It takes my breath away to write this. To think about the miracles that have flown in steady stream into my life lately. The joy and transformation that I had anticipated yet unknowingly been completely unable to fathom. She is here. She is my delight. She is everything that I never knew I had wished for. She has changed me. She is Perfect.
Since monday when I had my field trip to Labor and Delivery I had been experiencing some contractions, they were irregular at times but for the most part were 15-20 minutes apart all week. They weren't building in strength or anything that I couldn't handle, for the most part I was even able to get some sleep at night through them.
Last Thursday afternoon my father-in-law was passing through town, he does this from time to time and Jared and I always meet him for the meal that could coincide with his timing. On this occasion it was lunch, in horrible pregnant lady fashion I was a failure at craving anything so I made Jared decide where we would meet his dad for lunch. As luck would have it he wanted chinese, not the good kind where you have menu's and giant marble figure heads outside of the restaurant but the cheap buffet kind. The kind of chinese food that no matter what you end up regretting within 24 hours of eating it. So China King it was, about 2 miles down from his office we all met and ate. While we were eating I noticed that my ever present contractions were stronger than they had been. The kind that make you hold your breath an pause for a little more than a second. (Yes I know you're suppose to breath when having a contraction but you try and rhythmically breath when you're being punched in the gut)
After lunch I drove home, very very slowly drove home, in the far right lane, going under the speed limit, trying not to grimace and close my eyes while driving through contractions. As soon as I got home I laid down in bed. I began to time my contractions and like clock work they were 4-6 minutes apart lasting a minute each. The strength at which they peaked was getting stronger and I could feel myself start to tense up a few seconds before one would actually hit in a fearful anticipation of them. After 3 hours of drinking multiple glasses of water and trying to rest and slow the painful waves that were slowly taking over my body I faced the reality that this was it. I called Jared and told him that he needed to leave work early that I was sure that this was the real thing and that I needed to go to the hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital, I was given a gown, hooked up to a monitor and put in one of the oh-so-comfy hospital beds. After an hour of contractions consistently hitting at 4 minutes the nurse checked my cervix, I was still only 2cm dilated. The same that I had been all week. I was nearly devastated, 6 hours of contractions that were getting harder and stronger had done nothing to prepare my body for labor. The nurse explained that they couldn't officially admit me until there were signs of true labor (meaning I had to dilate) After 3 more hours of contractions, being checked every hour, the nurse offered to give me something for the pain that was so frequently ruining my magical experience I had planned on. I accepted her offer and for the next 6 hours I waited, in pain, trying to relax, being internally checked every hour.
Relax, thats the best thing you can do when you're having a contraction. make the rest of your body limp and focus on breathing while your body does what is natural and tries to prepare to get that baby out. To a certain point this is possible, I had lots of time to practice and about midnight the nurse complimented me on my ability to relax the rest of my body and breathe perfectly through a contraction. (This doesn't make them hurt any less) Relaxing helps to calm the baby, and with the in between periods.
Before Jared and I were married I had some pretty serious medical issues with my "reproductive system" leaving some scarring on my cervix. the nurse warned me that because of this labor may take longer to commence but that usually once it finally got underway it would go pretty quickly. At one point in the middle of the night she asked if it were on if she tried to help me and I agreed not fully knowing what she meant. She then proceeded to attempt to pop the ring of scar tissue, resulting in me screaming while at the same time being unable to breathe.
Jared laid in bed with me and supported my back through most of the night, letting me unintentionally dig my nails (which were freakishly long due to prenatal vitamins) into his arm when a hard contraction would hit. He barely slept, except for that one time he fell asleep standing up. :) He was wonderful, coaching me through breathing, when it was hard, telling me what a great job I was doing and how proud of me he was. Everything I hoped for and needed; he was.
Around 5am when the nurse checked me she said that I had finally dilated to 3cm and that I was able to be admitted. She had done all of the paperwork slowly throughout the night so that once the time came it was more of a formality. (Her shift ended at 6 and she wanted to make sure everything was done before she left so that I didn't have to wait for anything-Bless her) By 6am I had blood taken, an IV put in (18 gauge needle-for prego's) and was being prepped for my epidural. We were given the ok to call in family and warn them of the eminent arrival of their newest member.
Tom, he was the epidural man. A late twenties/early thirties guy with respectable sized biceps and hair a little to long to be considered well-kept. We like Tom! He was calm, not rude, the way that some hospital personnel are, (like hey, I do it everyday so get over your fear and let me do my job) He was patient, explaining what he was going to do and waiting for me to wrap my mind around it. I sat on the edge of the bed with my feet dangling. Jared stood in front of me holding both of my hands. First he gave me a small shot to numb the area that he would be doing the big stuff. It barely hurt, seriously. I think all pricks hurt, no matter how small the needle, so I don't know if it was the last 18 hours of contractions or the fact that I was scared stiff but this prick hurt less than any of my life. Then after about a minute he told me to lean as far over as I could and tuck my head down. I gripped Jared and felt pressure go into my spine. I was so scared I don't even remember if I was breathing or not. It was over. No pain, just pushing, no tears, or screaming, I wasn't paralyzed, I was slowly going numb. After another thirty minutes or so I could barely feel my legs and had very little control of them, or anything else on the lower half of my body.
My doctor finally made her appearance around 8 am to check me and see how I was progressing and accidently broke my water. She was planning on doing so with hi-tech medical tools but when she was doing a routine check touched something and well, that was that.
