To “prepare” for birth (can you really ever prepare with your first? haha!), Kevin and I took a 5 week birth class at the hospital. It was helpful to gain some basic insight into the process. We also took an online Kingdom Childbirth Class called A Heavenly Welcome. It incorporated a Christian perspective into the birthing process, and was just so encouraging. It taught me to release fear and embrace birth as something so beautiful! A Heavenly Welcome also has free birth podcasts, where women share their birthing stories (which I found fascinating!). The one thing I gained from the podcasts is that your birth will not go as you plan, but as God plans.
So…from the start, I felt pretty good about holding things very loosely. I’m a very natural person, so of course I wanted to try to give birth with no drugs at all…but I told myself I wasn’t opposed to it. And I’m so glad I had that attitude, because I can tell you right now that my entire experience didn’t go at all how I would have planned! But…it was absolutely perfect because it’s what God planned for me. I had to trust and depend on him each step of the way.
To begin, Avonlea was two weeks past her due date. Those two weeks were so hard emotionally. I was So ready to meet our girl and each day I would excitedly arise and think “this could be the day!” only to go to bed with absolutely nothing happening. My mom and I walked every single day (sometime multiple walks!), I bounced on a ball, did lunges, put essential oils on, and even tried castor oil (never again!)! She just wouldn’t budge!
Finally my OB scheduled to induce me on Monday night, April 3rd. Again, “my plan” would not have included being induced, but I just had to trust God. Deep breathe! Kevin and I went in and around 9pm they gave me Cervadil to soften my cervix (as up until this point I had only dilated to a 1- my cervix being so far back they could barely get to it!). Around 4am, I started having some pretty intense contractions. Kevin stood next to me, holding my hand as I slept between contractions. Around 7am the nurses checked me and I was at a 3 and my cervix had finally moved down into the right position (which was something to celebrate! haha).
They hooked me up to an IV and started the pitocin. The contractions started becoming pretty massive and close together. My mom came and brought me a smoothie in the morning, and then went right to work massaging my back during the contractions as Kevin looked me in the face and walked me through each part of the contraction. My mom and Kevin were lifesavers during this time. The pain was excruciating! I tried all the methods I thought I would like…getting into the whirlpool tub, holding on to Kevin, etc…and I hated all of it. Everything felt so painful. The only position I liked was sitting on a folding chair with my mom and Kevin around me. I had read the book by Marie Mongon on Hypnobirthing, and her hypnobirthing cd (which I had downloaded on my phone) literally got me through the worst of the contractions. I can still hear those chimes now…haha! But really, I was able to sleep between the contractions and stay relaxed.
Around 10am they checked me again and I had progressed to a 6! We all cheered! The pitocin was really doing it’s job. The next 4 hours were the most excruciating as I continued to labor through the contractions. At 2pm they checked me again, and I was still only at a 6. Being in so much pain, and feeling like nothing had happened in the last four hours prompted me to ask for an epidural. I had tried hard without it, but felt no shame in asking for one. I just trusted that this was going to be part of my birth, and let me tell you…it was heavenly. When the drug started working, I was on cloud 9. Even though I could still feel the contractions, they were more a dull pain. I was able to nap, my mom and Kevin were able to eat some lunch and rest, and we all just relaxed for about an hour or so.
Around 5pm the nurses checked me and I was at a 10! I was so happy I cried! Actually I sobbed. I couldn’t believe I was finally there (except little did I know I still had so far to go, haha!). The nurses had me start pushing. At first, because of the epidural the pushing wasn’t hard, and I thought “this is easy!” haha…that was not my tune later!. An hour in, the doctor came in and told me we needed to turn down the epidural so that I could feel myself pushing. I pushed a total of 3 hours, and Avonlea still wasn’t coming out!
At this point, my doctor gave me three options…he said I could have a C-section, I could keep pushing naturally (but she wasn’t going to come anytime soon), or he could use the vacuum to get her out. I literally told them I didn’t like any of the options. In this moment, after laboring 16 hours and pushing for 3, I was exhausted and felt like I couldn’t make a decision. Kevin mentioned we try the vacuum, and I went for it. Three sets of contractions later, Avonlea came out. (I won’t mention the part where her head was stuck half inside me and half outside of me, and I had to wait 4 minutes until the next contraction! I can honestly say, that was the worst!!!)
But what a miracle! Honestly, when they put her on me, Kevin and I were so overwhelmed with emotion. We couldn’t believe that our little peach was finally here and sitting on my chest. Everyone was cheering, my mom was taking pictures, and it was just such a holy moment. My dad and siblings and Kevin’s parents were all in the waiting room, and over time they came in to see her. It was just such a beautiful celebration of our baby girl’s arrival into the world.
I literally look back at my birth experience and rejoice at each part of it. It all felt holy and miraculous to me. I felt the Holy Spirit at each stage through my nurses, the doctor, and especially my mom and Kevin. It was such a sweet bonding time for me with both of them as they worked SO hard to support me. I couldn’t have done it without their constant encouragement. The room was so peaceful, and I felt like I was able to bring her into a calm and loving atmosphere. Like I said, nothing really went the way I had envisioned it going in some ways, but the way it went seemed perfect to me. I learned to just depend and trust God in a tangible way, and that was beautiful.
Thank you all for being so loving and supportive to us in this time. I’ve received so many lovely blog comments, cards in the mail and emails. Thank you ALL!! xoxo