I’ve held to my promise to post this week- I got my book review post done but haven’t yet posted about Eila’s third birthday. And while I suppose I could do that now, I don’t have the pictures uploaded yet, and it just doesn’t seem right to write a post about her birthday without pictures. Oh, and I’m still in denial that she’s three.
So, I’ll make my sister-in-law happy (hi, Erica!) and write Eila’s birth story. Because, you see, I care about you and will NOT include pictures in this post. Except for maybe one at the end of my sweet girl all shiny, bundled up, and beautifully new.
I was due with Eila on February 4, 2008. She didn’t care and decided to come when she felt like it, starting her exit the morning of the 11th. Stubborn from the get-go! By the 11th, Will and I were very ready to meet our little girl but really didn’t want to be induced if we could help it, which my doctors were plotting to do if she hadn’t arrived by the 12th. Needless to say, when I felt the beginning of what seemed to be regular contractions around 4:30am the 11th, we were very excited. Like the birth rookies we were, we waited to make sure that the contractions were indeed regular before planning to head to the hospital. In the meantime, I took a bath, called my parents, got our things together, and headed towards the hospital. Knowing what I know now, I mentally kick myself for rushing to the hospital rather than laboring at home for awhile. PLEASE, if you can, labor at home as long as possible. SO MUCH BETTER.
Anyway, we got to the hospital around 7:30am, after stopping for biscuits for breakfast. Yeah, clearly these were NOT major contractions at this point. We arrived and told them how far apart the contractions were, and went into triage so they could check the contractions out for themselves by hooking me up to the contraction-measuring-machine. After this, the nurses told us we could go back home if we wanted and wait for them to get closer together. “Mean nurses”, I thought. “I want to stay and have my baby. How dare you say I can go back home?” When the on-call doctor spoke up and said instead to admit me, I thought “See? He knows what he’s doing!” Ha! Again, stupid. Stupid, stupid me.
Will and I checked into the hospital room with all the excitement of honeymooners’ checking into their hotel suite after the wedding. Except I was very large, in mild to moderate pain, and wearing a super unattractive hospital gown. We begin THE WALK. You know, walking around the labor and delivery floor to help contractions move along. And boy did they start moving.
And aside from not rushing to the hospital in the first place, this is where I wish I could go back and change things. This is where I let fear in. I thought I knew what to expect: I read the books, I took the classes, I talked to some mommy friends. But nothing can quite prepare you for the uniqueness of the birth process, and that process does include pain. My labor was still “progressing slowly” (according to the doctor) and so naturally, pitocin was offered as the best intervention at this point. Pitocin. As in “liquid hell”. For those of you who may not know, the job of pitocin is to progress labor, which means the contractions pick up. But because it is synthetic oxytocin, the contractions typically came harder and with more intensity than if they were occurring naturally. And when those contractions began to come with more force, I got scared. I tensed up, which physically, is the worst thing you can do because it intensifies the pain. What’s worse though, is that spiritually speaking, I took my eyes off God and focused on my fear. The Bible says, in Psalm 34:4, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” And one of my favorite passages can be found in Isaiah 43: 1-3, “But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”.
I didn’t, however, let the truth of those verses wash over me the way the fear did, and after hearing the word “pitocin”, I agreed quickly at that point to an epidural, which I had not planned to do. It took awhile to get the anesthesiologist in to do the epidural, and I began to get my security from a numbing agent delivered via monster needle rather than from the Lord. That security was short-lived, however, because the epidural didn’t fully take and left me with a hot spot in my left hip which felt similar to having a portion of your body on fire. Well, it’s what I would imagine having your body on fire would feel like.
My mother and Will are both with me in the room, and because I had an epidural I was no longer free to move around but instead had to pretty much park it in the hospital bed (seeing as how you have to be hooked up to a monitor and all after the anesthetic is injected). Oh, and the catheter was great fun too (sorry, but this is real life people). Well, as often is the case, the epidural slowed down the labor. We were hitting the brake (epidural) and the gas (Pitocin) at the same time with this madness.
At this point, we were heading into early evening, and I was trying to rest as much as possible in the hospital bed. My mom was sitting in the room praying and reading her Bible, and Will was trying to distract himself from seeing me in pain. I remember vividly his shoes. Why? Because they squeaked. And every time he would walk around the room I heard those darn shoes squeaking and it drove me crazy. I think I may have been a little sensitive. At least the hot spot had eased off some.
As I should probably ease off this post and share the rest of the story soon. It’s getting a wee bit long. Kind of like my labor with my sweet girl.