My Birth Story-Matthew Logan [PART THREE]
–Lights. Lights are all I could see as I opened my eyes while laying down in the hospital bed. I felt a little bit like a lab rat under a flashlight, as nurses came in and out preparing a tray with examination tools, and asking how I was feeling. To my left, in the corner of my eye, I could see a bassinet and weighing station. My heart fluttered with anticipation and of course a brief period of intense fear, as I told myself, “I could be delivering my son today.”
As Julie, (my amazing nurse) began her examination, she smiled and told us that I was about 3 centimeters dilated and that women can last days or even weeks at that stage. She continued to examine me as she told me that she thought my doctor would most likely send me home and have me continue to monitor my contractions. I cannot tell you how I felt in that moment. I was so sleepy, disappointed, and frustrated that by this time, 9:00am, I had missed my Birth class for a false alarm!! I felt embarrassed, and honestly completely freaked out, because I thought, “maybe the contractions have to be killing me before I know that it’s time.” As my mind drifted off into what I would do with the rest of the day, Julie looked at me and said, “um, you are 95% effaced, I’m going to have to check with the doctor before sending you home.” Once again, the roller coaster of emotions hit me like a train! I looked at my husband and remember asking if that was good, and if that meant I could stay, because honestly, I felt so sick! My contractions were uncomfortable and I felt so nauseous. I can honestly say, that the contractions were not as bad as I thought they were going to be. I have always had extremely painful menstrual cycles (passing out, throwing up, having to go to urgent care) and this felt like day one of my period, except with some pressure, and oh yeah, “the thought of a child coming down my birth canal the size of a straw!” Seriously, visualizations are both my friend and enemy!
About 30 minutes later, Julie returned and told us that the doctor wanted me to be checked for a few hours to see if anything changed, to make sure that it was safe for me to be sent home. She checked me once again and looked straight up and said, “Oh wow, you’re dilated to 4, almost 5 centimeters already! You are not going anywhere momma, you are having this baby today!”
In complete shock! I looked up at my husband with tears in my eyes, alarmingly calm, and said, “This is really happening! OMG! …No, I can’t have the baby today, I have an audit I’m preparing for at work and I actually have a crazy packed schedule on Monday! Ok, I can do this, I can just go to work on Monday….” As I write this, I’m laughing at how completely naïve I was about what was actually happening, and how my life was going to change 180 degrees in a couple of hours. Both Julie and my Husband quickly held my hands and tried to relax me and let me know that I was not going to be doing anything on Monday besides caring for myself and my newborn baby, and that it was probably a good time to start calling my boss and family members. As I laid back and started to text my boss, “Hello, sorry to bother you so early on a Saturday, but you are not going to believe this…” I could hear my husband on the phone with my mother, who was busy cooking for her friend’s granddaughter’s baby shower, that I was almost 5 centimeters dilated and 95% effaced and that Matthew was coming fast. I could hear my mother panicking as she tried to reassure herself and Milton that “especially” with first time mom’s, labor is a whole day ordeal and that she would be there as soon as she dropped off the food which was already done.
About an hour later Julie came in to re-examine me and once again I had dilated, and to 6 centimeters. (Seriously kid! I’m not ready! I haven’t even had time to process that this is happening!) At that moment, Julie had “the talk” with me. I had two choices at this point: 1. Epidural and enjoy this process, or 2. Go natural and suffer in agony. (NOTE: I am in no way saying that having an epidural is the best way to deliver a child, I think mothers who go all natural are much braver than I!) Anyone who knows me, knows, that I laughed out loud and told her to get me the happy juice! The anesthesiologist was ready at that moment to take me in and I was informed that she had 2 C-sections scheduled very soon and would be unavailable for about 4 hours if I passed her up. I was so eager to stand up and walk a bit, so I asked if I could have 30 minutes to walk around since they would be my last until after the baby arrived. As Milton and I walked around the hospital, I felt so different. Gravity was working against me in the comfort department, and I was now having to full on stop to breath about every minute or so. As I huffed and puffed through the discomfort, Milton was back on the phone with my mom telling her that our son was coming, and coming fast, and if she did not get there soon, she might miss it. As I walked around a more quiet and secluded area of the hospital, I remembered embracing the silence and trying to take in every sight, scent, and sound. Muffled behind me I could hear the excitement in my husband/soon to be father, as he called his family, and then the rest of mine, to share in our excitement and to pray for me. 30 minutes went by very fast. It was almost noon, and the anesthesiologist needed to be freed from me to continue with her other appointments. I walked back slowly to my room. This was it. This was one of those “OMG, I have been afraid of this thing all of my life” kind of moments.
