That's Stevie's birthday!!
I'm about to share our story of labor and delivery (and yes, it's long!). I'll try not to go into grave detail about "personal stuff," however, it is labor and delivery. If you'd like to excuse yourself to another room (like my husband was asked to do...umm, more on that later), or to another blog, feel free. Last chance, here we go!
Wednesday night we went to bed. I tried to sleep as best as I could with my aching back and sciatic pain. Around 11:30pm, I got a shooting pain down my leg (sciatica), and I jerked up really fast. Well, it was almost really fast. Matt's arm was on the sleeve of my t-shirt, so after a good yank, it was really fast. Then an immediate gush. I paused, not quite sure what happened. Then, "Matt. Matt. Matt!!! I ...I...gushed!" Yes, I meant my water broke. He finally realized what I was talking about and woke up for me. :) I called my dr who happened to be on call that night (praise the Lord! His timing is perfect!), and she had me come right in. I called my parents, showered, and we were off. On the way, I called my aunt who is a midwife and has been with us every step of the way for the pregnancy. Earlier that day, I had an ultrasound and non-stress test due to the lateness of this baby's arrival. The ultrasound estimate for the baby was 9 pounds 8 ounces. The technician flat out told me it could be off by a pound, and "let's just say this is NOT s 6 pound baby." Thank you, gentle lady, way to inspire confidence....I was beyond a little scared. (Oh, it didn't help my dad was in the waiting room and called my mom telling her the estimate was 11 pounds...I guess he figured the pound increase would be 10 1/2 and rounded up to 11?...I had to do some damage control phone calling for that because the word spread fast). The "non"-stress test, well, the nurse kept saying several times I was failing. The baby's heart rate was not going above the line they wanted. She showed the results to the dr there and apparently, he "liked it," and I was sent home. Ok....I was like, if these things aren't enough to induce me...umm. Anyway, I filled my aunt in on the appointment. During the phone call on the way to the hospital, she told me to take the epidural as soon as I could. She told me to try for a natural delivery with my 2nd baby. She told me to "survive," I repeat, "survive," this one because of the size of the baby. I needed the epidural to save my strength to push him out. Yikes!
We get to the hospital, check in, and I'm still between 2-3cm, like I had been for over a month now, without any real contractions. The nurse went to put the IV in my hand, and that's when it happened. Matt slumped. He turned white. I'm saying to the nurse, "Umm, I feel it going into my wrist bone." She's not paying attention. The nurse blew my vein watching Matt about to pass out. Poor guy. He got some juice and was asked to leave the room. This causes Becky to worry about how he'll do for the rest of the delivery! The nurse then goes about poking my other hand, actually telling me she wasn't paying attention to me because she was watching, "Dad." Oh, thanks. She blew another one during conversation, saying I had weird veins. Thankfully, she decided to let the nurse upstairs try. She put it in a much better spot anyway (on my forearm) and did it on the first try.
There was an unbelievable feeling in me as we entered my birthing room and saw the "crib" our baby was to be placed in. It already had his little hat and diaper in it, just waiting. My parents arrived and stayed for about an hour from 2-3am. I walked with Matt a bit around the halls and rocked in the rocking chair. My contractions were odd...all in my bottom...and yes uncomfortable. Then Matt and I tried to rest between the monitoring and contractions. I watched the monitor for awhile and asked the nurse what it means when my "hill" goes off the charts. (There were 3 other patients' charts visible on the monitor, and mine appeared to be the only one peaking like that.) I guess it means my contractions were getting stronger...go figure. I listened to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack and some of our wedding songs, and even slept a little. Things got a little more intense and by 5am, I asked to try out the tub with the jets. At this point my body was really shaking. Matt kept asking me if I was cold. In between contractions, I told him, "No, I'm in labor." After awhile, I told Matt I wanted something to help me "get a break." We held on though, taking one contraction at a time. The nurse came in to check on me and asked me if things were changing. I said the contractions were either getting closer together or more intense. I couldn't tell. I could hardly think. She told me, "Well, I hope they aren't getting any closer together...they're already pretty close." I "enjoyed" the tub for an hour in all when the resident doctor came in. She wanted to know if I would like to be checked. I told her in between shakes, "Uhhh, yes and no. I do, but I'm afraid I haven't made any progress." I could not make any decisions for myself during the rest of labor. So, she checked me. I was 9cm! This was 6am. I couldn't believe my ears! Many residents came by and said, "Hey, we heard you're really rocking this labor! No one would guess you're 9cm because you're so stoic." Ha! Thanks for the encouragement, but I'm not really ready to party. At this point, Matt called my parents to give them the update. Mom was ready to come straight to the hospital and had to interrupt my dad's early morning basketball game for him to come by too...even though he knew it would still be several more hours. The college security came down with the message and found my brother, who has the same name, and told him, "Hey, you're going to be a grandpa again. It's time to go!" Well, my 30something year old brother won't be a grandpa, but my dad ended up getting the message. Back at the hospital, my doctor came in and said she could break my water (I guess I broke up high and needed down low done) and then I could start pushing. Huh? Really? So, that's what we did.
