here we are again, typing out the details of the blur that is a labor and delivery of a baby. i was certain this time around would be so vastly different than amos' story. less drama, more simplicity, rawness, and a peaceful calm.
and this is how it goes. i love control. that is how i deal with fear, deal with pain, and deal with confusion. if i don't understand something - it is scary to me. therefore, i research an idea or a situation until i feel fully educated and aware. i did this with birth - especially the first time with amos. learning from my past situation i did even more to prepare ourselves for the arrival of this baby. all our natural preparations - teas, and supplements, and exercises. having done bradley method birth classes with amos (which i loved, but felt was not adequate in helping one deal with pain properly - especially pitocin pain) and so with lucia i did the other natural labor method: hypnobabies. we were going to have her in a birth center rather than a hospital, as i honestly didn't want to have anything within this story that would echo my last labor and delivery - except for the beautiful ending: a healthy little baby in our arms.
though i ate well with my first pregnancy, i was much more strict and aware this one. i was active and honestly felt great at the end. i had midwives tell me, because amos' positioning and delivery (posterier, aka face up. a much harder way to push out) that i would most likely have a very quick labor and pushing stage.
i was so excited to have her in the birth center. i wanted to deliver in water. i was excited to go home quickly afterwards.
this is to give some understanding of how we were going into week 40. everything was in order and in place.
of course, the story doesn't go as i planned. as is life. my hope could not lie in my preparation, nor in my body that "knows how to birth." i could not rest in the beauty of a natural birth story, yet again. i had to just declare God is sovereign. He really is in control.
|this is me the day before my water broke. :)|
my water broke around 7:30 PM on Friday night, March 8th. This was the night before my due date. amos, ricky and i had went to a kim walker/jesus culture concert. amos was dancing at our feet, and i was trying to really set my heart on Jesus. then it happened. i spent the next hour trying to figure out if my water really had broken - to realize, why yes, yes it had. we were going to have this baby, most likely on her due date!
I was so excited, so Ricky took us home and we put Amos to bed. Within the next couple hours my excitement suddenly turned to frustration. I realized i was having little to no contractions, my water had broke, and I was suddenly on the dreaded timeline. i had 24 hours to go into active labor (painful contractions, 4 cm) to have her at the birth center, and if not - 36 hours to deliver the baby without fighting a c-section.
though i know i should rest, i spent the night in and out of sleep. i'd wake up to use the restroom, realizing nothing was happening. USUALLY contractions pick up within 4-6 hours after your water breaks. 4 hours passed, then 6, and by morning it had been 12 hours with little to no contractions. i had to go into the birth center by this time to confirm my water had broken.
by this point i was pretty emotional. yet again i was fighting my body to do something it wasn't ready to do.
we went into birth center and they confirmed my water had broken. the minute the midwife told me i started hysterically weeping. though i had 12 more hours to get labor going, deep down i knew induction was coming. ricky kept assuring me it was okay, and once we tried some natural induction methods my body would probably kick into gear.
we spent the entire day trying all we could. we found an herbal shop by the beach to take blue/black cohosh. we came back to the house and walked... and walked... and walked. i did exercises. we went to acupuncturist. i quoted and prayed through scriptures, and asked God to give me peace as I was honestly SO DISCOURAGED. and so frustrated. i wish we had taken more pictures through this process, but in the moment i was just mad. i didn't want to talk to anyone or anything. i just wanted to do everything i knew to do to get into labor.
we then went back to the birth center and they swiped my membrames, and broke my water (it had tore high up and so was only slightly leaking). my midwife suggested we walk to a restaraunt and go to dinner. and so we did, and this was one of the only great experiences of that day. we met a couple who were in town for a church conference and prayed with us. my contractions had picked up but were very inconsistent and only slightly painful. they were between 5-10 minutes a part - but by the time we walked back to the birth center it was at 24 hours I was only at 3 cm, with my contractions almost entirely stopping.
we sat in our birth center room (i had laid down and rested the last hour or so) and i just cried and cried as my midwife called the hospital to forward my information and let them know we were coming.
i cried mostly because i didn't want to do pitocin. that was the main source of my tears by this point. pitocin, honestly, is terrifying. it's mean and ugly and unfair. ricky and i can honestly say, my first labor and delivery was almost traumatizing because of pitocin - and not just that, but fighting with the doctor's to not surrender to a c-section.
