Well, here I am a new mommy. I never new how surreal and awesome it would be to hear myself say those words.
After a 50 hour natural labor, only to end end in a c section, I have decided to document my labor story to look back on and always remember the many lessons learned through baby Preson's triumphal entry into this world.
A couple of weeks before my due date, I sat in the middle of a circle of prayer warriors at a house church. They each went around laying hands on me and praying for me as I gave my final fears over to God of this natural childbirth that was to soon approach. At the end of the prayer time, a good friend explained to me that during the prayer time, God had brought to his mind a famous painting by Monet, entitled "Rue Montorgueil Decked Out with Flags". A painting that was full of life and festivity that exploded with thousands of flags. He explained that he felt God was telling him that Preson's entry was going to be a triumphal one. I immediately felt so relieved as I took this as a God putting my fears to rest. In the back of my mind, I wondered if the triumphal entry would happen in the way I imagined it would (success), or if there would be some dramatic lesson to be learned as God always tends to choose for me. Regardless, I placed all my fears in Gods hands and simply asked him to prepare me for what was to come.
My husband and I chose to go with a natural labor because of all the benefits it would bring to our little one- physically and emotionally. We were so determined, that we didn't even want the option of drugs had they been available, so we decided to use a birth center and take an intense 12 week (2 1/2 hour sessions each)child birthing class to prepare us for the labor process and to become fully educated on what was to come.
My due date was March 1st which came and went with no signs of labor. I had prepared myself not to expect to go into labor on my due date- in fact I thought it would be a good week or so after before anything happened. I was told that to get things moving, walking (among other things)was a very good thing to get the baby shifting down.
The next day, March 2nd My husband and I went to the zoo to get some walking in and then walked a couple of miles in Ybor city that night with Tommy's family. We parked as far as possible from the restaurant. After dinner that night, I settled in for the evening with the final episode of "the bachelor" :) Yes, I was one of THOSE that became addicted! I got up during a commercial to make myself some capri (weird prego craving, i know) and as I was coming back into the living room, the bachelor was talking about how he was going to dump Melissa for the other girl. I was so shocked as I was about to take my seat, that I didnt see the dog under me and I tripped and fell on my 9 month and a day old belly- slightly catching myself on my elbow. I was so freaked out. I decided I would count fetal movements and if all was ok in that area, I would wait until morning to call my midwife, chris.
Well, at 6:30 am I started feeling contractions. I tried to keep sleeping, but I was just too excited. I told Tommy and we started counting contractions between sleep intervals. They were irregular and sporadic. So at 830 am we called our midwife and she told us to come in to see where we were in terms of progression. At about 11am, we headed over and explained what had happened with the fall I had taken the previous night. She monitored my contractions and checked me. For you mom's out there, I was 3 cm dilated, stationed -1 (the position of the baby's head in regard to my pelvis),75% effaced and ripened cervix. I was in early labor!
We called our families and told them the good news and told them not to jump the gun, since we were thinking it was going to be a long labor. Of course most of our family ignored us and started revving up to go to the birth center anyways. We, on the other hand, decided to head back home to labor as much as possible and see if the contractions would regulate. The contractions were painful, but still somewhat manageable for the rest of that day. I was like, "ok, ok- I can do this!"
The next morning- yet again at 630 am- exactly 24 hours later, the contractions really jumped into 2nd gear. I continued to labor at home as long as the contractions were irregular. They were becoming closer together, but still not as regular as I was expecting them to become. We called our doula over to the house at around 12pm and she did reflexology and massage on certain pressure points. I did a LOT of walking, lunges, squats, and birth ball exercises. I got to the place where I had to stop talking and walking to focus on my contractions, but they were still very irregular. At about 3pm we decided to head over to the birth center so that we wouldn't end up sitting in rush hour traffic on the
bridge. My doula reminded me not to get discouraged if I was only at 5 or 7 cm. when I got checked into the birth center.
