would just tell me to hollar if I needed anything. She never lingered and only encouraged and supported me. ONE HUGE answer to my prayers. Around 3:30, I think, she asked me if I wanted to be checked again. (She had not checked me since 1:00 am when we got there, and that is when I was at a 5). I said yes, and that this time when I got in bed to be monitored, I just wanted to stay. I was getting too uncomfortable to move around any more. She checked me and I was at an 8!!! She asked if I wanted to continue to wait for my water to break or if I wanted the doctor to do it. This I was ok with since the beginning. I wanted to experience my water breaking, but knew that kind of intervention was kind of more typical and that it was ok. I wanted the doctor to go ahead and do it. She broke my water around 3:45 and told me things would start to really pick up and might get more intense. I expected that any ways.
This is when I got a little nervous. I knew that contractions would of course just get worse until the end. I also knew that since I was at an 8, there was no going back now. I had spoken to the anesthesiologist just a couple weeks before, and he had told me that they don't often do epidurals after you get to an 8 because of how quickly things can progress from there. Especially in your third birth. I also knew in my mind that if I was going to make it that far, I would not ask for any intervention at all. So, here I was. At that point, and I knew it was about to just get more 'exciting'. AND IT DID!! I knew it was getting close, so I asked Craig to get a chair and come be RIGHT BY ME. I wanted him as close as he could possibly get.
Probably about 30 min after she broke my water, contractions were much more painful. This is when things went kind of fast, and some things and time frames are a bit of a blur. I still managed to make it through those painful contractions for about an hour or so. I am pretty sure about 5 ish or 5:15 I asked her to check me again. I think. Baby was there. But, I was at about a 9.5. She said there was just a little bit of cervix that just needed to melt away. She encouraged me to roll to my side or lay down completely. Somehow that would help get the baby down there farther to push that cervix out of the way. I couldn't roll to my side at this point. I just couldn't barely move. Pain had gotten pretty bad. I laid back, and that didn't really do the trick, so with some help, I rolled to my side. To face Craig. Pain got almost unbearable at this point. I threw up in Craig's hand during one contraction at this point, that's how bad it was getting. But, turning to my side worked. They brought in the doctor and the delivery table and all their special things for delivery! So exciting. We were so close to meeting our girl.
Nurse checked again, and said it was time to push. I felt like my body was already pushing all on it's own at this point. I had to somehow get in to position and get this baby out. This whole process is such a blur, it was SO painful. They say I only did push about 7-10 minutes, but all of this felt like it was longer than the whole entire labor process. I pushed, or my body was pushing itself, and I could feel EVERYTHING. I felt her head come out and everyone was just cheering me on, and then her body just slid right out after that. The feeling of that little body coming out was incredible and it was also INSTANT relief. Relief from the pain I was just feeling and also emotional relief that it was done. She was here! They immediately put her up on my chest and wiped her off with swaddle blankets, and they let me hold her for the longest time. She was all covered in that white cheesy stuff, and other things, but I didn't care, i just wanted her close. I ripped my cover down so that we could be skin to skin. She was crying and working the fluid out of her lungs. I just kept saying, shhhh, shhhhh, i got you, shhhh. But, really you want the baby to cry, it is good for them. Craig was right there with me this whole time. I did give another small push to get the placenta out during all of this, and my doctor just hung out and did all her doctor sorts of things while we just sat and enjoyed her sticky little body. Craig cut the cord this time. Not sure if he did with the others. I immediately tried nursing her, and she caught on pretty quick. They did take her and cleaned her a little better and stuck a diaper and a hat on her, but then handed her right back to me. She latched like a champ and just suckled for a bit.
This pic was pretty shortly after her arrival. This is my doctor, and she delivered all THREE of my little ones. I was so thankful that she was there this weekend when I went in to labor spontaneously. God gave me such a gift in that.
By Monday morning, we were ready to go home and settle in and start our life.
Monday morning stretching!
This whole experience is something that I can not put in to words. God gave me such a gift. Just after delivery, all I could think of was PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW. I said it over and over again that day. Looking at Skylar I can't help but say that. I can't stop praising him for all of this. For her, of course. But, for labor and delivery. Everything went the way I had hoped and dreamed it would. It was actually better than what I had envisioned. " Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think" This verse says EXACTLY how I am feeling. God did more for me than I even asked of him. He blessed me beyond my dreams. NONE of this do I take for granted. None of this is anything but a huge gift wrapped in a giant pink bow. My life will never be the same because of this whole experience. My faith will never be the same. In a matter of hours my life, and my heart changed. My heart grew, which I knew it would, but did not know if would grow this much. " Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think."
So, about the natural delivery. People had asked me why I wanted to try this without an epidural. I guess my answer was, to try it. I had epidurals with my other two, and it was awesome, but something made me really want to try. I wanted to know what it was like. I'm not a hippie, or am I all about doing everything the natural way, but I do like the idea of letting my body do what God designed it to do. It wasn't about the effects of medicine on me or the baby that made me want to avoid it this time. I just wanted to see what difference there might be compared to the other two drug induced labors I have had.
Now that I have done it, I can compare. I loved both experiences so much. Not one experience do I love more than the other actually. But, I do love the experiences in different ways. I would never change anything about the way any of my three labors have gone. Not even this one, with all that pain. I would never want to go back and ask for the epidural, or ask for an induction. I LOVED going in to labor on my own, and laboring the entire thing the way my body was designed. God made my body to do what it did on Sunday morning. It was awesome to be that in tune to my body. I have never felt so close to my own self. Not sure if that even makes sense. It was neat to be able to praise God through my pain. Praise Him for the strength and power He was giving to me.
I am so thankful that my mom and sisters got to join Craig and me this time and that they were so supportive and loving. My sister, Lisa, was an incredible encouragement to me during pregnancy and through this labor because she knew what I was feeling. She knew what was happening to my body. She was an amazing sense of peace to me in the delivery room. I will say, that right after it was over, in my mind I said that I would never do it again. That if I had a fourth, I would get an epi. But, i did think that right after experiencing the most outrageous pain i have ever felt. I would never change the way things happened.