Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Nine Birth Stories

With my baby due to be born very soon, I spent some time on a sleepless night remembering some of my other births.  With nine children, there have been a lot of similarities -- I have very quick labors, don't progress much until my water is broken for me (it's never broken on its own), don't push for long, often tear, and usually recover very quickly.  But there have also been a few small differences -- I've had five scheduled inductions, seven epidurals, one with no pain medication by choice, and two longer-for-me labors (Joey and Katie, though at 8 and 6 hours, neither was particularly long by most standards).

Just for fun, I thought I'd try to gather all my birth stories into one post.  First the stats:


4 days late, 4 hours of active labor, born at 11:53, 7 lbs 10 oz, 20"

6 days early, 8 hours of labor, born at 4:19 a.m., 7 lbs 4 oz, 19"

2.5 weeks early, ~ 5 hours, born at 6:59 p.m.  6 lbs 13 ounces, 19"

Induced 2 weeks early,  ~ about 5.5 hours of labor, born at 2:54 p.m., 5 lbs 10 oz 17.5"

& Sarah
Induced 2 weeks early,  ~ about 5.5 hours of labor, born at 3:01 p.m., 5 lbs 12 oz., 17.5"

Induced 3 days early, 2.5 hours of labor, born at 11:30 a.m., 7 lbs, 19"

Induced 5 days early, 3 hours of labor, born at 2:53 p.m., 7 lbs 4 oz., 19"

Induced 6 days early, 6 hours of labor, born at 8:28 p.m., 6 lbs 10 oz., 18.5"

Induced 3 days early, 3 hours of labor, born at 10:09 a.m., 7 lbs 13 oz., 19.5"

{Edited 10/2017 to add:
Induced 7 days early, 2.5 hours of labor, born at 10:35 a.m., 7 lbs 12 oz.

Induced 5 days early, 3.5 hours of labor, born at 11:03 a.m., 7 lbs 12 oz., 19.5" }


And now for the stories . . .  
Lillian's birth story
from a blog post called The Journey of Birth.

Lillian at one month old

My sisters and mother had all had early births, usually two to three weeks before their due date, so I expected the same, particularly as when I was checked at 36 weeks and found to be 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced already. I had lots and lots of contractions that month. Sometimes, I'd sit in a class tuning out the teacher as I counted the intervals between contractions, "fifteen minutes . . . fourteen minutes this time . . . are they getting closer?" I was sure I'd be making a little graduation outfit for my newborn and carrying her through the ceremony. When that didn't happen, my mother feared my water might break while I was on stage. It didn't. Graduation came and went, along with my due date. Four days later, anxious and desperate, and with an induction scheduled for the next day, I figured I had nothing to lose and choked down a few teaspoons of caster oil.

Whether it was the disgusting, slimy oil or my body's natural response, I finally got those contractions to come close enough together to get to the hospital. After an overly-long admitting process, I sat with my husband for several hours waiting for things to progress. The contractions were three or four minutes apart, and it was amazing to feel my stomach tighten and squeeze at regular intervals. I wasn't in a lot of pain and was able to read while we waited. The book I was reading at that time was, ironically, Great Expectations. But soon, it felt like an intrusion to be reading when something so impressive was going on, and I set the book aside.

I had expected to feel pain. I had expected to feel nervousness and excitement. What I hadn't expected, at least not in the abundance presence, was far beyond any of those feelings. "Do you feel that?" I asked my husband quietly. It was the power of God's Spirit in that room, telling me in feelings rather than words that I was a part of something far greater than I understood. I felt tears come to my eyes as I contemplated the miracle of my baby's entrance into this world.

Soon, the doctor came in and broke my water, asking if I wanted an epidural beforehand. "No," I said, "nothing's been too bad so far." My water broke in a large gush, and the doctor left the room. Then the next contraction hit, and the pain was more than I could bear. I cried out, my husband rushed to my side, and I yelled, "Don't touch me!" I was not rational or calm, and my body began to shake during the next few contractions. I was completely out of control of the situation and I was scared. After fifteen minutes and between contractions, I told my husband, "I want an epidural."

