Well folks we’ve made it to Part 3 and I’m sure by now you’re either dying to know how this thing turned out or you’ve already forgotten I even started this series. But dividing it up like this has helped me not gloss over all the little moments – the sweet ones and the funny ones – that make up the larger story. I’m so grateful to get to share my story here because truthfully I think there aren’t enough positive birth stories out there in the world.
We are so quick to share our horror stories. But I believe giving birth is one of the most empowering and holy and beautiful things I have ever done. And not because it all went according to my plans. I just look back and I’m in awe of what God allowed my body to accomplish.
But not to get ahead of myself. Last time we met it was game time.
Now, Beast Mode.
I tried pushing in all sorts of positions. But I just couldn’t do anything but squat and push that way. Everything else just put too much pressure on my lower back. There was a bar that I could hold onto while I did it. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried on one of those hospital gowns but it seems like if you were squatting and attempting to push out a baby it just wouldn’t stay on the way it should. I don’t think that’s why I refused to wear it but now looking back that seems like a good explanation.
The real reason is that I just couldn’t care less. Nurses were in and out. My doula was playing Bon Iver on her iphone. I would forget about it until “Skinny Love” would cycle in and I would make out those same lyrics I loved so deeply.
“I told you to be patient. I told you to be kind. I told you to be balanced. I told you to be fine.”
The best way to describe those few hours was that I was on another level. I was singularly focused on pushing that babe out.
But it wasn’t working very well.
After three hours, it didn’t look like she wanted to come out that way after all.
My doctor attempted to turn her as she was posterior, and that makes it difficult for them to squeeze on out of there. He secured a vacuum to the tip of her head and I had to try not to push for a few counts, then push REALLY hard while they tried to give her a little tug with the vacuum.
It is as brutal as it sounds since all of that is happening in your hoo ha. Except that I wasn’t unhappy about it at all. I never once even wished I had gotten the epidural. It never felt like too much. I just kept telling myself – I can do this. My body is meant to do this. She’s coming soon. I’m going to meet her soon. Every time I pushed I thought, this was it. She’s coming this time. Ok this time. Now. Now. Now.
She didn’t. Just as stubborn in birth as she seems to be in almost toddler-hood.
Finally, we had exhausted all our options and I was getting weak. My doctor told me that C-Section was our only option left.
Now, let’s back the train up here.
My worst WORST nightmare, and I had a lot of birth nightmares beforehand, would be to go through all that labor pain and then end up in a C-Section. I thought that would be the worst possible scenario. It’s like the worst of both worlds right?
All I felt was peace. Overwhelming, total, inexplicable, God-given peace. It was totally supernatural. I know this because it doesn’t even make sense to me now. I am terrified of surgery. Of needles. Of all that.
But I knew that we had done all we could in that moment. I knew that I had labored exactly the way I wanted and the way I was supposed to. And I knew that I would get to meet my baby girl soon. All I wanted at that point was to see her face. I was ready.
The worst part was having to stop pushing and hold still for the spinal tap to numb me. My doctor had to brace me, because after three hours of pushing your body does not want to stop and hold still for a large needle. But you must.
I remember all the nurses in the operating room smiling at me. The anesthesiologist kept reminding me that I would get to meet my baby soon! Everyone was so encouraging. I don’t know if they knew how hard I had been pushing or for how long, but it felt like they did. It felt like they knew me.
And all of a sudden I heard her crying. It was the most miraculous thing. To hear her voice! And then they put her close to my chest and there she was! A dark head full of hair. I remember thinking she looked so weird. It was a shock to see her. But the most incredible one of my life. I wanted to stare at her forever.
They had to stitch me up and then I was wheeled into a recovery room. Aaron came in to tell me that they would be able to bring her to me before they bathed her and I felt such an overwhelming relief at that.
They brought her in and she latched on immediately. And in that moment my heart was fuller than I knew was possible. I would do it all over a thousand times for her. It was worth it. She was worth it.
I love her, and that’s the beginning and the end of everything.
photo by meg perotti
thanks for being a part of the journey.