I can’t believe it has taken me this long to finally put this post out there. But since she turns one year old tomorrow, it seemed like the perfect time. As I look back on Stella’s birth, I am so struck with the fact that out of this hard, messy, emotional, painful experience comes the most precious gift in life. Isn’t that just how God works though, he brings beauty from our brokeness. I had always heard that having a baby changes everything, so this is the story of how our lives changed.
November 26, 2011
It was the day before my due date, I was very pregnant, but I had one thing I wanted to do. I wanted to finish our Christmas shopping before Stella was born. So we went shopping…we walked through Ikea and TJ Maxx among other stores to get the last few Christmas gifts that we needed. We laughed and joked about how hopefully all of that walking would make me go into labor. We retuned home and watched a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix before exhaustion got the best of us a little before midnight and we headed to bed so we could get up for Church in the morning.
November 27, 2011
We had only been in bed a few minutes before I felt a pop, I didn’t know what it was. Despite all the books I had read, I never remembered reading anything about a pop. Jeremy said that maybe my water broke, but I didn’t think so. I decided to get up and go to the bathroom because that is what you do at night when you are 40 weeks pregnant. As soon as I got to the bathroom, I realized that Jeremy was right…my water had broke. I rushed back into the bedroom feeling like I was in a daze and told Jeremy IT WAS TIME. All of a sudden, I didn’t know what to do, I had spent months preparing for this and now it was happening. The bags were not completely packed so I rushed around the house gathering everything I needed for us to head to the hospital. Baby blankets, camera, precious little hats, and all of the things I thought I would want while I was in labor. Then I had to call my Mom, I knew it would be hours before I met this little baby inside me, and maybe I should have let her sleep since it was so late, but I had to hear my own Mom’s voice to calm my fears and tell me that I could do it. She told me she was so excited and told me to keep her posted and let her know when I got to the hospital. We headed out the door, and I remember looking back as we were leaving and realizing that the next time I came back into our home, I would have our little girl with us.
We arrived at Harris Southwest and headed to the Labor and Delivery unit. I remember not knowing what to say to the nurses as I approached the desk, so I just said that I thought I was in labor and that my water had broken and they took me to a delivery room to check and make sure I was right. The nurse handed me a hospital gown that was about three sizes too big, even for my very pregnant self and ran a test to make sure that my water had really broken. It wasn’t long before she came back in to have me sign the admission papers.
2:00 -11:00 am
The next few hours were pretty simple, I was only 2 cm dilated when I came in, so they decided to give me a low does of Pitocin to get the contractions coming. Jeremy and I were so excited and the contractions were not too bad yet. The nurses laughed at us as we played Rook in between contractions. Jeremy brought me ice chips and even went and got some breakfast while we just waited.
The contractions were beginning to get stronger and I was getting tired, but I was not progressing so the Dr. suggested breaking my water even more since I had only had a partial break. I agreed, and it wasn’t long before the intensity of the contractions skyrocketed and they started coming closer together. Things were getting intense and I was so tired I could barely remember all of the things I had read and learned in our childbirth classes. I was so thankful for Jeremy at this time. He was calm and helped remind me to breath and to move. He inflated the labor ball and helped me to walk and we slow danced in the middle of the hospital room floor as my contractions came.
It wasn’t long before I was in so much pain, I felt like I couldn’t do it, Jeremy gently reminded me that I could and prayed with me that God would give me the strength that I needed. Jeremy was amazing, he was so gentle and supportive through the whole thing. He was constantly trying to help relax me and make me more comfortable. I am so incredibly grateful for him.
Soon the pain was so much greater than anything I had ever experienced, they had given me the highest dose of pitocin available to help me progress and I was so tired that I was falling asleep between the intense contractions. I leaned on Jeremy as the contractions came, and I could see in his eyes how much he wished he could take the pain away. The nurse began to talk about options for the pain. She told me that I could get a shot of Demerol, but that the contractions would come back even stronger and then I would probably want the epidural. She asked if I wanted to call for the anesthesiologist and get the epidural. I had read so many birth books and was open to my options, but I was really going to try for a natural childbirth, without an epidural. I was in so much pain and I looked at Jeremy to tell me what to do. He told me it was my choice and he would support me no matter what I did. I told her she could call for the epidural. The nurse gave me a shot of demerol and immediately I was able to fall asleep.
The Anesthesiologist came in and gave me the epidural as I leaned on the nurse. After I had the epidural we were both able to sleep for several hours, and even though I was disappointed that I didn’t have a med free birth, I knew that the sleep I was getting would help me for what was to come. I was able to call family and watch the contractions on the monitor, even thought I could barely feel them. The nurses came in to check and I was progressing slow and steady all afternoon, and I was starting to feel the contractions as my epidural began to wear off.
It happened so fast, all of a sudden I had an incredible urge to push. The last time I had been checked I had only been 8.5 cm, and it hadn’t been that long so I don’t think they believed me at first. Sure enough when they came back to check me I was 10 centimeters and it was time. They called for the Dr. and we waited, it felt like I wasn’t going to be able to make it until the Dr. got to the hospital. The nurse comforted me and told me that I could make it, and that if I couldn’t she had delivered a baby or two and we would be just fine. We began pushing before the Dr. got there, and the end was finally in sight. At one point the head nurse came in and told my nurse that she should have me stop pushing because the girl in the room next to me was 10 cm as well and we had the same Dr. It wasn’t really an option for me to stop pushing and my nurse encouraged me that I could do it.
I will never forget the look on Jeremy’s face when Stella started crowning and we found out that she had a full head of hair. I think it was in that moment that it all became real to him. I pushed for 1.5 hours and it was hard work. Jeremy stood by my side and encouraged me to keep going. Soon the Dr. arrived and not long after I realized that the room was filling up. They had brought in the bassinet and blankets and a scale. I glanced to the side of the room as it all came in and realized that it wouldn’t be long.
The Dr. told me I needed one more good push…and just like that Stella was here at exactly 9:00 pm. The Dr. held her up and said she is a 9 pounder. He was right she was 9 pounds with a full head of brown hair and blue eyes. Jeremy was scurrying around checking on me and taking pictures as they weighed her and took her foot prints. Then they brought her to me and put her on my chest and the tears came as I realized how perfect she was and how blessed we were.
Then came the stillness, the Doctor and the nurses left and it was just the three of us. We just stared at her as I nursed her for the first time and she fell asleep on my chest. So content and happy, and most of all blessed. After 21 hours of labor and a ton of emotions, from intense pain to incredible joy…..all I could feel in that moment was blessed.