The fifteen minutes it took for the anesthesiologist to arrive seemed like forever, and I hardly flinched as the sting of the needle went into my back. My body continued to shake uncontrollably, and I couldn't understand why it was taking so long for that epidural to take effect. I shook and gasped with each contraction, but finally, finally, the pain subsided as the epidural took effect. I still felt the contractions, and when the time came, I felt the pressure and the need to push. I felt just enough. With some warm blankets, even some of my shaking subsided, though not completely until after the baby was born.

I felt such peace and joy during those next few hours. I felt good about the decision to get the epidural, as I could now focus on the awareness I felt of my daughter's presence. Finally, at 11:53 p.m. on the last day of our student insurance (we had other insurance through DH's new work by then, but we'd been paying through the nose for our student insurance and wanted to get the full benefits), my daughter was born. When I greeted her, it felt like a reunion, as if I was greeting my best friend, someone I had known for a long time and had just lately been parted from.

I have felt the same special feelings but in different ways with all my births. Each time, I have felt of the sacredness and have known that I was part of something larger than myself, the birth of a new soul into the world.

Joey's birth story
from Joey's Baby Book

A few weeks before your birth, I asked for a blessing in which I was promised that all would go well with the birth and that I would feel little pain.  That blessing was fulfilled.  On Thursday, the 26th, my contractions were close enough to justify going to the hospital, so we called our friends Debbie and Gary Rex to come and stay with Lillian while we walked to the hospital.  That's right, we walked to the hospital.  I wasn't in a whole lot of pain and on the way, your Daddy and I speculated on what time you would be born.  I was dilated to a 5 when we arrived and admitted soon afterwards.  I received an epidural around 11;00.  At 11:15, they broke my water and I progressed to a 7 at 11:45. Then, everything stopped.  For a few hours, I had no contractions. They kept thinking the monitors were faulty and adjusted them many times.  Then they gave me an internal monitor.  Then they adjusted that.  Finally, they determined that you had changed your mind about coming and gave me some pitocin to help the contractions begin again.  You were born at 4:19 a.m. on Friday.  When you finally presented yourself, it was discovered that your head was transverse and that was why the contractions had stopped.  Dr. G helped get you back into position and after a few short pushes, you were born.

Michael's birth story
from Michael's Baby Book

"The last few months of pregnancy were tough on me.  I was huge, and completely exhausted adn I didn't think I could handle one more day of pregnancy.  I was very unreasonable and I was sure I never wanted to be pregnant again, even though I knew I wouldn't feel that way forever.  You gave me a great gift when you decided to come two and a half weeks early.  I don't say that lightly. I feel you made that choice in order to show compassion on me.  You were my first child to be born in the afternoon/early evening, and that also made a world of difference.  You had dropped three weeks previous to your birth, and every other sign said, "any day now."  The doctor stripped my membranes that morning (which had been done in previous pregnancies with little success), then told me to go to the hospital if I had contractions close enough.  We did.  Your dad came home around 1:00 from his first day at his summer internship.  Tiffany Wacaser came over to watch your brother and sister while your dad and I went to the hospital.  Most of the afternoon was spent waiting for the doctor to arrive to break my water.  He finally had a resident do it, then things progressed very quickly.  They even made me hold off pushing until the doctor could arrive.  He did so, and you were born -- a miracle. We were so excited to hold you and see you. You came out hollering up a storm and knew just how to nurse."

Allison & Sarah's birth story
From Allison and Sarah's Baby Book: 

Dear Allison and Sarah,

Yesterday, you were born.  What a wonderful day in my life.  I marvel at the incredible blessing that you are.  Two special spirits from Heavenly Father. You both have very sweet but distinct personalities.  You are beautiful.

The birth itself was amazing.  We spent a lot of time waiting.  I was induced.  They had me come to the hospital at about 8:30, then it was 9:30 by the time I got the IV with pitocin in it.  I had contractions from that point on, but no dilation changes (I was at a 4) at all until they finally broke my water at 2:10 in the afternoon.  At 2:25, I was checked and was 5 cm.  At 2:30, Dr. Baird arrived. He checked at 2:35 and said, "Well, do you want to push? You are 9 and a half."

So your daddy put on scrubs for the operating room and we were wheeled in there right away.  Every minute or so, I felt ready to push. Finally, everything was ready in the room. I pushed Allison through two contractions and you were born at 2:54 with a full head of hair. You protested slightly.

