It feels good to be sitting here on the couch with our sleeping baby at my side, and a laptop in front of me.
In my previous post I wrote about getting settled in at the hospital, and getting the Cervidil placed in my cervix. Well the good news is that it did in fact start my labor. The next morning (July 2 – our first wedding anniversary) I was having contractions, and some pain. I was dilated more … I think I was around 3 centimeters dilated. They said that I didn’t need Pitocin; they removed the Cervidil, and I was able to continue with labor on my own. My body was laboring well on its own throughout the afternoon. The contractions were getting more and more painful by late afternoon/early evening. I asked for something for the pain, as the hours were dragging on, and still not ready to push. They gave me Nubain which is much milder than Demoral, so I wasn’t out of it, and it didn’t effect the baby. However, throughout the day, I was mentally, and emotionally withdrawn from my surroundings. I rarely opened my eyes, and instead focused only on each contraction as they came and went.
I want to stop right here, and talk about my wonderful husband. Instead of him disturbing me during a contraction … he started consoling me with words of encouragement, and information on my contractions which helped me focus so much better on each contraction… getting through it… and then relaxing a bit before the next one. I have to say, he was amazing. When a contraction would come, he must have seen it on my face, or he would hear me start to moan. Next thing I knew, I felt his hand on my head, or felt him holding my hand. His soft voice was near my ear, and he would say something like, “You can do this. You’re doing so well. Ok, the numbers are going up. The worst of the contraction is almost over. Breathe through it. Ok, the numbers are starting to go down. It’s starting to pass. I love you so much baby…” I hardly ever opened my eyes… even after the contractions were over. I just wanted to focus on the waves of pain, and then sleep between contractions. ALL DAY LONG Aaron’s voice was my constant source of comfort. I’m tearing up just typing this because he was just SO comforting and loving. He constantly watched the monitor to check on my blood pressure and contractions. He knew I was nearing another contraction before I even did, and then he was right by my side, whispering in my ear, just as soon as I started feeling the beginning of more pain. On the rare occasions when I would open my eyes, I would see his face right in front of me. His concern. His sadness. His love for me. I would close my eyes again, and feel completely rest assured he is taking care of me. I felt so safe. Thank you God for giving me the most wonderful loving husband I could ever dream of. On a side note… when I came home and looked through the pictures that my sister was taking while I was in labor, there were so many pictures of Aaron at my side, looking at me, and comforting me. I was trying to hold back tears just looking at them all. The love and support he shown me that day was in fact, the BEST first year wedding anniversary gift he could ever give me. Again, thank you Jesus for blessing me with the most wonderful man in the world.
In the late evening, I think it was around 9:30 pm, my cervix was checked again. I had made it to 10 centimeters dilated, and fully effaced. However, I felt no urge to push yet, and the doctor said that Faith’s head has not descended far down enough. My blood pressure was climbing (I think the highest may have been around 170/110) and they were all starting to get worried about the baby becoming distressed after being in labor all day long. They started suggesting I get Pitocin to increase the strength of my contractions, and also to make them more regular. They said my contractions were irregular, and they called the type of contractions I had “coupling.” I would have one big contraction, immediately followed by one small contraction, then several minutes of no contractions. Instead of having strong contractions every couple of minutes, I would have this coupling pattern, which was not working well enough for the baby’s head to descend effectively.
So here I was exhausted, but ready and willing to push on my own. I had made it. Fully dilated and effaced. I wanted to push although the urge was not there. The doctor said, “To push now will not efficiently use up the rest of the energy you have left, because the baby is not fully descended into the pelvis.” They wanted to salvage what energy I had left to push with much stronger contractions caused by the Pitocin instead. However, with my blood pressure riser higher and higher… I was afraid to start Pitocin, and have that cause my BP to climb so high that I could cause myself and/or the baby even more distress, and may have to end up having an emergency c-section. They suggested an epidural. They said it will lower my blood pressure. I said no. I said I will just have the Pitocin. I thought… I am so close, we are tough, we can do this. So the nurses went to get Pitocin. While we were waiting, fear came over me again. I felt that the Pitocin would make my BP get dangerously high. I didn’t want any more emergency interventions. When they came back, I said, “I changed my mind. Can I have the epidural first?” They said yes, and they went to get the anesthesiologist. I started crying. I felt disappointed in myself. After all day of laboring, and now instead of pushing, I am getting an epidural, and Pitocin.
