I was nine days late on Thursday.
Friday I was supposed to get induced.
That was awful. . . Being nine days late with the summer heat cooking our part of the earth with the added bonus of being completely uncomfortable and living with constant pain is not something I would wish upon any of my least movie characters. Like the characters that almost make you turn the movie off because they are just THAT annoying.
My first contraction came at 7:30am on the dot. Honestly I thought it was just trapped gas because what pregnant woman doesn’t experience that on a regular basis? But throughout the morning they kept coming at random times. Hoping that this was the start of the end, I decided to distract myself! So I went out and ran some errands for a few hours.
I thought it would be best to keep the contractions to myself. It seemed pointless to tell Elih since he was at work and I wasn’t even sure if I was going into labour! For all I knew it could have just been braxton hicks.
By the time Elih got home at 5pm, my contractions had regulated to lasting a minute each with a break of eight to nine minutes in between. By 6pm I had called my doula, made some pumpkin pancakes (my doula reccomended I get some good food in my stomach that I wouldn’t mind eventually following Newton’s law of “reverse gravity”; what goes down, must come up) and stuck my sister-in-law’s tens machine to my back (which was a saving grace).
I almost made an apple pie because I figured that would be a good distraction, plus I could eat it once I got home from the hospital. But my doula, Donna, said to relax as much as I could because it was going to be a long night! So delicious pumpkin pancakes topped with syrup, icing sugar and fresh strawberries it was! The yummy food, tens machine, and binge watching Gilmore Girls served as a good distraction from the contractions till they got too severe to ignore.
At around 9:30pm I called my midwife to inform her my contractions were about four and a half minutes apart and lasting for a minute.
P.S. I told Elih when he got home from work that the baby was coming. . .
My midwife said that I could go to the hospital for her to assess me but that there was a high probability they wouldn’t admit me. I knew that there was no way they would send me home. For one, I knew I was progressing quickly. Second, my Mom’s labours were all fast; so quick labours run in my family. And third, even if they tried to send me home, I wasn’t going to leave. Call me a parasite, but I wasn’t going to drive back home from the hospital since we live a ways away and I didn’t want to risk delivering my first baby in our truck.
We walked into triage at 10:30pm where a big contraction hit, forcing me to lean against the wall for support. Good thing too because my midwife saw it and knew that I needed to be admitted. My goal was to be at least 2cm. So when the assessment showed I was 4cm dilated it was my first little victory of the night!
Our torture chamb – I mean hospital room – was private thank goodness! I don’t even know if our hospital had semi private labour rooms but I didn’t have to worry about it. Highlight of the room: The tub. A big deep tub. When I originally saw it I had no idea we would be best friends within the hour. Highlight of the maternity ward: The freezer. It had popsicles. The moment I found out they existed was the second I decided I was going to indulge in my fair share. I can’t remember how many I actually had but it was probably enough to feed a small country. . .
My worst fear (more so than spiders) is needles. They terrify me. My first blood test when I was in my mid teens was an adventure. I thought it would be cool to watch the process. Not so cool when I woke up to nurses slapping my face and was informed I had a minor seizure. I learned from giving blood that as long as I didn’t watch anything (not even glance at the needle while still in the package) I would stay conscious. But I am still terrified. At 36 weeks pregnant I tested positive for GBS – a bacteria that would possibly pass onto baby if I didn’t have antibiotics through an IV. I had hoped that the veins in my arm would be clear enough for the IV to go there, but unfortunately it had to go in my hand to stare at me for the night. The nurse who put my IV in was amazing. She was so sweet and kind; not making me feel small for having a fear of needles. Once the IV was in she even went the extra mile to cover it up so I couldn’t actually see it.
Once my first (and only) dose of medication went through I hopped in the tub. Well, not really hopped. . . More like waddled over to and slowly managed to lift my swollen legs high enough, one at a time, to actually get in. Its a good thing they didn’t fill it up the whole way ’cause my whale surface area raised the water level all on my own.
That’s where I stayed for a loooooong time.
If you read my previous pregnancy updates you would already know that I had an anterior placenta. Anterior placentas usually mean you are probably bound to have back labour because the baby’s spine is against yours. This was very true for me. Back labour hit me hard and it sent pain all down my legs and up through my neck.