Sarah, you were breech the last four weeks, so there was some question as to your position after Allison's birth.  But within moments, Dr. Baird said, "Here's her head." I was so proud that you knew how to get into position.  One small push and you arrived. You cried a bit more than Allison, but not much.  The time was 3:01.

We were wheeled back to the regular delivery room, where we got acquainted adn you both nursed for about twenty minutes. I am so in love with my beautiful little girls!  Thank you for blessing my life.

I write this at 3 a.m.  You are 12 hours old and I can tell you apart already, though you are very much "identical." Allison has a wider face and Sarah, a few more spots on your nose.  We had the nurses put different colored bows in your hair, green for Allison, purple for Sarah. That helps too.

Joey, Michael, and Lillian arrived to see you at about 5:30. You were under the warmer after your birth, so all they could do was gaze at you from the nursery window. Lillian and Joey were so excited.  Joey said, "Oh, they're so cute."  Lillian gushed about you and said, "Oh, look at this one's face. . . Oh, look at them!"  They both agreed we were so lucky to have two babies.  Joey told Daddy on the way home, "We will bring them both home, won't we?"  He was very protective of you.  I'm excited to have the whole family together tomorrow. I'm proud of my five wonderful children.

I know it won't be easy raising a family of so many little ones, but I've been promised "strength beyond my own" and help from Heavenly Father and others.  I'm excited about this new adventure in my life -- and yours."

Eliza's birth story

from email to family dated 11/5/06:  I went in for an induction at 6:30 in the morning on Monday and spent a bit too long (in my opinion) getting checked in and monitors on and then waiting for my doctor to arrive. She came at 9:00 and broke my water and they started a low dose of Pitocin.  Two and a half hours later, at 11:30 exactly, Eliza was born.  She weighed exactly 7 lbs and was 19 inches long.

[I'm pretty sure I wrote more about her birth, but given that we were living in a hotel at the time and moved into our not-quite-done house a week after her birth, I may not have had the time]

Harmony's birth story

From email to family 8/11/08 

Harmony was born on Friday, 8/8/08 at 2:53 p.m.  She weighed in at 7 lbs 4 ounces and was 19 inches long.  We had a scheduled induction and were told to be prepared to go in as early as 6 a.m.  The hospital finally called us in around 9:30.  They started the IV and pitocin around 11 and broke my water around 2.  Less than an hour later, Harmony was born.  She has a sweet personality and we think she's adorable!

From email to family 8/17/08 

First a few more details about Harmony’s birth.  Harmony Anne was born on 8/8/08 at 2:53 p.m. We had a scheduled induction, and the night before, they told us to be ready to come in as early as 6 a.m.  With Eliza, we’d gone in that early and then waited until 9 for the doctor to show up and break my water and start pitocin.  So this time, we decided I’d go in at 6 and that Aaron would stay home until our babysitter Heather Christensen arrived at 8.  We were ready to go, but the hospital wasn’t.  I called at 6 and was told it would be another hour or two and that they had four inductions scheduled, two elective and two nonelective.  At 8, I called again and was told another hour or two.  We called Heather and told her to come at 10 instead.  Meanwhile, I ran to the store to get some school supplies with Lillian and Joey.  At 9:05, on my way to the store, Aaron called and said they wanted us there in 20 minutes.  So we rushed through our shopping (gotta get that 20 cent glue and crayons!) and came home.  Aaron went in with me.  It was over an hour by the time we got through all the paperwork and into a room.  At 10:50, they put in the IV and started pitocin.  I was already 4+ and 80% effaced, and in the next few hours, I went to 5, but no other changes. I had an epidural around noon, wanting to get it before they broke my water. My doctor finally showed up to break my water at 2:00 and we told her not to go far -- once the water breaks, I go fast. At 2:15, I was 5.5 and 90% effaced, then at 2:30 I was fully dilated and ready to push. Despite the warning, though, I had to wait a full 15 or 20 minutes for my doctor to come back so I could push. Then I had to wait for a contraction. Finally, with one push for her head and one for her shoulders, Harmony was born, at 2:53. My doctor said I made it look easy. I tore a bit so I have some stitches, but otherwise, my recovery is going well.  Harmony was 7 lbs 4 ounces and 19 inches long.

