Timmy's birth was by far my longest and hardest. We knew that it would be difficult because of the fractured rib, but we had a plan and figured things would be fine if we stuck to it. Last Wednesday, I began feeling cramping in my lower back throughout the morning and early morning. I drove my brother to the airport and visited my friend for the afternoon before deciding that I probably needed to head home in case the cramping turned into anything more. The cramping remained but it eased up a bit, and I, being a bit disappointed, decided to help jump start potential labor with castor oil around 3pm. I had a friend mix up an orange julius with castor oil (because I honestly can't stomach the smell of the stuff at this point), and I plugged my nose and chugged as much as I could before my body started rejecting it.
I walked Blue, did a few squats (okay maybe 50...I was getting kinda desperate), and did a few rounds of stairs before the castor oil began to work, which took a few hours. The castor oil worked as it always does, and it basically destroyed me for a solid two hours before I began to feel labor pains really take effect. I clocked my back cramps and realized I was having them every 2-3 minutes. I could talk through them so I was torn as to whether or not I should go to the hospital, but we finally decided to go, and once we got there my cramps were really starting to hurt. We weren't initially admitted because I was only 38 weeks, but the nurses decided to monitor me and the baby for a couple of hours to see if I progressed. As I sat hooked to the machines, both Tim and I realized the back cramps were actually full contractions, and we were hopeful I'd be admitted that night.
We sat there about an hour when the nurses came rushing in with pillows and an oxygen mask because Timmy's heart rate had plummeted and wasn't jumping back up at all. I immediately began to panic and tried my hardest to lie still on my left side, even though it hurt my rib, but it was the only side he seemed to agree with. The nurses called my doctor, and they made a collective decision that I should be admitted because of his heart rate. I was told to remain very still for several hours until his heart rate was steady; it was extremely painful because not only did my rib hurt, but my back was cramping terribly. After three hours of pain, I opted for the epidural, but no sooner than it was placed in my back did my labor completely stop. It just dead stopped after 8 hours of straight contractions.
The nurses didn't give us a lot of information, but they told me they couldn't give me pitocin because they were afraid Timmy's heart rate would drop again so they wanted me to labor on my own, which I knew wouldn't happen because I was hardly having contractions anymore. Tim and I didn't know what to do. At 7am, the doctor came in and told me that Timmy would dictate the outcome of the day, but he was leaning toward a c-section. He said he'd check in on me after his morning appointments, and if nothing had happened, I would probably not have a vaginal delivery. I was already a nervous wreck because of the heart rate problem, but that news broke my heart. I didn't want to have a c-section, but I obviously wouldn't refuse it either if it meant he would be safe.
There was a 7am shift change of nurses, and I was greeted by the nurse who helped me when I visited the hospital for my rib. She was much more aware of my situation and was more communicative with me and Tim so we finally started receiving answers. Up to this point, Tim had just been pacing the floor and I had just been lying in the bed wondering what in the world was going on. Tim was more than a little frustrated so we were grateful for some information. The nurse, Jessica, stayed in my room most of the morning trying to help me progress without pitocin, and somehow (probably a miracle) whatever she did started working, and by 11am, I was almost completely dilated and ready to deliver.
Once the doctor arrived, I began pushing with as much strength as I could muster, which wasn't much; I just didn't have the lung capacity. The nurses would tell me to breathe out or hold my breath as they counted to ten, and I could only do it to the count of 3. All my other babies came out in just a few pushes. I pushed for awhile before having any success, but finally I heard his soft cries and felt his body slide out of mine.
I watched the doctor suction his mouth and nose before feeling extremely light headed from pushing. I wanted to rest my head and close my eyes so badly, but I also wanted to watch them cut the umbilical cord, knowing it would be the last time my body was ever physically connected to a baby so I waited and tried to breathe. It took just a few minutes, and Tim cut the cord, and Timmy was whisked away to be cleaned off and weighed.
The experience was long, boring (at times), and extremely difficult in the end. It took everything--every last breath that I had--to bring him into this world. My body crashed almost immediately after I watched with watery eyes as the nurses cleaned him off and the doctor sewed my stitches.
There is this moment after I deliver a baby where I find myself alone in a sea of people, and I sit there silently and reflect on the nine months, the labor, the delivery, and the soft sounds of my newborn baby, and in that moment, I feel heaven so close that it's almost palpable. I feel God all around me; he's in the nurses' smiles, the doctor's furrowed eyebrows, and the way Tim holds my hand. All these feeling swell in my heart, and I feel joy--indescribable joy. I hope I will always remember the way that feels.