When we arrived, my midwife checked me and optimistically let me know I was still at at the same place I had been before. I about started crying. I didn't see how it was possible since I was in so much more pain than before! Tommy continued to coach me through all the millions of Bradley Method exercises for the next 5 hours. At about 9pm I was at 8 cm and still stationed at -1. The contractions were just about unbearable. It was really true- it felt like the hand of God had reached into me and was squeezing with all his might! I stayed very focused and, as much as was possible, stayed on top of the pain for the next 9 hours.
Looking back it was a blur, but I can remember a moment where I was laying on the bed with all my loved ones around me trying to assist in any way they could. I remember starting to lose control- my whole body shaking violently, moaning at the top of my lungs and crying out to have someone pray. I remember my doula jumping in front of my face and commanding me to get on top of the pain- to get back in control. Once the prayer was spoken, there was a supernatural peace that came over me. I went and got in the hot tub with Tommy and regained control of the pain. I was not allowed to stay in there long as my doula didn't want me to get too relaxed- we wanted to get that baby out! I was so tired, I was falling asleep in between my contractions. At this point I had been in labor for about 50 hours and active/hard labor for 24 hours. At 6am, my midwife's student, Karen checked my progression. I was still at the same place, 8cm and STILL stationed at -1! I remained very focused and just wanted to keep laboring and doing whatever it took to get this baby into our arms! My midwife and her student disappeared for a few minutes and then reappeared with concern written on their faces. They explained to us that the baby's head was in a transverse position. I asked them what that meant and they explained that rather than the baby's head being tucked chin-down, his head was turned to the side and chin- up. Basically he was stuck on my pelvis and was not dropping down into position. I asked them what that meant and they explained that at that point, they would need to do a hospital transport. I was devastated! I had myself a good cry and then Tommy shifted into "lets get out of here!" mode. I moaned and leaned on Tommy all the way to the hospital to cope with the pain. When I got to the hospital, it was every stereotype I ever thought it would be: Impersonal, rude and impatient. They referred to me the whole time as "the patient" rather than my name. My midwife and the doctors insisted they give me relief for the pain. They explained that my body was just too exhausted to push through and if I didn't let my body relax, the baby would go into shock and I would also go into shock. After 2 hours of waiting for the anesthesiologist, I was finally given relief for the pain. The last I remember of the contractions, they were right on top of each other- triple peaking with only about 10 seconds in between.
After 2 more hours, the hospital's midwife came in and told me I would have to get a cesarean. Both Tommy and I were again, just absolutely devastated. She explained her cesarian rate was only 3%, and mine was not an option.
They immediately went to it and took me into the operating room.
I tried to stay positive for Tommy as he was just completely emotionally spent. I knew God was in control and we were not (as is the story of our lives!) All I could think about was how we were FINALLY going to meet our son! I began rambling off all the things I hoped they would do for us from my birth plan- immediate skin to skin, waiting to cut the umbilical cord, etc. Most of which they were not able to comply with.
Me and Tommy awaited patiently as they performed the surgery...and then I heard it! His sweet little baby cry!! It was surreal as he was lifted up and I saw this head full of strawberry blonde hair. All I could think of was "thats our baby son...and look at that head of hair!!":o) They let me kiss his little red face and then took him to the side for the apgar tests and Tommy followed to cut the umbilical cord. I was wheeled off to recovery while Tommy stayed with the baby. A couple of minutes later they brought my baby to me and set him on my chest. The nurse that assisted me, said that in the 5 years she had been there, she had never seen them bring a baby to the mommy after a c section to establish breast feeding. It was amazing.
After 3 days, and countless visitors later, we were released to go home and be a family. It has since completely rocked our world. It has been awesome, exhausting, loving and hard. SO many lessons to be learned through this experience. People wonder why it was such a big deal to have the natural childbirth. To which my response is- I don't know how to put it into words- it just was. I have dealt with it and laid it to rest. All I know is that God's plan is perfect- my plans are not. I can try to have my ducks in a row all I want and God will still always have his way in my life. He has to be the one that's in control. My midwife repeated over and over throughout my time at the hospital, "healthy baby, healthy mom- that is the goal" In the end, it truly was, in more ways than one, a triumphal entry. It is all about surrendering to Him. I now have a beautiful healthy baby boy and I am almost fully recovered as well. Psalm 139