This is super long, and somewhat um, graphic. Read at your own discretion:)
Part 1 is here
Part 2 is here
At our last cliff-hanger, I had just taken a nap after a much avoided epidural. The epidural didn't work at first, then the midwife was giving me 1 hour to make progress (I was at an 8.5 and had been for the better part of a day). After the epidural was re-inserted I had less than 40 minutes. I begged the midwife for an additional 20 minutes to try to rest and make progress. She hesitantly obliged. Daniel woke me up and I was so frustraed that I couldn't get to sleep! But he smiled and told me that I had in fact fell asleep for almost 20 minutes! I looked up and the midwife and nurses were back and were ready to check me. After being checked she looked shocked and told me I was ready to push! This was something I had lost hope on for awhile, but here it was...really happening!
**I think I had better mention something here-if you are a woman who has gone through childbirth but has never had a c-section (especially if you were whole-heartedly plannng, wishing, dreaming for a natural childbirth as I was) my joy and excitement at this point might seem silly and unfathomable. It really is difficult to understand why anyone would be so excited to feel the pain of normal labor and pushing-unless its something you thought you might never experience.**
Anyway, as soon as they found out I was dilated to 10, the room began to swarm with people readying the room for birth! When they wheeled the "baby cart" near my bedside I think I began to tear up a bit. Was this really happening? They had to tell me step by step how to push, since I had that epidural. They had me in all these crazy positions on the bed-holding sheets "skiing", hold one leg back...lots of craziness. I wish I could've stood to push and think it would have helped, but we worked with what we could.
My pushing got praise all around and everyone was so encouraging about the progress the baby was making. Unfortunately after about an hour my contractions stopped. Just like that. Baby was fine, everything seemed fine, but no contractions. We waited. And waited. And waited. No baby, no contractions. Coming close to 2 hours we started talking again about options. As the epidural wore off more and more I realized that if I move around on the bed a lot I could sort of drum up contractions once again enough to start pushing again. It wasn't working though-and they came back to talk options. Thankfully instead of c-section the discussion centered around vaccuum delivery. Although it scared me a bit to think of yet another intervention, I knew it was relatively safe for my situation. Although I was working toward a natural childbirth I knew and they knew that my goal wasn't just about having a natural childbirth-it was to have a vaginal delivery. If the interventions used helped me toward that end instead of away, I was up for it.
So...we started with that, and as I pushed, the dr. (at this point a dr. had to do the delivery since it was a medically intervened birth) pulled on my precious girl and after a number of pushes her head was out! They asked if I wanted to touch her, but I had so much adrenaline and pain that I declined. I was just focused on getting her out. But quickly I noticed that after her head was out there was much commotion in the room. They were saying something that I later found out was a term for 10+ lb babies! They couldn't believe what they were seeing- no wonder she was taking her sweet time to come through-she was huge!
Another painful push and O was out! They wiped her down quickly and laid her on me. She inched toward me to nurse and they let her lay with me to try to nurse for 30+ minutes. I could hardly believe the mixture of elated feelings within me. I was utterly spent in exhaustion yet I was on cloud 9. It was the closest feeling I have ever had to a natural "high". Not only did i finally get to meet my sweet baby but i had done what medical professionals had been telling me was impossible and crazy-given birth without another c-section. Not only that but it was after a total of 44 hours of labor and she was big: 9lbs, 13 oz. Man, it was a good feeling.
I couldn't have done it without my husband's support, our doulas, the awesome nurse and midwife staff at Group Health, and the prayer of our church and family.
Now O is a happy, healthy 4 1/2 month old girl. We are blessed.