As many know, I had been in "early labor" for two weeks or so, however, at the beginning of the week of March 23rd, there was news of a pending blizzard that was supposed to hit our area of Oklahoma at the end of the week. There have been many times where I thought for sure that I was going to go into labor because of how intense my contractions were, but when I heard about the pending snow, I KNEW that was when I was going to have Sophie. I figured she would arrive either when the roads were the worst and we needed to get to the hospital, or when we would need to come home from the hospital.
Well, for once, it turns out I was right, on the latter part.
The Friday before, my contractions had started changing and I had a lot more pressure and a different kind of pain. I didn't really think too much about it, although I think Abby and Michelle were pretty convinved I was going to have her on Friday night (the 20th). Something about my face turning white with pain while I was at Michelle's house . . . I didn't think so. But I did drive home and attempted to sleep. There was no sleeping for long . . . until I actually had Sophie, my contractions were waking me up quite often and I could no longer get much sleep in a laying position. By Tuesday, I couldn't sit comfortably either, so I spent a lot of time sort of propped up on the couch timing contractions and trying to sleep.
Wednesday Marilyn and I were going to hang out, but my contractions were really painful, so I called and said I was just going to stay home. A little while after lunch, I called Marilyn back because my contractions were getting closer together and were really hurting, and I really didn't want to be alone. So Marilyn and Jason came over and we watched 101 Dalmations. While Marilyn was over, my contractions started getting 3-5 minutes for at least an hour, and were sometimes only 2 minutes apart and they were lasting anywhere from 60 to 90 seconds. That started at 1505. At 1555, I called Mike at work, and said he needed to come home to take me to urgent care at the hospital. By this time, I definitely could not sit on the couch because a lot of the labor was in my back, so I moved to kneeling on the floor leaning on the couch and Marilyn would rub my back for me or talk to me. I was afraid that I was going to scare her with the pain, because she is currently 13 weeks pregnant and will soon be in the same position facing pending delivery.
Mike got home about 15 minutes later, during which time I had gotten a few last minutes things together. Marilyn helped me get my bags to the door too and helped get last minute things packed. Mike changed really quickly when he got home and we headed to the hospital. Since sitting was extremely uncomfortable to say the least, there were a lot of tears everytime I had a contraction on the way to the hospital. I think Mike was a bit scared and definitely worried because he was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic. I tried to calm him by saying I wasn't going to have the baby in the car . .. it didn't really work.
We arrived at the hospital sometime between 1700 and 1730, and Mike dropped me off at the main entrance of the hospital so I wouldn't have to walk from the parking lot, and I walked up to urgent care on the 4th floor of the OU Women's and Children's Hospital. Of course I had to sit (well, I guess I could have stood) while I checked in, so there was more tears. By the time they were done, which only took a few minutes, and I was being taken back to a room, Mike was back from parking the car. He must have walked incredibly fast because it usually takes a lot longer to get from the parking garage.
The urgent care rooms were actually full, so they took me back to to the overflow rooms. I guess they are actually the recovery rooms for c-sections. The hooked me up to the fetal monitors and checked me, and I was only dilated to a one. Still. I had been dilated to a one for two weeks! They said they would let Leanna, the midwife on call know, and would check me in an hour or two, but I would most likely be sent home, since it can take several hours to dilate.
During this time Marilyn, Jason and Jake came and brought Mike some dinner at my request. Marilyn also loaned me her camera since I forgot to grab ours, even though it was right by the door. So Marilyn sat in the room with me while Mike went and ate. I didn't want Jason and Jake in the room because I was just wearing a hospital gown and I was in a lot of pain and I didn't really want anyone to see me like that.
I was still having a lot of back labor, so I pretty much stood next to the bed the entire time and would lean over the bed and hold onto a pillow when I had a contractions. Mike and Marilyn (whoever was in the room at the time) would talk me through the contractions.
Between an hour and a half and two hours later, (I think it was between 1930 and 2000) the nurse came back in to check me. Unforuntely that meant I had to lay down, which made contractions twice as bad. I was however dilated to a five. Going from a one to a five, especially for the first baby, in less than two hours is really fast. The nurse very hurridly left the room to let Leanna know and to get me officially admitted and to go and get stuff to start my IV since I needed antibiotics because I was Group B Strep positive. The nurse also asked me what kind of pain management I wanted and I told her that I wanted to go naturally, but that I had not ruled out an epidural. She said I could ask for one whenever I felt like I needed it, up to a certain point.
