Sunday, July 19, 2009

Consider the Lilies: The Birth of Anna Lily Part 3

Consider the lilies how they grow : they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27

As soon as I got in her car my sister began to time my contractions. When I was quiet for a moment and she'd ask, "are you having a contraction?" "yes", I'd say. "well that one was only 3 minutes after the last one." Again, she'd say, "are you having a contraction?" "yes," I'd say. "well, that one was only 2 minutes after the last one!" Even though I was sitting there perfectly calm and happy, I think she was very worried I was going to give birth in her car. [Later, our grandmother would tell her, "well that's what you get for picking up a 9 month pregnant woman on the side of the road in the middle of the night"] Though I'd brought my bag with me, "just in case", I decided to leave it in the car because "I don't think I'll be staying" (which became my mantra until I was pushing). We entered through the ER and when the lady at the desk asked how she could help us I stood there, calmly, and stuttered, "um, well, I'm pregnant and I... I'm having contractions, but I wanted to know if I was maybe in labor. You know I. . . just wanted to, uh, see."

When I got up to labor and delivery, the nurse showed me to an L&D room instead of the triage room. It hadn't dawned on me until I was in the bathroom changing my clothes that I was in a labor room. I called out to my sister, "I wish they hadn't put me here just to be checked. I'll be going home and then they'll have to fix the room back up!" It took me about twenty minutes to change my clothes in the bathroom because I kept having what I was still calling "braxton hicks contractions". The nurse checked me while my sister and I were chatting. I said to her, "well, if I'm not at least 4 or 5 cm then I think I'll just go home." The nurse looked at me with big eyes and my sister finally thought to ask, "how far along is she?" "7cm!" the nurse yelled as she headed out of the door. Apparently there's a lot to be done to prepare for a baby to be born in the hospital and I hadn't been polite enough to give much advance warning :) My sister and I got on the phone and called everyone who was planning to be there, including my poor husband who had to wake from a deep sleep, pack up 4 year old and 2 year old, drop 2 year old off with my mother-in-law and get himself and 4 year old down the hospital before I gave birth.

The nurse and the midwife, and my sister (who had given birth the summer before) were all standing around me, amazed that I seemed to be in little or no pain (just "discomfort") during what looked on the monitor to be very strong contractions. The nurse said to me, "The nurses at the desk asked about you and I told them I thought you were probably in labor, but that you couldn't be very far along. I sure was wrong!" About this time I thought to ask my nurse her name and when she replied "Faith", I was sure the Lord was with us that night. My midwife was going to examine me, but said she'd wait until my husband arrived because baby's head was right there, and she was afraid my water would break and baby would "fall out".

So finally everyone arrived and the midwife checked me and said, "you're 9cm. do you want me to break your water?" I didn't really know what to say, still not feeling like I was in labor [how's that for denial? I'm told I'm 9cm dilated and I still convince myself I might be going home!] and sure I'd be sent home any minute. "I'm not sure. What would we do then?" "Have a baby," the midwife laughed. So, I was still sitting up in bed feeling absolutely wonderful and I answered, "sure!" Big mistake :) She broke my water and I practically LAUNCHED myself out of bed, draping myself over the birth ball that I ordered be put on the bed, and began bellowing and rocking through constant, intense contractions. (note to self: allow baby to be born "in the caul" next time if necessary. Laboring after your water has broken SUCKS!) After awhile that didn't feel good anymore so I threw the ball off the bed and climbed up and got on my hands and knees, with my head resting on the head of the bed.

I don't think I was there very long before I had a contraction and it felt like a freight train was going through my body and I let out a kind of involuntary roar (something like oooohhhAAAAAAAHHHHHAAARRRGGHH!) and my body began to push. I heard the nurse tell the midwife, "she's pushing", and I remember thinking that was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard. I wasn't pushing, my body had taken over this show and I was just barely hanging on for the ride! Here's another place the Lord was really working in this birth. I was scared of pushing, and so He allowed me not only to not be directed in "purple pushing", but I don't think I pushed a single time. My body did everything itself. So the midwife told me not to push, she needed to check me. I tried not to push, but don't think I ever succeeded. She told me several times not to push, "Don't push, Becky. I'm not going to let you tear" (I had a 2nd degree tear last time so that was a fear of mine). I tried to pant, blow, nothing worked. I'm pretty sure at one point I was even begging "oooooze! oooooze!" at the top of my lungs.The midwife calmly (and I think she sounded a bit amused, too) asked, "so, are we delivering on hands and knees?" I was incapable of making any decision now and I just kept saying, "I don't know... I don't know..." So she just got ready for Anna to come and I stayed on my hands and knees.

