Sunday, February 8, 2015

our birth story.

photo credit: morgan blake

Yep. Ours.

Not just mine.

I decided late the other night to share the story of how our little one came into the world. Not only because I feel like a powerful tiger/warrior woman who conquered a HUGE physical, mental, and emotional challenge, but also to bring light to the power of a loving, supportive husband who is often lost in these stories. 

Yes, we did this together. 

My man was as much a part of bringing our boy into the world as he could be short of carrying him in and delivering him from his own body. 

So here it is. Our birth story.

It was just before midnight when I awoke to a loud "pop" and a dazed & confused thought that Harris might have just kicked me.. Only to realize that it's game time and my water had just broken. I excitedly scurried down the hall only to find myself contracting.. hard.. excitement gone. I was completely unable to find a comfortable position to sit/stand/lie in. My doc calmly recommended (via our midnight phone call) that I jump in the shower and head to the hospital. Well, shortly after showering, Harris noticed that my contractions were coming on much faster than how we had learned they would be from our birth class. I could hardly put one leg through my pants without doubling over with intense contractions. Forget looking cute and taking a couple "on our way" pics. We needed to hurry. 

We pulled into the carpool lane and ran. We stopped halfway as I awkwardly worked through another big one. Imagine a passionate church-goer getting into the spirit of worship: head nodding up and down, one hand on knee and the other on hip, an occasional arm raising, and lots of "oh Lord"s. 

We get checked in and I'm feeling sick. I can't keep last night's dinner down from pain and the sweet nurse asks me what I had in mind for a birth plan. Birth plan? Birth plan. Yes, we had some preferences, but words would literally not come out of my mouth, so I point to Harris. He knows. He was my words. This is our birth story. 

The next big question was about whether or not to get an epidural. My thought after going through birth classes was, since I am usually pain tolerant and I had yet to experience this type of pain, that I would give it my best shot as naturally as possible then just get the meds if I came to a breaking point. Well, she checked me at this point and I was at a 1.5cm. [This is where I had been for two weeks].. Are you kidding me?? All I could think about was the stories women had told me of the 12, 24, and 32 hour labors they had, and I about passed out! No way could I keep this up for that long! I barely had time to breathe from one contraction before my next was right there. Epidural.. you're looking mighty fine right about now.

I get checked into my delivery room because there was no doubt my contractions were hard and strong. At this point I couldn't even imagine laying in the bed so I jumped in the shower and stayed there for approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. I continued to progress and the heat felt good, so I stayed. And stayed. 

And stayed. 

Funny side story: You know how throughout the course of taking a shower you get used to the water temp so you periodically turn the faucet warmer and warmer? [maybe not, but you probably would if you ever took a 2+ hour long one] Well I was doing that but the water was getting colder so I decided that I had run the hospital out of hot water. I was sobbing. The only comfort I had was gone.. and I told Harris all about it. He calmly noticed what I had actually been doing and said softly as he turned the faucet to warm again, "Tay, you've been turning the faucet colder each time". I cried again. I am so thankful for warm water.

Harris kept checking on me but was the perfect balance of being present and supportive yet also being out of sight and quiet. A necessary balance. He advocated for me during this time because I was simultaneously begging for an epidural and refusing to get out of the shower. [and as the saying goes, you can't have your cake and eat it too] He communicated this to me lovingly and didn't push the envelope either way. He let me lead and he patiently followed without making me feel rushed. This is our birth story. 

When I got out, I had progressed to 6cm. We were moving along! I started to think that maybe my labor really would be unique to me and not like others I had heard. I had to be in the bed to get fluids for about an hour before I could get the epidural, so labor in bed I did. 

My quirky pain-coping mechanism: each time a contraction came along I grabbed and squeezed whoever's hand was nearby with my right hand, pointed my toes REALLY hard (that's the dancer in me), and tapped my left hand on the bed really fast. Weirdo. 

Harris stood by every time telling me how proud he was of me and how strong I was. This is our birth story.

Well, they decided to go ahead and give me the epidural before they checked my progress so that it wouldn't hurt so bad when they did. I signed the consent form (barely legibly, Harris later informed me), and I got the meds. He held me while contractions tried to bury me alive and a foot long needle was slowly inching into my spine. [I'm dramatic.] I started to feel an urge to push almost immediately after getting the shot. The doc said that I should start to notice the meds taking effect.. I didn't. He then checked my progress when I confessed that the epidural was not working, only to find out that I was already at 10cm! Oops. Go time.

Before the nurses could get ready, I was setting myself up to push. Thankfully at 10cm and a few pushes in, the epidural started to work. Harris was ready by my side. [Real man points go to him for being so strong during such an intense and foreign experience.] The whole 45 minutes or so of pushing he was right there with me because, after all, this is our birth story. 

Finally our son arrived. He's here. He's healthy. He's ours. It was a total of 6 hours and 46 minutes after my water broke until he was in my arms. From what I have been told, that's a whirlwind pace for a first time mama. It was indeed a whirlwind, and a story I will cherish forever. Harris was with me each step fighting alongside me to get our son here. He saw a side of me he had never known before. We were running the race together and the prize was our son. 

The gift of marriage is that we get to do this, and everything else, together. We get to do life, including bringing our son into the family, together. What an incredible gift it is! Now the three of us get to do life together. 

To my single sisters: baby delivery is a part of marriage you may not necessarily be thinking about when butterflies are happening in dating. I didn't. Let's just say that it's one of those moments where to have a man with humble strength and a commitment to the covenant relationship is worth the wait. 

Every woman's story is different, and you will probably hear many (especially if you're pregnant and do NOT want to hear them). As I said, it's like telling people about your warrior alter-ego. It feels like you went to battle and did the dang thing and you just really want people to know about it! So cut us a break. You'll want to tell yours too. 

God has a plan for your life, and He is good. Whatever your story (or birth story) looks like, He will provide. I am just over the moon thankful for a God who loves me, a strong supportive husband, a healthy baby boy, and an incredible experience I'll never forget. 

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