|Photo Credit: Audrey Dodgen of Dodgen Photography.|
I went into labor sometime Wednesday night. I'm not sure what time because, after we got home from church and put the kids to bed I got into the bathtub with a really good book. I haven't finished it yet. I did read about half of it before I got out of the tub at 12:30. It was late and Josh was already sleeping, so I just crawled into bed and fell asleep pretty quickly. Caroline woke us up about an hour later and Josh went to check on her. I realized that I was having contractions and I was wet. Not soaked, but pretty wet. Caroline was still fussing, so I went and rocked her for a bit and noticed that the contractions were pretty regular. I put her to bed when she fell asleep and then told Josh what was going on. We timed a few and they were about 6 minutes apart, so we called my Mom and Tara. Mom was coming over to sit with the kids and Tara was going to have to drive up from Texas, where she's just moved.
We got to the hospital around 3 am and got up to L&D without any incident, thought I have to admit that OU's hospitals are the most confusing hallways I've ever navigated. We checked in and I was already at 6 cm, so they took us to a room and basically left us alone until it was time to push. My Midwife wasn't on call until the next day, so another one, Barb was there. She was fabulous.
My cousin Audrey came up to take pictures. It was nice to have someone to chat with between contractions. She takes fantastic pictures and she kept Josh occupied. The contractions were pretty intense after a bit, and Josh would rub my back or let me hold onto him until they passed. For a while I really didn't think Tara was going to make it. They were incredibly intense, and I started to feel a little pushy, so they called Barb and she checked me. I was only at 8, so she told me I was going to have to wait a bit. Oddly, just after that things slowed down for a while. I kept thinking about Tara and hoping she'd make it and at about 6 am the contractions picked back up and Tara got there. I had them call Barb back and she checked me again and I was ready. They broke the bed down so I could squat at the end of the bed.
On and off I had been listening to my Hypnobabies tracks. This is the third unmedicated birth that I've had and I realized early on that the only way to accomplish it was to learn to relax myself as completely as possible and let my body do what it was supposed to do. I had asked that I not have anyone coach me to push. Instead I let my body push as it needed to. I started to feel kind of embarrassed, like I wasn't doing anything. Barb and my nurse (what was her name?) and Josh and Tara and Audrey were all just standing around while I waited for a contraction and the eventual, short urge to push that would pass pretty quickly. But Barb never said a thing except to encourage me when I made a little progress and Josh just kept whispering in my ear. It was really peaceful and relaxed. There wasn't any hurry. The monitors showed that Sadie was fine and my body was working.
About 35 minutes in I got a stronger urge and so I pushed. And then I pushed really hard. Her head came out and she was about halfway there, but that's when they realized that the cord was wrapped around her neck. Twice. And she started to turn purple. So Barb told me those things and told me that I needed to push now. She was gentle but firm. I wanted to rest, I was afraid of pushing too hard and tearing, but I knew that I needed to push so I did. And thats how Sadie came out in basically two pushes.
I've been so afraid of what might happen. I had no idea how peaceful it could be to give birth on my own time. I didn't tear at all, and Sadie was as red as a lobster, but she was fine and now she's doing just fine. There wasn't the kind of fear this time that there was in the past.
I've been thinking about a particular Bible verse for the last week or so:
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 (esv)
I'm not saying that I've somehow been perfected in love- I have a long way to go- but in that moment, when I could have been frightened, I was strong. It actually never occurred to me that anything bad would happen to her. I just knew that I needed to do something for her and I did.
Maybe it's because I stopped thinking about it so much and just did what I needed to do in the way that I needed to do it, or maybe it's because I've been so intentionally preparing for this birth, but whatever it is or was, all I thought about was that little face and what she needed. It feels like this is speaking so much toward where I am and what I am hoping to become as a mother. It's hard and lonely sometimes to be a mother. It feels like you give and give until you have almost nothing left and you just want to eat a meal without having to get up, or go to the bathroom without an audience. But there are moments when your kids really need you to stop thinking about yourself and the things you are afraid of and be or do for them what they really need at that moment. Maybe they won't strangle, but maybe they won't thrive either.
Am I an old pro? No, but I feel like I might be hitting a stride. I feel like I might finally be figuring things out. Of course, I still haven't actually gone anywhere with the three of them alone. Yet.