Henry's Birth Day.
I know some of you mommy readers are interested in the details of the labor and birth. I know I always like to hear how things go for others...especially when they have a positive experience! So I'll share a little about mine - without too much information for you non-mommy readers.
On Tuesday I visited my doctor for my 41 week appointment. I had not made much progress on labor (only 50% effaced and 2 cm dilated), so we decided that Thursday morning would be a good day to induce. We honestly wanted to give it just a couple more days because I so wanted a natural delivery. On Wednesday, I was really excited when I started to feel regular contractions around 2pm. They were fairly mild, but regular, so we were excited! Contractions became more intense as the day went on, and at 7pm, I was having 3 of them in 10 minutes. We decided it was probably time for us to head to the hospital. So we put Alex to bed, got our things together, and drove the 12 or so blocks to the hospital.
We got checked in and saw the doctor. When he checked, he said I was 50% effaced and 3 cm dilated. I couldn't believe it! I was so disappointed. He gave us the option to stay in the hospital (after all, we were scheduled to be there the next morning at 6am) or to go home and labor some more. I wanted to go home to labor. They said if I stayed, I probably couldn't move around much. I also got the impression that if things weren't "progressing" they would start encouraging pitocin and such. So we decided to leave.
We left the hospital around 9:30pm. I was bracing myself for a long night of laboring and since I didn't eat my dinner, we headed to Whole Foods. I was still having contractions every 2-3 minutes, mind you. So Jason and I walked around Whole Foods gathering some essentials (hummus, pita chips & dark chocolate almonds), all the while stopping every few minutes so I could bury my head into his chest and breathe hard through my contractions. At first I was nervous that anyone who saw might be a bit freaked out. But then I figured of all the places we could be, Whole Foods might actually be one of the best. In fact, while we were standing at the prepared foods section, I had an intense contraction. The woman behind the counter who was preparing my quiche to go calmly said to Jason, "Aren't women amazing?...Congratulations to you. Good luck!" I remember thinking, "yeah, that woman knows exactly what's happening here."
We got home around 10pm and ate a little, but by 10:30 the contractions were hard and intense. I started to feel like it was time to push, which scared me a lot. So we got back in the car. I screamed my way through 3 contractions on the way and Jason ran a couple of red lights. I was getting nervous that we weren't going to make it. In the back of my mind I was preparing myself for Jason delivering the baby on the side of the road!
We pulled into the valet in the middle of a contraction, so I stayed in the car and screamed while Jason got a wheelchair. We had no time to get anything out of the car and went straight upstairs, arriving at around 11:10pm. I went straight to the bed and I was at 8 cm, then 5 minutes later, 9 cm. In between contractions, which was about a minute, the nurse poked me 4 different times to try to get an IV. They probably wouldn't have worried about it except that my strep B test was positive and I was supposed to get antibiotics before I delivered. Finally they gave up on the IV when I was ready to push. I pushed a couple of times and I heard the resident say she saw the head. Even though I was intense pain (natural birth ain't for sissies!), I was encouraged. I pushed a couple more times and Henry came out, healthy and crying.
I have never been so scared, overwhelmed, or excited about such an event in my life. We were SO grateful to have a natural birth. It came about exactly as we had prepared for it before Alex was born. Alex's birth experience was totally different. Still good, just different. I am thankful now that I finally have a perspective on both "ways" of giving birth. Any way you do it, it is an amazing process. After Henry's birth, I found myself constantly in prayer thanking God for allowing us to take part in such an unbelievable process.
Thanks to all of you who prayed for us over the past few weeks and months as we waited for Henry. I am grateful for all the encouragement you have given me and words of wisdom. We feel like we have been blessed beyond measure.
And secretly, I'm kind of glad I had the little things that make labor so TV-like. The contractions, the screaming, the speeding car ride, the wheelchair, the pushing - all of it - made for a great birth day and a great story for Henry. The very beginning of his story is a very good one.