I had expected things to go rapidly as the nurse had anticipated from that point, but I was not so lucky. I was finally able to rest, mainly thanks to Tom and his miraculous ability. The next few hours passed slowly. There was change but it happened very slowly. My family finally arrive around noon, and were relieved to find out that they hadn't missed the grande finale however slightly disappointed that they were stuck in the middle of the waiting game right along with us. Friends filed in, leaving work early, and squeezing in a short visit during a lunch break.
After a few more hours of slow and steady progress I spiked a slight fever, just over 100. The nurse seemed more concerned than I felt was necessary and the next hour seemed like a blur, something (I know it's horrible that I don't remember what) was administered through my IV, my epidural checked and strengthened, a non-hourly check of how far I had dilated, and my doctor called. I was 7 1/2 cm dilated. only 4 1/2 cm in about 12 hours (that's depressing) It had been been 30 hours since I had eaten anything and 36 hours since I had slept. I was beyond exhausted and had very little presence of mind to make informed decisions.
My doctor called from her practice to tell me that she was worried that there was a problem. I wasn't dilating as I should be and it was causing a lot of stress on my body and the baby was starting to feel some of that stress. She explained that a fever is normally a sign that things have already gone too far and that she wanted to do a c-section. My eyes immediately filled with tears. I was scared, I didn't know what to say or what to do, I wanted to protect my baby girl from anything that could hurt her but at the same time I couldn't control the overwhelming fear that gripped my heart and nearly stopped my breathing.
Jared who had been in the waiting room informing our family and friends of the fever and possible outcomes walked into the room. I told him what the doctor said and he just gripped my hand as I cried. He leaned forward and told me that I was going to be fine and our girl was going to be fine and that he would be there through it all. He sat on the edge of my bed, held my hand tight and prayed for us.
Deep down in my heart of hearts I knew I didn't have an option, they like to make you think you do and make you feel comfortable, in control, calm, but the look on the nurse's face and the sound in my doctor's voice told me that this was happening.
I asked to see my dad, (my rock) he came in the room to what I'm sure were bloodshot eyes, and tear stained cheeks (bless my family for not documenting that) he sat in the chair beside my bed, held the hand Jared wasn't and as tears filled his eyes said that everything was going to be ok. He didn't know all of what was happening and had no way of assuring me of anything but something about hearing your daddy tell you everything is going to be ok makes it ok. I asked him to (mainly for Jared's sake) and he explained from his standpoint what a c-section was like (I was one).
After a few minutes the doctor arrived and cleared the room. She checked me again and said that I was about 8cm but that they couldn't wait, they had to go ahead with the c-section. She explained in much more elegant terms that my hips (or lack there of) just weren't allowing for the baby to make her way down. She wasn't able to put the necessary pressure on my cervix to make it dilate the final bit and that she had been in there trying for so long that it was starting to get dangerous, hence the fever.
I was given a super strong dose of something in my epidural and within minutes was unable to hold my eyes open. Our clan came in from the waiting room to wish me luck, pray for me, and head back out.
Jared was given a very becoming man onesie to wear, I was unhooked from the monitors in my room and we were off. In the operating room I was laid in what they call the Jesus position (yes the seriously call it that) arms, strait out on either side. Jared sat by my head which was the only part of my body visible since a sheet was hung at my chin.
The process which I'm told was quite quick from there seemed to drag. I felt pressure and pulling, The smell Jared and I agree was the worst part. (We all know I could never be a doctor, so I'll stop there) I just wanted them to announce she was out, she was healthy, perfect, and I wanted to hear her cry. After what seemed like hours there it was, that cry, the soft wailing that sounds like a lamb stuck out in the rain.
Jared was led away to be with her, I could barely turn my head and wasn't able to see him nor her. I didn't even realize I was crying until I felt hot tears fall into my ears. Then there she was.
Drowsy, warm and perfect. I wanted so badly for them to place her on my chest. To be able to hold her, count here little fingers and toes, kiss every part of her, thank God for her, but then as quickly as she had been introduced to me she was gone. I lay there grateful that after more than nine months of waiting and worrying she was there and healthy, yet devastated at the same time. I wanted my girl, I wanted to just be with her. I had waited so long, and now here I was alone in this operating room with a bunch of nurses and doctors all looking at my abdomen. Jared and Addiston were taken to the nursery where she was measured, weighed and introduced through glass to her family
(thank the nurse who stole the camera from my precious husband to capture these moments I was unable to witness)
And then FINALLY, I got to meet our girl.
There were tears but not as many as I had anticipated, that had passed, all that was left was joy.
The family and friends were ushered in to meet her, and as quickly as they had come, were escorted out as apparently I had just received major surgery and needed to rest. My epidural was taken out, and Jared and Addiston were taken back to the nursery for her first bath.
I was allowed to nurse for he first time. We did great, she ate like a pro, (I'm gonna give thanks to my big sister, and her coaching me since her first was born for that feat) Jared changed her first diaper (I was so proud)
He was made to be a Daddy. One glimpse of him with her and I'm convinced. The way he talks to her, nestles her in the crook of his elbow and holds her close with just one arm, the way his face lights up whenever she meets his gaze. He's her perfect Daddy, and I can't explain how my heart swells to see them together.
Then it was quiet, Jared and I alone with our girl for the first time. She was quiet, going in and out of sleepy bliss. Healthy. Perfect. My dream come true.