Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Birth Story - From Laura's Perspective

This is a lot of detail and I do it mainly for memory purposes. I fully understand that not everyone will care to read this much detail haha.

It all began at 5:00 am on Saturday December 4th with just one contraction. That one contraction was a lot stronger than the others I had been feeling for the past couple days. I knew labor was on its way because for the past 2 days I had been having lots of cramps and just feeling a lot different. I sat up in bed quickly because it surprised me. I looked down and noticed that my water had broken. I stood up and there was another gush of water. Will looked over and asked if I was ok, to which I responded "um, my water just broke. Here it goes!". Will was so excited and jumped right out of bed. He started running around cleaning and getting everything ready for the hospital. We had been told by anyone and everyone that we would be laboring at home for at least 6 hours. So, we were expecting a real relaxed time at home for a while. Well, that didn't quite happen. We were immediately surprised when we started timing the contractions to find that they were consistently 4 minutes apart for an hour and were at least 45 seconds long each time. I was thinking the whole time "wow. These are really painful and really strong. I thought I was supposed to ease into this." We called the midwife and told her what was going on. She said to wait it out a little longer to see what happened. I was steadily growing really uncomfortable and my contractions quickly hit the point where I could not talk through them. We kept timing and they kept getting closer and closer together. By 8 am I told Will that we had to call the midwife again. Thoughts kept running through our minds of the people that we talked to and the books that we read that said that first time mothers never have fast labors and that we should stay home as long as possible. Will was hesitant to call the midwife at this point and I snapped at him and said "call her!!". We told her the situation. That the contractions were now 3 minutes apart and at least 60 seconds long. She quickly responded, "you're not up here yet?"

We quickly got our stuff together and headed for the door. I threw on my pajama pants and robe while my water was still breaking everywhere. I walked to the car as quickly as I could because I didn't want to have a contraction in the 30 degree weather. Will had already warmed up the car, so I was excited to get in. For the next 30-40 minutes, we took the drive to the Atlanta Medical Center and I've never seen Will drive so fast. He had his hazards on and everything. Hey, if there's one time you can speed... it's to rush your wife to the hospital when she's in active labor! I don't think we said many words to each other because I was so focused on the contractions and I couldn't wait to get out of the bumpy car.

We pull up to the Emergency Room at around 9:00 am and see another couple in front of us with a woman hunched over in pain. A woman runs out to our car and laughs because she says that we are the 4th person to come in in labor in the last hour. At this point, she is asking me questions and trying to keep my mind of the pain... she was such a sweet person. But I remember thinking that I really couldn't think of anything else besides the pain, much less making small talk with this nurse. She helps me out of the car while Will drives away to find parking. On the way from the ER to the 7th floor I had 4 awful contractions while leaning over in pain on this person that I had just met. My water is still breaking at this point and Will's sweat pants that I had thrown on were soaked. I just wanted to stop walking and be with Will. We get up to the nurse's station and there are 3 other women waiting for rooms in the hallway. I stand there for about 15 minutes (which seemed like an eternity) while they checked me in and while I waited for my room. Apparently they were overflowing with people that day. Will finally gets there and asks if I can have a chair to sit on. Here I am in the hallway with tons of people around me while I'm in the most pain of my life. They finally walk me over to my room and tell me to get in my gown. I had to be monitored first so that they could make sure that my heart rate and baby's heart rate were ok. I was so frustrated at this because it was only supposed to be a 20 minute segment, but they couldn't get a clear reading of it because I wasn't comfortable lying down completely. Honestly, the last thing on the planet that I wanted to do was lie down on my back while having these contractions. So, I was sitting up as much as I could and the nurse kept telling me that she couldn't get a good reading because of it. I was so frustrated at her thinking, "well, why don't you try it lady?" haha. Our nurse had several other patients because it was so busy, so Will and I were left alone in the room a lot.

Finally the nurse came in and checked to see how far dilated I was. I think she assumed I was in the early part of labor, but she asked me if I had any rectal pressure and I said yes! She quickly put on her gloves and found that I was already 5 cm dilated and moving fast. She also gave me the awful news that I probably wouldn't be able to have a water birth because they were overflowing with people. I wanted to cry at this point because I had been told so many times that I would be able to have a water birth and we even took a 2 hour class (for $30). "What do you mean I can't have a waterbirth!!??" I just kept thinking to myself... too much in pain to really make a fuss about it. My midwife walked in and told us that she was so upset that they couldn't let everyone get in the tub. She said "they shouldn't advertise it if you can't use it!" ... to which I agreed because I had spent the last 4 months thinking that that's what I would be able to do, and no one ever told me that there would be a chance that I wouldn't be able to.

So, there I sat in the bed... trying to get through as many contractions as I could while sitting. I started to feel really nauseous. I rarely ever throw up or have stomach issues but this was a different feeling! I had eaten half of a banana when I got up so that I wouldn't be starving the rest of the day. Bad idea, Laura. BAD idea. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I projectile vomited ALL over the bed and myself. The nurse wasn't in the room... so poor poor Will had to grab a bunch of towels and get me cleaned up. The smell was awful, and it was definitely the banana I ate that morning. He gets me all cleaned up and, 20 minutes later or so, I do it again. It was the worst because throwing up gets your body into such an uncomfortable place... not to mention I was having contractions at the same time. Each time I threw up, I felt the baby get pushed lower. It was so uncomfortable. My husband is amazing for taking care of me, even though he was gagging through it all. This was the only time that I cried during my labor. It was the beginning of the misery for the next few hours.