The whole time I was pushing ("whole time") I was thinking to myself, "I wonder if it's too late to get an epidural?" It was sort of a scary experience for me- pushing. I think that's the main reason I felt pain when pushing, unlike with the "non pushing" contractions. Do I regret feeling that pain though? Absolutely not, and I'm even thankful for it. Though I was scared, I wasn't terrified. Though I felt pain, I wasn't suffering. I felt strong through that pain, as if my pushing "noises" were roaring sounds. I was listening to, and working with, my body and I felt the Lord's hand on Anna and me. The best way I can describe it is that it felt as if I was being pulled out in a massive undertow, drowning, but knowing all along that I was going to be saved. There existed in my mind both intense panic but constant peace.

After she was born I didn't immediately turn around to face everyone. I rested my head on the head of the bed and asked if they were sure she was a girl (I'd felt she was, and the ultrasound said she was, but I had an eager 4year old daughter in the room who was expecting to have a sister and I wanted to make sure I'd "delivered", as it were). Then I said I wanted to turn around. The placenta hadn't been delivered yet and her cord was still attached and pulsing, so the midwife handed Anna to John and she helped me maneuver my legs around the cord and turn to face my beautiful Anna. I'll admit that the first thing I thought to myself as I looked her over was, "oh no. I hope she's at least six pounds!" She didn't look very big, but was just 3oz shy of 8lbs, praise the Lord! I'd finally grown a normal size baby! Everyone in the room was shocked when her weight was read. Everyone knows that Becky has small babies.

It took about 20 minutes before I was ready to deliver the placenta. That was very uncomfortable. The midwife didn't pull on the cord, even a little. She just waited until my body began pushing again. It felt really strange, and I had a small hemorrhage. I heard the nurse whisper to the midwife, asking her if she should give me a shot of pitocin. The midwife said she didn't think it was too bad, but had the nurse apply some pretty "firm" (ha!) fundal pressure and I brought Anna to the breast to begin nursing. I also called my husband over to say a small prayer. After the bleeding had mostly stopped I was helped out of bed to change clothes. I was very dizzy, short of breath, and couldn't even catch my breath well enough to speak. That passed quickly, though, and the next morning I was offered a discharge just over 24 hours after Anna was born.

At 4:49a.m. (just an hour and a half after entering the hospital) Anna Lily was born, weighing almost 8lbs and I didn't tear. I pushed for only about 4 minutes. I pushed and delivered on my hands and knees, with no medication, and not even an iv. I think it's about the best hospital birth I could have hoped for and it was an amazing experience!

I am also happy to report that Anna began nursing in the delivery room and has hardly stopped since!

Consider the lilies how they grow : they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27


Kayce Pearson said...

What an absolutely amazing story! This is the stuff they need to report on the news!

Congratulations on such a great birth and I am so happy for you!!!

Amy Romano said...

What an adventure! Great birth story. "Your body is not a lemon!" - Ina May Gaskin. :)

Charity said...


Anonymous said...

All right! What a birth story!

Your body rocks!


Jill said...

Woohoo! Great birth story! :D

Sheridan said...

What a beautiful, wonderful birth! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Krista said...

Wow! I'm glad I was gone this weekend and came home to a 3-part birth story. Your story is absolutely beautiful, a testimony of your great faith! The Lord has put a burden on my heart to help women have Christ-centered births and your story proves that He is faithful! Thanks so much for sharing it!

Michele said...

Gorgeous story! Absolutely beautiful! Congratulations once again!! :)

Saved Sinner said...

What a wonderful birth - praise God!

Charity said...

Check out my new series, Labor Views. You might like it.


Curdie said...

How wonderful.

Melissa said...

I've been following your blog on and off for a couple years, and I just wanted to give you a huge congratulations for finally getting the kind of birth you wanted and deserved.

Christy said...

Aw, what a cool story! Thanks for sharing! :) Love it! Did you read my birth stories on my blog? Search back in Jan for story number three. I had a rough first birth, a redeeming second birth, and a totally awesome third. :)

New Doula said...

I am so glad that you had a birth as wonderful and guided by God as Anna Lily's.