It took three tries to get the IV started for some reason, but we finally got that in. And then we were able to move over to the actual labor and delivery room. They offered to take me a wheel chair, but there was no way I was going to sit down! So I walked over.
Once we were in the labor and delivery room, Leanna came in to check me and we met the L&D nurse, Faith. I asked if I could labor on the birthing ball, but that lasted all of about 30 seconds because it made my contractions worse. So I continued to labor standing leaning over the bed or on my hands and knees on the bed leaning on the top part of the bed, which was positioned with the head of the bed raised. At first I would have Mike rub my back during contractions, but after we got to the labor and delivery room, I didn't want him to touch my back because it was hurting so bad.
One thing I was really suprised about is how you forget about the pain between contractions. I knew you forget about the pain after birth, but as soon as a contraction would be over, I would forget how painful it was. It made going through the contractions a lot easier. I would pray during each contraction and try not to think about how much it hurt and just breathe, and then after the contraction, I would think, well, that wasn't so bad, I can make it through the next one. I was not thinking about anything beyond the next contraction, not even the end result really, even though it was in the back on my mind.
A little while later, Mike and I moved to the tub and I labored in the tub for maybe an hour. At this point all sense of time was gone for me, as was any sense of anything that was not immediately in front of me. Being in the hot water really helped keep me relaxed and helped make my contractions not as painful. By now Mike was really having to talk me through each contractions, mostly telling me to breathe in and breathe out. If Mike didn't tell me to breathe and go through each breath with me, I would hyperventilate. And it is absolutely true that a woman in labor can't see anything past about 12 inches during contractions. If Mike wasn't right in front of me or near my face, I didn't know where he was.
I stayed in the tub until I felt a lot of pressure, indicating that the baby was moving further down. So I got out and Leanna checked me again, and I was dilated to a 7-8. My water still had not broken at this time (which I was really surprised about). So after some more contractions on my hands and knees, which now involved some vocalization not in the form of words, Leanna checked me again and my water still had not broken, but was the bag was trying to come through my cervix with each contraction. So Leanna broke my water when I was dilated to an 8-9.
By this time I was really feeling the urge to push, even though I wasn't dilated to a 10 yet. Leanna told me if I felt like I needed to push, to go ahead and push, so I did. After Leanna broke my water, the contractions really started to hurt a lot (these were the worst ones) and at one point I felt like I was going to lose it and I thought I couldn't do it and wanted pain medication (up until this point I felt like I hadn't needed any pain medication). Of course, it was too late. And I was throwing up now too. Which, throwing up while you're having a contractions, is really weird feeling. It's like your body is trying to go in two different ways. Faith, the nurse, and Mike helped me turn over onto my back and Leanna told me that I needed to focus and Leanna got me in the position to start pushing Sophie out.
Pushing was actually less painful then the last few contractions, although I really screamed during the first push. After that Leanna said that if I screamed, all my energy was going to out of my lungs, and now down to the baby to push her out. So I tried really hard not to scream and to just focus on pushing as hard as I could.
By this point I had no idea of what was going on around me or where anyone was except that I knew Leanna was at the end of the bed because she was doing perineal massage. I could hear Mike talking to me though and counting for me and encouraging me and telling me I was doing a good job. And I could hear Faith doing the same thing.
Leanna would tell me to take a break and take two breaths and then push again. Sometimes I would and I just remember looking at the ceiling (the only time my eyes were open at this point) and trying so hard to take two big breaths, which was really hard to do, it was more like gasping for gulps of air, and then closing my eyes and focusing on pushing again. And sometimes I just felt like I needed to keep pushing. Leanna would tell me to "Push, push, push to the ceiling" and so I would just do that as hard as I could. Sometimes I felt like I couldn't push harder, but somewhere from inside myself I found strength to push even harder. Although, honestly, that was really the Lord answering all my prayers for strength that I prayed during each contraction since we got to the hospital.
