I figured today would be a good time to share her birth story.. Yes, it's taken me this long. Our kids' births are such an emotional subject for me. It's a day that is built up in our hearts and minds for months and then all of sudden it's come and gone. Not only is it exciting, and highly-anticipated, but it's a stressful and scary time for me, as I like to be in control and know what to expect, but in the case of labor and delivery...there is so much out of your control. It's a moment that is so incredibly special, in so many ways. Probably the top, most emotion-packed days of my life.
Every time I've tried to edit/add/finish this post, I get very emotional, as I said it's just so special and full of so many emotions, from all ends of the spectrum. Bringing a baby into this world is such a miracle that I don't take for granted, and an experience that just really gets to me, I guess..
As I touched on in T's birth story, we strive for a drug-free and natural labor, resulting in a healthy baby and healthy mom. We brushed up on all we learned from our Bradley Method class and what techniques did/did not work for us the first time.
Without spending too much time on everything before labor, I'll give a quick summary: Homegirl was measuring small (which leads to concerns of the placenta), I was overdue, my fluid levels were decreasing pretty significantly.. Thankfully all monitoring was going well, but after many appointments, discussions, and tears, our doctor advised we go ahead and induce labor. We knew she'd be safe on the 'outside' and the risks of keeping her 'in' and waiting kept going up and up, in our particular situation..
Thursday, October 23, 2014
I was upset because this wasn't part of the plan.
I was confused because it wasn't happening naturally on it's own, like it had the first time.
I was sad T would have to 'share' us.
I was scared because I knew the pain I was about to take on.
I was nervous to meet the newest member of our family.
My mom was already in town watching T (as daycare was closed that week), so it gave me great peace of mind that he was already taken care of - at least one thing was going as I had 'planned'.. We let our family know what was going on, my SIL graciously sped across town to bring us Chick-fil-a (good protein/craving/tradition); I tried to gather last-minute things I thought I might need in my bag, we stood in a circle, held each other and prayed.
Again, with tears streaming down my face, we hugged T and then headed to the hospital. I asked what the date was, October 23rd - this would be her birthday. We got checked in, into our room, and met our labor/delivery nurse, Marika (a God-send who was amazing!!). We let her know our birth plan; she was sensitive, supportive, and personable. By 1:12pm the Pitocin was flowing and we were commenting how thankful we were to have a room with a view.
(Because we had family out of town and they weren't at the hospital this time, the Mr. was keeping in contact with them all through group text, so we have that 'record' of his messages/updates, hence the specific times.) :)
At the beginning, I was sitting/laying in the bed, just resting and hanging out, not really sure what to do. We watched some of a show called 'Drunk History', HILARIOUS. Contractions were starting and seemed and becoming very noticeable, even uncomfortable, I knew they would obviously be worse so I tried to shrug them off and ignore them as much as I could.
I knew laying there wasn't going to help move labor along, I was bored, and contractions seemed more uncomfortable. We requested the wireless monitors so we could walk the halls (when on Pitocin, the baby must be monitored ALL the time). After maybe 2 laps around the labor & delivery floor, our nurse called us back as the monitors weren't reaching, plus we had the IV stand to drag along so we ended up back in our room. It was probably now in the 3 o'clock hour and contractions were definitely picking up, I started walking 'laps' in my room as I had to do something. We had a few honey sticks as I looked out the window and thought about how much more 'work' there was to do..
At 3:53pm, the Mr. told the family 'contractions seem to be a bit more serious now..' I started to turn inward, trying to focus yet not think about each contraction too much, the Mr.'s jokes were getting less and less funny.. We had on the relaxation station on Pandora, highly recommended, and I was holding onto the Mr. during contractions - either sitting down and leaning into him or standing with my head nestled in his neck and him helping hold me up.. Somehow I felt like having contact with him, having him just touch me, lay a hand on me, anything, it was helping pass through each contraction. Like the pain was dissipating through that point of contact, a small reminder I wasn't there alone.. I tried my best to keep moving, walking small laps around the open part in our room, but stopping at each contraction, reaching out for the Mr. to help me through.
My doctor was by around 5:01pm to check my progress, 5cm dilated. We decided he would break my water to help move things along, but when he tried, he wasn't able to as the baby was already pressed down that much and there just wasn't enough fluids there for him to be able to snag the bag. It was uncomfortable and I didn't know what to expect, but hearing I was only 5cm dilated was a little upsetting as I was pretty uncomfortable and it's hard to imagine after all that, you're only half-way there..
Even though my water didn't break, things really seemed to pick up - contractions were very intense and I think I was staying in the bed. Our nurse was in checking on us and I was. in. pain. According to our group text records, at 5:35pm I was at a 7-8cm and starting transition, aka the worst part. The worst part where you don't think rationally:
I didn't want checked because I was afraid I wasn't progressing and I couldn't imagine continuing longer..
I knew if I was talking 'crazy' that would mean I was in transition (hence, almost done) so I wanted to be saying something, something 'crazy'..
I could hear the Mr. and the nurse talking about me, I wanted to holler, 'why are you talking about me, I'm right here..'
My body was turning to stone.. I felt like the people of Pompeii, but like 'freezing' from the inside out. I was heavy and couldn't lift my arm if I tried.. I was turning to stone..
The room was shrinking around me and I was like a huge statue curled up in the corner, pressing up against the walls and ceiling..
I wanted someone to touch me, take this pain away from me. Don't just stand there, please give me a pillow or fast forward time, just make this baby magically appear..
I was in pain and wanted to freak out and scream and cry and flip shit..
The nurse asked if I felt like I needed to push - if I say yes, then that will make it time, even though it wasn't time, I knew I wasn't quite there yet..
Something within me kept me calm and collected and I just tried to breathe - deep and low, pushing my breaths out my throat as relaxing and as hard as I could. I knew I needed to relax my body to make the most of each contraction.
I kept having small feelings of 'maybe I need to push', but I knew it wasn't IT. Then, according to the group text, at 5:53pm, the Mr. let our families know '9cm or so. Probably not long until she pushes'. My body started trembling, almost a feeling of convulsing and I knew, and the Mr. and my nurse could also tell, it was time to push.
The doctor and a few more nurses hurried in. I just wanted to be done, I was tired. I was waiting for someone to count for me to push, but I knew I had to wait until I felt ready to. I remember the feeling being so overwhelming, more than I remembered before and I was going to push until she was here. I wanted this over with. IT HURT. I was tired but trying to muster every ounce of energy from the pits of my body and pushed.
It felt like longer, but after only 10 minutes, at 6:03pm Harper Ann was born and at 6:09pm the Mr. introduced her, via group text to our family.
She was perfect and healthy, and we did it.
Again, that rush of all sorts of emotions I had experienced before; again, they weren't exactly as other moms often explain. I was thankful, scared, happy, and worried. I couldn't stop looking at her, this was the little being that was growing inside of me, and now she was here. So many feelings, I can't even explained.
We have a daughter!!
So many moments of this day seem vivid and clear as can be, while others are faded and blurry and already 'fading' away. I want to hold on to as much of it as I can; I know as the days/months/years pass, it'll only continue to fade more. I'm just so thankful for this day, this experience, but most importantly for this little girl that has joined our family.
I'm happy to discuss further labor/delivery or answer any questions anyone might have re: drug-free/hospital births, in particular. Please feel free to comment below or email me directly. :)