Evan and I looked at each other. I mildly conceded to receive the epidural, because I couldn’t think of another solution. All I knew was that I couldn’t endure the pitocin naturally. With that, the nurses prepared the way for the epidural. The only thing I didn’t think about beforehand was that, in order to receive the epidural, I would have to sit on the edge of the bed, without moving in the least bit, while doctors administered a large needle into my back. I already couldn't sit down during a contraction. So when they said that I would have to sit still as well, I didn’t know how that was going to happen. But GOD!
One of the doctors was really taken by the worship music playing in the background and came and squatted down in front of me and made distracting conversation while the other doctor inserted the needle into my back. With that, the pain subsided. Within an hour, the notches of intense pain went down. Although I could still feel the contractions and feel the baby pressing down against my back, it was still much better. By 6:00PM, I dilated to 8 cm. At this rate, I saw that I really wasn’t in control of creating this birth experience. Again, nothing was going according to plan lol.
By 7:00PM, I hadn’t dilated any further. Unfortunately, the midwife said that if my contractions didn’t increase with greater intensity, I may have to consider other options. This was a subtle way of her stating that I may have to get a c-section, considering the risk of infection now that my water was broken. I was so tired and hungry at this point that I just wanted things to be over. Unfortunately, “being over” in my mind did not result in the beauty of seeing baby Evan Jr. Instead, it resulted in me being able to sleep and eat. I never thought that I’d have such a permeating thought throughout my birth experience.
By 8:00PM, the baby began moving down further into my birth canal and I was 8.5 cm dilated. By 8:50 PM, I was 10cm dilated and ready to push! This excited everyone in the room because the end was near. I started pushing with all my might! Thankfully, I didn’t have to just push on my back but was allowed to take on more dynamic movements (i.e. being on all fours on the bed, being on my side, using a bar and towel to push). With each push, everyone in the room yelled in support that I was almost there! However by 10:00PM, I became annoyed in hearing “almost there” when it had been over an hour and well...we weren’t there.
By 11:00PM, I began to think, “can you just reach in and grab him??” But despite my less than optimistic thoughts, by 11:35PM, baby Evan Jr.’s head pushed through! They immediately placed him on my chest. The first thing that captivated me the most was his smell. He smelled so different. So much like real flesh. Then his cry stole my heart as the reality settled in that this was a real living human being. His cry was so piercing and yet so cute. I couldn't believe that this human being was pulled from my womb. Actually, this thought still boggles my mind.
Minutes later we realized why my labor took so long. Little fella was 9lbs and 2 oz. And guess what? By the grace of God, I had no tearing, stiches, nor episiotomy! You can't tell me that that wasn't all grace.
A couple of things I would do again/or simply do next time:
1. Acquire knowledge but rely on prayer throughout pregnancy. -The best advice given to me was to make a list of everything I'm believing God to do during pregnancy aand pray over that list constantly (ex. healthy baby, good supply of breast milk, peaceful family relations, etc.)
2. Read Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize, and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
3. Have a midwife and doula --Their support went beyond any medical experience I've ever had.
4. Drink raspberry tea throughout third trimester. This will help with decreasing the likelihood of tearing and will prepare womb for delivery.
5. Do gentle yoga during third trimester to open up hips and to build pelvic floor muscles
6. Book a photographer to capture the moments of labor and delivery. Everything was such a blur and these pictures really helped to capture the moment.