This is the birth story of our first born, our son, Anderson.
Anderson was due on Monday, December 19th. All of my appointments came & went & I didn't progress much, if at all. My last Dr.'s appointment was on Tuesday, the 20th, and I knew that we would schedule an induction. AW & I had the plan to do a natural childbirth, we had a doula lined up and everything. I had done lots of homework and had even read the super-granola Ina May's Guide to Natural Childbirth.
AW had saved up almost all of his vacation time for the end of the year for Anderson's big arrival. Well, the year was quickly coming to a close and we did not want him to lose that time off. He made arrangements to start his vacation at a certain point and we were praying that Anderson would come on his own so that AW would have plenty of time at home with us. As much as we wanted a spontaneous, natural birth, it became more important to us that AW have time at home so we scheduled an induction for Tuesday, December 27th. Now just because I was to be induced didn't mean I couldn't still go natural, it just meant it would be harder plus it increased my chances of ending up in a cesarean, which I really REALLY did not want to happen.
We weren't morally opposed to an epidural or anything like that. We just decided we wanted to go natural but if for some reason we changed our mind we would be ok with that too. After all, we had never experienced this side of birth before.
Now, let me back up just a little bit...When we found out we were pregnant we were so excited. Actually, AW was more excited & I was more "what-the-crap-did-we-do"?! Anyways, throughout our marriage we have seen God's provision over & over in different ways. AW & I both have always wanted me to be able to stay home with our children and we both acknowledged that would require sacrifices. Well, I knew I would be able to stay home but it would be really, really hard. I began praying and just prayed that the Lord would provide. I truly had peace about it for months even though I had no idea what His provision would look like. I knew He had given us this baby & He would provide as He saw fit. Well, He provided in a big way this fall through AW's job. We were both so overwhelmed and grateful but really I wasn't that surprised because I knew He knew what we needed and I was going to Him daily with my concerns.
Back to birth week. I had been praying and praying that the Lord would let Anderson come on his own in time for AW to have plenty of time at home with us. As of the day AFTER his due date I still wasn't dilated and was very discouraged. During the previous week or two the Lord had brought 1 Peter 5:7 to mind. It says, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." ...He CARES for you... What a thought I so easily forget. I am quick to let the Lord know what I need and want but I am also quick to forget that He CARES! How silly!
So, I began really trusting that the Lord not only knew but cared about what AW & I wanted. I just kept praying continuously...
Tuesday: I left the Dr.'s office at 5:15p.m. discouraged but still trusting with an induction scheduled for the following week.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21:
2am: I woke up with what I thought to be some awful stomach flu. I ran to the bathroom preparing to die a disgusting death but nothing happened. After I woke up fully and got my wits about me I realized who had given me this...AW. No, it wasn't the stomach flu it was contractions. Like, the real-deal-have-to-focus-through contractions. I got back in bed & worked through constant contractions for about 2 hrs. The whole time I was debating whether or not I should call my mom & call Rachel, our friend & doula. I decided that if I was debating then the answer was no. I just worked through them on my own, which wasn't so easy but do-able. The hardest part was not freaking out about the to-do list running through my mind. Wash our bedding, pack our bags, wipe the bathroom counters, vacuum, do as much laundry as possible, etc.
4:30am: I fell asleep for 2 hours
6:30am: I awoke with more contractions doing the same pattern they had done earlier that morning. Ouch!
8:00am: I went back to sleep with the contractions having subsided.
10:00am: I woke up yet again with contractions & decided to text both my mom & Rachel. I was really getting nervous & decided I had better start on my to-do list. I told my mom I really didn't have time to go into labor & she said, "Yes you do! It's exactly what you have time for!"
So, I began doing laundry, cleaning my bathroom & basically going around our apartment like a mad lady. The whole time texting Rachel. She kept telling me "Just rest." "Rest." "Keep resting." ...oops.
1:00pm: I decided I would lay down for 30 minutes solid and rest and time my contractions. I had noticed they weren't as strong or as regular when I was moving around so that is one reason I had kept busy all morning. In 30 minutes I had 6 decent contractions. I decided to go to my brother's basketball game because I felt like it would be the last one I got to go to for a while. I took a shower and drove to the school gym. Let me suggest NOT driving while having contractions. Anyways, it was a good game, they won & we gave the referees a good heckling. I drove back home, again, NOT fun!