I pushed, and pushed, and pushed. For 2 hours, the doctor and Matt said they could see his head. Encouraging at first, not so much after 2 hours. Matt was wonderful. He stood by me, held my leg, and was so sweet in his words. He did NOT show any queasy signs whatsoever. The doctor kept saying what a great team we were. I loved hearing that...well, reflecting on that after. The doctor kept asking if I'd like my legs up. I had no idea what she was talking about and didn't care to ask...until a couple hours passed. I just couldn't respond. Between each contraction, I closed my eyes and tried to rest...even dose if I could, to gather all my strength. You just have no idea how long it will be. I heard pretty much everything going on (though the talking really was minimal except during the pushing). I heard the (annoying) ticking of the clock in the silent room and desperately wanted to know what time it was...how long it had been, but I saved my energy for more important things. My doctor kept commenting quietly, "she's just so focused." A lady came in all hyped up, and said, "Your mom is going crazy wanting to know how you're doing (a bit of an exaggeration, though somewhat truthful). Can I tell her you're getting close?" I had a hard time thinking and responding, but I got the idea I wasn't really all that close. I told her, "yes,"...thinking of course you can tell my mom I'm getting close. You can tell her whatever is going on here. I guess that whole privacy thing got in the way...I should've signed something so she could know what was going on. I didn't care who knew. Are you kidding me? She's my mom, and here I am obvious to everyone in the room, and those who came and went, how "I'm doing." My doctor asked again about my legs, and I let out an exhausted, "I don't know what you mean." "Ohhh, we can hold your legs up for you inbetween the contractions as well as during!" I'm thinking, all this time I didn't have to heave my legs in the air every time I went to push?!! I gladly took her up on the offer...finally! Yes, there were times, near the end, that a few emotions tried to take over...sort of whimpers, cries, "I can't do this anymore" feeling after pushing and pushing. I was drenched in sweat. But, I tried to push (haha, push) those feelings away, and I kept praying to be amazed by the strength and grace of our Lord. He was faithful...beyond faithful. The doctor kept saying, "Wow, you are pulling strength from somewhere." Yup, the joy of the Lord was my strength. Stephen even wiggled around to make the labor more effective. That was a weird feeling! The doctor kept saying he was "helping me" and that he loved labor as his heartrate was so steady. Don't get too comfortable with it little baby! After 2 and a half hours of pushing (and my doctor graciously extending her shift, cancelling meetings and appointments to see me through this delivery), at 9:15am, my big boy arrived (9 pounds 1 oz, 21 1/2 inches)! The doctor looked at Matt, giving him the signal, and he leaned into my face with tears in his eyes and complete happiness said, "It's a boy!" I heard some little cries and leaned forward with the rest of my strength to see my boy. I cried and just kept saying over and over, "That's our baby, that's our baby." Matt cut the umbilical cord, and they put him on my chest. I've never felt such exhaustion (haha), and yet, incredible joy and blessed-ness. The first thing I noticed was his weight and size! "He's soo heavy and big!" It was hard to hold him, but he was perfect. The doctor and nurses just kept talking about his size and how they couldn't wait to weigh him. Everyone loved his thick, black curly hair! So, I looked up at Matt and said, "So, is this Stephen?" "Can he be?" "Yes!" It was so amazing to see the look in Matt's eyes after Stevie was born. He just kept telling me what a great job I did (and later, he said, he had no idea I had so many veins in my forehead and face that could stick out so much! haha) and how beautiful our son was. I had been hoping to have a son to name after the partner God gave me, who I love so much. Stephen Matthew is named after Daddy, Matthew Stephen, and means crowned gift of God. We pray he grows to be a strong, courageous, faithful man of God like his Daddy, and Stephen and Matthew in the Bible.
I know I was blessed with a good labor, and a pretty quick one too (well, except for the pushing!). I really don't know when "transition" occured, and to my knowledge, I never yelled at Matt. :) I did throw the washcloth off my forehead though that the nurse gave me at the beginning of pushing. It was too cold and distracting. I guess I acted a little aggressive with that, but Matt said the nurse took it in stride. haha God's timing was perfect. My very own doctor was able to deliver him (she is great!!), and I even knew 3 of my nurses. I am completely humbled, yet more confident (strange combo I know) that I delivered our son, and all naturally at that. I certainly do not blame any woman who gets an epidural or pain relief, understanding that I wanted "a break," and I'm sure every labor and delivery is different for every woman and pregnancy. Natural devlivery was my desire from the start, but I will not say I did it on my own. My wonderful Matthew was a huge support, and undoubtedly, I was shown God's grace and mercy, as He gave me the strength and perseverance I needed. So, here we are, with our beautiful (ok, Matt, handsome!) son, Stephen, or Stevie for short. What a miracle he is!