My goals, or aspirations I suppose for birth were three fold:
- Get the Baby Out
- To receive as little medical intervention as possible
- To not be afraid
Growing up I heard the most horrendous birth stories, watched movies of women screaming and sometimes dying in childbirth and heard women use it as an argument as to why they are superior to men and deserve whatever they desire. So naturally like most women approaching birth for the first time I had concerns and fears. My approach was to meet each one head on, to research my options to know the possibilities and to be accepting to the fact that these circumstances could happen to me. I feel like I have been on one of my life's greatest journeys of self discovery.
There were many pain coping techniques that I practiced and looked to for relief when things were difficult. I will never again underestimate the power of JUST BREATHING! And nothing had a more powerful effect or brought more calming relief than the ability to pray. I think I talked to God quietly in my head through most of my labor.
I will not spell out the details of the experience as every women experiences birth differently. My labor was extremely unusual and lasted longer than I ever would have imagined it to. I remember someone asking me once if I had prepared for a long labor.... in my mind that meant about 24 hours. My labor began at 3:00 am on Saturday morning and Fiona was born at 4:06 pm on Tuesday. I will let you do the math on that one if you so desire.
My biggest battle was exhaustion and fatigue... well and I suppose frustration. My cervix just would not progress. I would go through hours of labor only to be checked and show minimal to no progress. The more the clock ticked the more I felt like there was no end in sight... there were a lot of tears and I don't know what I would have done without the words of encouragement and comforting faces of Chuck, my mom, the nurse, and the midwife.
It was during about the final hour when I was ready to throw in the towel. The moment I had hoped would not come was here... I looked at Chuck and said, "I think I need an epidural." We had everyone leave the room to discuss alone, I felt my body had had enough and needed to rest I didn't think I could make it. So I called the midwife to ready the pain relief. Yet the next 30 minutes would prove to be the most painful and yet exciting time of the whole process thus far. It was shortly after my request for drugs that my body shifted into what is known as the Transition of labor and to be quite honest I felt like I tasted death... Chuck said at this time my eyes were glossed over and I kept reaching to grab his face. I honestly think I was trying to hold on to life.
The midwife having seen countless women experience this decided to check my cervix one more time before administering the epidural. And then she said those four magic words that made everything better...
"Your cervix is gone"
This meant it was time to push, and push is what I immediately did. Up to this point I had felt that I had absolutely no control over the events of labor... yet now I could take charge. I was ready to meet my baby and I did not want to wait a moment longer. I mustered up all remaining strength that I could and listened closely to my midwives instructions. Fiona was born 15 minutes later.
And you know it's just like people said it would be. The second they plop that warm little body on your chest, nothing else really matters. It is like the greatest pain reliever. I was so in awe by it all, and will never forget the faces of those present as they watched it all unfold. Especially my sweet husband who was right there by my side through the whole thing. Chuck you are the best!
Birth is amazing... WE had a baby!
I titled this post Nevertheless because it was a word that has been going through my mind these past few days. My mission president used it in such a way that it felt like encouragement when he said it. Like if I was frustrated or felt hopeless he would just say "Nevertheless!" It meant we have to keep going anyway. It was his way of saying not to give up.
In the scriptures perhaps the most famous usage of this word was by the Savior himself when he suffered in Gethsemane:
"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Jesus suffered more than any person can imagine for the pains and sicknesses of all mankind. In a small way I felt like I understood him a little bit more through my period of transition.
But here is the great part about it... Shortly after this moment when he hung on the edge of life and death, when he bled from every pore and plead for relief he was able to experience LIFE, and the resurrection. He overcame death, it was an absolute miracle.
That is kind of how I felt through this labor... I thought death was imminent and I plead for relief, yet I was able to experience a new little life.... and it made the rest not seem so bad anymore.
I have to believe that is how it is for Jesus. I don't think he dwells on the hard and painful times like we often do when we remember his sacrifice. Right after the pain came something so wonderful the bad stuff just kind of melts away.
I am still in recovery, and adjusting to my new life as a mommy. It is a lot to take in all at once and newborn babies are an around the clock gig... I am amazed I even wrote this post (well it did take me 4 days :)
Love you all,