Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Baby Story: We have contractions! (Part I)

Let me first say that, for the most part, I’m writing this for myself. If I don’t write it now, I won’t remember all of the details, and I feel like the details are so important.  I hope that, for some of you, it will be interesting, engaging, and/or helpful in some way. Maybe it’ll give you a snapshot into my life, or maybe it’ll give you a snapshot into your own. But it’s going to be detailed, and probably long.  If you don’t want the details, don’t read it.

Secondly, let me also say that in NO WAY is this meant to be a scary or woe-is-me tale. I don’t consider it that, though someone else in the same circumstances might. I consider it a tale of miracles, big and small, and of a Father in Heaven who loves, cares for, and directs his children in all ways if they but exercise faith in Him.  Please hear that in my story. Please read the joy in my story, even as I describe the things that went absolutely the opposite of what I thought would happen. 

I caught you up to through the false labor—about three or four days of fairly consistent contractions, but contractions that never really materialized into anything but sporadic 15 to 20 minute spurts that were exhausting in their frustrating teasing but not really very helpful in making labor happen. As I know now, they were NOTHING like real contractions.

I told you about my mental and emotional breakdown, and about how real contractions began on Tuesday. They woke me up at 4:45a.m., and I had a doctor’s appointment that morning.  I was sure we were getting somewhere, because these ones were regular and hard and I was beginning to have to breathe through a few of them.  When I was checked at 9:15, I was still 2 cm, but I had thinned out significantly.

So thus began the day of timing. We spent time playing Guitar Hero, walking, and doing pretty much whatever else I could think of that would help us to get things going. We were looking for some progression, and we saw some. Eventually the trend was more toward 8 minutes apart, and that was about the time that we went to bed.  I think I slept from about 1:30 to about 3:30, when contractions that were intense and seemingly back-to-back woke me up.  After every single contraction, which each came about 5 minutes apart, I had to go to the bathroom.  It was weird, but it was also tough because everything took too long.  I didn’t feel like I had any time to relax, because I had to go to the bathroom, which meant that another contraction would hit before I could find a place to relax.  Eventually I woke Brent up, because I needed him to help me get through the contractions. 

I cannot tell you how amazing he was. Everything and anything I needed, he was there.  Knowing we were going to the hospital, as we were exactly where my doctor had said we needed to be in order to get to labor and delivery, he helped me take a shower and get ready. Though we began to get ready to go around 4, it took us until about 6 to get there.  You move slow when you’re labor, let me tell you. I think, actually, I had to stop on the stairs. We have 14 of them. I’m just sayin’.

We got to triage and there was basically no one there.  They checked me and I was at 3 and 90% effaced and -2.  Basically, I hadn’t changed much.  They stripped my membranes and left me for two hours to labor to see if I could make a change. If I made a change, they would keep me.

That was a tough two hours. It seemed like forever and no time at all, and everything seemed harder because there was so much pressure.  All I wanted was to progress. All I wanted to do was know that this was the day we were having a baby. 

There were some really rough moments in that triage room.  I was scared by the pain—it was all encompassing at times and manageable at others, but it was everywhere and sometimes it didn’t seem to matter what I was doing, it was just THERE.  It wasn’t what I expected (though I don’t think that I knew that I expected anything, to be honest with you), and I think the surprise of that surprised me.   I broke down a little again, but eventually found that, somehow, when I would sing a particular hymn (one that just came to my mind, basically because of the lyrics), the pain would diminish and my ability to deal with it was infinitely increased: “Fear not, though the enemy deride / Courage, for the Lord is on our side / We will heed not what the wicked may say / But the Lord alone we will obey.”  I have no idea where it came from, but it worked.

Time started to move more quickly. In fact, I would say that this is when time largely stopped, as I knew, replaced instead with contraction by contraction. I lived not on Tuesday at 10am, but in 5 minutes and 3 cm. 

They checked me again and I was 4 cm.  They decided to admit me, but mainly because the monitors showed that the baby wasn’t as reactive as they’d like. They admitted me because they didn’t love how she looked in labor, but they didn’t really tell me that.  It was okay. I just knew, finally, that this was the day.

We weren’t leaving without a baby.

I was suddenly infused with peace, hope, and strength. I could see that we were actually getting somewhere.  It meant everything to me, and I found my smile again.  The contractions were easier to manage and we were admitted.

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