as i was crying, ricky said something that pretty much shifted my entire experience. he said, "tiffany, this really isn't that big of a deal. we've done it before. we'll do it again. if you have to get an epidural, we know that it's okay. and some people can't even make a baby. they can't even carry them to full term. our biggest struggle, that you aren't going into labor naturally, seems so little in comparison to what other people are facing."
and it was honestly as if the Holy Spirit came into that little room and shifted everything for me. it was true, i knew how to do a hospital birth and induction. it wasn't the preferred method, but at least i knew what to expect. and the baby was fine and kicking. she was healthy and ready to come, and she didn't really care what brought her here. I was the one who cared. and it didn't really matter. Jesus had decided this was what was going to happen, and joy was mine for the taking.
we drove to the hospital, and i put my game face on. i told ricky i would do 4-6 hours of pitocin without pain medication, and re-evaluate at the end of that time what we were to do. i prayed my body would progress fast, and by that point i would be at 7 cm. that was sort of my limit. then i'd be in transition and could at least see some end in sight.
what's crazy is that as soon as we walked into that hospital, it was like the peace of Jesus so supernaturally flooded my heart and the room i was in. it's like i just surrendered to the Lord's plan. i laid down my desire for the birth story i had wanted and worked for - and said, "okay jesus, let's do this Your way."
|right before the meds kicked in.|
then the blur started. i'm not sure how long i was on - maybe 4 hours? my contractions picked up to a real good point, the natural breaks, the ebb and flow - but then they started being what they were: pitocin contractions. they were doubling, tripling up with no breaks in between. they were coming in at a peak, and then staying there. i wasn't getting any breaks. i was on the birth ball, same position as last time - facing ricky and screaming my head off.
we asked for them to lessen the dose, which they did and my contractions started normalizing a little. i'm not sure when it happened, but by this point i had enough time in between to asked to be checked. from what i remember i was checked twice - one time at 6 and then the next doctor said 5 1/2 about 2 hours later. (i think?) by that point i said i was done. all i could think was that at this time with amos i still had another 20+ hours to go. i think that was the clincher. i didn't know how long it would be.. i had almost entirely lost my voice at this point and it just didn't seem worth it.
i got the epidural, and this crazy thing happened. as they were giving it to me i seriously felt the Lord tell me that the rest was from Him. it's weird, you know? i think we spiritualize natural births. i know i do. almost as if the holier route is the natural one. not just with birth - but with everything. it's the craze right now. and it's as if God made our bodies to do it, and so when they do - it's like this perfect, ecstatic alignment. but that really isn't truth. God really can be found in it all. He can be glorified in it all. if i'm massively enjoying my double cheeseburger from wherever in all it's fakeness - that moment is as much given over to Jesus as my all natural, free range chicken broth goodness. and so it was with this massive needle in my back. there was this part of me that really knew this epidural was from Jesus. maybe that's so crazy. i don't know. last time my heart was so fearful by this point. but this time my heart breathed a sigh of relief and said, "thank You Jesus. You are good."
i don't know what that means theologically. i don't know what i'm even saying. i just know that the Lord was with me - and where i had no control, He was felt near.
i guess it's just humbling. the whole thing. like ringing out of ESOAL (only some will know what this is), or being so exhausted you turn on netflix for your toddler. moments you really can't do something the way you wanted. it's in these moments, His grace is evident. it's not by our own works. our own efforts. our own labors. a baby comes because Jesus is supreme. by Him and through Him all things exist.
after this i slept, they amped by pitocin, and i progressed (slowly) until i was ready to push around 8:00 AM (really 9:00 AM b/c of the time change that happened that night). the epidural was honestly this miraculous epidural that even baffled my nurses. i was numb all around my belly and back but could feel the contractions entirely in my bum and cervix. at some points i even had to stop talking and breath through them. i liked this because i felt much more engaged with my labor and especially my pushing, and not just a bystander. i could move around and move my legs. i felt when i had to push, and pushed in 3 different positions (i don't even know how it was possible, because i even got on my hands and knees and walked immediately after she was born). she came into the world rather easily while we listened to will reagan sing. i'm not sure what song was playing when she made her debut, but i'd like to think he was singing these words:
all my walls and my defenses fall to the ground
when the warmth of your light shines all around
Your love is better than all the world can give...
and little lucia came, as she was destined to come, in a hospital room and into the hands of a doctor. the stark lights faded as the morning sun shone through our little window. i cried as they placed her little body on my chest. because how she came didn't matter, it was that she was here. and her birth brought healing, and joy, and even redeemed my last experience. it really ended up being so very beautiful.