Monday, October 27, 2008

Birth is Spiritual

Birth is spiritual...mental...emotional...and obviously physical.

It's the most incredible thing I've ever done.

I've never felt more powerful, as if my body could do anything.

I feel a queen.

When I woke up last Wednesday, I was excited but still silently questioning the induction, wondering if I could honestly say I knew it was the best choice for baby. Throughout the morning I noticed that I was having more and more contractions, finally paying enough attention to notice they were consistently between 10-15 minutes apart.

I went to breakfast with my girlfriend Libby and then headed to my friend Trisha's house to pass the time until Aaron could come home and hang out with me. I mentioned my contractions to Trish (who is a labor and delivery nurse and my 'douala') and we agreed that the contractions would hopefully dilate my cervix a little bit, making the induction that much easier.

Aaron came home a little early and we ran a few errands. I silently watched the clock, secretly getting a little excited that maybe...just maybe my body knew what to do. At about 4pm I laid down to take a power nap and 20 minutes later I sat straight up with a contraction that required walking around. We decided to go for a walk to see if we could get things to intensify, and that is exactly what happened. Over the next four hours the contractions went from 10-12 minutes apart to 4 to 6 minutes apart.

What is sort of funny about the whole situation is that I still didn't think I was in labor. I thought at the most it was pre-labor. The contractions were certainly painful but bearable but I had an expectation that it would instantly be awful, so I just didn't take it all that seriously.

We arrived at the hospital at 8pm on the dot, got checked in and were taken to our room. When the nurse came in I mentioned I thought maybe labor had started on some level. We laughed at how this kid probably takes more after me than we thought, procrastinating until the very last second. The nurse decided to check me and not only was I in active labor, but I was at a 5 and 80 percent effaced! I was elated and nearly started crying because I was so excited! No induction necessary!

Trisha had shown up by that point and the three of us high-fived and got serious about getting my labor to progress. I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but we honestly had fun. I don't know if it was because I had such awesome support or if I was just giddy over the fact that labor had started on it's own, but I was in the best mood despite the pain.

We hung out in the room on the birthing ball for a couple of hours, walked the halls and finally got in the jacuzzi tub. (I got in the tub, the two of them took turns holding my hand and cracking jokes). Around 1am, I was 7 centimeters dilated and the contractions had ramped up. They were harder to breathe through and they were starting to come on top of each other. Jackson was posterior, which is why I had such intense back labor. Aaron and Trisha took turns putting pressure on my hips which helped ease the pain somewhat.

I decided I was ready for the epidural. A half an hour later the anesthesiologist had come and gone and I was feeling much much better. Unfortunately, it didn't really take on my right side and a few hours later, I could really feel the contractions again and they had to come and re-bolster the medicine.

From there, they let me 'labor down' for several hours. Basically, once they broke my water at 10 centimeters, Jackson didn't like the contractions very much. His heart rate would dip during each contraction and we had a few scary moments on and off. At about 7:30am, we got serious about pushing. I've never worked so hard in my life. I thought I would be terrified, but instead I felt powerful and strong. Thirty minutes later, Jackson arrived. Unfortunately there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, so instead of being put directly on my chest, he went to a nicu nurse to be assessed and have his lungs cleared. It took him a minute to cry which was probably the scariest and longest minute I've lived through yet, but he was fine and moments later he was being laid on my chest.

I look at my child and feel in complete awe of God's goodness and faithfulness. I love this child with an intensity I didn't know possible and after just five days I know my life has changed forever because of his presence.


Ripe for Reading said...

What a beautiful post; it reminds me how powerful women are in this process of birthing. Congratulations--enjoy Jackson!!

Fine For Now said...

How awesome is that! When I am pregnant and getting close to delivering I am going to read this post to remind myself how beautiful and non-scary the process is! Can't wait to see more pictures of Jackson :)

Matt & Julie Vance said...

Congratulations Andrea! He is such a beautiful baby...what a wonderful story. I'm so glad you didn't need an induction and were able to start the process all on your own! Enjoy these days with the little man...he is so cute!

parkert3 said...

I agree, what a beautiful story!

The Lewis Family said...

I love that you feel "like a queen"! You should-this is such a beautiful and powerful thing and I am so happy for you! Thank you for posting you story- it gives me some extra insight for what's potentially to come. Congratulations again!

Chad & Cate Kuhlmann said...

Congrats again...I love the whole labor process! It just makes you feel like a very powerful woman, and personally I'm glad it's our job and not guys! I'm proud of you!