Here’s how I know God exists:
“To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children” Genesis 3:16
He wasn’t joking.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Or at least the last place I left off.
The last month of pregnancy was challenging.
My legs, ankles, and feet were swollen four times their normal size, my back and hips were in a constant state of pain, I developed a hacking cough, and I couldn’t sleep at all.
I could barely do anything at all because I was just so uncomfortable.
But I was comforted by the fact that it would be over soon.
I didn’t have any intuition about when the big day would be but I just wanted it to be AFTER my Mom got here.
We had arrangements made for Sadie, but I knew I would worry the entire time I was away from her unless she was with my Mom.
And a girl just needs her mom, ya know?
Thankfully she arrived the week before and all we had to do was wait for the big day!
I really slowed down that week.
It felt like all I did was sit (uncomfortably) on the couch or try to float my pain away in the pool (it didn’t work).
As the week progressed, so did my back pain.
Mom, using her spidey-mom senses, said that it was probably back labor and baby would be here soon.
I wasn’t so sure.
I had no other indicators other than extreme lower back pain.
By Wednesday night, the back pain became incredibly painful…..but at intervals.
Were these contractions?
Was this it?
I wasn’t sure but I started timing them anyway.
At one point, they got to 7-10 minutes apart so I decided to call the midwife around 1:00AM.
She told me it was still too early to come in and to take a warm bath and call back when the contractions (are they contractions??) got closer together.
Frustrated, I hung up the phone and crawled around the living room floor every time a contraction hit for the next 6 hours.
And then they stopped.
Like, nothing happened for the entire day on Thursday.
I spent the day in bed exhausted and wondering what labor really feels like, since that didn’t seem to be it.
When would this baby freaking get here?!?!
Like clockwork, the contractions started again the next night.
Knowing they wouldn’t bring me into the hospital until the contractions were 5-7 minutes apart and regular, I tried to ride them out at home.
I took 4,557 warm baths but the pain was becoming unbearable.
It was still all in my back and felt like someone was smashing the back of my pelvis together with a vice grip.
All I could think of was the women who described labor as being torn in half, and I definitely didn’t have that feeling.
It felt more like someone was trying to crush my bones together for 30-60 seconds every 10 minutes or so for hours.
When they finally got to 5-7 minutes apart around midnight, I called midwife again and described my pain.
Since I had zero abdominal discomfort, she advised it was still probably early labor and told me to keep taking warm baths and try to get some sleep.
I almost cried.
Instead, I got in the damn bathtub again but the pain was now excruciating.
I got in and out of the tub two more times before I couldn’t stand it anymore.
I had googled every possible labor related question 525 times in the last 24 hours and had an inkling that my water had broken.
(I’ll spare you the details)
This time, it was the wee hours of Friday morning and I woke John up and asked him to call the midwife again. I was in too much pain to even talk.
The midwife told us to come in to the hospital so I could get checked.
After the long car ride and longer walk through the hospital, we finally made it to the labor and delivery floor.
They told me to have a seat in the waiting area.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??
For the love of God, please just get me a bed and a nice muscle relaxer!!
After an eternity, a nurse came to get me to check the progress.
A quick test revealed my water had in fact broken and I was 4 centimeters dilated.
They were admitting me to the hospital.
I can’t lie.
I felt sort of smug given the fact that the midwife thought I was still in early labor just a couple of hours earlier.
And maybe I was, but now it was really, truly time.
This kid is coming today!
They set me up in the delivery room we got down to business hooking up the IV and answering all the standard questions.
I finally got that muscle relaxer and felt a hazy, sleepy feeling wash over me.
After my muscles being in a constant state of tension for months and being in some sort of labor for two days, that muscle relaxer felt like the most delicious thing in the universe.
At that point, I was hoping that would be the only medication I needed for the remainder of the delivery.
I spent the next couple of hours falling in and out of deep, glorious sleep.
When I would wake up, I would wonder how much I had progressed and smile knowing that baby could be here any minute.
After a few hours, the midwife informed me I was still at 4 centimeters.
She wanted to start Pitocin to get things moving.
Early in the pregnancy I was told Pitocin would not be used since this was a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC) and it can increase the chances of a uterine rupture.
Now I was being told that it was perfectly safe at a low dose.
I asked the midwife if I could have more time to move around naturally and hopefully progress on my own and she agreed to give me an hour.
I bounced around on a birth ball and enjoyed a couple of episodes of House Hunters.
So far, this labor thing wasn’t bad at all!
I finally got some good sleep, was hanging out on a bouncy ball, and felt all nice and loosey goosey thanks to the muscle relaxer.
This was great!
Unfortunately, I didn’t dilate any further and they strongly recommended starting the Pitocin.
I reluctantly agreed.
Several hours later, the doctor checked and informed me I was only 2 centimeters dilated.
IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??
And so began the increase in Pitocin until I was at the max dose several hours later.
So much for the minimal medication.
Why don’t you go ahead and top me off with some epidural?
