Going into Abram's birth, I had hoped to go naturally, with no induction, no meds. With both Jonah and Matthias, I was induced. And although they broke my water with Matthias in hopes to get labor started, it didn't progress and I ended up with Pitocin and therefore an epidural. Don't get me wrong, epidurals definitely have their perks: I spent the last couple hours of all three previous births with no major pain. BUT, they make me sick. Sick like throwing up before the birth, and then throwing up after the birth. It is a little bit frustrating to want to hold and snuggle your freshly born baby, and having to hand him off over and over again so you can throw up in a bag.
So, I felt like I had spent the last nine months battling nausea, and wanted to try and see if I could avoid it during the actual birth. I read up on relaxation techniques, talked to friends who had their babies with no medication, and often felt like "Yes! I can do this!", and also often felt like "WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I THINKING???"
Yes, one tells herself that millions of women have done this before, and surely, surely I could as well! But, knowing that you're also going to enter what people call the worst pain ever is a bit intimidating.
At 40 weeks and 6 days, I was ready for Abram to come (not that we knew for sure it was a boy at that point!). We were sure a week and a half earlier that labor was gearing up, and then it stopped and never quite returned. I was dilated to three centimeters, and t.i.r.e.d. of being pregnant. Our Dr. agreed to break my water that morning of the 14th, and we were hoping that labor would progress on its own.
We went into the hospital at 7:45am, got settled into our room, and sat down so I could get a dose of antibiotics. Nothing major for the next couple hours. Dr. came in at 9:45 and broke my water and we got ready to do all we could do to get my body to agree to the process!
Eli and I walked the halls for probably two hours, with periods of stopping so they could check heart rates and everything. Contractions started to intensify some and come at regular periods. Eli was an awesome coach, just being there with me. Close to 1pm, the nurse checked and I was just at a 4. At that moment, I was a bit disheartened. I was sure she was going to say I was a bit further along! But, she was such a fabulous nurse, and quickly knew what to do. She had me switch positions for about 20 minutes, which made things pick up, and then got me into the tub, which REALLY made things start to pick up more!
In the tub I started to lose a little of my resolve: I was telling Eli if things were going to feel "like this" for a few more hours, I didn't think I could do it. I might even have said "I'll need an epidural!" Thank goodness for this man who encouraged me to just stick it out a little bit longer.
When I got out of the tub, I was really feeling it and wasn't getting long breaks between contractions. The nurse checked again, probably close to 2:30, and I was 6-7. Things were intense, and I started to panic. I think if I had really realized at this moment that I was in transition labor, I might have not been so worried. But, somehow in my mind, I still had at least two hours left of what felt like intolerable pain. Little did I know I had a much shorter time! I'm a little ashamed to say that during contractions I was begging Eli for some kind of pain meds, and then in the short breaks in between them, I would apologize for "losing my mind".
The nurse knew, though, that we were nearly there. She said "no pain meds!" and called the doctor, because when she checked things maybe 10 minutes later, I was a 9+. My mom and Eli's mom were both in the waiting room at that point. Eli, trying to fan me because I was super hot, was trying to text them to get in the room, and they said the saw the Dr. flying down the hallway and they knew it was time!
Just a few minutes later I was ready to push, and pushed for 2-3 contractions and Abram was there! 3:02pm in the afternoon. Two hours of crazy intensity, and suddenly it was over! I looked down and laughed: "It's a boy! Of course it is."
|Moments after birth|
I won't lie, it was hard and it was painful, but to me, it was worth it. I have joked that I probably gave Eli PTSD from it all, but he has said it was worth it as well. I think back and I do think if I had known at that crazy transitional moment that I really only had 20-30 minutes left before the baby would be born, I might not have lost my mind quite so much. = ) But, I am grateful. Truly, it was only about 5 hours of labor that day, which was much shorter than I could have hoped for! And I know that a safe delivery and a healthy baby are a miracle ... and that is what our little Abram Nicholas is - a miracle sweetness to our life.