(Please note that I am trying to summarize something as big as the birth of my child! Pretty impossible, but I will do my best. And I promise to try and leave out most of the gory details!)
I went to bed Wednesday night, June 9th, with big plans for the next day. I had just been to the doctor and was told that if Jacob did not decide to come on his own, the doctor would induce me the next Wednesday (June 16th). Great, I thought, and immediately began making plans. Well, we all know what the Lord does when you make plans...
I woke up around 6:15 on Thursday. When I rolled over to look at the clock, it felt like I had used the bathroom a little. (Now, if you've never been nine months pregnant, this may seem weird to you, but if you've been there, you know leaking out a little is not only possible, but kinda likely. It's sad, but true.) I rolled back over to get out of bed and felt it happen again, but this time I was certain that I was not using the bathroom. At this point, my heart began to race. I had heard my friend, Katy, describe what it felt like when her water broke and this seemed like exactly what she had described. I jumped out of bed, tripped over the dog, and ran to the bathroom. Almost as soon as I hit the tile (thank goodness!) it was clear to me that my water had indeed broken. (Just so you know, there was no big GUSH like you see on tv.) I yelled for Jeff and tried to put myself back together. Once he was convinced I was not imagining things, we sprang into action. Both parents were called, last minute essentials were packed, dogs were loaded and we were off to drop off the dogs and then head to the hospital.
As we drove to the hospital, my contractions grew stronger and more intense. It didn't help at all that I was a nervous wreck. I did start to calm down once I was settled into a bed and had met the L&D nurses. Let me tell you, those ladies were a Godsend. There was no way I could have done it without them. They were so sweet and patient and encouraging and just all around kind. It was like having the most loving people waiting on you hand and foot. And almost as soon as we were settled in, our dear friend Stuart was able to stop by and pray with us.
Shortly after I was settled in they started me on pitocin to make my labor progress a little faster. My contractions were getting stronger by the minute on their own, so you can only imagine what the drugs did for me! I was told the anesthesiologist was on his way up for another lady down the hall so I went ahead and ordered my epidural. Getting the epidural was zero fun. For some reason, it wouldn't work in the first spot he tried, so he had to move to another column and try again. Definitely painful, but definitely worth it.
Once the epidural was in place, the real waiting game began. I was able to relax a little and visit with family. Which is a good thing too, because we sure had a lot there! (A few friends and some people from church stopped by too, but by the time they came by, I was unable to visit with them.)
I progressed steadily for a while until I was 9 cm. You are supposed to get to 10 before you start to push, but for some reason I was just stuck at 9. I tried laying in all different positions, but nothing work. The nurses called the doctor and it was decided that I should just go ahead and try and push passed it. So around 2:00, almost 8 hours after my water had broken that morning, the pushing started.
Let me tell you something about labor. I don't care how many stories you hear or books you read or birthing classes you attend. You may think you understand, but you really don't. Pushing is so incredibly hard. I was WORN OUT, literally exhausted, after just a couple of pushes. Since I wasn't fully dilated, I was able to rest a little between pushes and only had to push when I felt the urge. This went on for about an hour. Jeff was so sweet and must have counted to ten for me about a million times. He held my hand and fed me spoonfuls of ice and read me scripture when I became too anxious. (Jacob would not be here had it not been for Phil 4:4-9!)
I could tell when I had finally pushed past that last centimeter because the urge to push became constant. I pushed and pushed and pushed until I really thought there was no way I could push even another second. But somehow, someway, I found the strength. I was sweating and breathing fast and shaking and my eyes were watering and my head was pounding and I was flat out exhausted. I was running through my mind every bit of encouraging scripture I could think of.
The nurses kept telling my how close I was getting and how soon I would have a baby boy. Thinking of seeing my precious baby boy was literally the only thing that kept me going. At some point, the doctor arrived and mentioned that if I did not have him soon, we may have to do a C-Section because I physically would not be able to push much longer. Just hearing the words C-Section gave me the boost that I needed. I wanted to avoid a C-Section, of course, but after so much pushing there was no way I was going to cave and end up not having a traditional delivery. I was determined.
My epidural was turned down to help me know where and how to push. My delivery room was literally full of people. I had Jeff on one side and a nurse on the other, each pushing against my feet. Two nurses were standing over me and rubbing down on my stomach. The doctor and two more nurses were in front of me, trying to help deliver him and there was a nurse waiting for Jacob at the incubator. After a few more pushes with my newfound strength, the pain became unbearable. I felt like my body was literally on fire and that I was about to break open. Jeff was screaming numbers in my ear as he counted to ten. The nurses were all cheering me on and the doctor was yelling for me to give one more big push. The pain was taking over and I was no longer in control. I could hear myself screaming out in pain, but it was like I was listening to someone else making all that noise. I pushed harder than I had pushed all day, simply because I knew I had to get out of that pain. I felt a huge wave of relief for a few seconds before the pain returned. The doctor told me Jacob's head was out, but that I had to keep pushing. I pushed as hard as I possibly could until all of a sudden, it was over.
You could tell the attitude of the whole room had changed. It was like every person in there was able to relax for a second. I looked down and saw the yucky blue mess that was my son. It seemed like forever before I heard him take that first breath and cry, but it must have only been a few seconds because none of the staff was panicked. They wiped him down just a little bit, wrapped him up, and sat him on my chest. He was so warm and soft and just plain unbelievable. Jeff came up and we loved on him together. Not for long though, because then they had to take him to the incubator to get him more cleaned up, measured, etc. Then I got him back for a few minutes for some skin-to-skin before Jeff was able to walk him out to show off to our families.
I was left behind to rest in the delivery room while the doctor sewed me back up. As worn out as I was, and as much pain as I had gone through (and was still in!), I had never been more happy in my life. There really are no words to describe that feeling. Jacob was here and appeared to be very healthy. All those months of pregnancy and all the years of prayers had finally become a reality. Our God is good.