Over the next week I experienced a few nights of intense contractions which went away during the day. My OB appointment came Thursday, May 23, with fetal monitoring, an ultrasound, and devastating news - a necessary c-section because of the possibility of Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR). (Which is quite funny since just the week before everyone was worried about Little Baby Sister being too big because of my gestational diabetes.) With the previous experience of a c-section, I absolutely did not want a repeat one, strongly desiring an unmedicated vaginal birth. However, we scheduled a c-section for Friday morning, and I went home determined to induce labor naturally.
Now I had read A LOT about natural birth, and we had even strongly considered a home birth. One book I encourage all to read is Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth. She advises, “what gets the baby in, gets the baby out.” Also, nipple stimulation (with breast pump, in my case) induces labor naturally. These work, for I was in labor within two hours! It was 11:00 pm.
Of course, I thought it was just going to be another restless night with intense contractions that would just merely go away come morning. I had told Jack earlier that I wanted to go to the hospital early to get another ultrasound and a second opinion, if possible. As I packed Little Jack’s bag for his couple days stay under someone else’s care, I had to catch my breath about every three minutes. We decided to call Grandma and go ahead to the hospital. It was 2:30 am.
Finally after laboring through the laborious (no pun intended) process of registration and the long walk to the labor and delivery ward, and struggling into that stylish hospital gown, and relieving my bladder which had come to hold only a few ounces, and maneuvering ungracefully into the bed, my water broke! But it had traces of meconium in it (to add to my list of concerns for the doctors!). I was 4 cm. and 90% effaced. It was 3:00 am.
In three hours, I transitioned to active labor. Unbeknown to me, since I had never experienced this before. But I realized it quite soon thereafter! The next 45 minutes proved my womanhood. Now, I had made up my mind to deliver without medication (my birth plan even requested no saline lock, which was surprisingly honored) so I had to constantly remind myself that this still was not as painful as c-section recovery!
And I had a wonderful support team who blessed me through this journey. I wouldn’t have had such a positive experience without a magnificent midwife who exhibited such patience and flexibility, an understanding nurse, a doula as my advocate and comforter who administered back and leg massages during labor, and my marvelous husband who was the biggest encourager and inspiration through the whole experience (and who also allowed me to almost break his thumb by my amazing strength during contractions and pushing. Some words of advice from a dear friend from long ago: never give a laboring woman the hand you write with and never wear a tie to labor and delivery.).
For 45 minutes I let go of all inhibitions. I yelled, screamed, groaned, grunted, and made jokes. I figured I would be rather quiet since I don’t harbor a loud personality. And I sure didn’t expect to be funny during so much pain. I hoped every excruciating push was the last one. When it wasn’t and I came down from the peak of the contraction, I assured myself I could do it again (and that it still wasn’t as bad as c-section recovery!). I visualized my baby girl inching her way down and out. For me, the pushing wasn’t nearly as trying as the laboring. Maybe I had entered a state of mind where I knew I was in the short rows. Maybe I had begun to rely fully on my support team with my physical and mental well being. It was 6:47 am.
With one last awfully long push, a little baby girl emerged. Feelings of exhilaration rushed over me despite my exhausted. But, I surprisingly wanted to be detached from her. Like I needed a break to catch my breath and concentrate on what needed to be done next. To be able to be lost in the momentary whirlwind of necessity without it ruining love’s first embrace. I certainly wanted her to have my undivided attention when the time came!
|Little Baby Sister|
Oh! That first embrace! So sweet! So loving! So blissful! Absolutely perfect! Reflecting on her birth while gazing on that soft newborn face and into those glassy newborn eyes as she rooted - complete euphoria!
|Our First Embrace|
|Ava Hardy Moye|
2 Weeks Old