Where did I leave off.. we all ‘camped out.’ Every 4 hours, our nurse would come in to take my vitals (blood pressure, temp) and to dose me up on antibiotics. Occasionally when the antibiotics weren’t mixed well with the saline, it would burn my arm, but other than that I had no problems during or after the treatment.
About 7:30, another midwife – shift change – Allison, came by to check on me and tell me that we were approaching the 24 hour mark. Since my contractions had not started on their own, we needed to start pitocin. They completely stopped when I went to sleep. Let me write a little side note here and say how thankful I am that I went with midwives for this delivery. They let me just wait to see if anything happened for 24 hours from when my water broke! This is not the OB norm. Usually OB’s want to see your baby already delivered within that 24 hours. Since I had started on the antibiotics and Haven was doing great on the monitor, they advocated for me to wait and to sleep & rest before pitocin. I am so thankful for this!
At 8 am my pitocin drip was started at 2ml – the lowest dose. Every 30-45 minutes, it was turned up 2 ml. From 8-9am my contractions regulated, but were not painful. They were tight – like I had a big blood pressure cuff around my belly. They would last about 30 – 45 seconds and were about 3-4 minutes a part. We called my doula, Heidi, around 10. It would take her about an hour or so to get to the hospital.
At 11am I was sitting in the rocking chair listening to my iPod when I felt a small pop and the all I could say was OH MY! OH MY! My water broke FOR REAL this time, and all I can say is let the river flow! I do not know what in the world I would have done if I was out in public and this happened. Chris and Nancy jumped to attention when I started saying Oh My! And they both stood frozen just watching. I started laughing so hard that I couldn’t talk. Chris was saying ‘what do I do?!’ I finally told him to call the nurse. He called them, still stunned at the amount of fluid, and just sputtered out ‘ My wife is leaking!!!’ Nancy and I died laughing again.
Wow, contractions drastically changed at this point. I could really feel Haven moving down, and the intensity of the pitocin turned up ever 30 minutes was definitely working. Here are some bullet points of things I remember in the 4 hours I labored with out pain relief:
Heidi arriving and rearranging furniture in our room to make it seem more spacious. I thought it was weird at first, but then it did open up the room and make it not seem so chaotic.
Changing positions. Sitting in the rocking chair, in the bed while on my knees leaning over the birthing ball, leaning over the bed while standing, rocking my hips, holding on to Chris.
Chris was my rock, my calmer. His hands felt very strong and I felt very safe when he was in the room. I just wanted him near me. I wanted to hear his voice. I really liked when he would put his hand on my forehead. I felt stronger.
The pain was so intense. My contractions were really coming on top of each other. This was at the point I was deemed in ‘active’ labor. I was done, though. The pain was searing across my belly. I got checked and was only at 2 cm. I just couldn’t keep focus and said the glorious words… I want an epidural!!! I had a lot of unknowns looming ahead of me… one being a very big baby and two a possibility of something going wrong with my c-section scar. Getting an epidural seemed to help me mentally deal with those two unexpected possibilities – as well as the pain. After all, my goal was not so much ‘no meds’ as much as it was ‘VBAC.’
Once I decided to get the epidural, the pain increased times a bagillion. I don’t know how long each contraction lasted at this point, but they were breaking for about 20 seconds in between. Sitting on the side of the bed curled over the pillow was the hardest thing I have ever done. The contractions were coming like waves, and I could not for the life of me figure out how to ‘ride’ them. They were just barreling me over. I remember moaning very low through each one. I remember saying Owwwwwwwwww!!!!!!! I remember opening my eyes briefly here and there. I would see Chris’ face, I would see his hand holding mine. I would see the nurse’s shoes. I would see the crazy hat the anesthesiologist was wearing. I remember her telling me that she knew I was in pain, but that my hair looked amazing – LOL (although I didn’t LOL then!) They walked me through what they were doing to my back, but I seriously didn’t care about my back, all I could concentrate on were those contractions. I really felt like I was in some sort of trance. Life was all around me, but I was somewhere else. Being sucked into the birth. It felt like it took a reallllly loooong time for them to place the epidural, but it probably was like 10 minutes or so. I’ll have to ask Chris. So, I did ask Chris and he didn’t remember. He said it felt like forever to him, too, because he had to watch me labor in pain. Precious.
When the meds started taking place, my legs started with that familiar tingly feeling. I did get itchy a little bit this time…on my belly, but it only lasted about 15 minutes. As soon as I was somewhat numb, my midwife did check me and I was 6 cm!! Yahoo!! All that work sitting on the side of the bed was worth it! With Harper I was completely numb. Couldn’t feel a single contraction, but this time around I could still feel each contraction. The sharp pain was just taken away. Haven continued to look amazing on the monitor, and I was doing fine too.
I wondered if I would feel regret getting an epidural, and I have to say that I have ZERO regret! I wanted to try this naturally. And I did try it. I have no idea how I could have handled more pain. I do not look at women who birth naturally with awe any more… I look at them and think – you are really missing out on fabulous medicine!!