I was scared of getting an epidural, but more scared of having Pitocin induced contractions that could cause me, and Faith, even more distress. The epidural was not what I expected at all. The nurse said it would take about 15 minutes to have the epidural in place. I thought to myself… how can I endure this for 15 minutes? I had to be sitting up when they place the needle in my back, and I’m a fainter when it comes to needles. How will I keep my back arched forward, and my spine curved, if I faint? The nurse and the anesthesiologist didn’t seem worried about this at all. The anesthesiologist was completely at ease, and evidently knew what he was doing. The nurse had me hug a pillow while sitting up. Aaron was right in front of me. I laid my head on his shoulder, and just listened to his words of comfort. I felt the cold iodine on my back. I felt the tiniest pinch of Novicain to numb me, followed by the smallest little ache of anesthesia that filled my spine, and then it was over. It was no where near 15 minutes. It felt like just a few minutes had passed. The IV was way worse than that!
Shortly after that, I was opening my eyes. No pain. The relief I saw in Aaron’s face made me feel so good. Then they started me on the lowest dose of Pitocin. I kept asking about the baby’s heartbeat as the pressure of the contractions increased. She was fine. The doctor said, “This is the happiest she’s been all day!” As we were waiting for Faith’s head to descend lower into my pelvis, my blood pressure lowered so much, and everybody was very happy. It went down to 112/65. It was perfect, and the baby’s heartbeat stayed strong and steady.
I was talking with my husband, and my sister, and they both seemed much more at ease. The nurse came back in a little later (I’m not sure how much time had passed since the epidural and Pitocin) and she said that the baby’s head was at a +1 station, and that I can start pushing. Everyone was getting so excited. Aaron was at my side smiling real big. My sister was ready with camera in hand. I started pushing, and the nurse said I was making great progress right away. Once the baby’s head had descended all the way, I believe to a +3 station, the nurse got the doctor because Faith was ready to make her appearance. Our doctor came in smiling. Everyone seemed so happy. I kept looking at my t-shirt that I hung up in front of me. It says, “All things are possible through Christ…” They raised up the dose of Pitocin a little more. The pressure from the contractions were getting much stronger.
I should mention really quick about my contractions. They never became normal after the Pitocin was administered. I was still having coupling contractions, although they were stronger. It turns out I made the right choice in having an epidural before the Pitocin. If I would have just accepted the Pitocin without an epidural, I would have been in even more distress only to find out that the Pitocin was not regulating my contractions like they thought it would. I think that the Pitocin, without the epidural, would have only amplified my irregular contractions, increasing my BP, causing the risk of further complications possibly. Fortunately, the epidural lowered my BP significantly, and made the rest of my labor much smoother. It turns out it was a smart decision, and a healthy choice to make in my circumstance.
With each strong contraction, I pushed as hard as I could. Many times I couldn’t hold my breath and push for a full 10 seconds, but I did as best I could. I think it was almost 2 hours of pushing. Aaron kept a close eye on the monitor, and when a contraction would start, he would tell me, “Ok push for as long as you can. You can do it! You’re doing great baby! …” There seemed to always be a smile on the doctor’s face. The camera was clicking away like crazy. It was fun to see the excitement in Aaron and Wendy’s faces, and their wide eyes, as they saw Faith’s head crown. Their smiles were so big.
At 2:50 am on July 3rd, I felt Faith come into the world. They laid her chubby little body on my chest immediately, and I heard her first cry. They suctioned her mouth, and I watched Aaron cut the umbilical cord. As soon as she arrived, my mom came to the hospital. She was at home waiting for the news, but couldn’t wait any longer so she decided to show up, and it was perfect timing. She was behind the curtain in our room, and she heard Faith’s first cry. The doctor told mom to wait just a minute before coming into the room so she can clean and stitch me up (I did have to get an episiotomy.) Mom asked if she could just stay in the room behind the curtain and listen to Faith’s cries. I saw mom’s feet behind the curtain, and knew she was happy just standing there, listening, with a smile on her face :)
Our little daughter seems to be quite the perfectionist already, like her mommy. She weighed an even 8 pounds, and an even 20 inches long, with A+ blood. See, she’s already an A+ girl :)
After getting to hold her for a bit, they took her to get cleaned up, and got her ready for Daddy! When they put her in his arms, it was the most beautiful sight to see. I will never forget Aaron’s face. I am beyond blessed. To see his warm arms that hold me, now hold our daughter… beyond happiness to me. Heaven on Earth.
