It sort of breaks my heart to finish this story-to close this long awaited chapter-but I need to complete it before I forget all of the amazing details.
I left off with the doctors telling me that I had until midnight to progress on my own, or pitocin was threatened to speed things up because of my group B strep diagnosis. And since I was holding strong to every intention of having my tiny human enter this world in the most natural way possible, pitocin was not on my birth plan.
And after the shock of actually being in labor began to sink in, and the fear of rejection for urinating on myself had been diminished and been replaced with the very real and imminent fear of loosing my bowls on the birthing table, phone calls were made and family started arriving as the news spread.
And though my dreams of laboring in the form of roaming the halls and showering were crushed by the fact that my sweet miracle was still sitting at negative three station and was in danger of a prolapsed cord, the nurses were amazing, and they were so happy to hear our story and the gender surprise that they let me do everything else I wanted without a fuss. I ate four mini bagels with cream cheese, drank water like a fish, and was even allowed to keep my sundress on instead of an uncomfortable and unflattering birthing gown.
By the time midnight rolled around, I had progressed to three centimeters dilated and was given the OK to continue to labor on my own with instructions for the next shift change to check me around seven in the morning. My tiny human was still setting at negative three station though, so I was advised to take an ambion and rest a while I still could. I was a little hesitant to take the sleeping pill since I'd never had one before, but I figured I should take their advise and get as much sleep as possible while it was still possible.
Regretfully, all the ambion served to do was cloud the next few hours.
Shortly after it kicked in, I started to feel the contractions, and just like I expected, they felt like menstrual cramps. I don't remember every little detail like I wish I did, but I do remember my husband sleeping hard in the recliner chair next to me, and my parents standing on either side of me, counting the contractions and rubbing them away as they came.
I remember having to force myself to breath through them, but they still weren't unbearable. This, I remember thinking, I can handle.
Somewhere around the next shift change, the nurses came in to check me and found that I was one hundred percent effaced, dilated to five centimeters and my tiny human had finally dropped low enough for me to wander around the floor like I had always planned.
Unfortunately, wandering the halls and showering through the end stages of my labor never happened.
Because after I finally got up and used the restroom, the contractions started coming fast and hard, and in a still groggy state from that darn ambion, I gave in too quickly and pleaded for the epidural. My mother-knowing my birth plan and me-tried her best to ease my back labor and encourage me to try the shower like I had always wanted too, and in the two minute break in between contractions I agreed.
Then another one came, and I disagreed.
I'm pretty sure I was experiencing back labor. And my mother seemed to think that after getting up and moving around, I had probably worked my way into transition quickly and she was desperately trying to help me hold on to what she knew I always wanted, what she knew I could push through, offering to have the nurses come in and check me again, thinking that if they would tell me I had progressed quite a bit the news would give me the strength to continue on naturally.
But regretfully I gave in, pleaded for the epidural and told the nurses the anesthesiologist had exactly two minutes to get in there as I grabbed on to everyone and everything standing in my path while my uterus clamped down over and over again, taking my breath away each time.
Because I swore my baby was trying to come out of my spine, and I wasn't ready.
And I was tired and groggy.
Sometimes I still think back and it breaks my heart to realize that I gave in so quickly at the first sign of heavy pain; after all, this was what my body was made to do. I had made peace with the fact that it was going to be painful, but I was determined to birth my child as natural as possible and I as a sort of throat punch to infertility, I desperately wanted to experience everything about the birthing process, no matter the expected anguish.
But then I think about the rest of the story, and I know that what happened next wouldn't have been as special had I been screaming and throwing things around the room as my littlest love entered into this world.
Because the epidural was perfection.
It hurt like crazy going in, but once it was complete, I was pleasant once again. My legs felt warm and heavy, but I could still move them, and the previous pain felt by the contractions was nonexistent. I was able to take a quick half hour nap, and since it was nearing eight thirty in the morning I was soon bright eyed and ready for the slew of welcomed visitors that followed.
The next few hours passed quickly, and each cervical check showed me progressing beautifully and painlessly. By the time I had reached nine centimeters, a friend was touching up my makeup and everyone was anxious to meet our sweet little angel.
Before I knew it, it was time to push.
As the nurses danced around and everyone said there goodbye's and I love you's, we learned the the doctor was down the hall doing a circumcision and we had to stall for ten more minutes. So as I got into position they turned off my pitocin to slow the contractions back down and said it was time to get started.
Then as the last wave of goodbye's hit, the sweet nurses let me know that if I didn't mind, they didn't mind.
And I didn't mind.
So in true celebration of the miracle about to enter this world, we had a party in the delivery room.
Even I was surprised at my lack of modesty as I sat there, legs held up by my husband on the left and my mother on the right, trying my best to push low and hard like they told me too, but trying to also refrain from having a bowel movement on the table.
I'm proud to say that I did not-in fact-have a bowel movement, and there were about fifteen witnesses to prove it.
Miracle number one.
Then after the doctor arrived and about forty minutes of painless pushing ensued, I was told to reach down and feel my baby's head full of hair.
Miracle number two.
Then, amidst the cheering of a room full of people, the head of my littlest love emerged and as the doctor twisted the head around to face up, I heard a few people in the room murmur that it looked like a boy. And as the doctor released my baby's shoulders and arms, he asked me if I'd like to pull my child the rest of the way out myself.
So as I reached down and held tight to the slick, vernix covered skin of my child's underarms, I gave one final push and pulled my tiny human out, sliding my sweet baby onto my own sundress covered chest. And on the way out, I was the very first to see that I had just given birth to the most gorgeous baby girl, born at 12:26pm.
Miracle number three was wet, slimy and screaming, but she was a solid eight pounds, nine ounces, and twenty and a half inches of all kinds of beautiful.
It didn't take long for the cord to stop pulsing before my husband cut it and handed his daughter to the NICU nurses who rated her at perfect apgar scores of nines, and handed her back for our bonding time as the doctor finished delivering the placenta and stitching up my slight third degree tare.
I will never forget the strong emotions in the room felt by all who witnessed this miracle-this precious baby who started out as a mere beta of eleven-enter into the world. Shouts were released, tears were shed, and the love felt in that hospital room was enough to last a lifetime.
She breastfed immediately, and loved her first bath. And other than a case of jaundice that left us in the hospital for two more days after her birth, she is ridiculously alert and perfect in every way.
She sleeps and only wakes me up once in the middle of the night to feed. She was in church the very next Sunday, which also happened to be my first mothers day, and she loves her turquoise Moby wrap.
We are blessed.
Sweet Little Miss Scarlett Grace, welcome to this crazy world.
"I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing, when they, so fresh from God, love us."