My dear friends Seth and Skylana had a gorgeous little baby girl named Arabella on Sunday, and I am so happy and excited for them both. She had a long and triumphant labor at home, and all of this is bringing back to my mind the sweet, precious moments leading up to my own son's birth and the unforgettable emotions Chris and I both shared on that day.
The only way I can describe giving birth is this overwhelming sense that I had accomplished much in a very short amount of time, and that I would never, ever be the same. The moment all the pain was over and I was holding a wiggly stranger in my arms, I felt a huge wave of strength wash over me and it hasn't ever quite left me since. Not that I was suddenly this superwoman who could handle anything this baby could dish out, (quite the opposite), but that I was somehow stronger underneath- like my foundation had been reinforced and I had more solidarity and substance to me than just 8 short hours earlier. So, since I've never shared my experience with labor here before, I thought I'd do that now.
I started having contractions that were sporadic and not too intense during the day, so I walked around alot and even went to my friend Jessie Cheatwood's baby shower that afternoon. By the time evening rolled around, they were getting more intense and coming only a few minutes apart, so Chris and I grabbed the hospital bag that had been packed and ready to go for 4 months and headed out the door. We got to the hospital at 11:00pm that night and they showed me to a room that was small and had no shower in it. (They were really busy that night.) By this point, I was really uncomfortable, and the nurse checked me and unsympathetically told me I was only 1 cm dilated and should probably go home and come back in the morning. Luckily, my friend LeeAnn was there to help coach me through the birth, and she was able to calm me down and let me know that I didn't have to go anywhere if I didn't want to. We decided to stay.
Well, my contractions were intense, and we finally convinced the nurse to check me again an hour later. In 60 minutes, I had gone from being dilated 1 cm all the way to 5 cm. The nurse was shocked and started taking me a little more seriously after that. They moved me to a better room with a shower, and I spent a lot of time in that shower sitting on a big yoga ball after that. Less than an hour later, I was at 8 cm. It was happening so fast, which was good, but it was also very very intense. My body was having a hard time catching up and I felt out-of-control for the most part. LeeAnn and Chris were AMAZING, though, and they helped me stay focused enough to get through each contraction one at a time. I was begging for drugs, but was dilated too far for an epidural. They gave me a dose of 'Stedol' to calm me down in between contractions so I could catch my breath. My water broke soon after that, and my midwife still hadn't arrived because the nurse hadn't called her in time. The nurse kept saying it would still "be awhile", but Ezra had other plans.
After my water broke, things started progressing super fast, and my body was telling me that I needed to PUSH. The nurse, however, was trying to get me to NOT PUSH because the midwife wasn't there yet. Finally, LeeAnn leaned over and told me that if I needed to push, I needed to push- and not to let the midwife's absence stop me. So, I started pushing. I only had to push 3 times, and Ezra was born and in my arms. I was in shock that he was suddenly HERE. The nurses were freaking out about how long his eyelashes were, and the first thing I said was "I could totally do that again." HA!
Ezra was born at 4:00 AM- weighing in at 6lbs 8oz and 21 inches long. Long and skinny, just like his daddy. The time at the hospital after he was born is completely surreal, and I remember sleeping a lot and being surprised that this baby really did need to eat every hour or two. I remember the first time we were all asleep in the room together, and Ezra woke up in the middle of the night, and I felt like I had no idea what to do and kept hoping the nurses would come in and tell me. It was like getting hired to be an Electrical Engineer even though I'd gone to school for 'Recreational Administration' or something... I had NO idea what I was doing, but I had to figure it out quick because it was suddenly my job. 22 months later, I still feel like that sometimes... although I'd like to think I'm getting a little better as I go... hehe.