It has been difficult to find a few spare moments to write.The feedings, changings, and sleeplessness have contributed, but I must confess, the hardest part of finding time is resisting the desire to sit and watch her peaceful — or, oftentimes, expressive! — face as she sleeps. And the waking hours (minutes, right now) I can never put her down or pull myself away. It is true; I am smitten with my daughter.
Although probably the hardest thing I’ve accomplished in my life, I thank God for the fairly smooth delivery of our baby, Evelyn Rose. After several instances of false labor starts, true labor began about 10 pm on Thursday, November 8th with contractions about every 10 minutes apart. On the coldest evening of the season yet, we tested out its authenticity taking a brisk walk outside. They remained consistent.
Thinking we had some time, we decided to go to bed with me attempting to sleep through as much of it as I could. Shortly before midnight, however, I was brought out of my sleep rather abruptly, noticing contractions were 2-5 minutes apart. I awoke Stephen who, wisely, insisted we head to the hospital, while I protested that we were supposed to wait for 2 hours before we headed over. (Only when they remain at 5 minutes!) As we drove down the quiet streets, passing empty shops on the way to the hospital, I kept thinking, I can’t believe we’re finally here, finally at the point we’re going to meet our daughter!
I was hooked up to the monitors and checked right away after our arrival. Only 2 centimeters and about 50 % effaced. We still had a ways to go. About 3:30 in the morning, my doctor came in and I was at 3 centimeters. She decided to break my water to move the process along. It certainly did the trick. Contractions were constant, nearly unbearable. Although we had aimed for a drug-free birth, I decided to get a bit of Fentanyl put in my IV in order to take the edge off and give me a little reprieve before transition.
Somewhere between 6 and 7 in the morning, I announced that I was giving up and needed the epidural. They began setting things up and contacting the anesthesiologist. I started to feel this urge to use the toilet. I asked the nurses for some assistance in getting up and they suddenly became excited, and began turning on the lights and calling other nurses into my room. Little did I know, I had reached transition. Too late for the epidural. Time to push.
I had a wonderful team of nurses and my doctor coaching me through each contraction, telling me how and when to push. You’d think it is pretty straightforward, but I found a little coordination was involved and with each contraction I became a little more effective. After about an hour, my beautiful, healthy baby girl was placed in my arms by my husband where she happily stayed for two hours until the nurse came to measure and bathe her.
Although we were greatly blessed with an excellent staff during labor & delivery and recovery time, my greatest ally during the whole process (before and beyond) was my husband. He coached me through each contraction, even holding us up when I was standing every time a wave of pain overcame me. He stayed constantly by my side, praying with me. He helped me focus on breathing well and bringing her further down with each contraction. Even when I rapidly changed my mind from one moment to the next about what I needed, he was patient and worked through it with me. I could not have done it without him and I’m certain his support contributed to my relatively short labor.