My sweet baby boy; as we waited in the living room for the line to show on the pregnancy test, it was decided that your Dad and sister would look at the test and deliver the results. I was much too nervous. You were a surprise from Heaven, a gift from above and I was a wreck. At that time in my life, I didn’t know how to take the present God had graciously gifted to me and unwrap it with care. I didn’t know how to receive good things from the Father; but I know now that the Father only gives good and perfect gifts.
As Daddy and Ainsley emerged from the bathroom, I tried to read their faces and listen to their words but I was in shock. This wasn’t according to plan, I was not in control. As the news sunk in I revealed my true feelings to only those most trusted in my life. Processed. Absorbed. And then the bleeding began. Within the hour my heart had accepted this precious gift from above, I was facing the reality of loosing it: of loosing you.
As I raced to the OBGYN, I prayed my guts out. Only a momma knows what it’s like to pray for her baby. This literal life growing deep within you, wholly dependent on you. That’s when I knew I had finally unwrapped the gift from God, as my prayers for your body and soul drenched my cheeks.
The 10 week ultrasound showed an intact gestational sac and a strong little heartbeat. I was relieved. The bleeding was a result of a placental abruption; partially separating from the uterine wall resulting in blood loss. Miraculously, the bleeding stopped and the placenta remained attached to the uterus. I had bonded and wanted to meet this little life on this side of Heaven. So I prayed, and prayed, and prayed for a little boy with blue eyes and that’s exactly what God gifted. You are fearfully and wonderfully made my son.
As delivery time neared, I realized your due date was Easter weekend. A beautiful time of year for a birthday; the trees are budding, the grass is greener and flowers have emerged from hiding but Easter weekend also meant that my OB was out of town. So at my 39th week appointment, she routinely swept my membranes to get the party started. Her office called and asked if I wanted to schedule an induction, in order to avoid going into labor while she was out of town so that I could stick with my trusted Doctor. My gut said no. My mind and my logic said yes, it was the best thing to stick with the person I had trusted for 9 months. After much deliberation and prayer, I decided against the induction and I am so thankful I listened to my gut. I had possibly just avoided the largest risk factor for an unplanned C-section.
As the weekend began and Easter preparations were being made, I knew the slight cramps were the beginning of labor. After coming very close to an epidural free delivery with my 1st labor, I knew that was the goal I wanted to set my eyes on. As the cramping became heavier and Good Friday became dark, I found myself on my bed, unable to talk through the contraction and unable to yell to my husband to announce, “it’s time!” The hospital was an hour away and the drive to the hospital was excruciating. Folded into the front seat of a Honda civic, we arrived at the hospital at midnight. Good Friday had passed, but my thoughts were continually drawn to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The amount of pain I was experiencing, I knew, would be the closest I would ever come to empathizing with my Savior. As He hung on the tree for me, and endured the cross out of love, the parallel of a mother’s love ran deep.
After being admitted, I was at 5 cm dilation. Praise the Lord for those contractions! They had been doing the hard work of opening the cervix and for that I was grateful. It had not been for nothing. The on-call doctor had been advised, and I was scared. My trusted advisor was out of town and I felt like I was flying solo. My husband was helpful, but also tired and we were not educated well in pain management. If I had chosen a midwife and a doula to accompany me on this journey, I believe the rest of the story may have been much different. I needed more support, more advice, more knowledge and more encouragement in those wee hours of the morning. The nurses were only so helpful, and the on call doctor was no where to be found until the pushing began. And so as any woman who enters the transition phase of labor, I began to believe I couldn’t do this anymore.
Transition As the body adjusts to accommodate the last few centimeters of dilation, just before you begin pushing, the hormone levels are so high that you will see undeniable physical signs. The major emotional marker for this stage is giving up. Another physical sign is the inability to relax or be comfortable. A woman who was handling labor well may suddenly find that she has no idea what to do and nothing is comfortable any more. At this point, it is the job of her coach or labor partner to assist her into various positions in an attempt to find the one that will keep her most comfortable. –www.birthingnaturally.net
At 2:40 am I had felt defeated and asked for the epidural. I was 7 cm dilated with very strong contractions. The nurses wanted me to stay on the bed, but I was very uncomfortable. I was hooked up to an IV and they did not want me to walk the halls or get into the shower, or try anything to manage the pain naturally. I had wanted this birth to be different from my first. After the epidural had taken effect, I tried to sleep, but was overly anxious. I couldn’t feel my toes, legs or abdomen. I literally was so numb that wiggling my toes was impossible. This was the very thing I wanted to avoid and it had happened again. As I told the nurses that I couldn’t move my legs, my complaint was dismissed. The out of control feeling I had felt during transition, did not go away after the epidural was administered. I still felt helpless, numb, paralyzed, without a voice.
At 4:10 am, my baby’s heart rate dropped. I faced the possibility of an unplanned C-section yet again. As the nurses rushed in and rolled me over because my muscles were too numb to do so on my own, we listened intently for the little heart beat to rise again. I breathed the oxygen, praying silent tears alone as my husband slept on the couch. I felt helpless, paralyzed, without a voice and so I spoke to the One who I knew would listen to me. I prayed for my baby again just as I had done at 10 weeks. I asked for health, protection and sovereign grace.
As the heart beat raised, so did the back of my bed. I had dilated to 10 centimeters and was ready to push, or so they told me. I needed help from the nurses to raise myself up, to get into the stirrups, to bring my bottom forward. Still overly numb and paralyzed, they each had to hold a leg in order to keep them from falling out of the stirrups. Dead weights, I felt like an inconvenience to them. At 5:00 am I started pushing, but with little feeling in my abdomen, bottom or legs, I couldn’t tell if I was pushing right. How hard? How long? The ring of fire was absent. Feeling very inadequate, watching the doctor’s face as he waited impatiently and on-call. Knowing in my head that it did not take me this long to push out the first. At 6:32 am my sweet blue eyed baby boy was born with the routine episiotomy preformed. My husband and I had objected, firmly stating that in our birth plan; routinely missed by our care providers.
The baby was born and I was relieved, but even as they whisked him away for the routine newborn procedures, I struggled with my sense of loss. Still feeling a strong lack of control, numb from the waist down and unable to voice my concerns. I became the patient in the recovery room who stayed too long. Can you feel your legs yet, they said. Are you able to walk? Do you need to use the restroom? Longing to get out of bed, but still paralyzed, the patient who stayed in recovery for 6 long hours. I finally regained feeling in my legs and was able to transfer to the new room with my baby.What I learned from this birth I took into my next. Just as I had gained experience and knowledge with my first birth to bring with me this Easter weekend. My redeeming grace was that my sweet baby boy latched on like a pro and had a strong suck reflex. Thankful that the breastfeeding problems I had with my first baby were not repeating themselves, I began my new adventure in mothering a blue eyed, sweet baby boy.