5:00pm: I finally arrived home through all of the holiday traffic and decided to lay down for a while. In the meantime AW came home from work, cooked dinner & we decided to go see our friends who had had their baby the night before. The contractions were coming on pretty strong & regularly at this point. AW was concerned but I told him I was fine. On the way to the hospital I had a few really strong contractions & he wanted to go back home but I knew if we didn't visit with our friends that night it would be a few weeks before we would get to see them. I knew...
9:00 We get back home from visiting our friends and their sweet baby boy & I know that I am in labor. For real. We had been in constant communication with Rachel, our doula, the whole time.
10:30pm: Rachel comes over to our home and agrees I'm in labor. The contractions were 3-5minutes apart and lasting 30-60seconds. As the night progressed they were coming faster & lasting longer. We labored in our bedroom with me on Rachel's birth ball leaned over a stack of pillows on our bed. At one point I began to cry & I said I wasn't ready to have a baby. I didn't want to go to the hospital. I just couldn't do it all & wasn't ready. Besides, what if this WASN'T the real deal? I would be crushed mentally. Rachel said, "Laura, this IS the real deal. In fact, I'm going to say that December 22 is going to be your son's, Anderson's, birthday." I just looked at her. She got me to walk around our living room and then I would "prom dance" with AW when a contraction came. I'm not sure how long we did the walking/prom dance thing but at one point I had a 2 minute long, double peak contraction and she decided it was time to go to the hospital.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22:
1:30am: We arrive at the hospital & I can sense AW's excitement. We get set up in a room and the Dr. comes in to check me. I just KNEW he was going to say 6 or 7 cms...
I'm sorry, WHAT?!
I was upset. "I'm a wimp!" "You're not a wimp" "You're not a wimp" everyone said.
"I'm a wimp!"
"Sometimes going 0-4 is the hardest part of some women" the Dr. said.
Ok, fine, maybe that was me. I was already a 3, just one more cm & I'd be through the hardest part...right? It had all happened so quickly already I knew I could do it. My parents arrived at some point and the laboring continued. We walked the halls for a while, me prom dancing with AW & Rachel applying counter-pressure on my back. We labored and labored and labored.
6:00am: My Dr. is now on-call and comes in to check me. Still 3cms. The same. At this point we are all exhausted. I had been up since 10am the Wednesday morning, AW since 5am Wednesday morning & Rachel & my parents probably about the same.
6:30am: We decide that everyone needs some rest so I'm given NuBain (I have NO idea how to spell it) which helps me to sleep for a couple of hours although I could still DEFINITELY feel the contractions which were happening about every 2 minutes, so really, "sleep" is a term I use loosely here. AW stretches out in the recliner in the room. My parents & Rachel all go home.
10:30am: Everyone returns to L&D with coffees & Diet Cokes in hand and we regroup. Rachel tries to assess if maybe there are some mental blocks that are causing physical blocks. We talk & she tells me she knows I don't like to be touched but could we try the next 3 contractions using a relaxation method she knows. Sure. So we try it & I'm really focused & it goes great. The contractions were handled so much more smoothly. We continue to labor for 2 more hours.
12:30-ish pm: The Dr. comes back in to check me. Alright, game time. I KNEW things had gotten going now. It had been 6 hours since my last check & 11 hours since we'd checked into the hospital & 34 hours since the first real contraction!
I'm sorry, WHAT?! ARE.YOU.KIDDING.ME?!
My Doc lays out my options:
1. Go home -- HECK NO, was I going home! I was invested in this process & I wasn't leaving until I had a baby. I don't care how it happens anymore!
2. Start Pitocin -- ok..not the best option because it lowers my chance for a natural childbirth but I don't really give a crap anymore because HOW LONG CAN A PERSON REALLY LABOR FOR?!?!?!
3. Start Pitocin & break my water -- really, REALLY don't want to have my water broken because that puts us on a time clock & at this rate I was going to labor forever... & die.
He leaves us to discuss our options and says he'll be back in about an hour.
1:30pm: I tell him to start the pitocin, there was no way I was going home. I think my mom might have physically breathed a sigh of relief that I had decided to not go home.
After this point, the details get a little hazy & I'm sorry I might get something wrong...but really you probably won't even notice**
At some point I got really angry. I can't remember why or what exactly set me off. Maybe if was nothing more than just another contraction, but I flipped. Rachel was talking me through a contraction, I think...
"I don't want to do this anymore! I'm done! I want to go home! I'm done with this! I don't care anymore, when I hit 4 I'm getting the drugs! I don't care!"
Rachel attempts to bring me back down
"Stop telling me what to do! Stop touching me! I'm done!"
