I love a good labor and delivery story. It seems women never tire of sharing how their little ones made it to the world. We put our lives on the line for them and regardless of the pain or misery, it is always so very, very worth it. The story is long-so don't feel like you have to read it! It's for me anyway. To tell story number five, I have to start with number one.
Abbie's delivery was traumatic for me and not anywhere close to what I had imagined it would be. Having said that, compared to other women, it went amazingly well. My doctor talked me into being induced early (later found out he was headed on vacation the next day). I was already dilated and effaced and he assured me it would go well. I had vision of a natural childbirth but once the pitocin entered my system, I knew that was out of the question. It was way too painful and I asked for an epidural. I dilated quickly, just as he assured I would, but spent the next two hours in misery as I tried to push her out. It ended in a huge episiotomy that would take me weeks to fully recover from and a resolve to take control of future births. And that is just what I did.
When I got pregnant with Connor I checked out every book I could find on natural childbirth and found a midwife who would support me. I trained Rick on what I would need during labor and delivery and spent time practicing relaxation techniques. It all paid off. Connor's birth was as perfect as they get and I learned that my body is made to have babies.
Grant's birth was almost identical to both Emily and Holly's birth. Now, here's the story:
For months, I have Braxton Hicks. They get stronger and stronger as the due date approaches. Often, they are painful and frequent enough that I begin timing them, only to become frustrated after a few hours when they stop. It gets very frustrating and depressing near the end. Especially because many nights I would wake up because of the pain of the contractions, be up for hours, only to have them stop. I would spend the day sleep deprived and wondering what it would take for the baby to come.
Monday night (Tuesday morning) wasn't any different. I woke up at 1:00 am to contractions. Because the same thing had happened just a few nights before, I didn't think anything of it. I tried sleeping on the couch and would fall asleep only to wake to another contractions. After an hour I started timing them but would still fall asleep in between the 10 minute contractions. It wasn't until 4:00 that the contractions went from 10 minutes to 5. I started packing my bags-more just to have something to do and to put these contractions to the test. After 3o minutes the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and I finally believed it to be the real thing. I woke Rick up at 4:30. We continued to pack, time contractions and call Steph. Rick gave me a blessing, so grateful to have that added strength, and we were off. I called Heather on the way to the hospital and we made it by 5:30. They checked me, and as with every other birth, were amazed that I was as dilated as I was. By this point I was at a 6. Because I am strep positive and I am suppose to get antibiotics in me before the baby is born, they speed things up at this point.
They hurried me to the delivery room where they put in the IV and where I spent the next hour becoming completely dilated. Rick was an awesome coach as always, and though painful, I was amazed at how manageable it was. That was until I felt the need to push and they encouraged me to wait. The first dose of the antibiotics (they had already given up hope on getting the required two doses) hadn't been in long and they wanted to give it a bit more time. Yeah, right. I had absolutely no pain medication in me and was able to feel everything. You can't tell a woman not to push when her body is telling her to do just that. I begged them to break my waters, knowing from the past four births, that this step was essential for me to completely dilate and be able to push. Because midwives are awesome, they trusted me and did what I needed. With the waters broken, I dilated to a 10 after an excruciating transition and was able to start pushing.
All of my babies heads are turned the wrong way (always head down, just not facing the right way), so pushing gets tricky. It took an exhausting hour to finally get him out. Because I had full control of my body, I was able to try all different positions which helped keep me focused. When he finally turned the right way and made it out, I felt such huge relief and sobbed as I held my sweet newborn. I couldn't believe that he had made it, and that I had accomplished giving birth for the fifth time. It was one of those unforgettable, perfect moments. The midwife handed him to me as soon as he came out and I stared in amazement at my son. He didn't even cry but was perfectly healthy. He spent the next 1 1/2 hours in my arms with eyes wide open, taking in his new world. He found his finger at one point and sucked on it-something I'm sure he had been doing in the womb. He also nursed without any problems. That bit of time made every ache and pain over the past 9 mos. worth it. I was so happy to have my baby boy safely in my arms.
He is almost a week now. I feel much better than I did being pregnant last week at this time . My brothers always tease me about my great ability to have children. They wonder why I don't just squat in the field, have the baby, and get back to work. Though we joke about it, I really have been very blessed with amazing pregnancies and births. I suppose that's why I was able to convince myself that I could handle five kids. There have been those moments, however, when Rick and I assess our family of seven and just shake our heads in disbelief. I suppose we will just hang on tight and enjoy the ride, regardless of how crazy it gets at times.