Elliot's Birth Story
|Our Last Supper as a family of two!|
We arrived in the triage waiting room of the Labor & Delivery unit at our hospital and after filling out the standard paperwork, I was asked to dress in the hospital gown. I was checked for dilation and declared three centimeters dilated by the nurse around 3am. In order to be admitted to the L&D floor, I had to be four centimeters. So for two hours, my doula and I walked around the darkened hospital lobby and hallways, stopping every few minutes for me to hunch over a nearby chair for support and breathe through my contractions, which were getting more painful. I was checked again by the nurse and --hallellujah!-- pronounced four centimeters. After the appropriate IV saline lock was placed in case of medications, I was up on the L&D floor roughly by 6am.
Although my contractions were strong, I was not progressing very quickly, which is typical for first births, but definitely disheartening as the hours kept passing by. Every time I was checked for dilation, I would only move up by one centimeter. I was hoping I'd skip over a few and be ready to start pushing a lot earlier, but alas, that did not happen. I think it felt especially long between four and six centimeters because I could only use the labor tub once I was six centimeters. My legs were shaking uncontrollably despite me being very focused with my breathing during and in between contractions and feeling in control of the rest of my body.
Two in particular were like a mantra to me: "Every push brings me closer to meeting Elliot!" and "It's all worth it for Elliot!"
After the tub, I was a 7cm around noon and since I was so uncomfortable again and I was progressing slowly, I agreed to my water to be broken by the midwife in hopes to speed things up. Five hours later, I reached 9cm and was given Pitocin to further help strengthen contractions since I was starting to get exhausted with labor and had not even started pushing yet. After about an hour of Pitocin to rev things up, I was finally ready to start pushing at 7:30pm. I really expected that it would go pretty fast at this point since I was laboring so long, and surely I was only minutes away from meeting our little guy, right? Right?? Nope.
The next thirty minutes were some of the hardest I have ever endured. There are no words to explain how painful it was to not respond to my body screaming "PUSH!!!". The best way to describe it (sorry if this is TMI) was like holding in the world's largest poop when you really have to go, which was ESPECIALLY hard since I had to use the bathroom multiple times during the late stages of active labor, including this time of laboring down. My whole body ached like never before and I squeezed every fiber of my being to not push. Greg later said this was the hardest part of my labor and delivery for him because he could see and hear how utterly uncomfortable I was. I pleaded for him to read some of the Bible verses and affirmations as well as to pray for me when I felt I couldn't hold back the pushing any longer. I can't remember which Lauren Daigle song was playing, but I asked for it to be turned up and I sang along with tears streaking my face.
I managed to stay alive after thirty minutes (I am being just slightly dramatic), was rechecked, and ---another hallelujah!!--- the cervical lip had cleared and I was ready to push again. I pushed and pushed, but every time his head descended low enough to be barely visible by my midwife, nurse, and doula, but as I would recline in pure exhaustion between the forceful pushing during contractions, he would slip back up. Two steps forward, one step back. So I eventually was asked to try to rest upright while in squatting position, which was the position I was making the most headway in (pun intended). I got increasingly worn out and my lower back was killing me since he was resting so low for so long. It was unbearable at one point so I asked to start pushing while reclined on my back for a while. Everyone kept saying "I can see his head! You are so close!" but no one would tell me how many more pushes would do the trick! It was frustrating because it seemed like it would never end and I wanted someone to just tell me, "One more push and he's here!" but understandably, no one could predict exactly how many more pushes it would take. At 11pm, I remember asking everyone, "Do you think this is going to be a 9/11 Baby or a 9/12 Baby?" Basically, I was trying to find out if they thought I still had more than an hour of pushing, which at that point, seemed like an eternity. I had pushed 1.5h, labored down 30, then pushed over another hour by that point; I desperately wanted to be done. I think it was the midwife who said she thought it would still be a 9/11 Baby and that really encouraged me. My positive attitude was waning at this point and I would go from saying "I can do this!!" to frantically looking at Greg and asking "Can I do this? I can't do this!" And just when I thought I could not be in more discomfort from the lower back pain, during one of my last pushes, a searing pain like nothing before hit me and I said "I think that was the 'Ring of Fire'!!!", which was, despite being excruciatingly painful, still encouraging because that meant I was super close to the finish line. I think I had to push one or two more times after that, and then, at 11:38pm, out he came!!
We were moved upstairs to the Postpartum floor where we spent the next two days to rest. We had explained to both of our families that our wish was to not have any visitors while in the hospital and that they could visit us at home as soon as they were able to. We really wanted to have that precious time alone so we could focus on initiating breastfeeding and recovering after birth without worrying about visitors while I was in such an exhausted state. Our families graciously and respectfully honored this request, which we were so grateful for because our hospital stay was so peaceful and quiet.
Since I gave birth at nearly midnight, it was almost around 2am when I was wheeled up to the Postpartum floor and then nurses came in for assessing both me and Elliot, so it was impossible to sleep. I had been in the hospital for twenty-four hours and had not slept in probably thirty-six hours, so I could hardly think straight, I was so tired. I managed to get an hour or two of sleep eventually that night. I was worried that Elliot wasn't latching on correctly and that he was in such a deep sleep, he wouldn't wake up to feed every two hours. The nurses and lactation consultant were very helpful in alleviating my concerns. That next morning, I took a shower, which was probably the most refreshing shower I have ever had. My sweaty hair was on its way to becoming dreadlocks, so it wasn't fun combing it after the shower, but I felt like myself again. Once we were all awake, I had a nurse snap a photo of us, our first as a family of three.
We stayed in the hospital until the following day, and as our discharge paperwork was getting written up, I snapped a few more photos of Elliot with a few props I brought from home.
That was the clean version without too much mention of anything to make the average reader too squeamish, I hope! We loved our doula, midwife, and hospital staff, and will use them all again if we are able to have more children. Elliot has grown so much since then, so it was fun to revisit these photos and thick back at the day that changed our lives forever.