Katie's birth story

From blog post It's a Girl!
The birth went well -- Short version: I scheduled an induction for Monday and was finally called to the hospital at 1:00 in the afternoon. My water was broken at 2:30 which gave me some moderate contractions about 15 minutes apart. After two hours, we started Pitocin and things progressed smoothly from there. Around 6:30, things got very intense. My doctor arrived at 7:00, saying she'd rather be there for an hour or two than miss it completely. Good choice, because transition happened very quickly and Katherine was born five minutes after I seriously considered getting that epidural after all, at 8:28 p.m. It was a wonderful experience giving birth without any pain medication -- I feel like I accomplished something difficult and learned a lot. Would I give birth that way again? I'll let you know when I give you the long version in a few days. 

From blog post Katie's Birth Story
I was really hoping to go into labor on my own this time, but I felt good about scheduling an induction for May 3rd, 6 days before my due date. For one thing, DH had a conference in a nearby city he was presenting at this weekend, and while he would only be forty minutes away, I didn't relish the possibility of having our child without him. And frankly, I was tired of being pregnant and it was nice to have an end date. My doctor said that while I'd have to have an IV, we would start by breaking my water and see how things progressed. Since I'd usually delivered within a few hours of my water being broken, I figured the odds I wouldn't need pitocin were pretty good, and the comfort of being able to plan and arrange for my children's needs outweighed my distaste for IVs.

Monday arrived and I woke up at 5 a.m., unable to get back to sleep. The hospital is supposed to call as soon as they have room. With Eliza, I went in at 6 in the morning, and with Harmony, around 9, so I planned accordingly, having our dear friend Val Cooper be on call for the day shift, and planning on having DH available that evening after the birth.

When the hospital hadn't called by 7, I called over to find out that every room was full and that I was only second on their list to call. They said to give it a few hours. I called my friend Rachel, who had worked the night shift. She said that they'd been so busy, they'd had every room full plus some triage rooms that were usually empty. I crossed my fingers. At 9, I called again. Still full and now I'd been bumped behind another gal who required an induction for health reasons. At 10, I got tired of waiting and hoping and took the little girls on an outing to the Bean Life Science Museum at BYU. They had a great time and I was glad for something to do. We drove over and picked up the twins from kindergarten, and came home for lunch. At noon, I figured the chances of getting in that day were slim, since my doctor didn't want me to start any later than 2:00, and I resigned myself to waiting another day. I was tired by then and decided it was probably better that way anyway. I'd get a nap and a full night's rest.

At 12:15, I was surprised to hear my phone ring. It was the hospital -- how soon could I get there? Val Cooper came over to watch the girls, DH drove home from work and we were on our way. On the way there, I reminded him that his job was to tell me I was doing a good job. "I'll probably get to a point at the end -- all the books say it -- where I think I can't do it anymore. Just encourage me and remind me that all I have to do is one contraction at a time. If necessary, have me look at the clock and set a goal to do five more minutes or so."

We arrived, got the paperwork signed, went to room nine, and met the charge nurse. I told her I was planning on going without an epidural and to please assign me a good nurse. As she started the infant monitor and we visited, I asked for advice. "Just try to relax and take yourself away. Breathing helps. And almost every mom gets to a point where she thinks she can't do it anymore, and right after that, the baby comes."

While we waited for my doctor, my friend Rachel called, "Did you get in?"

"Yep -- we're just waiting for the doctor. Any last words of advice?"

"Just remember that transition is really tough. Most women feel like they can't do it anymore and they want to quit. Usually the baby is born right after that."

My nurse came in at that point and I took an immediate liking to her. It helped that her name was Katie. She gave me a hep-loc around 2:20 (a hep-loc is an IV line that's capped off so it's not attached to anything). My doctor arrived and broke my water about 2:30. I was extremely nervous about what might happen next. Every other time, my contractions have been very intense after my water's broken and I worried that the intensity would be too much to take right up front. I also knew that every other time, I'd already been in labor when my water was broken, so things could be different.

Things were different. I started having contractions, but they were fairly mild and about fifteen minutes apart. I started rating my contractions after about a half an hour. One book I'd read suggested that rather than trying to take your mind away from the pain, you should engage your analytical mind into exploring the pain rather than just reacting to it. Pay attention to where it starts, where it hurts, how long it lasts, and compare it to other pain you've experienced. I decided that on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most difficult pain I could imagine and the limit of my endurance, the contractions right then were about a 3. Over the next hour and a half, they got a little stronger and closer together, until by 4:00, they were every ten minutes or so and I was rating them a 4. By 4:30, I still wasn't really in active labor, so we decided to start low dose of pitocin and increase it every half hour as needed.

