Birth story: take one

 This past Thursday my husband and I celebrated our daughter's first birthday. Now with that comes a wave of emotions and memories. There are so many things to watch for with babies and as a parent you worry about them 24/7, so when they hit one year old you can take a small sign of relief to know that they are still safe after one year. :)

Elizabeth is our first child and one year went by so quickly, it is hard to imagine a whole year has gone by since I gave birth to her. I want to share our birthing experience, but I promise not to be too personal.

My due date was June 14, 2015. That day came and went without my body even starting to be in labor. I was scheduled for an induction on June 22 and of course there was a huge storm rolling through Lansing at the time and every other woman wanted to have their babies too resulting in the labor and delivery rooms being full. I called the hospital in the morning to make sure they had room for me, this was the procedure for a induction, and they told me no and would call me when there was space. Now, you are telling a 41 week pregnant woman that she cannot have her baby yet because there is no room at the hospital (sounds like a similar story we all know, but that is for another day), that of course made me a little emotional and frustrated.

So Ben and I waited at our house for a call, still no call for a few hours, and I called back to check again, nothing. I was starting to get restless and wanted to hold my precious baby girl. My sister came and we all got out of the house and went to the mall to walk around. Before I go on I will clarify two things, the mall was only 5 minutes away from our house so we did not go far from the hospital in case I naturally went into labor, and I do not believe that walking helps induce labor because we walked SO much that last week, nothing. Finally after getting some dinner I finally got a call saying I could come in at 7:00pm to begin the induction, my initial appointment was at 9:00am. That made for a long day of waiting.

When we got all checked in at the hospital they started me on pitocin and at first I could not feel any contractions but I was dilated a little, which is always a good sign. Our intention was for me to give birth naturally without an epidural or pain medication. If I can give any advice, it is to have a plan and have someone there to support you in that plan, but do not be afraid to change plans if needed. Birth is such an unpredictable, amazing experience and you are not less of a mother if you have a c-section, or use pain medication. The most important thing is to have a healthy mom and baby.

With that being said, about halfway through the night I did start feeling contractions and they increased very quickly. My husband said they were about 30 seconds apart and it was all back labor, which is awful! I honestly cannot say I know what regular contractions feel like, but from what other women have told me back labor is way worse than regular contractions. I could not get comfortable and I was so tired, I was falling asleep in between contractions. My doctor came in and checked my progress and I was only dilated about halfway, which is not what you want to hear when you have been in labor for many hours already. She then broke my water to try and speed things up, but the only thing that did was bring on unbearable contractions and I knew at that point I could not continue without having sleep or some type of pain medication. There was no way I could continue and still have energy to push when the time came, so we decided that I would get an epidural and even though it was not my initial plan, I am so glad I did it.

After the epidural Ben and I were able to get some rest, because this whole time I was contracting my amazing husband was by my side rubbing my back. I remember he told me he would be right back and I said no because I needed him there to rub my back through the contraction, but thankfully my sister stepped in so he could go use the bathroom. :)

The nurses told me to tell them if I felt pressure and when I woke up I did and they came in and did another check. One of the nurses who was still training checked me first and said she could not find my cervix, I know a little personal, but I remember thinking "is that a good thing or bad thing?" Apparently it is a good thing because that means I was ready to push and give birth to my baby! They waited just a little while longer so my body could continue to naturally get her ready to enter the world. When it was time to push, I gave three great pushes and she was here!! Born on June 23rd at 1:37pm. 7lbs 15 oz and measuring 21 inches long. Elizabeth Jayde!

I remember waiting to hear her cry for the first time and asking if she was a girl, we did find out but you never know! Those were some of the best moments of my life. Pregnancy and birth is such an amazing journey and my heart goes out to those women who cannot have children and/or have never experienced it all.

I loved every moment I spent with my baby girl in the hospital and while I was on maternity leave, the one thing that I was not expecting was the recovery process, but that is for a whole other day (maybe!). I have cherished every moment and every day I spend with my precious baby girl and watching her develop and learn new things. We are so blessed to have our little family. Children are a miracle, I am amazed at how God created our bodies to have children and go through the whole process of birth. Whether you cannot have a child, have adopted, have lost a child, have birthed a child, or any other form I may have missed, you still matter to someone and you are someone's child!