I had a beautiful pregnancy. I was cared for by a wonderful obstetrician in Oklahoma. She reminded me of my mom: calm, comforting, strong, intelligent and kind. She was a blessing to me in many ways and I respected her because she was a great doctor, but she was very cautious and, understandably, very medical in her thinking. At the time, I didn't know much about natural birth, but I did know, I wanted a largely unmedicated birth. I made a birth plan, but I was told that at the end of the day, the priority was to deliver a healthy baby no matter what that meant. I wanted to go into labor naturally, have an unmedicated vaginal delivery, and breast feed immidiately. Simple. Well at 39 weeks I was told that, because of my "small frame" (it's ok to laugh here, God gave me fantastic birthing hips) she wasn't comfortable waiting more than a week after my due date and 2 days after my due date seemed like a good date to schedule an induction... Part of me was naively excited because I knew I'd meet my daughter that day for sure, but part of me wanted so desperately to go into labor on my own, so I tried all I could to make it happen, but I failed.
So, early in the morning on February 21, 2008, we arrived at the hospital and began a Pitocin drip....
Nothing happened for what seemed like forever, I visited with family and friends, had a few contractions, took a cat nap, then the doctor came in to check and decided to break my water...
About 30 mins later, it hit me and all at once. My contractions were intense and one after the other leaving little time in between to do anything other than hold the bed rail and writhe while my dear husband paced and internally battled his impulse to stop my pain and also to support my wishes of no medicine.
The labor and deliver nurse was awesome, she was supportive and knowledgeable, but she offered me the epideral several times. I turned it down probably 2 or 3 times. Finally she convinced the anesthesiologist to come chat with me about an epideral.
He came and spent 15 minutes softening my spirit to an epideral, and finally breaking my will with the simple phrase, "if you get an epideral, it will be a much more Christain experience." He meant it lightly, maybe even jokingly. Yet still, this hit me right in the heart because I was afraid. I was afraid to yell, I was afraid to scream, I was afraid to show anger and pain, to be rude to my husband, and, forbid it, to curse out loud and be the woman you hear about loosing her mind on everyone around her.
Almost right away they came and put that teeny tiny needle (if you haven't done this before, I am using a touch of sarcasm here) into my spine. They asked me to not move during a very intense contraction while they stuck me. This was probably the most physically challenging thing I've ever done.
Within minutes, I felt a flood of relief from the pain, and I could sense the loved ones around me breathing easier and relaxing some. I laid down, turned the lights down and tried to watch The Notebook, but fell asleep for my second nap.
About an hour later, I was awakened by, "You're a ten, it's time to push,"
I was assured that even with an epideral, I would be able to feel enough to push. I felt nothing.... The doctor said to bare down and with all my might I exerted my energy and strained my body blindly for an hour. Finally, she came into this world and changed everything about life.
After all the routine checks and procedures, including a bath for Audri, I breastfed. It was tricky for a while, but we finally got it. And it was bliss (most of the time)!
I love my memories from my daughter's birth, and I do not regret a second of it because it is a part of who I am and who Audri is. It's our story. We were surrounded by doctors and nurses that were wonderful and cared for us well. In addition, we couldn't have had more love and support from all the amazing family and friends that held our hands and walked us through our first days of parenthood. All in all, it was beautiful. However, I learned from this experience, I grew from it. I learned that for me to have a natural birth, I needed more prep and practice. It would take more than just wanting it, I would really need to prepare myself and my partner. Also, I learned that I had nothing to be afraid of. One, if I prepared my body, my mind, my spirit, my partner, and my family, I could do it, and most likely I would not be the outrageous woman that I and many others had in their mind. Two, if I am, I am, it's a part of birthing and at the end of the day, I am just not scared of how I may or may not act because I believe in who I am, I believe in the body I was given and the ability to do what I know I can do.
This is the story of my Audri, my dream come true, and how she entered our world.
"And though she be but little, She is fierce." -Shakespeare