A (LONG) Labor of Love

Something’s different since I last wrote a blog.

The weather’s warmer.

My toes are a pretty shade of pink.

I switched purses.

Oh, and I HAD A BABY.

That’s right, Luke Adam made his grand arrival a few days ago and our world hasn’t and won’t ever be the same. He is a beautiful, alert, cuddly baby boy and while we are still majorly adjusting to this human we brought home from the hospital, it’s hard to imagine our lives without him now.

Everyone told me that it’s a whole new level of love, and to say they were right, well, I’ll take “Understatement of the Century for $800, Alex.”

Since it’s just been a few days since our hospital stay, I wanted to document our story of how our sweet son arrived.

Please know this will not be all lovey-dovey.

Because while the experience as a whole is completely miraculous, amazing, and totally awe-inspiring, and I’m entirely grateful for it, if you don’t have a sense of humor about it, you will die.

Certainly not literally I hope, but you’ll feel like it.

(I would know, see #21).

Before I start my list, two tidbits:

1. How did women (and the family) wait hours in the hospital without smartphones? I mean, I’m not talking about in the pioneer days, I’m talking about like in 2002.

2. My church’s minister on-call for hospital visits that week was our campus pastor at another location. Since I never go to that location, he really doesn’t know me other than my face. He came in while I was in labor (and in a happy state at the time) and asked, “Lucy, how are you feeling?”

I thought surely I had misunderstood. I was on some good drugs at that point, ya know.

A few minutes later, he asked to lead us in a prayer. So everyone gathered around me and he led a very sweet prayer, but included the line, “Please help Lucy…”

Nope. He definitely said Lucy.

He had the best intentions, and we all laughed about it as he left, but somewhere around the world, Lucy had a wonderful labor and delivery.

Now, onto mine:

1. Thursday, March 19th, was our D-DAY (what I referred to as our due date) (I mean, it was not a disastrous event to dread, but let’s not pretend that either method of child leaving the womb are exactly PLEASANT).

2. That very morning, I happened to wake up at about 4:50 a.m. with sharp pains in my lower stomach/back area that would last a few seconds, go away for a few minutes, and then repeat.

3. This lasted for about four hours every seven minutes or so before my husband told me to call the doctor.  I had convinced myself that this wasn’t any sign of labor DESPITE BEING FORTY WEEKS PREGNANT. I thought it might be from eating Mexican the night before.

4. (Note to self, queso may cause a brief stomachache, not sharp pains that make me stop what I’m doing at perfectly timed intervals).

5. After talking to the doctor, we decided to go to the hospital to check it out. Brett left at lunch (he would’ve earlier, but I insisted) and I folded some laundry in between hee-hee-hooing. He packed a bag, loaded the car, and off to the hospital we went.

6. We went into the assessment room (which is basically a glorified closet) and three hours later, the nurse confirmed I was indeed in labor with contractions 4-7 minutes apart, but not enough progress made to admit me.

7. She tells me this as I’m going through a contraction and so I said (gritted) through my teeth, “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO REST?”

8. I am immediately prescribed an Ambien (spoiler alert: it just made me an extremely groggy contracting lady), and we leave a bit disappointed, which meant a Chick-fil-A drive thru visit to get some fried chicken and waffle fries because COMFORT FOOD, I NEEDED IT.

9. Little did I know that would be my last meal for almost 40 hours. I never went to sleep as the contractions were now about 4 minutes apart, and by 2:00 Friday morning, I couldn’t take it anymore and woke up Brett. We both felt like this would be “it,” so we both took a shower and left for the ER (since the main entrance was closed until 6).

10. By 3:15 or so that morning, we found ourselves in that familiar glorified closet from twelve hours before. My contractions were indeed closer and getting a bit stronger, but I wasn’t “far along” enough to being admitted (even though I was past the point of being induced). Before I started crying my eyes out at that news, I asked what would it take to get to that point. The nurse suggested walking around the labor & delivery wing for about a half hour, but warned me that it didn’t work for most women.

11. I put on my walking shoes (also known as Yellowbox flip flops) and despite contractions, determined to keep a BRISK PACE. Brett walked with me and counted our laps. When we were finished, I had progressed enough for her to call my doctor for her advice.

12. Have I mentioned I love my doctor? Because she bestowed grace and mercy and told them ADMIT HER.

13. Room 220 became our residence for the next few days at 6:30 that morning. After another walk, I progressed a little bit more and contractions were growing stronger. My sweet labor nurse for the day asked when I’d like my epidural, and I asked, “IS NOW TOO SOON?”

14. It wasn’t. And when they told me to not flinch when administering it, my focus was STEALTH. I’m not sure I even breathed, I was so focus on the sweet, sweet, legal drugs.

15. (Side note: I completely admire and respect you all who decide to go “natural.” However, God gave humans the brililant intelligence of inventing the epidural and so I feel like it’s only Biblical that I use it. I say this with all the love in the world, but you’re crazy if you don’t. Except you’re really not. But you are).

16. With the epidural taking full effect (which, by the way, I would end up using four full bags of it by the time labor was over), I was in my happy, numb place.

17. Fast forward to 1:00 that afternoon, and I have progressed nicely. Life is good and I’m thinking this child will arrive for sure by the time my labor nurse got off work at 7. Wasn’t even a question.

18. Until 6:00 or so and I hadn’t progressed one bit in five hours, despite contractions still going strong.

19. My joyous mood was starting to fade, as was my patience. Especially when I was starving (spoiler alert again: while refreshing, ice chips do not satisfy hunger) and my husband ate a delicious bakery treat right in front of me. Bless him.

20. After an internal monitor checked out my contractions, Pitosin was administered to speed along the process and it worked until 10:00, when I reached a stopping point again.

21. And that’s when I lost it. As soon as the nurse left, I cried. I was exhausted, as it had been about 45 hours of no sleep at that point, hungry, overwhelmed, and feeling contractions (which were about 30 seconds – 1 minute apart) when they didn’t make my epidural refill quite fast enough. At this point, I just wanted Brett and my Mom in the room as my sense of humor had left it.

22. With my ugly cry, dark circles, and mood swings aplenty at this point, I’m pretty sure Brett would’ve volunteered to leave the room too. WHICH I CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHY.

23. Epidural began to work again and I came back to my normal, snarky, but extremely tired self by the time Jimmy Fallon came on.

24. “Thank You Notes” and a new “EW!” sketch greatly improved my mood too.

25. By midnight, I finally was ready to begin to push. A team of nurses came in and I kept asking, “Soooo when is my doctor going to be here?”

26. They reassured me they’d call her at the exact right time they’d need her in the middle of my pushing.

27. Reassured, I was not, but I went with it because at this point, I just wanted this baby OUT.

28. The labor nurse (who was great) told me this could take a few minutes or a couple of hours, every one is different. I was sure it would just be a few minutes because I had been in active labor for 18 hours, surely this process would SPEED RIGHT ALONG at this point.

29. (Wrong again).

30. Pushing began, and I will spare you the gory details. I tried to maintain the sense of humor because somehow my nurse would lose count and I’d scream out, “THREEEEEE!” in the middle of pushing.  And let’s just say Brett saw more than he intended when he said “For better or for worse…”

31. By 1:30 Saturday morning, it looked like I may be having a C-section. Long story short, he was face up and not wanting to come out so it looked like it could be the only option.

32. My doctor was called and what I believe was God whispering in her ear, she was already in the elevator when they called because she had woke up in the middle of the night thinking it was time for her to come in for me.

33. Fast forward again, and I had to have an episiotomy and they had to use the vacuum to get our boy out and meet his parents.

34. At 2:33 a.m., I began pushing again and was beginning to push my third set for that contraction when my doctor said, “Okay, stop! You don’t have to push anymore!”

35. Luke Adam arrived with some fussiness, but not a wail and the cutest, scrunched up face I’d ever seen. Even his conehead was cute from his extended stay in the birth canal (thankfully it was already returning to normal a few hours later). As my doctor said, it was a badge of an honor from a hard labor and intense pushing (two and half hours, with maybe two four-minute breaks – every other time my contractions were so close that I pushed the whole time).

36. I actually didn’t cry, I think I had already used my tears early that night and was so exhausted to even attempt to, but was so so happy our boy was safe and by all accounts healthy. His Daddy and I were over the moon and spent some time together as family of three for a few minutes before the rest of the groggy family came in.

37. (Let Brett or I tell the umbilical cord story in person. It’s better that way).

38. Family left by 3:30 or so, and after an exhausted attempt at breastfeeding and the nurses helping me finish up, we slept for a couple of hours before breakfast arrived at 7 a.m.

39. We were now a family of three.

40. And I would do it all over again.

I love my husband in a whole new way. He has been so supportive and encouraging to me, and he is the most loving Daddy to Luke.

Thank you all for the prayers, support, love, gifts, food, and everything else. I read each note of support in that hospital bed and am convinced that God heard your prayers and let Luke arrive safely, and gave me the comfort I needed.

In the form of epidurals.

Amen.

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