Well, my labor kept progressing whether I liked it or not....I had to keep trucking. The midwife suggested that I at least sit in the shower. It would have somewhat of the same effect as the tub. So, Will set up the birthing ball in the shower and I just let the hot water run down my back. It really did help! I didn't want to get out, but the dang nurse wanted to monitor me again (lol). So, there I went back to the bed. At this point I was freezing because I was still wet from the shower. Being cold made the contractions 10 times worse. So, my wonderful husband covered me up in my robe and tried to get me warm with tons of blankets. I was shaking out of control even when I was warmed up. The nurse said it was because I was getting close to having the baby. I have never seen my body shake that much. By this time, it was about noon and I was shaking uncontrollably for the rest of my labor. I hated that monitoring screen because it forced me to be stuck in bed when that was probably the most uncomfortable place for me to be at the time. The nurse left the room again and Will was great being a support to me. This was the point where I didn't want anyone talking to me or distracting me. I knew in my head that I was getting close.

The nurse checked my dilation again and said that I was about 7 cm and that I was in transition. Each contraction was like torture at this point, but I tried to keep a straight head. I was in so much pain that I kept falling asleep or passing out (not sure which) in between contractions. I wonder if this was God's way of helping refresh me since I was so worn out.
At this point, I looked at Will and said "I am so incredibly miserable. Would you hate me if I got the epidural?" and he said, "no, I completely trust you." So, I asked the nurse if she would get that going. I knew it would be a slow process, especially with all the other moms they had in. She drew my blood and said that they would be coming in soon. Well, an hour passed and I still hadn't heard of anything. Another guy walked in to take my blood and I told him she already did. He said, "well, unfortunately the nurse took the wrong ones." DANG IT! Now all I could think of was the fact that I would have to wait again for the results. Another hour passed... still no word. I was telling Will, "please ask the nurse where it is. I can't stand this anymore." I can't even put words to the pain I was in. I never thought my body could even go through that much pain.

My midwife walked in soon after and held my hand. She said, "you don't want the epidural. You are almost there. You're about to see your baby." She checked my dilation and I was about ready to push. She left the room for a minute and almost immediately I felt the urge to push. I told Will, "hurry! Call the nurse!" The midwife and nurse came in quickly and saw that the baby had made his way down. She said, "ok, let's get this baby out." I was sooo tired and so discouraged about how things were turning out... that I wasn't in the water, that I couldn't get an epidural, and that I still had to put in the strength to push. Each contraction became harder and harder (if that's even possible) and it got to the point where I didn't get any breaks because the baby's head was so far down that my body couldn't really stop contracting. I did feel the strong contractions and my midwife told me to wait until the peak to push. This was SO hard because pushing was the only somewhat relief I got to the pain. At least I was doing something now.

I pushed for a LONG 3 hours... no breaks, with the WORST contractions. There were not only contractions, but so much pressure. The baby's head was basically stuck for 3 long hours. Will said he could see his head for 2 hours. Everyone kept saying, "he is almost out!" and then I would have to push 60 more times. Then they'd tell me again. I started to not believe people and just keep going.
This was THE hardest thing I have ever had to do. I truly had to perservere in every sense. There was no turning back and there was no one to help me. For all 3 hours, the midwife was trying to get me in different positions to move the baby down. It took so much energy, but I just wanted him out. She had me on my back, she had me on the toilet, she had me on my hands and knees. She also had me holding onto handles to get more power and at one point tied up a sheet and had Will hold it at the other end to help me push. With every push, I felt my face swelling up with blood... but I knew that I wouldn't be able to get him out unless I did. The look on my husband's face for that 3 hours is something I will never forget. He was crying and kept kissing my head telling me that I was doing a great job. I couldn't focus on anything else but the pain, but looking back, I remember every face that he gave me. He hated seeing me like that. I kept saying "help me!" and "God, I need you!" and I could see that Will was praying over me. The midwife, the nurse, and Will were all there holding my legs up for those 3 hours. I know they were working pretty hard too.

