Thursday, May 16, 2019

Our Amazing Grace

I know not everyone is interested in the nitty gritty of birth stories but I happen to find them fascinating and I've had requests to share mine. So, if birth stories aren't your thing, please close out the page now. You've been warned...

If you know me or have read my blog at all, you know that our family walked through the darkest of storms last April when we lost our Zivah Noelle at 19 weeks gestation. It was a devastating loss and I struggled with trusting God to fulfill His promise. I knew He had promised me a daughter and here I was almost halfway through my pregnancy saying goodbye before I ever got to meet her. I was heartbroken...

But His infinite faithfulness had not forgotten His promise. Sometimes the storm is necessary so we can truly appreciate the sunshine. In August we became pregnant again, with our rainbow.

I wrote a blog about that and about how she received her name so I won't rehash that. I'll just get right to it.

The last month of pregnancy for me was excruciatingly hard. I was very uncomfortable. I struggled to walk or to do much physical activity at all. Sometimes the pain brought tears to my eyes and many times I wondered if I could handle this birth we had planned. You see, my son was induced full term and I had the epidural before I felt the first real contraction. I was tethered to the bed the whole time and I was robbed of that first crucial hour of his life not to mention the first week because he ended up in NICU due to a "possible" infection. I'm still not convinced there was anything really wrong. But I digress. I knew I wanted a completely different experience this time around.

I had already chosen Celebrate Birth as my care providers when I was pregnant with Zivah and knew without a doubt I had made the right choice. So, with Grace, it was a no brainer. Everything was perfect the entire pregnancy. I didn't have nausea and I honestly felt pretty good until about the 32nd week. At my 32 week ultrasound they were concerned about her size. She was measuring 4 weeks ahead. At 36 weeks I went back to make sure her size wasn't beyond what they were comfortable with. Talk of having to deliver in the hospital was tossed around as a possibility depending on her estimated size and I knew I did not want that. After much prayer, she was found to be big but a normal size big for me and the high risk OB at Lakeland Regional didn't see any reason for me to not continue with our birth plan. Whew!

Fast forward 4 more weeks. Grace's "due date" was May 2nd. I was at work all that week. May 3rd was my final day and I fully intended to have a baby that weekend. Hahaha! Joke's on me. Saturday..I got a massage from our massage therapist at Celebrate Birth but...nothing. Sunday...I woke up with minor contractions that were coming actually closer together than I thought they should be. I could still talk through them. We were convinced we were having a Cinco de Mayo baby. But around 10am, they just stopped. I went for a walk, I did some squats, but they didn't come back except for one here or there periodically. Monday rolled around and I was just hurting. My back was killing me and it hurt sometimes to put one foot in front of the other baby.

But then...Tuesday. I woke up at 3:30am on Tuesday with a contraction. I went to the bathroom and had lost my mucus plus which I knew in my heart of hearts meant I was having a baby that day. I woke hubby up at 4:00am to let him know. The contractions continued to come and by 5:30 I think I messaged the midwife to let her know. They were intensifying and coming at a pretty good clip, every 5 or 6 minutes. I sat on the birthing ball for at least an hour breathing through each one, so grateful that the time had finally come. I took a shower for a bit that seemed to space them out some for a while but not for long.

Hubby made me some toast that I tried to eat but couldn't. The contractions were intensifying to the point that I could no longer talk through them. He stayed by my side for the most part coaxing me to eat, poor guy. Around 6:30 or so I made a bee line for the bathroom as a massive wave of nausea hit out of nowhere. I had to reassure my husband that vomiting during labor is totally normal! Some time after 7 I called the midwife (or texted, I'm not real sure) to say I was ready to come in. They were getting bad and coming every 4 minutes and I wanted to get to the birth center before moving around became too difficult. We left for the center around 7:45. I had a contraction on the way to the car and then 5 more on the 10-15 minute drive to the center.

When she checked me, I was only 5 cm dilated. She knew once my water broke that things would progress rapidly so that's what I was praying for...for HOURS. I labored on the birthing ball, in the bed, on a stool, on the toilet (that'll get things moving). All the while my husband is trying to get me to eat because he knows I need my energy. I just couldn't stomach any thing. Another wave of nausea hit again hard and fast. Ever vomit during a contraction? That's fun!

I'm not sure what time it was when I was fighting my body's urge to push so I got into the water to help me relax. It helped for a while. I actually think I got in for a bit before things got too bad. My second time in the water was spent trying not to push. My water hadn't broken yet and I was only about 6 cm. I was in the water for a while when the midwife basically said, "Listen, we're coming up on 12 hours for you here and I know you're tired. We can break your water for you or you can get up and move around." May not have said it quite like that but that was the basic gist. I didn't want them to break my water for me so I painstakingly got out of the water. I've never struggled to get to a standing position like that in all my life. My husband held me up as I struggled down the hallway still fighting the urge to push. The midwife fed me some honey for energy but I had reached that point. I couldn't do this anymore. I decided then I wanted them to break my water. I needed this labor to end, I was exhausted. On our way back to the room, I had another contraction and my water broke on its own. I was relieved but also knew things would only get harder from there.

The midwife checked me again on the bed and then I immediately got back in the water...well, as immediately as one in full on transition can get into the water. For the next hour I fought my body's urge to push as I wasn't fully dilated. My midwife kept telling me small pushes and deep breaths through them but holy contractions batman! It was dang near impossible and my body was honestly just tired of fighting. Hubby kept cool compresses on my head and stayed by my side. Around 4:30,  she checked and baby was right there so she gave me the green light to push as I wanted. Praise Jesus! I pushed hard and loud the first few pushes before remembering about breathing baby out. From then on I focused my breaths and in less than 15 minutes, Grace was out of the water and in my arms.

She was perfection. All 10 pounds 3 ounces of her. Every little roll. I was in love. Natural childbirth is other worldly. You think you're insane for even attempting such a feat when you're in the middle of contractions during transition wondering why in the world you chose this for yourself. But I wouldn't change a thing...about her birth or her. It still feels surreal to say that we have a daughter but I am praising the One who keeps His promises. Born on May 7th which is perfect...7 is a number of completion and she has completed our little family. We are all smitten, big brother included.

She is our rainbow after the storm. She is our amazing Grace.

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