I spent my pregnancy reading and researching, preparing mentally and physically for labor. I feel like the time I spent preparing was well worth it, but the main thing I learned from labor was that things do not always go as planned.
I went to the hospital at 3 p.m. on Sunday after I called the hospital and said that my water may have broken at 8:30 that morning – after which I still went to church and to the mall. They said my water had not broken yet (though I’m suspecting it was a hind leak that resealed) and that I was having contractions three minutes apart. I didn’t start feeling the contractions until a little later, and then it was purely back labor. My nurse had me walk the hall for an hour, and then I was admitted for labor – yay!
It was game time and I was ready to go. My nurse knew I didn’t want an epidural or pain medication, and I wanted to be up walking as much as possible. At this point I was thinking I would probably have my baby in the middle of the night. I walked for 40 minutes every hour for probably 4 hours until the contractions were too strong.
Fast forward several hours, they broke my water and an hour later they tell me that I’ve gone from 6 cm to 9 cm! I’m thinking we must be getting close. A few hours later my nurse checks me and says I’m just now at 8 cm – whoever checked me before was mistaken. Needless to say I was a bit frustrated.
Unfortunately, my body seemed to really like sitting at 8 cm. After several hours of being stalled out at 8 cm, I started to panic. I could handle the pain, but the urge to push was too strong. I knew it was way too early, and I couldn’t push without hurting myself and my baby. Finally, my nurse suggests an epidural to help me finish dilating. Though the thought of an epidural terrified me, I agreed (it was really no biggie). Within an hour and a half I was ready fully dilated and ready to push!
They turned my epidural down so that I could feel how to push, and I pushed for two and a half hours, and finally, 23 hours after being admitted to the hospital, at 2:16 p.m. I reached down and pulled my own baby girl to my chest (with guidance from my doctor). It was probably the most special moment of my life.
I didn’t care that I hadn’t slept in 30 hours.
I didn’t care that I had, just a few hours before, told my husband quite seriously that we were never having another kid.
I didn’t care that my plan of having an unmedicated birth went out the window.
I had my baby, and she was perfect.
Unfortunately, the next several hours didn’t go as planned either as Isabella had trouble breathing on her own due to me being in labor for so long (it’s fairly common, but it was scary nevertheless). She was in the nursery for 7 hours, and we thought she was going to end up going to Children’s Hospital – which was definitely not part of the plan.
We were exhausted and anxious and frustrated. I hadn’t held my baby in hours. My husband had yet to hold her. He had gone to see her in the nursery several times, but I still couldn’t go because my epidural had not worn off. My nurse came in to check my legs and said she’d come back and check me in an hour because I wasn’t able to move as well as I needed to to get up. I looked at Genelle and said, “An hour my big toe! Help me pump my legs and get this epidural to wear off.”
Which is exactly what we did. Twenty minutes later I was in a wheelchair heading to the nursery. It broke my heart to see my sweet little girl with her itty bitty oxygen mask. I sat with her for about 30 minutes, and while I was there she got better. She was breathing well when I left, and we were told she would be with us shortly.
After waiting awhile and still not having our baby brought to us, we were told that she had started to regress, and they would be talking to Children’s Hospital soon to see what to do next. We were scared and tired and all we wanted was our baby.
But finally, I looked at my husband and said, “We can’t be slaves to fear. We have to trust God. No matter what, we’ll figure it out. It’s going to be okay.” It’s funny how the sermon that morning at church was on fear.
A few minutes later, a nurse brought us our little girl, saying they were just going to spot check her throughout the night (she was perfect every time they checked her that night).
Would we still have trusted God if she ended up going to Children’s? Absolutely. But were we praising God that we had her? Absolutely!
Bella is 2 weeks old today, and we fall more in love with her daily. Being a mom is better than I ever imagined. I often stop and think about the long journey it took to get her here – and how every minute was worth it.
And yeah, I take back what I said about not having any more kids.
Newborn Photos Photo Credit: Cherish Bickel Photography