I can't believe it has been 3 1/2 weeks since I met my precious baby girl. I can't believe that I have failed to blog about this blessed news for 3 1/2 weeks either! One thing I've found out rather quickly: motherhood (or should I say sleep deprivation) makes you lose all sense of time and reason in those first few weeks. Nevertheless, she is HERE. I have had several women that have never had a baby ask me for the REAL story of birth. Not the "Oh, you forget it all the minute you see her," or the "It's not that bad once you get the drugs." I'm going to tell it like it is for those women, the ones that are where I was a few weeks ago...anxious, uncertain, and terrified of the unknown. (If REAL grosses you out, please feel free to stop reading here and just scroll down to her cute picture)! Thankfully, this story has a happy ending...
12:10AM November 19th.
I woke up to go to the bathroom for the millionth time (nothing new there), but this time it was a little different. There was clear liquid running down my leg. I knew immediately that it was time. I calmly woke up Erik and told him that I thought my water had broken, then called my doula (I will write another blog about the doula experience later). I had planned to labor at home for as long as possible, but for some reason as soon as that happened I wanted to go to the hospital. I wanted to know how far along I was after being stuck at a 0 for weeks and weeks. I had this crazy notion that I was going to be at a 5 or 6 when we got there. Little did I know...
We arrived after packing our bags and taking care of the pooches. They put me into a gown, checked me (I was a fingertip), and I started walking up and down the halls. At this point the contractions were very manageable, probably 5 minutes apart and 30 seconds long. My doula walked with me and we talked, occasionally stopping to breathe through a particularly bad one. After I tired of walking we tried lots of different positions. I even tried to sleep! The worst part was having to be still while they monitored me for 20 minutes every hour when moving around felt so much better. When I figured out how much a warm shower helped, they had to DRAG me out of it to be monitored. I felt very in control of my body and the pain during those long hours. I just knew that at my next check I would be an 8 and ready to have her. I would stun everyone with my practically effortless, in control labor.
Dr. Wonka came in to check me. He delivered the reality check...I was a ONE. A freaking ONE! I immediately started to tear up because I knew that he would make me start pitocin. If you aren't progressing, they make you do this because you have to have your baby within 24 hours of your water breaking. All I had heard was that once you start pitocin, you HAVE to have an epidural due to the pain. Even now I cannot tell you why I was so against having one. I'm not really scared of needles or anything. I guess I had just heard so many horror stories about epidurals gone wrong, and nothing but benefits from NOT having one, that I just didn't want one.
They started the pitocin drip. Once they do that, you have to be monitored at all times which means you can no longer walk around. This made controlling the pain much harder. The contractions immediately got worse. They were more intense and closer together. I started crying and wallowing all over the bed, trying to escape the pain somehow. It's amazing how fast pride leaves you during labor. I had no shame at this point.
By this time I was completely out of my mind. The pain from the ever-increasing pitocin dosage had taken over everything. I was loud and hard to keep still. I'm sure the nurse wanted to request a different patient, preferably one who was sleeping. The contractions were coming so close together that I could NOT get any rest. All I wanted to do was close my eyes for just a few minutes. It was around this time when the nurse informed me that I was a 4-5. I started to really cry then. I had been laboring for almost 12 hours and I was only a 4!!! I was starting to give up. I wanted the drugs. Just as I was praying to God for strength, there was a huge gush. This was my water breaking FOR REAL. Evidently, before it had only been a leak from a small tear in the sac. I immediately started throwing up and the pain started changing to more of an intense pressure. The nurse checked me again and I was a 7. I told her that I felt like pushing. She looked extremely alarmed and told me NOT to push. That at only a 7 I could do some serious damage if I did. I was confused...my body was telling me to push! I concentrated for the next hour or so on NOT pushing.
Finally, I looked at the nurse with crazy, bleary eyes and screamed, "SHE IS COMING!!" I couldn't stop pushing and I knew that the nurse was wrong! She checked me and immediately called Dr. Wonka because I was a 10! I had to again wait to push until he got there. This was one of the hardest parts of the whole labor. It goes against every instinct and it is quite painful to defy nature. When he finally got there, I was ready! I could feel EVERYTHING. I was not numbed, drugged, or deadened in any way. It was the most excruciating, liberating pain I have ever felt. I wanted to meet her! I wanted the pain to stop! Those two thoughts alternated in my head as I pushed. For the next 20 minutes, I was the woman in the movies who you can hear screaming down the hall. The one who makes other moms-to-be cross their legs and will their babies to stay inside...yup. That was me. At 12:38PM our little Addison Claire was born.
That one sentence ends the story in the happiest way imaginable. She was healthy, weighing 7 pounds and 7 ounces, measuring 22 1/2 inches, and filling her mom's heart. Her arrival did NOT make me forget the pain. I remember every second of it (obviously). But I survived the pain. And to anyone out there wondering if they can labor without pain medicine (especially while on pitocin)...if I can do it, trust me, so can you. Just concentrate on the ending to YOUR story.