November 19, 2009 - the day I had been waiting for...
After passing November 15th with no major signs of anything happening, I was getting a little discouraged. The last thing I wanted was to get closer and closer to Thanksgiving with the fear that I might spend the holiday in the hospital. I knew that I had absolutely no control over our child's arrival, so I did what I usually do when I realize I am helpless - I prayed.
I really wanted to deliver our baby completely natural with no epidural or any other drugs, and I certainly didn't want to be induced. Some people think I am crazy for that, but there are many reasons for wanting to go natural. If you're interested in my reasoning, feel free to ask - I will spare the rest of you because this paragraph could get really long if I started explaining myself :) With that said, Kyle and I hired a doula (aka birthing coach) to help us through the process since neither of us had any experience and could use all the help we could get. Our doula would be key in helping us with pain management, positions, and encouragement.
The birth story:
Wednesday the 18th at 2 AM, I wake up with contractions. Could this be it or another false alarm? They continued for an hour and I decided to get up and take a shower because I certainly wasn't going to be able to sleep. I woke Kyle up and let him know that they were pretty consistent and he may need to work from home. We ended up putting a movie in around 4 AM or so because neither of us were getting sleep and I needed a distraction from the pain. I attempted to eat a little breakfast but it did not want to stay down. I continued to find distractions throughout the day (raking the back yard, taking the dog for a walk, etc.) to get my mind off the contractions. I actually had a doctor's appointment - just a weekly OB check up scheduled for that afternoon - so I was able to keep busy until then. The pain was very manageable as long as I wasn't sitting doing nothing.
Once I got to the doctor's office around 3:30, I told her that I had been having contractions all day and if I hadn't made any progress not to tell me because I was going to be upset. She checked and smiled and said I was at 4cm and 80% thinned out (which was much better than 1cm and 20% that I was last week). If I lived far away, she was going to tell me to go on over to the hospital, but since I live close by, she said I could go home and come back when the contractions were 5 min apart for an hour lasting a minute each.
When I got home, the contractions kicked it up a notch, were a lot more painful and started getting closer together. Kyle helped massage my back and put a heat pad on my lower back with each contraction to help relieve the tension and pain. We called our doula to let her know I was in labor and would probably request her to come to the hospital whenever we decided to head on over. The contractions were getting closer and closer together. My body had been cleaning itself out all day and I was severely dehydrated. I was drinking water, had managed to keep two pieces of toast down, but that was about it. From 5 PM until 10 PM, I stayed at home and Kyle helped me through each contraction. Later that night, I lost the few Sun Chips I attempted to eat... Not a smart choice since the little pieces of chips were like shrapnel coming back up. I looked at Kyle and told him to take me to the hospital so I could get some fluids (plus at that point, the contractions were 3.5 to 4.5 minutes apart consistently).
We arrived at the hospital at 10:30 and got checked into a labor and delivery room. Once you get to the hospital, they have to monitor the baby every hour for 20 minutes at a time (which restricts you to the bed - not ideal for contractions when you're going natural). I laid in bed while they listened to the heart beat and my doula arrived shortly after. They checked me and told me I was still at 4 cm. Seriously? My heart sank. I had labored for 6 hours at home, active hard labor, and no progress. At that point, I looked at Kyle and half serious/half joking said, "give me the freaking epidural."
They explained that since I was so dehydrated, my uterus was probably contracting more intensely without progress because my body was in no condition to deliver a baby. They have to give you fluids when you get an epidural, so I decided to take the fluids first and see what happened. They emptied about a liter into my body in 5 minutes and my body absorbed all of it. I labored for 2.5 more hours and they checked me again. Progress! I was at 6.5 cm! They said that was pretty standard for first time moms (1 cm per hour) and that I was definitely going to have that baby tonight since my body was progressing so well after all of the fluids (which typically slows people down). Even though I was encouraged by progress being made, I did the math in my head and realized that 1 cm per hour would require at least 3.5 more hours of hard labor before I had to push... I was not okay with that. Things needed to happen a lot faster if I was going to make it without the epidural.
My doula had me change positions to help the baby get into better position. I think my mental realization of timing and the position change helped a ton because in a half hour I had the urge to push. They called the doctor back in and I had gone 1.5 cm in a half hour! I was at an 8, but my water hadn't broke yet so they went up there and popped the sac of waters which helped things progress even more. Before long, I was fully dilated at 10 cm but still couldn't push until the cervix was completely out of the way. They made me wait about 20 minutes... This seemed like eternity because I had to fight the urge to push which is the strongest sensation I can't even begin to describe. I finally got the okay to push and within the hour, the head was on its way out and my hips felt like they were breaking in half. With encouragement and determination (and the realization that it's too late for the epidural and the longer I wait, the more pain I am going to be in) I pushed the baby out and heard the doctor say, "It's a girl!"
Kyle immediately started crying (which he rarely does) and I laid there in shock as they laid our baby girl on my belly. I didn't cry (not typical of me at all) but I was so relieved to be done and was still trying to process that I had just given birth naturally to a little girl - not to mention I was completely exhausted. She came out ready to eat and was a little angel. They were fixing me up and taking care of other after birth items as I laid there and tried to take it all in. The big question came from across the room, "What's her name?"
Oops. "We're going to have to discuss it," I replied. We had two boy names picked out but were still undecided about girl names. All along, I felt like I was having a boy up until the last month of my pregnancy, which is when I started hounding Kyle for girl names. Our doula, not knowing the names we had talked about, told us that she had been to dinner with a friend of hers who predicted we were going to have a girl and her name was going to start with "S." Kyle and I looked at each other, because Skylar was the only name we had both liked. "Skylar it is" we said. But what about a middle name? Our doula said that we should pick a family name. My mom and Kyle's mom both have the middle name Marie, which is something we had discussed as a possibility. When we said we were thinking about Marie, our doula said that was her middle name as well. Done. Skylar Marie.
7lbs 2 oz born in the wee morning hours on the 19th of November - welcome Skylar Marie Jones. Your mommy and daddy are so happy to have you in our arms finally. Not that I didn't love you in my belly, but you're so much more than I ever imagined. Right now you pretty much just eat, sleep for a few hours, wake and try to figure out your surroundings, dirty your diapers, eat some more, go back to sleep, then do it all over again. But you're beautiful. I can't wait to see what kind of amazing woman you turn out to be. For now though, I am soaking in your newborn stage because I know it won't last long. Soon you'll be crawling, then walking, then talking, and then off to college. Your daddy's already talking about saving for your wedding - you'll come to learn that even though he hates spending money, he's a sucker for you and will probably give in to whatever you want as long as it's within reason. As we are adjusting to this new life with our new family, we have been completely blessed by amazing friends, family, people within our church, and the best parents anyone could ask for. We hope that we can be the best parents you could ever hope for as well - we know you'll at least have the best grandparents :)