FINALLY, after I was literally about to die (or what I felt like was death), the little guy's head comes out right after "the ring of fire" that I had heard so much about. That was the least of my pain though because it was so short and I knew that once I hit that point, it truly was almost over. I felt that burning for about one minute and his head was out. Then, with the same contraction, I pushed and his body was out. At 5:22 pm, Micaiah Gabriel was born into the world (with a major conehead) :) and weighing 8 lbs 2 oz, 21.5 inches long, with a huge head of 14.5 cm. No wonder I couldn't get him out!
I was more overwhelmed and worn out than I've ever experienced. I couldn't even focus on the fact that I had a baby now. I was so glad that the pain was over!! It was the only time in life that I wasn't able to cry out of pain... because it was TOO painful. What a weird thing to experience. They set the baby on my chest while Will cut the cord. I couldn't see the baby because my eyes had swollen so much from the pushing. Will said that he was just watching my face puff up. I seriously looked 200 pounds heavier. I kept saying that I couldn't see, so they put some cold wash cloths on my face while they cleaned the baby. I was looking around, almost feeling like I wasn't in reality. I saw Will holding the baby and smiling while the midwife got the placenta out and started stitching me up. I laid there for about 45 minutes while she put my stitches in. At this point, any pain was nothing in comparison to what I just went through.
She kept looking at me with these eyes of sympathy and held my hand and told me how proud of me she was. I knew she meant it. She then told me that the baby was a persistent posterior. They had told me a month before that he was in posterior position, but then later said that he was turned. She said that she didn't want to tell me because I would probably feel discouraged. She was the one that told the nurse to not let me have the epidural because she knew it would immediately lead to a C-section. Posterior births are the number one reason for C-section because of exactly what I went through. They are the most painful because the baby is constantly pushing on your back from being turned the wrong way. Also, the widest part of his head is the part to come out... not the narrowest like normal births. This is why it took him 3 hours to come out, and about 150 pushes later. I don't think she realized that it would end up going like that. She even said during the pushing part that she couldn't believe he still wasn't out. She gave me a big hug and reassured me that it was over. All I could do was have a sigh of relief.

They let me spend some time with the baby, but I was still so overwhelmed that it was hard for me to connect with him. They put me on a wheelchair once I was stitched up and started taking me to my room. My mom and dad had gotten there 20 minutes before the birth, so they saw us in the hallway and came running up. I still could barely see anything with my swollen eyes. I didn't know what I looked like, but I saw my reflection in a window and could tell that my face was huge. They got me situated in bed and gave me my little guy. I got some time to snuggle him and visit with my family. I was SO glad that it was all over!! I kept thinking that I was going to have another contraction and was scared... but that's just because my body had been doing it for last 12 hours.

I felt fine, I was just sore and tired. My parents went out and bought some dinner for Will and I and it was so awesome to just relax in that room. They left so that Will and I could sleep... but, unfortunately, I had people in and out of my room all night either checking me or the baby. I didn't sleep one wink. I think it was also because my body was so high on adrenaline. I was so tired but couldn't sleep.

The next day, my parents brought us breakfast and we hung out and watched some movies to try to get me to relax. Will followed the baby wherever it went for testing, which was comforting. I finally got some time to bond with the baby and quickly fell so in love. He was perfect. He made me melt right away.

We left the hospital after being there only 24 hours after delivery. My midwife got us out as soon as possible because she knew I was so worn out and wouldn't be getting much sleep there.

Now, here we are, at home and as happy as ever. I am so thankful for this blessing that God has given us! I can't even describe the love I have for him! It's truly amazing and it must be a glimpse of how much God loves us.

My recovery is going great and easy. The stitches cause me some pain, but it's really not too bad. For the first 3 days or so, my face was still super swollen. I cried when I saw it the first time. I have never seen myself look like that. My eyes got black and blue and when you would touch my skin it would crackle. It was the weirdest thing. I think it is because I had pushed so much blood up in my face and neck. My arms and back were super sore from the hard workout I had just done. But, other than that, things have been pretty easy. I am finally starting to look like myself again and starting to feel good. I have already lost over 20 pounds and am feeling lighter than ever! Haha.

Micaiah was SO worth the pain... and it was so great to see and look back on how the Lord carried me through. He didn't let me die, even though I was certain I would. He made the day fly by as fast as it could for me. I think my periods of going in and out of consciousness were really his way of loving on me. He was there. I know that Micaiah's birth was not normal and was hard, but I keep telling myself that other births won't be that way. Right now, I am terrified to go through that again... but my midwife reassured me that it won't happen again.
Even if it did, this little boy is the biggest blessing we have ever received. If something I went through was unjust in God's eyes, He will repay me 7 times over and I believe that He has already done that. He protected me from getting a C-section (which would have been a way worse recovery and would have possibly threatened other deliveries). He gave us a perfectly healthy baby who is SO good and has such a sweet temperament.

God is so good in every way. Thank you Jesus for carrying me when I couldn't stand on my own!!


  1. Oh Laura! What an experience on so many levels! I'm so glad you and your precious boy are healthy, and all is well. Babies are a precious miracle! Bless you guys!

  2. congratulations laura! tears came to my eyes as I read your story. isn't it amazing how it is SO worth it!! how SWEET, but awful because of the nurses, that time is in the hospital right after he's born! I LOVE hearing about births, new life!!, God's creation and His way of having babies be born, such a miracle. I'm proud of you girl!!

  3. Loved reading your story... you are quite a woman! You have one amazing story of endurance under your belt and I fully believe that you love God ALL the more because of His sacrifice for you! To share in His sufferings = joy. I'm right behind you sister... 10ish days away. You're an inspiration. Be blessed, you beautiful Mommy!

  4. Oh sweetie I am SO proud of you! I cannot even imagine. I know you two will be amazing parents and I am so incredibly happy for you :)