The next two hours things picked up progressively, and I went from a level 2 of pitocin to a level 5 gradually. I had come to the hospital 3.5 cm and 90% effaced and I didn't progress very quickly. I got to 5 cm and 95% effaced after a few hours, but despite some tough contractions -- I rated them between 5 and 6 now -- I wasn't changing much. By 6:00, contractions were coming every 4 minutes or so. Up until that point, I'd been able to read, but I put the book away then.

Our friend Val had to go home to tend to her family, so Lillian was in charge at home. DH left at 6:00 to get take-out for the kids and check on them. When he left, I was coping well with the contractions. It was nice to move around a bit and shift positions on the bed, though I really didn't feel at all like walking or doing much other than relaxing and waiting. It was nice to have had those first quiet hours of labor because by the time contractions started to hit me hard, I was really excited to get things going and I (almost) couldn't wait for things to get harder, knowing that would bring me closer to my baby's birth.

By the time DH got back, at around 6:30, my contractions were a little harder, but still manageable. He went for a short walk around 6:40, and then things started to get more exciting. One of my contractions was really tough, about an 8.5 or so, and I called him on his phone -- "Get here now." I'd promised DH I'd do my best not to yell at him at any point, and I am proud to say I didn't, though I did get a little terse perhaps. The nurse, who'd by now had changed to a young woman named Hayley, could tell things were getting tougher and called my doctor.

My doctor couldn't have been more accommodating. She came in at 7:00 and stayed close by until delivery at 8:30. She told the nurse she'd rather be there for a couple of hours than miss the birth completely. She spent lots of time in my room and talking with her and the nurse really helped me through a lot of tough contractions. Most of them were coming in at a level 8 intensity and they were getting between 2 and 3 minutes apart. When I had a couple of really tough ones with virtually no break in between, she had the pitocin turned down a few levels.

By 8:00, I was tired and the pains were pretty overwhelming. I also hadn't progressed much. The doctor only checked me when I asked, but I hadn't really done much other than go to 6 cm by that point. I refused to be discouraged, knowing how quickly I can progress. To cope, I mostly just held on, closed my eyes, and waited for the peak of each contraction, then tried to enjoy the relief as they subsided. Sometimes I hummed to myself (the song stuck in my head the entire birth was "Cradle Me, Lord,"), and sometimes I held my husband's hand. I did a tiny bit of deep breathing, but mostly I just took the birth one contraction at a time.

I rated my contractions at that point at level 9. The pain, which was searing and intense, wasn't just in my belly, it was down both of my legs and no longer subsided between contractions. I started to worry that I would probably reach 10 and beyond before this experience was over and wondered if I could handle it. Around 8:15, the contractions were excruciating, as was the pain between them and though I'd been quiet up to that point, I started to cry out when they hit. After my first all-out "This is a 10!" contraction, I gasped to the nurse quietly, "I think I might be one of those women who give up right at the end. I don't know how much more I can take." I had the smallest thought that perhaps I was close, but I also didn't want to get my hopes up. It surprised me that even with all the reminders of how tough that last bit was, I was just like everyone else and wanted to give up. Since I hadn't progressed much up to that point, I felt I had to face the fact that it really could be several hours at that intensity.

"Don't worry," the nurse assured me, "we can do an epidural if you really want, but we'll check you first. You're probably close."

The next contraction hit with more force than I believed possible. I was curled up on my side and gripped the sides of the bed as I felt the change. "Ahhhhhhh! She's here! I'm ready to push." The doctor checked me really fast as I gasped for breath and I tried to roll onto my back to push her out. The pain in my legs was too intense to move that way. They felt paralyzed. Instead, I rolled over onto my tummy. They lowered the end of the bed so I was on my knees with my head burrowed into the pillow. The next contraction hit and I pushed!

"I'm pushing! Can you see her? Is she there? Owwwwwwww! Can you see her?"