My mom tries to bring me back down, "Just calm down. Try to relax..."
"Don't tell me to calm down! I'm done! I don't want to do this anymore!"
Rachel helped me move to the shower where I sat on the birth ball and she sprayed my back. It was amazing! It was probably the best I had felt yet. I did have to start wearing the monitors full-time because of the pit but it *almost* didn't matter because that water on my back was AMAZING! As I came back around I felt really bad for yelling at everybody. I apologized to Rachel as she was sitting there spraying me and she was so kind, "Please, don't even worry about it or think about it."
It felt like I had only been in there for about a minute when the nurse came in to say the baby's heart rate was too high & I had to get back in bed. I was really upset. I labored over the back of the bed for a while and finally thought something HAD to be happening. I asked to be checked & sure enough I had progressed!
I was 5-6cms the nurse said!
PRAISE THE LORD!
I continued to labor & mentally conversed with myself,
"Ok, this is it. Do you want the epidural?"
"But remember there is a chance it could slow your labor down."
"Right, right...I've progressed so quickly now. I can NOT risk this taking any longer!"
"Ok, so no epidural?"
I had to have this conversation with myself several times of course but I made up my mind to forge ahead. I can't remember exactly what all happened next...I blocked it out I'm sure. I just kept laboring. At some point I got to get back in the shower. That was good. Really good. After an amount of time I'm completely unaware of, I decided I wanted to get out. I didn't know what exactly I wanted to do next but I just felt I had to get out. I made it a whole 2 feet to the toilet when I just couldn't take another step. I had to rest. AW was applying counter-pressure to my back but in order to reach me he had to reach over one of the new, fancy automatic trash cans.
So there I am trying to work through these contractions, feeling a need to go to the bathroom but knowing that wasn't what I needed at all when this STUPID trash can lid starts going up, down, up, down, the whole time making that horrible noise & wafting the smell of a spicy chicken sandwich my way.
"Get that thing out of here or I'm going to BREAK IT!!!...What is it still doing here?! GET IT OUT!...MOVE IT!!!"
The trash can was moved.
I made it back to the bed eventually where they checked me again. 8-9cms. WOOHOO!!!
This was one of the worst parts I think because all I felt was the urge to push & bear down & everyone kept telling me NOT to.
How can you not?! It's ALL I wanted to do. In fact at one point I went to bear down & bit Rachel's knee...my bad. Don't worry I've apologized & I really didn't do it out of meanness, it was just some weird need to bite something.
Have you had a baby? ...Then stop judging me.
Anyways, at some point I just knew it had to be time to push. Our awesome nurse, Daphney, checked me & when she did my water broke AND she said I was 10cms!!!
At this point there was a total mental switch. Before I hated the contractions & couldn't wait for them to end. Now that I was pushing it felt so good! I would get frustrated when the contractions would end & I couldn't keep pushing. I just wanted to push until he was out & just be done.
They got a mirror so I could see what was happening when I would push. At one point I saw a nose! Overall I think I pushed for about an hour & a half. I felt a big rush of relief and the contraction was over & when I looked up there he was. My Dr. was holding my baby & I could see that incredibly long umbilical cord. It was amazing!
It was over.
6:36 p.m. Anderson had finally arrived.
From the first contraction on Wednesday morning at 2am it had been 42 hours.
We had been in L&D 17 hours.
I hadn't eaten for 27 hours.
But we did it!
Come to find out he had been posterior. That was the cause of all the trouble & why I had stayed at 3cms for FOREVER. Also the reason he had two major dents in the top of his head, swollen eyes, scratches & a very flat nose. Poor baby. But of course he was still beautiful.
Reflecting back I am definitely glad I didn't get the epidural because I don't think I would have been able to push him out or push as effectively due to just sheer exhaustion. Because I could feel everything I was able to keep going. I don't know if I'll go natural next time but this time it was definitely the best decision. In fact, I don't know if there will be a next time. GOOD GRIEF.
Now it's been 9 days and we've been home for a week. He has been the sweetest baby. He eats wonderfully, he only cries when we change his diaper & he is the world's BEST snuggler. He curls up so sweetly on my chest after I feed him. Breastfeeding has been a true joy. Challenging at times but overall a wonderful experience.
I am SO grateful for my husband, my mom & Rachel (who's not only our doula but friend). I absolutely could NOT have done it without any of them. Having this baby in our life has been so fun & such a joy.
Here he is at 1 week looking much better & so stinkin' cute: