Our third child, Eli Benjamin, was welcomed into our family on September 20th, 2014, two weeks before his due date. He has stolen our hearts already and fits in as though he was always here. This is his birth story.
My contractions started at 11:00pm on Friday, September 19th. It was an answer to prayer. For about 10 days, I had been monitored by the doctor because my fluid levels were dropping daily and Eli was considered to be very small for my late state of pregnancy. There was a bit of concern that he wasn’t getting enough nutrition – I knew that if I made it until Monday, they would induce me. I was okay with that, but I preferred to go into labor on my own. Since Andy had arrived three weeks early, I knew I had a good chance of going early.
I stayed in bed until 3am, trying to nap in between contractions. But yeah right – who really does that?! The only time I can nap during labor is toward the end when I am so exhausted that my eye lids can’t physically stay open. At 3am I got up and did what any normal woman in labor would do. I took a shower, shaved, got dressed, and put makeup on. That’s what everyone does, right? It seemed normal at the time.
I was praying the whole time to make it until 7am so that Barry could take the kids to my parent’s house without waking them up. I let Barry snooze in the bed…and I did what any normal person would do. I worked on the 100 Days of Christmas Gifts in between contractions. Everyone does that, right?
Around 6am, I laid down on the couch and my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart…but they quit and I took a nap for about an hour. When I woke up, they began again – I went to go wake Barry and tell him to get ready. Barry said “Do I have time to haul off a load of brush first from the trees I cut last night?” (Barry comment: in my defense, the truck was loaded down so full that it HAD TO BE emptied before I could take it anywhere.) Sure honey – that’s what every normal person does during labor, right? I called my Dad and asked him if Barry could drop the kids off.
While Barry was outside working, I got the kids ready in between contractions. Annie kept asking me “What’s wrong with you, Mama?” I told her my tummy was hurting and the baby was coming soon. She was perfectly happy with that answer – which was a blessing from God because her new favorite phrase is “Why?”
By the time Barry was done, I had the kids ready but my contractions were only 3-5 minutes apart. As he left, I gasped out “Hurry.” He did. He’s efficient. Plus, my Dad was waiting outside…so maybe he just shoved them out of the car as he was driving by.
Let me tell ya – contractions in the car are no picnic. Especially since I was experiencing back labor this time – which is also no picnic. It wasn’t a good day for a picnic. It takes about 21 minutes to get to the hospital from our house.
We arrived at the hospital a little after 9am – by that time I had been in labor for about 10 hours already, with very little sleep and no food. (I know they always say to eat, but I had NO interest in eating during labor. None.) When I was admitted, I was found to be at 6cm dilated…and my contractions were getting worse – I couldn’t find relief in any position.
I very confidently asked for an epidural and waited for it to arrive. Sweet relief – even though the technician had a bit of a hard time getting mine in because I couldn’t relax…let’s just say, Stacy finds difficulty in relaxing. “Relax.” “I am relaxed!”
Pause story for a side note
Once I had my epidural, I was able to relax and rest. I enjoyed the rest of my labor – had intelligent conversation – didn’t scream bloody murder or beg for my Mommy. That’s something that still bothers me about Andy’s birth. I don’t like losing control and feeling like a crazy woman. I’m not the type of person who finds it easy to relax under stress. I progressed quickly with an epidural and delivered quickly after that. It allowed my body to relax and do its job. Some women can do this on their own. I’m entirely too keyed up.
I enjoyed this birth more than any other. I knew what was coming – I was relaxed. When Eli was delivered into my arms, I was joyous – not still in intense pain and wondering what was going on.
I am very glad I had a drug free birth experience with. But I have found that having an epidural is right for me because I can rest and enjoy what’s happening. My labors are faster (my drug free birth has been my longest labor) and my recovery is a lot easier. I had some major complications after Andy’s birth.
At first, I felt like a failure for wanting an epidural – then I realized that’s dumb. Every mother’s goal is to bring a happy, healthy baby into the world. If I can achieve that with an epidural, then Hallelujah! Yes – women have been delivering epidural free for years…but years ago you also had to have dental work drug free or boozed up. No thanks. No guilt – I will not carry Mommy guilt. I will just carry my babies. 🙂
I progressed quickly once I was able to relax. This is the first time my water has broken during labor – and that was pretty cool. 🙂 My doctor was fabulous (Hi, Dr. Long!) and my nurses were exceptional. I only had to push through two contractions! Eli was born at a “whopping” 5 pounds and 13 ounces. He was laid on my belly while Barry cut the cord. He latched on to feed within thirty minutes. There were no complications at all, praise the Lord. This was my shortest labor yet at only 14 1/2 hours.
I was doing so well and felt so wonderful that I asked to be let go early – so I only stayed 24 hours as opposed to the normal 48 hours. I can always sleep better at home. 🙂
At almost 6 weeks old, Eli has gained 3 pounds and 3 inches. Annie and Andy have adjusted very well. They are both smitten with their baby brother and our life has settled into a new normal.