I discovered very quickly that the last thing I wanted was to have anything touch my belly. Nothing. Even if it was tissue paper barely grazing my belly, I wasn’t going to have it. My sister, Sarah, and Elih worked together to #1, not touch my belly, and #2 provide as much releif as they could through each contraction. Elih had his hands pressing on my hips while pulling back and Sarah pushed hard against my lower back. When I say Sarah pushed hard, I mean she used the wall behind her to get extra power by pushing off of it with her feet thereby having her full body weight + more (thanks to the wall) pushing into my back. Its comedic thinking about it now, and it was definitely comedic at the time.
Im not sure how long I stayed in the tub for, but once my midwife saw that my body was naturally pushing at the end of my contractions she had me get out and onto the bed so she could assess me. All I wanted was to be more than 6cm. That was my goal (not that I had any control over that). It was early in the morning and I was exhausted. Little victory #2;
Yet my water still hadn’t broke. I could either wait for my water to break on its own and labour for longer, or I could get my water broken and have the baby out sooner. However the latter meant that my contractions were going to get a whole lot stronger. I wanted babe out, so we went ahead and had them break my water. I found out later that the amniotic fluid was brown because babe had pooped while in the womb; which is evidence of an overcooked baby.
I had always imagined that once my water broke it would be very satisfying. Like a really good emptying of bladder. It wasn’t. Just for your info. . .
Contractions got a lot harder really fast so I was given gas. Gas is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t take away the pain, but it makes you care just a bit less. This is when I closed my eyes and didn’t open them again. I saw everything in doubles and the room spun faster than a teacup ride at an amusement park. I felt sick from the effects of the gas with my eyes open so I kept them shut. However closed eyes didn’t prevent me from experiencing that lovely law of reverse gravity. My apologies to Elih and Sarah for gagging my pumpkin pancakes all over them.
I was very very tired. I had been in active hard labour for hours and I was now forced to stay on the hospital bed till it was all over (p.s. does anyone else notice that most people call a maternity hospital bed a “table”). Back labour made lying on my back torturous so I tried to stay on my right side. I held onto Elih really tight; he was bent over the bed holding me. He knew that wrapping his big arms around me was what I needed. And it was. I wanted to be done. To go home. So that’s what I asked Elih. I asked if he could take me home. To be home and snuggled in bed with Elih sounded like paradise. I didn’t think I could go on any longer.
This is why doula’s are awesome. Donna, my doula, knew I needed to hear realistic facts. So she told me that even if I went home, the pain wasn’t going to end. As weird as it sounds, I needed to hear that! The pain was going to continue until baby was out and I could either mentally give up or persevere. That mindset, along with Donna quoting scripture and speaking biblical truth gave me the strength to keep going.
There is something that women tend to forget when it comes to labour. Granted, it’s hard for us. The hardest thing we will probably ever do. Physically, emotionally, mentally, it takes all of our being to go through labour and delivery. The only thing that would be more difficult in the emotional and mental state would be to watch the person you love go through extreme pain and not be able to do anything about it. Elih, along with every Papa, experiences this. They have to watch the person who they love the most fight through hours of intense pain. As men, they naturally want to protect us from pain and hurt but in this case they are powerless to help. I pray that I never have to experience that.
Elih felt this really hard close to the end. During a contraction I could feel his body just barely trembling and heard him try to hold back the tears that slowly crept down his face. It may sound cheesy, but time suddenly stood still. He was in emotional pain because he helplessly saw me in physical pain. I wanted him to be okay. We held each other tighter. Amongst the worst hours of my life, there was a moment of true beauty; one that I will treasure forever.
10 cm dilated.
Time to push. Contractions were so distracting that I actually forgot that I would eventually have to push a semi truck out of a compact parking spot.
Thanks to my sister Sarah’s experiences with pushing her kids out, I was expecting to push for maybe 15 minutes and be done.
N O P E
I know someone who pushed for two hours, so I really feel like I can’t complain. But I did have to push a human being out of me, so I think that gives me back my right to complain. When I started to push, my midwife had me turn over onto my hands and knees because baby was sunny side up. However being on my hands and knees wasn’t bringing baby down, so they had me flip onto my back again. At this point they wanted me to focus so they took the gas away.
After about 30 minutes of pushing I asked if I was almost done. In the grand scheme of things I suppose I was technically close. But when I was told I was “close” I thought that meant baby’s head was mostly out.
