I so understand why people tell you to write down a birth story as soon as humanly possible because goodness gracious, the vividness of a day seems to fade so quickly once all the excitement and emotions have died down and you have your sweet little bundle (extremely loud bundle at times!) in your arms. But even though we’re nearly ten (ten!) weeks out, it’s almost like time stands still when I think back on the day we met Luke.
I wrestled with whether or not to write out our birth story as it is a very personal life moment, but ended up deciding that I want to put it out there into the world collection of birth stories for any mamas who, like me, were searching for any insight into what it would be like; anything that can help make sense of it all before the day came. And also because things didn’t go as I’d expected, and I want to share what that felt like.
At 8am on our induction date (ten days overdue), we arrived at the hospital all showered and clean and ready to meet our son! We checked in at the desk and the sweetest nurse walked us to our room and got us all set up. She took all my vitals, prepared me for my doctor, who came in shortly after to break my water (we were seriously hoping natural labor will begin!).
By 9:30am, labor still hasn’t begun so my doctor comes into assess. I was bummed. I’d been dilated 3cm for nearly a week, and 2cm for the two weeks prior to that. Since breaking my water, I was now at 3.5cm. She decides to give it a little more time.
Contractions started by 10:30am, but they were so minimal that it wasn’t considered as progressing. My doctor decided that it’s time to induce. Now a side note.. I didn’t know a whole lot about Pitocin, now known to me as the worst thing ever.
In hindsight, I would not have necessarily changed my decision to take Pitocin but would’ve liked to know a little more about risks (and the pain! yeah, labor just is painful in general but why make it worse!?). The Pitocin is administered to me through IV and we wait. At this point, we were walking around the hallways, some friends had arrived and brought lunch because I imagined that we’d be waiting all day long (and maybe night)!
Active labor started around 1-2pm. It wasn’t too bad for the first couple hours. I kept talking throughout, trying to focus on the people around me rather than the pain. By the time 3pm had rolled around, it was getting intense. The nurse kept asking me my pain level on a scale of 1-10, and because we were only at the beginning in my mind, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being rash and going too high, too fast. I kept in the 5-6 range, or so I thought. Turns out I would’ve told her 8’s and 9’s because labor intensified and intensified quickly (something that’s sometimes a reaction to the Pitocin, could be in my case but there’s no way to really tell..).
I was doing the breathing that we’d practiced and using negative pressure, but it came to a point where all I could do was dig my head into James chest while my friend rubbed my lower back as hard as she could. It was everything I never wanted! At one point, I was beginning to feel faint in between each contraction and thought I might pass out.
Meanwhile, the nurse is working on moving the fetal monitor around over and over because the contractions were so intense and Luke kept moving around. We weren’t getting accurate heart rates for little periods of time, but then she’d find him again and see that he was okay.
I lasted as long as could but finally felt like I was not going to be able to withstand the pain I was feeling. I told the nurse I’d like to get the epidural and we discussed the pain levels again. She said that based on what I was saying, my pain wasn’t quite at the level yet to request an epidural. I was so in pain that I could barely muster up the words to tell her that I needed it and I’ll be at whatever pain level she needs me to be at; I was reeling.
Thankfully, my friend Jennie came to the rescue and was strong with our nurse where I didn’t know I could be. She put a little fire under her and the nurse made it happen, but they needed to call in the head surgical anesthesiologist who was an hour away at the time (all the other anesthesiologists were in surgery). I would have to wait another hour and I was just praying to God that He’d help me through.
Around 6, the anesthesiologist arrives and works with our nurse to prepare me for the epidural; the nurse sends everyone out so it’s just James and I. The procedure doesn’t take too long and the pain is so intense at this point that I’m not even aware of what is happening
As they’re finishing up the epidural, almost instantaneously my heart rate drops radically and Luke’s follows right after. I am a little fuzzy but I know that the doctor tells me she’s going to do a fetal monitor to get a better reading and he’s stable but within no time, he drops again.
We were scared but I just started praying in my heart.. My doctor tells me she doesn’t want to let him go into distress again and we’re going to do emergency cesarean. At this point, I don’t really have an opinion on yes or no, it just is. This is the new plan. The anesthesiologist that was called in for my epidural “happens” (Jesus!) to be the one we need for my surgery (everyone else was tied up) and it was so the Lord that she came all the way in for my epidural!
Everything seemed like an episode of E.R. after this. I was wheeled through the hallways past my family, past my friends praying for me. I just wanted to shout to them through my oxygen mask to tell them I was going to be okay and that we’re gonna go get my baby.. but all I could do was smile through my teary eyes and continue to trust the peace God has placed in my heart. I couldn’t believe how quickly the nurses and doctors were moving—and with such ease! They made me feel like they had it covered. They were talking non-stop (thankfully..too much quiet is no good) and were such a well-oiled machine.
Because of the quickness of it all, James was unable to be by my side in the operating room, but it was all happening so quickly that it wasn’t long before he was in there with us. The nurses took turns holding my hand and I was just waiting to hear his cry. I knew what things were supposed to feel like because a coworker had explained it to me a few months before (I didn’t expect I’d be feeling it!) but it is a like a lot of tugging.. And then a huge pressure on your chest to push them out. Whew.. still is crazy to think about it all.. and how that is even possible in our bodies!
But then.. at 6:56pm, I heard his little cries for the first time (okay, loud and little cries!) and I just lost it. After all that uncertainty (amidst that peace!), I finally hear my baby! James came in his scrubs and stood beside me and they put Luke on my chest and we just cried there in the operating room. He was totally fine! A healthy little 6 lb, 9 oz little peanut. Amidst all the craziness, he was here with his ten little fingers, ten little toes, sweet little lips and nose and hair—a lot of it! A mohawk to be exact 🙂 There we were, our little family.
Luke went into the NICU to lay under the tanning lights for an hour, but after that he was all ours, forever and ever 🙂 They placed him on my chest again so he could eat, and just like he was made to, he rooted by himself. I swear I wouldn’t have even had to position him! He was so strong and it was like he knew what he was doing! God is so incredible how He makes all this stuff work!
Birth was not like I expected, but this is our story with Luke. I’m so much more grateful than before. I know so much more in hindsight (it’s always 20-20, right?) and I know more about my options and my opinions. Do I wish I knew it before? Sure..but isn’t that kind of how things works? We don’t know it all up front! Luke is our little treasure and while it took a toll on the all of us, we are here and Luke and I are healthy (and so happy! Luke’s is hands down the smiley-est baby I’ve ever seen!). And this mama can always use a good smile!
I’m so so thankful for God having his hand over us throughout this whole experience, for my doctor and nurses who truly gave everything they had to us those days we were there. Our family began the day James and I became husband and wife, but I’ll never forget the day we became three ❤❤❤