The second that Sophie came all the way out, I felt so incredibly relieved and I remember thinking "Wow, Michelle is right, this is the best feeling in the whole world!" There was relief not just from labor, but from being pregnant, which I was not expecting. I remember looking at the clock, which was on the wall directly across from the bed, and it was 12:43am.
Mike came over to me and with the most passionate voice I have ever heard him use, he said "I love you so much!" and gave me a huge kiss. I have thought about that moment a lot since then.
Sophie didn't make any noise at all when she came out, so as soon as Leanna clamped off the umbilical cord and Mike cut it, she and Faith took Sophie over to her little incubator table and they had to suction her lungs out. I'm not sure what else they did, but Mike was over there watching. Two pediatricians came in and did all the stuff that they do and checked Sophie over. I remember looking over and watching them and thinking "Wow, I just gave birth!" I felt a bit euphoric. I couldn't believe I had done it, I had given birth! I had a daughter! It was unlike anything I had ever felt before. It was simply amazing. And the whole time they were working on her, because she still didn't make any noise, I just prayed to the Lord. Sophie's life has been in His hands since before she was born and I just focused on that and that the Lord was looking out for her and just rested in Him. He had given Mike and I a precious gift and I just trusted that He wasn't going to take her away so soon. I think if I hadn't been praying that, I would have been extremely worried and scared. But when you're trusting in the Lord, He really does bring you peace.
After the pediatricians came in, Leanna and Faith came back over to me to help me deliver my placenta. Normally the placenta is supposed to come out in one piece. My placenta decided to tear into lots of little pieces and about half of it stayed in my uterus, which meant that Leanna had to go and get it. Let's just say that I think it took almost an hour, a surgeon had to be called in to help and by the end I was begging for them to stop, needed oxygen because I almost passed out and I had lost a lot of blood. I only needed two or three stitches though and when I asked Leanna what grade laceration I had, she said she didn't think I was even a 1. I was really surprised!
Because of all of that was going on, I couldn't hold Sophie right after she was born. So after the peds docs were finished, Mike got to hold her and I could see him just falling in love with her. About an hour after she was born, I was finally able to hold her. She was asleep and she was making the softest little noises. I was so surprised to hear her voice for some reason. I just stared and stared at her (at this time, Mike had seized the opportunity to collapse on the couch in the room and sleep).
I was given some more IV antibiotics because of everything with the placenta and some IV fluids I think too. When it came time to use the restroom, I was really afraid to go because I thought it was would really hurt, but it didn't! After weeks of pain, it didn't hurt anymore! Yay! I was extremely light headed though when I got up and needed help to walk to the bathroom. After a little while, Faith brought in some sandwiches because I was starving. I hadn't eaten dinner, so it had been around twelve hours or more since I had eaten anything. So while I ate, Faith gave Sophie her Vit-K shot and put Erthromycin in her eyes and did some other stuff. Then she brought Sophie back to me and I tried to nurse her, but Sophie didn't really want to wake up. So I just held her close to me and kind of dozed off. I think I only was asleep for 15 minutes or so when Faith came back to get us ready to go upstairs to the post partum rooms.
When we got upstairs, the nurses had made up the chair that folds out for Mike to sleep on, and they helped me try to feed Sophie. Sophie still did not want to wake up to eat, so I just held her and we did some skin to skin contact and bonding time. She pretty much slept the entire time. She was so small and fragile, I was so afraid I was going to break her. I mentioned this to the nurse, who reminded me that she wasn't that fragile, after all she had just gone through labor and she wasn't porcelain. I did feel a little better. I still couldn't believe I had a little daughter! A beautiful, precious little girl! And I couldn't believe that I gave birth naturally.
Giving birth really is the most amazing and hardest experience I have ever been through in my life. And also the most rewarding. I can't believe that I am a mom now, I have a daughter! And she knows my voice and knows Mike's voice and knows we love her and we are her parents. I really love being a mom and I feel so content in my life being a mom and being Mike's wife. I feel like I have more to say about it, but the words are not coming . . . I have just been so blessed by the Lord and truly I feel more and more the Lord has fulfilled and continues to fulfill His words in Jer 33:3: "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."