"She's coming!" they assured me, and then I felt the most intense pain ever right as the contraction subsided. Nothing prepared me for the ring of fire as the baby's head crowned and stayed there for a moment as I waited for another contraction. It was a relief to push her into the world with the next contraction. With her head out, they asked me to push for her shoulders, but I said, "Wait. I'm not having a contraction yet." A moment later, the next contraction began and I pushed through it and felt my baby slip into the world. I could hear her cry but I couldn't see her.

I felt a huge sense of relief but also incredible physical intensity. I rolled over onto my back and began to shake uncontrollably. The placenta was delivered without too much pain. I continued to shake as the nurses cleaned and weighed the baby and DH attended to her. Unlike my other births, when I've been anxious and felt such joy at the baby's arrival, this time I was rather uninterested in holding her until my body had calmed down. I was grateful DH was there for her. I had torn during delivery, so I endured many shots of local anesthetic and some stitches before I felt ready to hold Katie.

As soon as I did, I felt the joy and the excitement I had at my other births. She was beautiful, perfect, and so peaceful. She nursed right away, longer than some of my other babies and more intensely. As the shaking subsided, I felt so strong and proud of myself for enduring and meeting the challenge of each contraction.

DH left to see to the kids at home at this time. Lillian -- bless her heart -- had put everyone but Joey to bed and she and Joey were eagerly awaiting news. After an hour with her, I let them take Katie down to the nursery for her bath. I still had lingering pain in my legs, so I was grateful for the wheelchair that brought me downstairs. When I got to my room, I had a few moments to set things down, use the bathroom, then get rid of that IV for good (hooray!). Then I was ready to take advantage of my full mobility and walked down to the nursery. They'd had three babies born within moments of each other, so they hadn't bathed Katherine yet. It was wonderful to be there for that, since usually that's DH's job. I felt great, and it was thrilling to not be numb this time. I had to get a picture -- here's me two hours after delivering Katie (see the clock? It's 10:36), up and around and on top of the world.

So, would I change anything? Not at all. I'm so pleased with how Katie's birth went. It was wonderful and empowering and I am absolutely proud of myself for how I handled everything. I took full advantage of the mobility I had after delivery and I really appreciate the experience for what it taught me about my body and coping with pain. I was especially pleased that other than the pain of the moment of birth, I understood my body and was able to accurately gauge the intensity of contractions and what I could endure. It amazes me that as soon as I started rating my contractions at a 10, they started doing the work and my baby came within fifteen minutes. I was proud of how calm and collected and in control I felt. I'm especially pleased that I didn't yell at anyone. =)

Would I birth this way again? Actually, I'm undecided. This birth was definitely different than my others, but I don't feel I missed out on anything with my epidural births. I don't regret a minute of them, just as I don't regret anything about this birth. I didn't feel that the experience without the epidural was more meaningful in a spiritual or emotional way. There is a wonderful physical satisfaction I feel from doing something hard, from finding the courage inside myself to face the pain and conquer it, but I won't feel a bit disappointed if I decide to get an epidural next time. In fact, to avoid that last thirty minutes and especially that excruciating ring of fire, I think it is probably worth the few hours of numbness after the birth -- and I had a quick, relatively easy delivery, with 2 hours of mild labor, 2 hours of fairly difficult pains, then 2 hours of intensity! I don't know how women do it who have to push for a long time or who labor for endless hours. I feel a great awe at what generations of women have done to bring children into the world, with none of the pain relief available today.

While I enjoyed the mobility I had after the birth to walk to the nursery and be up and moving, the rest of the recovery was about the same as my other births (As a side note, after you've had eight children, the doctors and nurses figure you know what you're talking about when you rate your bleeding as "average"). In fact, though I've bounced back fairly quickly after all my births, it's still my twin birth that I recovered from the fastest (other than 8 weeks of bleeding). They were my smallest babies and I didn't tear that time, so I really felt good afterward and ready to conquer the world.

And in the end, no matter how she arrived, she's here -- small, perfect, beautiful, fresh from heaven and bringing the peace and purity of her divinity with her. I'm so grateful for my life and the privilege of being a mother.

