Tuesday, June 21, 2011

At the Stroke of Midnight

That is when my contractions started the day before Wren was born. Earlier that day my mom and I had gone in for a routine blood pressure test and almost not made it out. My bp was a little elevated and they wanted to admit me that day. I was so sad and surprised, I had really hoped not to be induced this time around. I was only 3 days past my due date and was feeling very confident that she would come on her own. Everything felt completely different, she just felt ready to be born. Plus, I had been 4cm dilated for over a week. I wanted them to give me more time but settled for agreeing to come back early the next morning.

Kevin and I went out to dinner that night, my nerves were starting to get the best of me. There was some discussion about what we would like to have for our "last meal." On our way to have Jude, we stopped and had a burrito at Chipotle (I should say that Kevin had the burrito, I was lucky there was a Jamba Juice next door). Kevin suggested we go to this "restaurant" he had been wanting to try. This is what I heard, "it's an old gas station that has been turned into a surfer themed Hawaiian diner." No. We splurged and went to a Hibachi grill instead. We got our car washed. I'm not sure why that was such a priority, but I insisted it had to be done, it was on my list of things to do before the baby was born. Check.

We made some phone calls and sent some text messages, asked people to pray for the induction the next day. Fortunately for me, a few people decided to pray another way, that I would go into labor that night instead. Has God ever given you some really great thing and then you realized that it was something you should have asked Him for? I'm not always sure what it is, but there is something in the asking that we are meant to have, regardless of His response. Just the asking, anticipating an answer, tethers us closer to God's heart and also reveals His Fatherly love for us. What a familiar exchange we are meant to have with God, as if He listens when we speak and gives when we ask! I'm sorry to say I forget to ask quite frequently. By my second contraction it occured to me that God was giving me the desire of my heart, even when I hadn't the courage to ask.

Well, the contractions came on strong and increased quickly. An hour and a half after they started we were at the hospital. Kevin promptly fell asleep in the robo-chair, wake me when it gets tough. I wish I could chronicle every detail, but I won't bore you. I will just say that it was a beautiful contrast to my first birth experience. My labor steadily increased in difficulty over the next several hours. The room was dark and quiet, I had a sweet nurse that stayed in the room with us the entire time. I eventually woke Kevin and our midwife somewhere between 3 and 4 am as things got more serious. Now, I told everyone there that I wanted to try and do this without an epidural, so no one even mentioned the word or offered me anything the whole time. As the labor progressed I started thinking that maybe I wouldn't be able to do this without it, and there were definitely several moments that I really believed I wasn't going to make it, whatever that means. Thinking back on that night it strikes me that there were very few words uttered the whole time. Even in the intensity of the last couple of hours, the peace remained and I felt totally supported. Only 3 people were in my room the whole time I was there, they were all very encouraging. With Jude I felt like it was an episode of ER or something, there were doctors, nurses, midwives, and even unexpected guests in and out constantly.

I was able to labor some in the tub, something I wanted to do with Jude, but couldn't. That helped a lot. When it was time to push, I got out of the tub and within a half hour and 4 pushes, she was here! For all the simplicity of that summary, I should mention that the pain was more than I thought I could bear. I have never in my life experienced anything like it, and I probably never will again. I hope not to be too graphic for you, but I also want to say that being able to feel the birth of my child, without anything to deaden the sensation, was the single most humbling, awe inspiring experience of my life. The memory of that day, I think, I can hold onto for life. It spoke to me of a very complex Creator, a very intimate and personal God.

And then there she was, in all her pink perfection. As with Jude, I just looked at her a lot and wondered who she was. Unlike with Jude, the nurse let me hold her for over an hour before they took her to weigh and measure. That day my mom and Jude came to see her. You know that didn't last too long. Once the novelty of the hospital bed wore off, Jude was ready to get out of there, and he didn't care if I came or not! Fortunately, we were able to get the midwife to sign us out to leave after just 24 hours.

This is a couple of hours after she was born... Eyes opened. Same dark gray as Jude's were when he was born. I guess that means we will have another brown eyed kid!
The classic cell phone shot (replaces the classic handshake shot when you live far away from friends and family)
So, does this seem like a strange way to be discharged from the hospital with a new baby to anyone else? Baby in the carseat on the rolling cart.
Jude was so excited to see us. I love this picture when they came to pick us up from the hospital. This is about where his cheerfulness ended, at least for a few days. I'm happy to say that Jude has leveled out considerably and we are in a nice new big brotherly way.

Mom and I went searching for a take-me-home outfit for Wren, but couldn't find a single thing. Ok, we didn't actually think of doing that until a couple of days before she was born. I didn't have anything like that for Jude either, so it just never really occurred to me. Anyway, I went into the drawer for the cutest comfy thing I could find and the winner was an adorable hand me down from Courtney's little girl, Carolina. You can't really see much of it here, but trust me, cute.


Courtney said...

I'm so glad you wrote this - it'll be fun for Wren to read some day and the details fade so quickly, I'm glad you wrote it while it was fresh on your mind. And I wouldn't even mind reading all the details, although I think you probably told me many of them. I love birth stories.
I'm so proud of you and so thankful for her birth, her life, her health, and your health. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! She's a wonder.
Oh! And I love that she wore Carolina's outfit home. I think that was such a sweet little one.
Love you four!

Anonymous said...

This post is a blessing to read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart. Looking forward to holding and getting to know sweet Wren.