By now it was early Friday evening, and I was bored and frustrated.
It was hotter than Hades in the room and I had been there all damn day.
After that, all I can remember is watching all the HGTV and being irritated.
Could we move this along already?
Around midnight (nearing 30 hours of labor for those that are counting), the nurse asked me if I was ready to push.
We can just start pushing whenever I feel like it?
Hot damn, let’s do this!
She explained how to position myself and how to do the pushing.
Ok, I got this.
This should only take 15-20 minutes, right?
Oh, did I forget to mention that cut off the epidural an hour before that?
Apparently it can prolong pushing which they wanted to avoid because of the whole uterine rupture risk and blah blah blah.
So I was feeling all the feelings.
I didn’t care.
I could do this.
Holy crap, this was hard.
I don’t think I can do this.
It felt like I was doing the hardest workout of my life.
I was sweating profusely and panting heavily between pushes.
I was nearing exhaustion and we had only just started.
It felt like I was running a marathon that I didn’t train for.
We tried a few different labor positions, including one on my side, and I thought I was going to die.
It felt like someone was shoving a rod into my hip and for the first time, I felt like I was going to cry.
(Please proceed reading if you’re ready for some real talk)
Finally, I tried laboring on all fours and it felt like a tremendous relief.
The urge to push was more obvious and I could feel the baby in the birth canal.
The back contractions were still strong but now I was focused.
So focused that I ripped my IV out and didn’t notice the blood bath that was shooting out of my arm.
I had no concept of time.
I had no idea how long I had been pushing.
It felt like seconds and hours all at once.
And then all of a sudden the head was out.
I thought I had more rounds of pushing, but before I knew it, they were handing me a baby.
I remember feeling this enormous sense of relief.
I had finished the marathon!
I was so, so exhausted.
All I wanted to do was lay there with the baby and rest.
There was a little lingering pain, but I was mostly just tired and ready to snuggle this 8 pound 8 ounce purple faced nugget.
Things got lively after that though.
Overhead light were quickly flipped on and nurses were in and out tending to baby and me.
Then they called the doctor in.
Apparently I had a third degree tear that needed to be stitched up.
The doctor assured me that it was common and not to worry.
What they don’t tell you is how bad it freaking hurts for WEEKS after you TEAR the most sensitive part of your body.
But, no problem, just need a stitch stitch here and a stitch stitch there.
After having a c-section with Sadie that had me sewed up from the inside out in less time than it took me to eat breakfast, I figured this would be a fast procedure.
This is the stuff they don’t tell you.
They don’t tell you that your legs will be up in stirrups under bright surgical lights with all your lady parts on display for all to see.
And it took for-fricken-ever.
I swear it took longer than an entire c-section.
Doctors and nurses were in and out of my lady bits stitching, sewing, assessing, and reassessing for what felt like hours.
You might be wondering why I’m telling you this.
BECAUSE NO ONE TOLD ME.
I was naive, or maybe just hopeful, that the pain ends when labor ends.
There is so much that happens to the body after birth that I’m convinced it could be the next birth control method that should be taught in high school health classes.
Everything was so, so, so swollen (thanks 24+ hours of fluids and birth trauma) that I hardly recognized myself.
It was difficult and incredibly awkward to sit, stand, or walk.
Going from the bed to the bathroom was an exhausting undertaking that required skilled maneuvering.
But it was cool because VBAC recoveries are sooooo much easier than c-sections.
Recovery was so much more painful and took so, so much longer than I expected.
The thing with c-section recovery is that they give you really, really good drugs.
The only thing I got this time was some crappy ibuprofen that kind of, sort of dulled the pain.
And the pain lasted lasted for weeks.
My naivety had me believing I would be back to normal activities after a few days (like with my c-section) but the reality is that at five weeks postpartum, I am just now starting to feel human again.
The hardest part was feeling like I was too tired and too sore to take good care of my kids.
Sure, I could sit (uncomfortably) on the couch and nurse, but I felt like I had nothing left to give my 2 year old (who turned two four days after her sister was born!)
THANK GOODNESS for family that swept in to save me.
They cooked, they cleaned, they played endless games with the two year old, and provided me with the time and rest I really needed to recover.
Which gave me time to focus on keeping the new bundle alive.
It took a lot of time (literal and written) to get here, but we could finally celebrate this little nugget!
NAME: Reese Adeline
BORN: 6/17/17 at 1:47AM
WEIGHT: 8 pounds 8 ounces
LENGTH: 20 centimeters
SISTER TO: Sadie Jane
HAIR: Lots of dark hair
DISPOSITION: Angry at the world for being too cold and too bright.
PARENTS: Feeling blissfully blessed, loved, and complete.
And since it took me so long to write this, here’s your one month update!
LIKES: Fuzzy blankets, staring at the fan, snacking all day long, and binge watching tv in the middle of the night.
Dislikes: Being hungry.
And, finally, here’s how I know God is good:
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world-John 16:21
WELCOME HOME REESE ADELINE!