It is now an established fact that I am one of those women who is in early labor for eternity before active labor begins. There are both good and bad things about this - bad things, or thing, I guess, is that you spend a few weeks always thinking you're about to go into labor. There are lots of good things, though, and one of those good things is that by the time I do go into active labor, I'm pretty significantly dilated.
I was at a four the day before Kjel was induced. The decision to induce was made by my doctor and me and Steven. I was super sad about it (I wanted this labor to be as natural as possible), but in the end I felt peace about it and knew it was the best decision for me and my baby.
It was about 11:30 AM on a Friday that they started the pit drip. My water was broken shortly after. Labor was fairly painful from about a half-hour after they had started the pit drip on, but totally manageable. My parents and sisters came up from Nevada so that my sisters could see a live birth. They all left for an hour or so after I was admitted since nothing exciting was happening yet - just those mildly painful contractions that I'd been having for days.
I moved to the second emotional sign-post (focus/seriousness) about 45 minutes after my water was broken, and from then on, things got pretty serious. Mom and the girls came back and the girls were silent and very empathetic observers. My mom was a total cheerleader and kept a happy, excited energy in the room. I didn't want to talk much, I just wanted to have Steven to lean on during the contractions, then peace and quiet between them so that I could rest and remember all the reasons that I was doing it this way. I had planned on spending most of my labor in the jet tub and then getting out when I was in transition. But with the pit drip, I wasn't allowed to get into the tub at all. This was a bitter pill to swallow: my birth plan was pretty much based around that.
I tried a few different pain management techniques - we used the exercise ball for a total of 2 minutes thinking it would help, but no, I absolutely hated it. Then I walked around a little, tried to lay on my side, tried to put my legs up, etc. But the most comfortable position for me was on the very end of the bed sitting Indian-Style, with Steven across from me. I'd lean either into him or onto him depending on the severity of the contraction. He was amazing - he was there every second, completely focused on helping me through each contraction.
He reminded me of the encouraging text messages I'd been receiving throughout the day and started reading them to me. Some of them made me teary. Thank you to everyone who sent something; it really did boost me up. I pictured all of your faces and imagined that you were there with me (actually, I imagined that you were in labor with me. All of us tense with pain... tee hee. It made it easier somehow. Apparently I am a huge sadist).
A few hours into it, I started to shake and feel nauseated. I thought to myself, "there is no way I am transitioning yet." I had just been checked and was at a mere 5+. I asked her to check me again... "Hmmm, about a six," she said.
At that point, I don't even want to try to describe the contractions, except that it was really hard for me to stay in control and remember all the things I had learned about pain management. The contractions started coming one on top of the other - maybe five second breaks between them. Steven recalls me begging for a break, just a second to rest. I don't really remember that, but I do know that I was thinking, "I am going to die if I don't get a chance to recuperate." All of the research I'd done told you to rest between contractions - some even said to sleep between them. That was an impossibility for me. The chart that monitored my contractions, instead of looking like mountains with a few centimeters of space between them - was instead one long contraction with little dips every inch or so that were the "breaks" between contractions. POOR ME! I think it was the pitocin that caused that.
I felt like the pain was overpowering me; kind of like when Harry Potter and Voldemort duel and one of them gets more powerful than the other for a second and the red light over takes the blue light coming from one of their wands... that's how it felt. I remember one moment of stillness, and I'm not sure how long it was, except that I remembered this line from "Holocene" by Bon Iver:
"Somewhere, baby, it's part of me, apart from me".
That's exactly how I felt - the pain was somehow a part of me, but it was also far away. And I felt peace. I kind of whispered to Steven that I wanted medication, and once the words were out of my mouth, I freaked out and started screaming for one, terrifying everyone in the room. Ha! Steven asked me if I really wanted it, and I closed my eyes and prayed and decided that I did. So he took charge and told everyone to stop discussing it, that I was getting it. And then for some reason, everyone left the room! I was completely alone in there. And I totally took advantage of it by screaming my head off for like twenty seconds until the nurse came back in. It did make me feel better.
So, the anesthesiologist came in after a while, and right as he was finishing up sticking the needle in my back, BAM. I started pushing. "But I have to," I told the nurse who told me to stop, for heavens sake. The doctor's not here yet.
But when you need to push, you can't be stopped. Literally, I tried to stop, but my body kept pushing. I said a prayer then, "Please, please don't let the epidural kick in until this baby is born."
The adrenaline of realizing the baby was almost here took the edge off of the pain. I was at a nine. I had gone from a six to a nine in half an hour! That is insanity!
Doctor comes in, tells me to push, I start pushing. I reached down every few seconds and poked or pinched my legs to make sure I still had feeling in them; I did. There was some tingling in my feet, but other than that, the epidural hadn't spread. Everything happened so fast. I could also feel the stretching and the flexing of muscles I didn't know I had. Four pushes later, my princess's head is out, and Steven is gently pulling the rest of her body. It was amazing.
Also amazing is this, as soon as her little body was out, my legs went numb, and then the rest of my body up to my belly button. I say amazing, because even though they turned it off right away, I felt NO PAIN during the after-contractions.
Kjel was an angel from the moment she came into the world. She just wanted to be held and to nurse. Gage loved her right away, and wanted to know why "him's arms is blue" (the cord was a little bit wrapped around her neck, so she was slightly bluish). She stole Steven's heart the second he caught her slippery little body.
I learned a lot from this whole experience. I am so glad that from the beginning I knew what I wanted in the delivery room, because even though things didn't go according to my plan, I know that they followed a much greater plan than mine, and that the preparation that I had done to bring my plan to fruition, helped make things a lot easier than they would've been. Does that make sense?
If I could do every birth like Kjel's, I totally would. I hate pain - I never wanted to do this naturally because I wanted to feel pain or be a soldier - not feeling the after-contractions was a huge blessing, because nothing bugs me more than being in pain when I have something important to do, and in this case, the important thing was to hold my girl and tell her over and over again that she was finally with us and that we love her so much.
That night she was in my arms, nursing and dozing off every few seconds. I thought about her little spirit. I believe that we all existed before this life, and that we will continue to exist after this life. I felt how sweet and good she is - not just as a baby, but as a spirit in an adorable body. I thought about how long I feel that I've waited for her - it's felt like an eternity. But then I realized that it's been far longer for her; she has been waiting to come to earth, to fingerprint this world with the good things she will do.
I know that families are eternal and I also know that raising my sweet kids to be kind and full of integrity is the absolute best and most important thing I will ever do in my life. I love being a mom. It is my calling and purpose in life and I am forever in love and so grateful to Steven for being my main man.