If you are currently expecting and reading this, I have to stop to comfort you by telling you that I do not know how it even happens, but somewhere between the, “you are 5 centimeters dilated” and “you’re not going anywhere, it’s time!” I found this incredible amount of peace and had a determination about myself to get this job done. I lost all of my anxiety and fear and was so focused on the process of delivering my son into this world.
As I sat bent forward (as much as a huge pregnant lady can), I held on to my husband’s hands and looked to him for strength and support. I had tears in my eyes, and of course had no idea how much this would hurt and wanted it to just be over with. Like the rest of the day, the epidural process was not seamless. I was poked (ouch) and the nurse said that it didn’t feel right. I was told that I had a slight scoliosis and that she needed to over compensate for it to ensure that it was done correctly. Thank God, she got it on the second try and it was ok. Honestly, getting an IV put in hurt more! Ladies, epidural and I, are literally the best of friends! I had control of how much I wanted to feel, and not feel with the magical button that I could press every 15 minutes to numb the pain. I did not like the feeling of going completely numb on my legs, so I made sure to only press that button if I couldn’t stand the pain because I wanted to be present and feeling the need to push, or just free to move my foot.
After noontime, my mother finally arrived and I was checked once again; 8 centimeters this time. I looked at the nurse in disbelief and asked, “I thought this was supposed to go slow? I can’t even think this is going so fast!” By this time, I can say that I recalled a change in my demeanor all-together. I felt pressure, I felt nauseous again, and I felt very alert and “in the zone” as some call it. I never got angry, or had any mood swings (like I was told would happen) but I was very happy about that, because I never wanted to be “that” mom-zilla. I used this time to breath, reflect, and try my hardest to take in every moment as best as I could to never forget!
At 2:30pm I was checked one final time. Julie looked me right in the eyes and told me I was there, “You’re 10 centimeters momma, lets deliver this baby!”
Just like that, as in military formation, multiple nurses came in and out of the room preparing me for delivery! I did not for one second care that my legs were wide open, and that I was exposed in front of everyone! By this point, the queen of England could have come by and I wouldn’t have cared, I was just trying to have my baby! On my left, in the corner of my eye, I saw that bassinet again, and this time there were blankets, and the tiniest diaper you could ever imagine!
He was almost here! Within what felt like seconds, Julie was smack center in between my legs coaching my mother and husband on how they could help by holding my legs for me. My water never broke on its own, so they had to break it for me. This was a really gross feeling. I felt like I was peeing myself for the duration of my labor as water would spill out only when my son would move his head. Julie then looked at me, took a deep breath and told me to do the same and then instructed me to “PUSH!”
I am not going to lie, I never thought that the actual act of “pushing” would be a complicated thing. Yes, I knew it was the part that hurt, but I didn’t know that there was a right and wrong way to push. What the heck? I learned this, because I was pushing the wrong way for most of the time! As the doctor finally decided to join us (seriously nurses are the real superheroes of hospitals!) I could hear him only saying, “Push, push, push, push, push! No, that’s not that good, take a few breaths and try better next time.” (Maybe I did have a slight feeling of anger, and a want to punch someone in the face moment as I heard “not good enough” so many times!). I couldn’t take deep enough breaths as they were instructing and couldn’t push the way that they wanted. I pushed non-stop for an hour and nothing. I began feeling tired, and completely frustrated with myself because, “how hard could it be to push?” I remember getting more feeling in my lower extremities and feeling the desire to push. After the doctor instructed me to break for sometime before trying again, I sat up and told him that I wanted to push and needed to push! He looked at me and asked, “you can feel the need to push?” I assured him that I did and he let me go at it! I quickly told my husband to start recording!!! Then, at 3:32pm I took one final big push and as simple as anything could be, my beautiful baby boy entered this world.
My entire body could not contain the way I felt in that moment. My son was born screaming! and life had never seemed more precious than it did in that moment. Matthew was immediately placed on my chest and I hugged and kissed him as the biggest, and hottest tears of my life streamed down my cheeks. Nothing else in my life mattered. This tiny little person was mine, I was his momma, and I made him! So crazy! I was so proud of myself. I was able to conquer a fear that I had had since early childhood. All I could do was look at my son and thank God for granting me the privilege of being his momma.
The moments after Matt’s birth are mostly a blur to me now. I remember my family coming in to visit and being showered with love and prayers. I think it is a complete miracle how babies know exactly how to go straight to their mother’s breast for milk, and how Matthew latched on right away. My heart was so overwhelmed, and to this day, I remember thanking the Lord for how smoothly everything turned out, and how doable it was. I did not die, I did not fall apart, I made it through, and I will continue to encourage other first time momma’s as well! No one ever talks about how natural and doable giving birth is. All of the stories I had ever heard about birth, was that it is the worst pain a woman could go through. That is the biggest lie. I have suffered more hurt in my life through relational discord and other medical issues. This hurt was a short season, and this hurt produced the greatest joy and love in my life.
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