My darling girl made her appearance early this morning and my, what a story her birth is! While things are quiet and everything still fresh in my mind, I decided to write down and share the birth story of my little girl, Selah Elizabeth.
It started Monday night, February 11, 2013. In the space of a week and a half, I had been having Braxton Hix contractions which I thought, at the time, were the real thing. ***A note to future or first-time pregnant ladies - you will know when it's the real thing! With my first baby, my water broke so I had little to no idea what true contractions felt like. I thought I did ....but I did not. After several weeks of BH contractions and constant calls, texts, and emails from anxious friends and family, I felt frustrated with myself that I had had so many nights of false labor. With our families waiting excitedly, on Monday the 11th, I had decided that I was NOT going to breathe a word of a potential contraction until I was completely sure. Monday I spent cleaning our house, doing laundry, and going about my normal "Monday routine." As was normal in my pregnancy, I had a minor backache off and on all day.
Grant and I went to bed shortly before 10 p.m. My back had a dull ache which was typical, especially after a full day of chores and such. But there was something different this time. No matter what position I tried, I could not get comfortable. I felt restless and my backache slowly increased. At 10:12 p.m. I had my first contraction. I checked the clock and tried to get into a comfortable position to sleep. Ten minutes later, I felt another contraction. Unlike the previous BH, these contractions felt like intense cramps that wrapped around my back and stomach. With my back still aching, I quietly slipped out of bed and started pacing the living room, stretching to see if the achiness would go away. It didn't and I began to notice that those cramp-like feelings were coming every 10-15 minutes. I kept thinking, "Surely this isn't it. I've been wrong so many times. Am I missing something??" I logged into Facebook, hoping my mom was online. She was. :) I told her everything I was experiencing and she answered some questions and gave me tips on what to do and what to look for. My doctor had instructed me to head to the hospital when my contractions began to come 7-8 minutes apart. After an hour and a half of contractions every 10 minutes, I noticed that with each one, I felt pressure on my pelvis. Each one was lasting longer and I was beginning to moan through them. I knew it then. I was in labor. I woke Grant up at 12:12 a.m. and told him what had been going on for the last two hours. I said I was going to take a bath and then begin getting ready to go to the hospital. Twenty minutes later, my contractions dropped from 10 minutes apart, straight to 5 minutes apart and were getting more and more painful. I was confused. My husband, thankfully, was insistent. We needed to leave. Immediately. Barely able to walk to the car, I climbed in and we made our way to the hospital - an hour and fifteen minutes away.
In less than 20 minutes after leaving our home, I couldn't talk and could barely move due to the pain. The contractions, we discovered, were coming every TWO minutes. We were still far away. My husband, who became my hero all over again, put on the flashers and drove 90-100 mph on the freeway. Half way to the hospital, in a painful and terrified whisper, I told my husband that any hospital would do. My thoughts: just get me to a hospital!! I had hoped to try to deliver naturally this pregnancy. Having had a hard and long delivery with our first child, I wanted to try an all-natural birth this time around. To be honest, I am and always have been a weenie when it comes to pain. I don't have a high pain tolerance. I think in the back of my mind, I believed I couldn't deliver naturally because of that, even though I wanted to. In the car, flying down the interstate, all I could pray for was relief. I kept saying, "Please, just let us make it in time to get the epidural!" After two more indescribable contractions, I felt my body clamp down and I felt the unmistakable urge to push.
We were still 30 minutes away from our hospital. I told my husband my body was trying to push. I knew we couldn't make it. The north side of town, where we were entering, had another hospital; a branch of "our" hospital. We had to go there. Amazingly, while driving at an incredible speed AND praying for me AND trying to comfort me in my pain, my husband was able to call our hospital and explain that we wouldn't be able to make it. He arranged for us to go to the other, closer hospital.
At this point, my contractions were coming constantly, with hardly a breaking point long enough to offer me a decent inhaling breath. With each contraction, I felt more pressure to push. Finally, we made it to the hospital. My husband, double parked with flashers on, leaped out of the car, grabbed a wheelchair, and lifted me out of my seat. He brought me to Labor & Delivery and the first thing I (loudly) said was, "Need....epidural!" My nurses, who were so calm and collected, helped me to a bed and, after checking me said, "Okay honey, you are at 10 cm. It's too late for an epidural, its time to push." ***insert a wailing "Nooooo!" from me*** All I remember after that is pushing and praying that she would come out healthy...and that I wouldn't die. (Dramatic, I know, but that's how it I roll while in childbirth). I don't remember how many pushes it took. Somewhere between five and ten. But finally, with a surge of strength from out of nowhere, Selah entered the world at 2:04 a.m. with a beautiful, strong cry, a head full of dark hair, and big blue eyes. It's amazing how aware and in awe of life you become when you hold your little one in your arms. She is a precious, petite princess who weighed 6 lbs, 7 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. For a little girl who's name means pause, rest & reflect, she sure entered the world exhibiting anything but! :) She was obviously in such a hurry to get here, the doctor couldn't make it in time! But now that she is here, and the delivery is over, she truly is living up to her name.
I didn't have a choice in terms of pain medication and a great part of me, though the pain was horrible, is glad I didn't. I learned a little more about the strength and power of Jesus Christ being made perfect in our weakness. I learned, from experience, what travail is. I learned a bit more about the amazing work of God's creation and how He designed our bodies. I even remember thinking, Oh God....this pain doesn't even match the pain of sin Jesus suffered on the cross. For me.
I thank you for your prayers. I am feeling tremendous and recovering excellently. In the morning we will go home and begin our lives as a family of FOUR! Please continue to lift us up as we enter a new chapter. May our faithful God receive all the glory. Forever.