it's crazy, after 16 months those moments are burned so deeply in my brain and into my heart. even in the midst of massive emotional turmoil, extreme pain, and sleep deprivation - the waves of seconds that swelled into hours that built up to the moment my little boy arrived are still in vibrant colors swimming around in my memory. even clearer than my wedding day - because i suppose, a wedding day isn't the day you fall in love. but this day, these moments, love and introduction collide and your world explodes.
i mean, there is nothing, nothing like becoming a mother. i feel as time has passed, and i have grown into this role thrust upon me - i can say it with even more honesty. there is nothing, nothing like becoming a mother. nothing.
to carry a being within your very own frame, bring them, a breathing soul, out from a deep place of pain, and then hold them at your breast (as all mothers do) for months as they become little, REAL people to stand and live on their own. i mean, it's absurd that the Lord has given such weak persons such grave responsibility. and that's why He is love, because He takes us on as partners and gives us the grace to lean on Him in the process.
and now back to the story:
i received the dreaded epidural with no problems. i was so disappointed, not as much in myself - as i knew deep down i had done everything i could to endure. i had been in labor for 32 hours. i hadn't slept for 45 hours. and i was fighting passing out, and making it through contractions induced by medicine- those that came in at a peak and left at a peak for 10-15 second "rests" in between. i knew i couldn't go any longer. i was disappointed in the turn of events. that's where my emotion was directed. this was not as planned. this wasn't very fair. and i wasn't understanding why my body was battling the process.
once my medicine kicked in, my blood pressure dropped (naturally, as you can imagine would happen when medicine that paralyzes your bottom half is administered) and the anesthesiologist said he wanted to give me adrenaline. at this point, my calm and collected husband takes center stage.
he, at first, calmly asked, "will that effect the baby?"
to which the doctor responded, "oh no, not at all. it won't even get to the baby..." (CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?! that is absolutely false. so ridiculous.)
ricky then stood up out of his chair, and i remember this so clearly, and says to the doctor (and all the nurses, and anyone who would listen)... "No. No! We have been fighting with you and your staff since we arrived at this hospital. We did not want medication, and we were practically forced into doing that which we did not want to. We did not want pitocin, but you said we had to get it, over and over. That pitocin lead us into the epidural, which we did not want, and now this epidural is trying to take us into another drug. we don't want it. "
the anesthesiologist looked at ricky and simply said, "ok." - as if it wasn't a big deal either way - which shows how unnecessary some interventions are. my blood pressure eventually went back to normal as my body adjusted to the medicine of the epidural.
soon after that confrontation, i knocked out - the type that ushers you into an immediate deep sleep - the deepest sleep my body may have ever seized. in the bed of rest the epidural had created, my exhausted mind curled up and relaxed.
i woke up about an hour and half later, around 4:30 AM to be checked on my progress. though my body couldn't feel it, the monitor told me i was still going through intense contractions and hopefully there had been progress. by this point "c-sections" were being mentioned every time a nurse or doctor came in. things better start moving along, or they would need to get him out (due to meconium stain and water breaking 35+ hours ago, longggg past their 12 hour deadline). I was at 8cm and 80% dilation, which was exciting because things were happening.
after this checkup, i put on our ipod and listened to jason upton. i remember this moment so clearly, as it was one of the most peaceful times in that hospital room.
during the entire morning, i was readjusting my position to try and help readjust amos' position to get him moving down. my heart rate kept decelerating (which i believe was normal) and they kept insisting on putting an oxygen mask on me (pretty frustrating)...
By 10AM I was checked and found to have made some more progress, though small, by being at 9cm dilated and still 80% effaced. The slow progress confirmed what my doula has been telling us that Amos was either OP or OT, turned to the right or left, or turned toward my belly. We began to try and move me around even more to get Amos to turn properly. By this time the doctors were giving us strict deadlines on my progress. If I was not in a place to push within 30 minutes, I would need a c-section.
At this point we enlisted everyone to pray, via text, and started calling Amos into a proper position.
By around noon, I still hadn't progressed, and we kept convincing the doctors to give us a little more time ("30 more minutes, please, and we'll see if he's moved.") and they kept reluctantly agreeing. I was feeling my contractions again, but nothing was compared to prior to my epidural so it seemed rather easy.
At 1 PM, the doctor could feel Amos and confirmed he was facing to my side and could not come out unless he turned. We prayed and prayed and prayed!
By 2:45 Amos had turned, but decided to turn face up which would make my pushing/delivery much more difficult, but we rejoiced that we were given more time to deliver him naturally. I felt such relief at this point because he was finally in a position, that we knew of, that could lead to him coming into the world!
By 3:30 PM I FINALLY started pushing, and to be honest, pushing with an epidural is just the worst scenario ever. A woman was meant to fully feel her contractions and push with them, not "kind of" feel them. I wish I would had been able to find a better position, as I think it would have made it go faster, but the Lord took care of us anyway - even in the last position I ever wanted to push in - my back.
(also - can you imagine, without my epidural i would have still been fighting through my contractions throughout the entire next day!!! i would not have made it, and the Lord was kind to have let me 'give up' that night. i would have definitely not had enough energy to keep through them for 15 more hours AND push.)
i remember pushing the clearest, as i pushed for 2 hours and 45 minutes. i remember so vividly as ricky held one of my legs, and a nurse my other - as amos slowly (and i mean slowwwwwwwly) made his way out. i asked over and over again with such stress in my voice, "am i doing it right? is he coming?!" - i just did not understand what to do to make it go faster. minutes turned into hours and i was sucking out every bit of energy i had gotten from that hour and half nap.
and in the midst the nurses and doctor and ricky encouraged me, and we made it through. i'm not sure how much longer they would have let me push before they intervened, but i am SO thankful to God Amos was able to be born naturally without any intervention (c-section, etc.) for his delivery. i don't know how we did it, but we did.
and there he was - facing up and seeing bright light for the first time in all his existence --- out into the world and on my chest. 5:42 PM. my son.
when he was given back to me moments later it was as if the huge wave, crescendoing and building for over 2 days released and covered our little family. i looked at ricky, and he looked at me, and we stared down at our little white, blonde haired boy. his little almond eyes, swollen from his journey, peered open and we saw their blueness in the hospital light. his arms moved jerkily, as if still pushing against the fluid within my womb - and his fingers stretched out to feel the air rush in between them. this was his beginning.
here he was - skin and bones, a beating heart, he had survived 2 days of feeling the pressures of my body try and bring him forth. i had survived. we had made it through. and we would make it through. carried and propelled by the grace of God. He had brought me here and would faithfully bring us to the end.
these moments were the calm after the storm. amos' fresh skin against my own. he was alert and within the first hour crawled up my belly and latched onto my breast. he fed well from the moment he started. the ease i didn't feel since our process had begin, even within my pregnancy, entered the room like a sweet scent. he ate well. he was healthy and whole.
this was our new life.
(read the play by play of the birth here, written from the perspective of my doulah.)
coming soon: our first days in the hospital, coming home, breastfeeding, and what i would change next time around.
(would love a vote from you today, thank you.)