In my pregnancy with Will I was dilated to 3 cm at my last weekly checkup, went into labor a couple days later, labored for over 36 hours, and hadn't slept for 2 nights. Needless to say I was astonished to learn I had only progressed .5 centimeters at the time we checked into the hospital. At which point, I was exhausted. My midwife encouraged me to get an epidural, and I didn't argue...she hoped it would speed the process along, and that I could catch up on some sleep before I had to start pushing. Thankfully within 4 hours I progressed to 10 cm.
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, Graham had been posterior leading up to labor; however, he turned anterior about a week prior to delivery and I was SO thankful that I wouldn't have to experience back labor! In contrast to my progression with Will, I was only 1 cm dilated at my last checkup with Graham.
For those of you who are actually interested, here's the more detailed version of how things played out this time around...I woke up around 4 a.m. with contractions and was able to sleep on and off between contractions for about an hour. By 5:15 a.m., they were already strong enough that I couldn't sleep through them, so I decided to jump in the shower and get ready for the day. I was excited that the time had finally arrived. Dave woke up not too long after that when he heard me in the bathroom. I encouraged him to go back to sleep, as it could be a while yet before we would need to head to the hospital.
We called Dave's mom around 10 that morning and asked her to head to our house and be ready to hang out with Will for the next few days ;-) My contractions were still pretty mild at that point, and it was a gorgeous day, so we all headed outside to rake leaves...we got the whole yard done :) The contractions got more intense by 1:30 p, and by 3-ish they were very intense. I called my midwife at 4:30 p, and she suggested we head to the hospital. We arrived around 5, they got me all set up and checked me at 5:20...I was already 6 cm dilated, so I was ecstatic!
Part of me really wanted to try natural childbirth this time around, but I also didn't want to be one of those women who gets stuck at 7 or 8 cm for hours. Not a single bone in my body wanted a repeat of my first experience being incredibly sleep-deprived before motherhood officially begins. I went back-and-forth for about 20 minutes before giving into the epidural once again...Dave kept asking me why I would ever choose to experience that pain. haha. So, I finally caved and got the epidural at 6 p.m. The ironic part; however, is that as the anesthesiologist was administering the epidural, my labor & delivery nurse looked into my eyes and kept saying to me, "don't push, don't push!" I looked at her and said, "Why are you telling me not to push? Am I ready to go?!" She hadn't even checked me since I was first checked at 5:20, but she said, "I've done this long enough to know...I can see it in your eyes that you're a 10." My midwife hadn't arrived at the hospital yet, so they really didn't want me to push. I held off, and thankfully she arrived soon after, but even with the epidural, I could feel the strong contractions, so they had to up the dosage. I couldn't believe I went from 6 cm-10 cm within 30 minutes!
I'm thankful that God is in the details. Once I started pushing, I was happy to have the drugs. Graham had turned himself posterior at some point during the labor process, so my midwife had to turn him a couple times, and it was pretty uncomfortable even through the epidural. We did have a scary moment when Graham first entered the world. When his head came out, my midwife quickly noticed that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck 3 times. I was able to get him out very quickly and my midwife immediately cut the cord and the nurses started working on him. When he came out blue and unresponsive, I was scared. You feel so helpless laying there just watching them work on your baby! I am so grateful that when we don't have words, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. I just kept saying, "Jesus" over and over. Dave knelt next to my bed and prayed with me. It felt like an eternity (although Dave said it only lasted about 30 seconds), but we were so relieved when we heard his beautiful, perfect, healthy cry!
I hadn't thought about it at the time, but my mother-in-law made a good observation after the fact...she said that it was probably the best decision I could have made to get the epidural because I had to get Graham out as quickly as possible. We didn't know about the situation with the umbilical cord until the very end, but it's possible that I could've resisted pushing due to the intensity of the contractions. Thanks to drugs I was able to get Graham out quickly.
Thank you to all of our friends and family who were committed to praying for Graham & me throughout my pregnancy and delivery. We're so grateful for all of you!!