Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Day(s) I Became a Mommy

At the discovery of our surprise pregnancy, I submerged myself in preparation for the perfect, natural birthing experience. Much of that preparation included prayer. Since JD was not sold on the home birth I longed for, I accepted that I was going to give birth at the hands of professionals. I was petrified of having a hospital birth full of interventions so I just prayed that my experience would be more organic and less medical. After all, God designed our bodies for this. I was made to do this, and do it without modern medicine. My constant prayer was for God to allow this baby to come on her own, without intervention, and arriving healthily in mind and body.

Miserable and so tired of being a human incubator with no signs of labor in sight, I wept in the bathroom at my office on the last day of work. I begged God to put me into labor soon (please dear Lord don't make me carry this baby past my due date). I got myself together, said my goodbyes to colleagues and the working world, and headed to the final birthing class.

It was the hospital tour class so there was a lot of walking and bed disassembly demonstrations. By the time we made it back to the classroom, I was having some abdominal pain. Nothing terrible, but it was definitely uncomfortable. The RN teaching the class noticed me holding my breath (and belly) every 15 minutes or so and joked that the class may witness a birth sooner than later. My 39 week OB appointment was the next morning so I knew I would be given the specifics of my situation soon. The contractions kept JD and me up all night. I cried, panicking about the experience that was before me, scared of how our relationship would change, but mostly dreading the hospital and its staff.

Friday morning at the OB, I was told that I was in active labor and to stay home as long as I could stand it since I wasn't getting an epidural. I was told to come to the hospital when I could not stand the pain any longer and the contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart.

I went back home with contractions coming regularly every 10 minutes. I walked the neighborhood 3 times, climbed my stairs repeatedly, and bounced on that birthing ball until I was dizzy in hopes of speeding things along. By nightfall, the contractions had stopped completely and I was by myself eating my farewell cake from my coworkers. I went to sleep secretly relieved, but hoping God hadn't forgotten about my tearful pleading in the bathroom at work.

Early Saturday morning, I woke up to the worst abdominal cramping I had ever experienced. I did not know what labor pains felt like so I assumed my cakefest was the culprit. I went to the bathroom to discover I had lost my mucous plug. I made the mistake of showing my husband. DO NOT SHOW YOUR HUSBANDS GROSS PREGNANCY STUFF, it haunts them. We both kind of panicked. I was hurting really badly and forgot all of the breathing techniques I had learned so I just sat in the bathroom, swaying back and forth and crying. Luckily, JD remembered the calming techniques and got me back in the bedroom. He timed the contractions while I cried until we decided to head up to the hospital.

We called my mom, who was acting as my novice doula (she has 2 home births under her belt), and she met us there. I walked in and got to pick my room (the purple one with a huge window). The nurses hooked me up to the monitor and checked my progress. I was dilated 3 cms and 80% effaced. With 7 more cms to go before I could deliver, I decided to go back to the house to clean, fold laundry, and forget about what was happening.

As soon as we got back to the house, the contractions came back ferociously. All I could do was lie on the couch (crying) and watch JD clean and fold laundry. We were probably at home for 5 hours when I hit the pain wall that convinced me I no longer wanted to have the natural childbirth I had prayed for, but instead wanted all the pain relieving drugs I could get. I got hysterical and called my OB for "hypothetical" medication options if I were to come back to the hospital. Knowing how intent I was on doing this naturally, she suggested I return to the hospital to check my progress. Off we went.

There is something very horrifying and wrong about being in active labor while riding in a car. As soon as we pulled out of our neighborhood, I lost my marbles on JD. I demanded he call an ambulance to transport me the rest of the way (we live 5 miles from the hospital). He calmly kept driving and calling our family while I wailed like a banshee in the passenger seat. This time, I had to be wheeled to labor and delivery in a wheelchair because I could no longer walk or stand through the contractions (it hurts that bad folks).

The nurses checked me and I was 6 cms and fully effaced. They assured me it wouldn't be long now. But I still wanted to discuss my pharmaceutical options..... I was told that in lieu of an epidural I could have Stadol, a narcotic that would take the edge off of the pain and make me drowsy (and make the baby drowsy). I said I needed to think about it so they went ahead and prepped me with a Hep lock. Well, they tried to prep me. My veins would not cooperate and 2 different nurses could not locate or secure a vein. It was as if God made them invisible so I had no option but to follow through with my/our plan.

So I laid in the bed, stiff as a board while my mom and JD talked and carried on like there wasn't a woman having a baby in the room. My rules were don't talk to me and don't touch me. Oh, and open the blinds so I can focus on the birds, and close the blinds because the light hurts my body, and draw me a picture of a cat so I can focus my energy away from the pain, and don't make me laugh, and Mom for the love of everything good, PLEASE move your chair away from me. Not too many unreasonable requests I don't think.

I had prepared Bible verses months in advance that I was going to meditate on when the pain was intense and in the final 2 hours, that is what I did. I wept and read those verses aloud. During contractions, I called out to God to not let me die! I said His Name so often I had to clarify with JD and my mom that I was not taking His Name in vain, but asking for His help. I'm sure those nurses thought I was crazy.

