Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Our Labor & Delivery (Part 3) | A Positive Birth Story


As I was sharing in part 2 of this saga, once they found out I had a fever, they wanted me to push. This was all good and grand except I was only dilated to a nine. The hospitalist thought because of how low the baby was that I could push through even at a nine. I have to admit I got a smidge nervous at this point. I wasn't nervous about the pushing, I was nervous that I had a fever and everyone in the room seemed to be so on alert because of it. I was also nervous that because I wasn't dilated to a ten yet that I was going to end up pushing for hours and hours. While I knew it was a possibility, I wasn't feeling ready for that. I was tired even though I'd been sleeping for a good part of the day.

Before we ever got to this day in our story, I told myself that I wanted to be a good pusher. Besides just not wanting to wear myself out physically, I just didn't want to look weak and have the nurse in my face for so long telling me to push harder. The other thing I was a wee bit concerned about was their preoccupation with having women hold their breath while they push. I don't have great lung capacity and I wasn't real sure I was going to be a good pusher if holding my breath was the deciding factor.

So then came the moment of truth. The nurse gave me the rundown of what I needed to do (along with the spiel about holding my breath). She said, "Hold your breath like you used to when you were a kid trying to see how long you could hold your breath under water." This moment is one of my husband's favorites when I looked her square in the face and said, "Yeah...I never did that as a kid. I don't have that kind of lung capacity." She thought I was joking.

I gave the first push and I definitely did not hold my breath. I tried, I really did. To my surprise, the doctor applauded the first one. It was time to push again and the nurse reiterated the need for me to hold my breath. I gave it another shot and, while I absolutely failed at holding my breath, I gave another stellar push. The nurse kept trying to get me to hold my breath and I kept not doing that. Finally the doctor looked at the nurse and said, "As long as she's pushing this good, let her do it however she wants." I wanted to motion the "mic drop" in front of the nurse, but I knew I had bigger fish to fry. I know she was just doing her job, but I needed oxygen more than I needed her approval.

Fifteen minutes in, I gave one finally push and suddenly felt a whole lot lighter than I had for the last several months. I heard someone say, "Ah! Look at all that hair!" Unfortunately, I couldn't see a thing. The doctor was holding her down low to suction out her mouth and nose. I was the last person in the room to actually see her. I heard her cry and immediately felt relief. And then they placed her on my chest and I finally got the view of the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen. She had a gorgeous head of hair and such adorable features. As I was sitting there looking over every inch of her face, she pooped in my hand. I didn't even care. In that moment, I felt like I officially became a mother. Not because I just pushed out a baby, but because I had poop in my hand and it was still one of the happiest moments of my life.

One of the nurses captured this moment. My face says it all.

Everything from this point on became another bit of a blur. I watched them take her to get all her stats. My husband sweetly stayed next to me until I told him he should go be with the baby. I tried to ignore the rest of what the delivery team was doing to me and watched as they placed our baby in my husband's arms for the first time. I felt like seconds later it was just the two of us there staring at our baby.

One of my favorite memories...

I won't lie. The next couple of days in the hospital were rough. I wasn't feeling all that great as I was dealing with chills and just feeling exhausted. The nurses were so intent on me getting rest, but they'd come in to check my vitals every two hours and did the same for the baby. The only problem was, two different nursing teams were doing this so someone was coming into the room constantly. Since we were still under quite the lockdown because of Covid, I didn't even have family or friends stopping in. I am not sure how we could've handled it AND have all those nurses in and out.

Our first family selfie...

I couldn't wait to get home and actually get some rest. I desperately wanted my own bed, clothes and for nurses to stop coming in and waking us up. Getting our stuff packed up was even more exhausting. I remember thinking no one really talks about that part; packing your hospital stuff. But I survived it. We picked up my first postpartum Starbucks drink and headed home. My first order of business?  A nice, long sleep.

Our glorious, homecoming three-hour nap!

And that's where most of these stories end, right? Not this one. So I'm going to tell you the rest next week. What I can tell you, though, is all of this went so much better than I imagined (at least till this point). It was clear that the Lord was at work in the whole experience. While I will admit that I hated contractions, the epidural was a pretty great answer to that problem. And, quite frankly, the hardest part was just around the corner.

To be continued...

What are (or were) your expectations about the labor and delivery experience?


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