N O P E
Baby’s head wasn’t even out yet.
At the time I really wanted someone to hold my legs for me. But I was in so much pain and so tired that I couldn’t vocalize it. So I ended up accidentally pushing my feet into the nurse and midwife. They didn’t really need the extra pressure (no pun intended) so they told me to hold my own legs. Talk about a workout!
I had been pushing for an hour. . .
Suddenly a small slimy warm body was on my chest. I opened my eyes for the first time in hours and looked down to see hair. Dark hair. There was a tiny button nose sticking out and little arms squirming. I looked up at Elih who joyfully told me “It’s a girl!”. Our little baby girl was finally earth side. She didn’t cry. All she did was look around and quietly coo. The nurse started to rub our little girl’s back to encourage some crying. I wasn’t worried though because she’s like her Mama and clearly had some things she wanted to say before opening up those little lungs. She finished speaking her precious mind and started to cry. Loud.
Beverly. Born 3:45am. Friday, June 22. 7lbs, 12oz. 21 inches. A little head and big tummy.
Victory of a life-time.
I’m not going to lie. Beverly was not cute right away. I adored her of course, but she wasn’t cute. Cone headed, purple, swollen, dirty (from being in her own poop for who knows how long). But I told her that no man would ever be good enough for her. With ten fingers and ten toes Bev was perfection. I had no strength left but I held onto that beautiful babe as tight as I could.
For my whole pregnancy I was afraid. Afraid to be a Mom. I understood how serious of a role being a mother was, and I didn’t know if I could be a good mom. As weird as it sounds, I wasn’t sure I would be capable of loving our little babe as much as she deserved. A tiny helpless innocent vulnerable life would be entrusted to me and that was scary. I only ever shared my fears with Elih, who was quick to console and encourage me. The fears of being a mom haunted me throughout my whole pregnancy. However once our perfect baby Beverly with the cute button nose was on my chest, those fears left me. They became non-existent. And I haven’t felt them since.
Remember how I mentioned that when my water broke it was unexpectedly unsatisfying? Well you know what was satisfying? My placenta coming out. I felt a million times lighter after that! After birthing the placenta the nurses and midwife were surprised at how huge it was! There was also lots of calcium spots all over. I was told that those spots on my placenta had actually stopped working; more evidence of an overcooked babe. We are so thankful to the Lord that our beautiful Beverly came when she did because that placenta wasn’t going to have lasted too much longer. Along with a large placenta, my umbilical cord had a unique part. There appeared to have been some kind of knot or bulge inside the cord itself. My midwife had never seen it before! I have no idea if its significant or not, but how cool eh?!
Unfortunately I tore. While pushing I felt myself tearing (which felt like burning). It was second degree tearing; mainly internal, and partly external. Second degree means that I tore through my muscle. This is where that gas became a LIFE SAVER! Since my labour was over, the gas was a lot more powerful. I cared 0% that I was getting who knows how many stitches down south. This was actually comedic for everyone else in the room because I couldn’t stop talking in a southern accent!
Yes, a southern accent. Donna was holding the beautiful gas tube in my mouth which I bit down on harder than a frozen thick piece of chocolate. There was no way they were taking it away from me! So there I was, getting stitched up, high on gas, talking in a southern accent while biting down on the tube. That beautiful, beautiful gas giving tube. I tried not talking in an accent but all that came out was southern! The amount of non-sensical things I said is countless. I made sure to explain to those around me how amazing the gas was though. Because it was a boss. . .
After some time of resting, I handed Beverly over to her Papa. She was crying in my arms but the moment I passed her to Elih and he began talking to her she was silent. When she was in the womb she loved to move. Elih would put his hands on my belly and talk to the baby; yet for some reason she would stop moving! I never knew why. But now, finally in her Papa’s arms, she knew him. She knew his voice. It brought her comfort and she stopped crying to listen. Talk about a heart melt. . .
We are in awe of how our Heavenly Father designed, created, and blessed us with our perfect little Beverly. Elih and I can’t help but praise Jesus for this tiny life that has transformed us already. Life with her is as bright as her big blue eyes. We are so blessed by her; and the many people who love, cherish, and pray(ed) for her.
What a joy it will be to witness her grow up and alight the world with those bright blue eyes.