We got to the hospital around 11:30 am on Sunday. I had been in labor ... well, that's hard to say because we would call what happened all day Friday and most of Saturday "early labor" and so it doesn't really count. I'm going to kind of count it though because what all that early labor did was fatigue me. I hadn't gotten a full night's sleep in three nights. I was exhausted. I just wanted it to be over. I thought it would be over as soon as we walked in. I sort of had it pictured in my head that we would walk in, check in, and then I would have her an hour or so later. Nope.
I kept telling Ben to call my mom. We were walking across the sky walk at Baptist Hospital and I kept telling him we needed to call her. I didn't want her to miss it. Then I wanted him to call Diane and Lindsay... I was sure I was about to have her. He said he would call when we got up to the room and got settled. Okay fine.
This was another thing that was specific and special about Aria's birth, I wanted the women of our family to be there. I have been thinking about home births and how it is so cool that you can invite people to your birth. Can you imagine that? Being invited to help welcome a new little baby into the world? To witness their first cries, to really see, not just on a TV but in person, a baby being born? I thought that was pretty cool so I decided to invite all my sister in laws, moms and sister to Aria's birth. Two of my sister in laws were not able to make it since they are in separate cities but one did. My younger sister (who is not yet even married) decided that it might be a little too much for her to witness. I thought that was cool and we decided she would come in after Aria was born:). The cool thing is that each one of the women in the room have experienced natural childbirth. I told them they were not allowed to joke about epidurals and I knew they wouldn't be pushy, but I just wanted them to be praying for the process and just to be there... with me, with Aria as we went through this process.
When we got to the hospital the nurse checked me and I had made it to a seven. For those of you who don't know, you need to make it to ten centimeters before you can push your baby out. Only three more to go. Really, I wanted it to be over NOW. I'm just being honest here. You don't know what labor is like until you have experienced it. It's kind of a holding on for dear life kind of thing. At least for me it was and I think I am going to credit that partially to my fatigue. But the other part I'm going to credit to the fact that you are pushing out a baby. And it's hard. Your body is doing a LOT of work.
I'm pausing here because I'm wondering how much detail I want to put out there. I'm going to assume that if you are reading this you want to know some detail and you have an interest in what happened at the birth... okay.
Oh yes, I almost forgot. :) This is a sarcastic smile. My birth plan said that I only wanted to be monitored intermittently. To be monitored means that you have to wear these elastic bands around your huge belly and you are only allowed within a five foot radius of this machine that tracks your contractions as well as the baby's heart rate. Intermittently would mean that I would be on them for a little bit but then have them taken off if everything looked fine and I could labor on my own for a while. I was informed there was a new hospital policy that I had to be monitored continuously since I was a VBAC patient, birth plan shmirth plan. This meant that every time I went to the bathroom I had to be "unplugged" and then someone would carry the cords and follow me to the restroom. Fun.
I'll also say this about the monitors. Sometimes you just want to get up and change positions and there were so many times that as I was changing positions I felt like I was going to trip on the cords and then to have a contraction on top of that... I cursed the monitors in my head a lot. I knew that it would do me no good to complain about them out loud, but there were so many times when I cursed them.
At some point I made it to a nine or almost ten cm, I remember the Dr coming in and checking me. I don't remember if I brought it up or if he did, but I definitely wanted him to break my waters. I didn't care if contractions would get more painful and intense, I just wanted to get through this. All I wanted was to survive and for it to be over as quickly as possible.
It was pretty desperate at that point. Contractions were hard and very close together. I kept thinking, maybe I can get in this position and it will make me more comfortable... I thought, "maybe an epidural would be a good idea." I finally suggested it and Cora was like, "Jody, you are at a nine, you are almost done sweetheart, you can do this." I knew she was right. Thoughts crossed my mind, "A C-section would be WAY easier than this, if they could just cut her out of me this all would be over." A few days after giving birth I was talking to my good friend Katie who has been a Labor and Delivery Nurse for several years and she said that almost every woman who delivers naturally has a breakdown moment where they are just like, "I don't want to do this anymore, get me out of here, I don't want to have a baby..." That's really what I was thinking. I was thinking, this is never going to happen and if it does I don't know if I want to be around to experience her coming out of me...
But really, the only person who can give birth to her child is the mother. I was the only person in the room who could do that for Aria. I had to go through with this.
So I got on the birthing stool and began to push. Well, my body pretty much told me to push. She had been so high that it took about an hour and a half to push her down. Man, I'm giving a lot of details here... Or maybe I'm just picturing everything in my head and so many things are coming back to me.
Towards the end I realized I needed someone to support my back, someone to lean against as I just surrendered to my body's pushing. Ben, yet again, came to my rescue. He sat on the edge of the bed and supported me the whole way. It was so beautiful in that he was taking part in giving birth to Aria. It was beautiful and ... rough for Ben. He said I would reach back and pull on his neck through a contraction and pushing. I was so unaware of my movements at that point. I was so tired, almost delirious ... and Ben was right there with me. At one point I started screaming as I pushed, it actually hurt my throat I was screaming so loud. The Dr looked at me and said, "Honey, I want you to take all that energy that you are using for that scream and just use it to bear down and push." It really did help. Dr Simmons is an awesome Doctor.
Maybe the coolest part about my mom and everyone being there was just the fact that they could see Aria coming out and them saying "I see her!" "There she is!" and the excitement on their faces gave me that extra energy to really push her out. I remember Ben crying tears of joy as we looked down and saw our little baby. There she was, after all that time, all the pain, all of everything... she was finally here!
This was the moment, the reason why I survived all of that pain. To see my little baby, to have her put on my chest as I get to lay in bed and just cherish those first moments with my new little one. This is why I wanted a VBAC, this is why I chose not to have any drugs or epidural, I wanted to be present, I wanted to be in the moment, I wanted to do everything in my power to be able to deliver her vaginally and for her to just be with me skin on skin and just have those moments.
And now she is here. She is finally here.