Every time the nurse checked me I asked how much longer. Each time was shorter than the time before and when they wheeled in the bassinet, I knew I was in the home stretch. The entire time though, I wanted the drugs (and if my mom or JD had left the room I would've made those nurses sneak them to me). Until that bassinet was brought in, then all I could think about was my precious baby and her perfect body that never knew an artificial substance in her entire existence. That's when I got serious about my plan again and getting her out naturally no matter what. The plan was always about her, I just didn't realize it until I saw the bassinet.

Things happened very quickly, my OB checked me, I was at 9 cms. She broke my water (the only intervention) and within minutes I was ready to push. Nothing is scarier than having the bottom of your bed dropped and 5 people telling you how to push out a baby. Breathe in through your nose, count to 10, crunch your abs, push through your bottom, exhale through your mouth and go! Um, I know 1 push and it's the kind that we all do in the bathroom with a newspaper... But I was determined to do my push until that baby was born because then, IT WOULD BE OVER! So I pushed 5 of my special pushes and at 6:47 pm on Halloween, Beatrice Claire was born. All 8 lbs and 12 oz of her perfect little body emerged and it was OVER!!!!

The pain was gone the instant that baby girl was born. I still had to deliver the placenta (we had the nurse show it to us and explain the parts, so gross), but that was nothing compared to the previous 48 hours. Beatrice was perfect and healthy. JD went with her to the nursery for her first bath while my girlfriends and family came to see me. I hadn't eaten anything since the cake the night before so I was thrilled when my mother in law brought fried chicken. I devoured that meal!

My recovery was a breeze. The nurses gave me a Motrin that night, but I never took another thing. I was up walking around right away, took a shower, nursed my baby, and felt great.

I am always so excited to share this story because I just love giving God props. I prayed for 8 months to not go past my due date (I gave birth 3 days before) and for Beatrice to come on her own time without having to be induced (she did). He had a perfect plan all along for me and our family. I am still amazed at how He answered even the small things that I asked for (like good nurses who supported my birth plan). I have leaned on Him during the loss of my dad and on my wedding day (and several days during my marriage), but never have I depended on Him moment by moment like I did on those 2 days. It has strengthened my walk in a big way. Heck, it has strengthened everything about me. I know how to rely on Him in a way I probably always should have in every situation.

Welcome to the world, sweet girl!


  1. YAY! Welcome to blogging! You're going to be a FUN one to read!! I didn't know you went all natural! I did not, though I wish they had waited longer to give me the Epidural, I wanted to feel it more then I did. I went over by a week and was totally over it by then, I just wanted to hold my baby!! Someday Aly, our girls are gonna meet. I hope they'll be friends. :)

  2. Beautiful Aly! I love birth stories; not one is the same but they are all so joyfull(in the end!)

    I'm very proud of you and envy your experience! So glad you have a blog, I think you have a lot of creativity to share with all of us.

  3. Aly,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am hoping to be strong enough to have a natural birth for my little boy. What verses did you meditate on while in pain? I would like to do something like that as well. It is great to see such a Testimony to God. It was beautiful.

  4. Aly,
    I loved reading your birth story! I had my babies naturally too and am so glad you got to experience it. God is faithful! It reminded me of when you were born and your mom greeted us at the door just hours after you were born. You must get your "superwoman" abilities from your mom.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing ... very encouraging!

    I loved this part ... "My constant prayer was for God to allow this baby to come on her own, without intervention, and arriving healthily in mind and body."

    That's totally my focus right now :)

  6. I enjoyed your birth story. I can relate to many things you said. I love reading how birth strengthens new mothers.

  7. Well written. I enjoyed reading your story from beginning to end. And that's one cute baby!

  8. Great story! While I'm not planning on having any natural births anytime soon, I am SO glad that it worked out so wonderfully for you. =) God really is good.

  9. Every time I hear someone's birth story it takes me back to me own experiences. Thanks for sharing. :)

  10. Thank you so much for sharing and for giving God mad props! I'm so glad you were able to have the natural childbirth that you wanted. What an accomplishment!

  11. Such a great story...and what a cute baby she was!! Can't wait to read more!


  12. mucus plugs aside, it was a wonderful story...i've been there 4 times myself, though with my last i totally went with the epidural to find out what all the fuss was about...i still mainly preferred an epi-free birth.

    stopping by from sits to say hello!


    stuff and nonsense

  13. Holy cow...this story is AMAZING. YOU are AMAZING!

    My birth story, which is also long, is almost on the complete opposite end....lots of drugs that ended up not helping me out at all.

    Anyway...Happy SITS day!

  14. Beautiful! I'm glad I'm not the only one who wailed :) I felt kind of embarrassed about it afterward. But my husband said he was impressed by my, er, vocalizations. I also went natural - though there wasn't time for anything, really. The parts where I would have demanded it had it gone on too long were over in about 20 minutes. Still 20 minutes that felt like 20 years.

  15. A beautiful story, and a beautiful baby. I, too, was dead set against drugs...Until I was in labor for 19 hours and STILL had not progressed further than 6cm...
    visiting from SITS

  16. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm 31 weeks tomorrow and a bit terrified. Well, really terrified, who am I kidding. lol Can't wait to finally hold my baby girl!!

  17. Found you on SITS. Don't forget that your strength comes from inside YOU. She was a big girl to have delivered naturally. Congrats!

  18. just got around to reading your birth story... absolutely amazing!