Mom came into the room after everything was done, and she held Faith. Everyone was smiling, and happy. I was happy simply watching them all ooh and aah at her little face. At around 4 am we were moved to a recovery room, and I was able to keep Faith in our room with us during the rest of our time there at the hospital. Breastfeeding was challenging at first, but baby girl and I are now getting the hang of it. Faith got a vitamin K shot, a hearing test, and a blood test done while we were there. Her hearing test came back perfect, and her jaundice test was ok. She has a little bit of jaundice, but not too bad. We are waiting to hear the results of the blood test which tests for over 40 diseases/abnormalities. The nurse said, “No news is good news.” So if we hear nothing about the blood test, she is fine.
I barely slept during the rest of our stay at the hospital. I kept getting woke up by nurses checking my vitals and blood pressure. My BP rose back up again after the epidural wore off. It was around 140/80 … highish, but not too bad. One time I got woken up for a surprise blood test. Aaron was fast asleep, but as soon as he heard, “We need to draw some blood…” he was up out of bed and at my side holding me hand. Yes, although I got through labor and delivery … I still hate needles. I hate the pinch of the rubber band being tied around my arm, and the ice cold wipe of the alcohol, and especially the needle stick. However this time… I felt no prick! I was grimacing, preparing for that merciless pinch… but felt nothing! The nurse said, “All done.” I said, “Really?” That was the very first time I have ever had a painless blood test. I love that girl! And I told her so, too :)
On the last day at the hospital, we had some newborn photography done. I was expecting to have some standard photos taken of Faith laying on a receiving blanket or something like that, but instead, we had an actual photography session right in our hospital room, with many baby poses, and a variety of camera angles. The photographer was awesome! In the short amount of time snapping pictures, she captured beautiful shots of Faith! The photos and slideshow will be mailed to us, soon. I will be posting them just as soon as we get them in the mail! After she was done, she tried out our Canon 5D Mark III, and took some family shots of us. It was great to have our camera in a professional’s hands. It is true… it takes alot of hard work and talent to capture great shots … whether you have a great camera, or not. She really impressed us with the shots she took with our new camera, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to learn a little bit more about photography from her.
Shortly after we finished getting photos taken, we packed up and got ready to go home. July 5th was a hot hot day. Temperature was around 100 degrees, and full of sunshine. Aaron went out to start the AC in the car first before me and Faith left the room. While Aaron was putting the last of our things in the car, I was putting Faith into her carseat for the first time. Then I sat in the wheelchair the nurse had ready for me, and I placed the carseat on my lap. We were wheeled down the halls, and people were smiling as they looked at her little sleepy face. Once we went through the entrance doors we were hit with a burst of hot air and sunshine. It felt good. The nurse helped get the car seat in the back seat, and we were on our way home.
I’ve learned alot from this experience. I was blessed to feel what it’s like to have a natural labor experience, and I’m thankful I received the necessary medical interventions as well. I believe I made the right decisions throughout my labor, and I know God was with us, guiding us, helping us, and loving us all of the way.
I know that true faith in God is letting go of our own will, and grasping on to God’s will, even when we don’t understand everything. I’ve come to appreciate His guidance even more now, than ever before.
Aaron will be posting his own thoughts, and details about our birth story, soon. My memory is hazy, I’m sleep deprived, and my eyes were closed for so long during my labor. I know Aaron has alot to share with you all as well. So stay tuned for his own blog post, soon! I’m really looking forward to it myself! :)
And now, without further ado… here is Faith’s Video Debut! ♥
If you enjoy reading my blog, feel free to vote for it HERE ♥