Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lucy's Birth Story: The Short Version

I know many of you won't want to read through all the details I wanted to record for my own recollection, so I am also offering an abridged version of my birth story.

One last photo op before heading to the hospital
Friday, December 20th
One day before my due date! 
On Thursday, December 18th I started to notice my contractions intensifying and coming closer together.  By Friday they were sporadic, but coming much more frequently.  I still attended Isaac's work Christmas party, but we left pretty early as I was rapidly becoming uncomfortable.  Late that night we called the midwife and my aunt (Lorna Arnold), and ultimately headed to the hospital (Valley Medical Center).  The midwife on duty said I was borderline at 2cm dilated, but because I was strep-B positive she admitted me, and gave me a shot of morphine to sleep.  I think I was the only one that slept that night -- poor Isaac and Auntie Lorna were on a 5 foot sofa and an easy chair respectively.

Feeling pretty good! 
Waiting for baby girl! 
Talking to my mom between contractions
The next morning (Saturday), we spent the morning walking around trying to get things moving.  The midwife checked me early that afternoon and told me that I wasn't really in labor despite having contractions every 4-5 minutes.  She explained that because I was only feeling pain down low and not up to my ribcage, I couldn't be in labor. She emphasized that real labor would be "a kajillion times worse", and that I could continue to experience my current level of contractions for up to a week.  I broke down and sobbed at this news.  She acted shocked that I was crying and wanted to know why.  Need I explain?  I was devastated that this "wasn't labor" and that it would continue at this intensity for up to a week.  Another day I had in me, but a week? Nope.
We went home and spent a restless afternoon and evening.  That night I couldn't sleep because the contractions continued to intensify and were unrelentingly 4-5 minutes apart.  At 3am I was ready to call the midwife I was in so much pain, but I feared rejection, so instead I got up and paced the living room.  By 6am I couldn't take it and asked Isaac to call the midwife.  She told us to come in after the shift change at 7am.

When we got to the hospital at 8ish on Sunday was in labor, though it was true that it was protracted and could last for up to a week if not augmented.  She explained that at some point my uterus was going to get tired and peter out.  We opted to get an epidural and augment my contractions with Pitocin.  She broke my water later that afternoon and by 6pm I was ready to push.

After 2.5 hours of pushing and a whole lot of vomiting, I was finally running out of steam, as was my uterus and the baby.  My contractions had weakened and baby girl's heart rate was finally beginning to dip a bit.  She'd remained incredibly happy and healthy throughout all my laboring up to this point!  The midwife suggested having a doctor come in and try applying a vacuum to the baby's head to help pull her down.  She explained that this would be a last step before c-section.

Isaac and I prayed and discussed it and decided that we needed to try the vacuum.  My contractions weren't going to get stronger and both the baby and I were reaching the point of utter exhaustion.  One way or another, we were going to meet this little girl SOON!  The doctor came in and applied the vacuum and pulled with all her might -- but baby girl was firmly wedged and didn't budge even a millimeter.  I was given the news that they had to perform a c-section.  I admit I cried, but it was nothing like the devastation I'd experienced when I was told I wasn't in labor.   I felt a peace about the situation that I know could only come from the Lord.

Isaac's view in the waiting room while they prepped me for surgery
They wheeled me off to the operating room and had Isaac wait outside while they prepped me.  This was the hardest part, bar none.  Being separated from Isaac while being prepared for major surgery that I'd honestly never even considered as being a possibility was HARD.  He finally came in and immediately began praying over me and our baby as the surgery was under way.  It took only a few minutes and a good amount of pushing and pulling to dislodge her from the birth canal, and then we heard the sweetest sound we'd ever heard -- our baby's first cries!!  Cue tears of sheer joy (and exhaustion!).  It was only another moment before Isaac got to bring her over to my head so I could see her and kiss her.  I was overwhelmed -- this was my child, my little girl, and she even had my nose!  Welcome Lucy Margaret, my 21 3/4 inch, 9 pound, 14 oz, sweet girl with the feisty streak! We love you so much already!!

Healthy baby girl! 
My first moment with Lucy Margaret! 
Already I knew she was worth it! 

Big girl! 
So in love! 

Ready to go home! 
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our daughter, and for the peace that truly surpasses all understanding!  We know that without you, we wouldn't have been able to make it through four days of labor, a major surgery, post-op pain and emotion, and so much more.  Thank you for your Son, who you sent to earth, whose birth we were to celebrate in just a few days.  What a wonderful, beautiful reminder to us each year as we celebrate our child that you sent YOUR child -- your only child, your perfect child, to live in an imperfect world, to grow, to minister, and ultimately to die for us.  But He didn't stay dead, and that's why we have the hope that we have today.  As a new parent I cannot fathom looking down at that sweet, tiny person and knowing that one day that life would be sacrificed for the salvation of so many.  Thank you for being less selfish than I am for I already know I'd give my own life before I let harm come to my sweet Lucy.
Hardest present to unwrap ever -- but worth every effort! 

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