Cami's birth story

From blog post Camiila's Birth Story
Many people asked me during the pregnancy whether or not I was going to get an epidural with this birth. I had a great experience last time going without one. After Katie's birth, I wrote:

Would I birth this way again? Actually, I'm undecided. This birth was definitely different than my others, but I don't feel I missed out on anything with my epidural births. I don't regret a minute of them, just as I don't regret anything about this birth. I didn't feel that the experience without the epidural was more meaningful in a spiritual or emotional way. There is a wonderful physical satisfaction I feel from doing something hard, from finding the courage inside myself to face the pain and conquer it, but I won't feel a bit disappointed if I decide to get an epidural next time. In fact, to avoid that last thirty minutes and especially that excruciating ring of fire, I think it is probably worth the few hours of numbness after the birth -- and I had a quick, relatively easy delivery, with 2 hours of mild labor, 2 hours of fairly difficult pains, then 2 hours of intensity! I don't know how women do it who have to push for a long time or who labor for endless hours. I feel a great awe at what generations of women have done to bring children into the world, with none of the pain relief available today.
As I faced the decision this time, I felt undecided. Both an epidural and an unmedicated birth have advantages and I didn't feel strongly about it either way. However, one of the first things my husband asked me after I told him we were expecting again was, "You're going to get an epidural this time, right?" Since he had a preference and I really didn't, I figured the decision was made. That didn't keep me from teasing him about it along the way, though, including telling him I'd decided to do a home birth and invite all our children to watch and participate (no offense if that's what YOU want at your birth, but it's not for me).

But on to the exciting (and rather short and uneventful) birth story . . .

My due date was Friday, February 17th, but we chose Tuesday the 14th to be induced. I figured as long as this little girl is going to have to share birthday and Valentines gifts her entire life anyway, she might as well get the bragging rights of the actual date. Besides that, it was a convenient day for our family.

We were called into the hospital at 6 in the morning. DH took me over and helped me get admitted and settled, then went home to help get the kids off to school. Lillian stayed home from school to watch the little girls for us, since Katie does not do well with being left.

A little after 7, the nurses got the IV in (I hate that part) and started a low dose of pitocin. They increased the dose every thirty minutes depending on how things go. For the first hour, I had mild contractions about every ten to fifteen minutes. At 8:11, my doctor arrived to break my water and then things started happening. The contractions got harder and started coming every five minutes, then every three minutes. DH came back around 8:30. By 9:00, I decided I better ask for the epidural soon or it might be too late. My favorite anesthesiologist, Dr. L., was there. He's done 6 of my 7 epidurals now, and he does great work. My doctor has even scheduled her own deliveries around when he's on call; he's THAT good.

The contractions were pretty tough as I waited for the epidural to take effect, and things happened so quickly that I still felt a lot of the pain and intensity, though the epidural was enough to take the edge off and make it bearable. At 9:30, I was 6 cm and then at 9:45, I was complete and ready to push. We waited for my doctor to arrive. She did just after 10:00, and after pushing through four contractions (Cami's head was turned to the side, which made it a little longer), Camilla was born at 10:09. I had a slight tear at delivery, but otherwise, things went perfectly. Cami nursed well for me and I felt great. DH went home to take care of the kids and I enjoyed an hour or so with Cami before we went to the recovery room on the fourth floor.

As I held Camilla and marveled over the miracle of her little body and amazing spirit, I could almost picture the years ahead with her. I could see her growing up and felt that our relationship will be strong and our bond of friendship great. I could picture her as a teenager with a vivacious personality. I'm sure she's thrilled to be here and to the youngest of seven sisters and two brothers. What a great place to have in life.

{Edited to add:
Benjamin's Birth story can be found here.

And Gideon's Here.}


rachel said...

I loved reading of your excitement at meeting your children! And a question, did all of your children have names before they were born?

Amber Gregory said...

I LOVED reading this. As a woman who does not have children, and knows nothing about what this is about -- it's so marvelous to read. I love reading your blog! Good luck with everything coming up, again. I am going to be in Midvale/Herriman next week visiting family, and I will be thinking of you as I go about my business!

swedemom said...

It is interesting to me that when I hit the point of thinking I can't do it anymore--I never think, oh gee, I must be close to having the baby. For some reason, I always felt like I was going to feel that horrible pain forever. However, when the doctor tells you it is time to push--I am always super motivated because that's about the only thing that stops that enormous pain.

I shook violently during each and every one of my deliveries. I hated it and it still makes me frustrated when I think about it. Giving birth is such a physically and spiritually intense experience.

I loved all your stories! Can't wait to read your new little one's story.


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