I had someone put on the birth playlist on speakers so we could listen to it in the room. I remember Heidi and Nancy singing
It was cold and rainy outside, but there was such warmth in our room. Very cozy. The lights were low, and the peace of the Lord was very present. I knew He was leading the way. At one point, the song Deep In Love with You by Michael W. Smith began. While I was laying in bed, I just sang it while I cried. I thought about my journey here. Way back when I thought I might not ever have children. I thought about my Lord and praised Him for my pregnancy and birth with Harper. I praised Him for the miraculous pregnancy and birth with our boys. And I praised Him for this moment. Laboring our sweet daughter into the world. I was so overcome by His goodness and graciousness, that I couldn’t help but sing to Him.
There were still several contractions I had to breath through, though. At some point, I started shaking. I told everyone I thought I might be transitioning. I felt sort of flu-ish. Heidi would rub/ rock my hips back and forth. She had me lay in these weird positions to get Haven to move in the correct position. Thankfully, they were really comfortable.
After my shaking ended, I fell asleep. I was in this weird zone. I could hear everything going on in the room, but I was asleep. I felt like I was in a dream. I think I eased in and out of sleep for about an hour and a half. The nurse told me I would feel like I needed to push or my hips would have a lot of pressure. I was certain I would feel it because I could feel all the contractions, and I could still feel my toes and feet after the epidural. I remembered with Harper, I couldn’t feel anything but intense pressure in my hips right before I started pushing. Well, with this little babe, I felt nothing.
When I woke up, I could tell I was still having contractions, but I felt like nothing else was happening. I requested to be checked at that point. My midwife, Kate – my favorite!!, came in to check me. She said I was complete and Haven was *right* there. She asked me to do a trial push which she emphatically stopped because Haven was about to be born! She suited up real quick. Everything was so relaxed in the room. No stirrups, no chaos. Just lots of excitement!
Here was such a cool part of the story. My Mom had just wanted to come to the hospital and check on me. She had been taking care of the big 4 all day and communicating with Chris and Nancy via text! On a ‘whim’, she had gotten some babysitters for the boys and Harper (thank you Jean and Christine!!), and hadn’t even bothered calling until she arrived at the hospital. So, right after I was checked, my sister got a call from my Mom. She was in the waiting room!! We had Nancy get her fast! Ha! My Mom walked in, kissed me on the head, and I started to push. This was at 8pm.
Chris was holding my hand. Mom, Nancy, and Heidi were all cheering me on. I pushed through 2 contractions. Right before she was born, I felt her feet give me a little fluttery good bye kick at the very top of my tummy. I will always remember that. And, this is a little crazy, but I was able to touch her head as she was coming out. So amazing! Haven was born at 8:07pm! Just 7 minutes of pushing!
She was put on my tummy right away and let out one squawk. She was bright eyed and very curious. I loved that she was able to stay with me for several minutes before they took her to be weighed and checked. They let her umbilical cord stop pulsing before it was cut. I remember looking at her and saying ‘Hi Sweet girl! Hello Haven!’ over and over again. She nursed right away and has been a champion nurser from the beginning. We joked that she would be eating table food with in 2 weeks because she came out quite famished – or so it seemed.
Another story right after she was born… we were all sooo curious as to how much she weighed. Everyone gave their estimates and Nancy guessed 8.8 lbs. Well, when she was finally weighed, they announced her weight in grams. We all said, okay, that’s great, but how many pounds is that?! They called out 8lbs 8 oz! We all cheered because Nancy was right! Or so we thought. Chris went to the nursery with her while I was getting settled in my new room. They weighed and measured her here, too. Chris looked at her little card in her bassinet and asked why it said 9lbs 8 oz! They had announced her weight wrong. My little pumpkin was 9lbs 8oz and not 8lbs 8 oz! ha!
Chris brought her back to the room and found me drinking apple juice and munching on ice! We were both wiped out! It was about 11pm at this point. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich from ‘room service’ and let me just say it was amazing! We got cozy in our room, and settled down for the night.
The next day was simply wonderful. Harper came by and met her little sister. Her excitement could not be contained! She was so wiggly on the bed right before she was able to hold her little sister. She has been the best big sis. After Harper, Mom, and Nancy came by, I had the rest of the day to myself. Chris went home to help with the other sick ones. So, it was just me and Haven. Simply delightful. I had a yummy Vanilla Latte to sip on. We snuggled, listened to Christmas music, wrote thank you notes, and watched a little TV. And, of course, we napped, too. We had a few visitors that morning and a couple that evening, but it was so relaxing being alone in the afternoon. I will always cherish that time we had together.
We came home Saturday. Sadly, the boys were unable to meet Haven for the first week and a half because they all had a flu-like virus. They have been so gentle with he, though. Crews calls her ‘Haby’ – (rhymes with baby) He also would point to our bedroom door and say ‘baby in dare’ when he would hear her cry. Maverick and Warner always come running when they hear her cry. Warner gives her kisses on her head, and Maverick has come to quiet her down by patting her tummy a time or two.
We are so very blessed to be a family of 7 now.
Haven, you have eased into our family with joy and calm. You are so laid back – even in the evenings. You are a good sleeper – for a newborn – 😉 and a great eater. You are such a sweet girl and we love you so much!