So here we go:
I left off with a decision that it was indeed time to go to the hospital. Looking back, I can tell you that on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst, my pain was probably at a 7. I wasn't able to do anything other than breathe during the contractions, but I wasn't crying or yelling...yet! We got in the car and I immediately turned on some Seeds Family Worship. The very first song was perfect, saying--"Call to me and I will answer you..." Jeremiah 33:3. The whole drive to the hospital involved me timing the contractions on the contraction app and praying the words of these verses as they poured through the speakers and lots and lots of breathing! Kev drove like a champ! I think he would have preferred being in the hospital at this point.
We pulled up to the hospital right around 3 p.m. and Kev got someone from the desk to come get me with a wheelchair and take me upstairs while he parked the car. Abbie met me upstairs and was with me while the nurse questioned why I was there. I just kind of looked at the nurse, thinking, Really? You can't tell I'm in labor? I'm sure she has false labor patients all the time, but at the time, I figured she should just know! I finally told her that I'd been in labor all day, I was past due, I'd seen the doc the day before, and how close the contractions were. Kev came and swapped places with Abbie. They admitted me and the nurse checked me. I was at 4-5 cm dilated. My heart just sank and I almost completely lost my resolve to have this baby naturally. I was so bummed. I'd really expected at least a 7 or 8 after all the contractions all day, but to be about the same as I'd been the day before was just ridiculous.
Once I got settled and hooked up in the delivery room, I had to answer all these stupid (I'm sure they were necessary) questions while I'm having some pretty serious contractions. I found out that my doctor was listed as not available so she would not be there, but luckily the on-call doc was someone I had dealt with before and liked and it was a female doc so I was quite relieved. However, she wanted to hook me up to an iv and I didn't want that so we had to go through the motions of me refusing the line. My awesome doula was constantly texting back and forth (all day) with a friend of hers who's a certified doula and another mutual friend who's a labor and delivery nurse. They were giving us advice and letting us know that it was indeed okay if I refused the iv.
Once we got through all the necessary paperwork and questions, I put my headphones on and turned on my labor playlist of worship songs. After a while of contracting in one position, Abbie suggested a different position. I was open to suggestions and tried it out. After one contraction in this position, I was done! All I could think was that I had given it a good try and it was time for that epidural. I was feeling a little guilty though because at that moment, I was hearing Alan Jackson singing "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus". At that point, all I wanted to hear was get some drugs! I asked Kev if he'd be disappointed in me if I got the epidural and he and Abbie comforted me and reassured me that I had done a great job and if I wanted it, then I should get it. Then Abbie said I should get checked first. I'm thinking, Great! Now they can tell me I'm at a 5-6! Then I can get some drugs! The nurse checked me and lo and behold, I'm at 8 cm! I had hit that part of labor called "transition" where you feel like you just can't go on, but things are supposed to go a little quicker from this point. I'm thinking, Well that sucks--now it's too late for the epidural and I have to go through with this stupid natural labor idea after all! I was also a little relieved that I had progressed more than I thought. The nurse also mentioned that the sac was bulging and that once my water finally broke, I would probably be complete and ready to push. This was quite encouraging!
So now every contraction has me focusing on trying to break my water. I was trying so hard to will my water to break. I don't think that helped with the pain management. I think the contractions from here on out were the worst part. There was no moving to try a new position because every time I tried to move, it just triggered another contraction and paralyzed me. It was probably not the best position for laboring, but at least I was upright. The contractions were not gradual. They started with the tightening, only to jump straight up into the worst pain ever! During these contractions, my head was resting on either Kev's or Abbie's shoulder and I was squeezing the life out of one of their hands. I had my music going and just lost all track of time. The pain became so much that I had a hard time focusing on breathing and traded breathing for crying out, only to have my coaches remind me to breathe, encourage me some more, and pray over me. I had the best team I could've imagined. God knew what He was doing when He put these people in my life!
At some point, I heard someone come into the room and introduce himself and talk to me. I was having a contraction so I couldn't respond. I only heard bits and pieces and I could barely make out a figure bending over or sitting in a chair or something so that he was at my level. Apparently people were looking at him like he was crazy because I hear him ask, "She's at a 5, right?" I'm pretty sure that if I had been any more conscious and able to control my movements, I might have thrown something at him. He was told that I was at an 8 and he quickly apologized and high-tailed it out of there. He was the anesthesiologist and he'd come to offer his services in case I wanted an epidural (if only he knew how much I wanted one at this point!). The nurse apologized and told us that the anesthesiologists were supposed to check with the nurses before entering a patient's room and taunting them with promises of pain relief! What a tease!
Some time later, Doctor N. came in to check on me and offered to break my water. I remember that the whole mentally willing my water to break was not working for me so after a quick consult with Kev and Abbie, I said yes. As soon as my water broke, the pain intensified slightly and with the first contraction, I quickly called out through gasps, "I feel pressure!" I think the doctor had started to leave because she turned right around and got dressed and the nurses got ready. I don't think they moved fast enough for my happiness, but I don't think I could've been pleased at that moment with anything more than drugs or the birth of my baby! So with it being time to push, Abbie
Let me tell you how awesome God's timing is. At this point, I'm reminded to praise God more through my music. "My heart overflows on You with joy like a river flowing free. I pour out my praise, oh Lord receive this anointing. I lay my glory down at your feet for the honor of Your name becomes my dignity. You deserve much more than this, let me saturate You with my fragrant praise. I worship You."
Pushing Wyatt and Maggie was a breeze! Pushing without an epidural: not so much! It's much harder to focus on how to push, when you can actually feel all the pain Eve caused us to be cursed with. After a couple of unsuccessful tries (I could see the doctor and nurse exchange glances as the doctor shook her head), Doctor N helps me out. She tells me to close my mouth and then push. This was actually helpful. As soon as I did this, I knew I was doing it right. It still hurt like nothing else, but at least I was making progress again. I recall telling Kevin a couple times during this time of pushing that I wanted an epidural if we have another kid. I remember thinking, "I can't do this. I'm so tired (I'd pretty much been up since 3 that morning), they're going to have to cut this kid out of me because this is too hard". I'm not sure how long I pushed, but I know it probably wasn't much longer than the other two times (maybe 20 minutes). Finally, at 5:26 p.m., Grady Alexander came on out. As they laid him on me, I looked down at our perfect little man and I was just so relieved that it was over. I told Grady that he would be my only natural birth experience. I was not going to do this again.
As I'm holding this precious gift, I hear my music again: "Taste and see that life is better than you thought it was. Taste and see that God is good no matter what. Taste and see that life abundantly is what He's got. Taste and See!"
My heart is overflowing with so much love for our newest addition! He is amazing and we thank God everyday for the blessings He's bestowed upon us!
Now that some time has passed, I don't know what decision I will make if God blesses us again. However, I do know that some of the factors that led to the decision this time, will weigh heavily on my decision if we do this again. Are we going to have more kids? Only God knows! At this point, we're enjoying the blessings He's already given and we strive to follow His will for this area of our lives.
**I was going to share a picture to reward you for reading the whole post (probably my longest one to date), but blogger's being a pain and won't do it right. I'll try to share some on the next post.