Be warned: This is not for the casual blog reader. I wanted to write my story out so that I wouldn't forget and so that moms who are considering all-natural child birth can be encouraged. You can do it!
Don't continue reading if you don't want to know specifics about how a baby is born.
This is how I remember it. 4:15am October 25 I was suddenly awaken with cramping like pains (contractions). I walked around the apt. trying to get them to stop b/c I didn't want Lydia to be born on Karis' birthday. Finally, about 5:45 I was able to get back to sleep. That morning I woke with an urgency to spend time with K b/c it was her 2nd b-day. We also had friends coming over for dinner so I was preparing for that too. I took a small nap while K was napping b/c I had a "feeling" that I may not be sleeping much that night. When K woke up we went walking at the grocery store and the streets in the rain. I dropped of K at home after a little while and continued on my own for another hour or so. The whole walk I knew the contractions I was having were the real deal and Lydia would be coming soon.
When I got back home it was almost time for our friends to arrive so I took a quick shower. At dinner my contractions came more often (every 9-10 min) and lasted around 30 seconds. Thanks to Bethany and Steven for timing. At that point (8pm) I finished the final packing and called my doula. I also called my doctor to let her know she would be going back to the hospital (she was there all day and previously asked if I wanted to be induced on that day). As we finished up dinner and sang happy birthday to Karis I was having serious contractions. My doula arrived just as our friends left (around 9), we got Karis into bed and not long after Caron arrived. By now I was sitting on the exercise ball and my doula was massaging my lower back. I felt great, except for during the contractions. I called my mom and she asked a lot of questions : ) (love you mom!) but all I could think about was focusing on staying relaxed. Steven did great, but he wanted to have conversation about details (and he did with Caron also about theology or I think Mark's dissertation). I have to admit if it was my way I would have had complete silence or music. We did watch Karis' second year of life video that Steven made. It's great! It served as a good motivator.
As I got up from the exercise ball and started moving around my contractions immediately got closer together and harder. It felt like all of a sudden they were 3 min. apart. This was around 12:30am. We decided it was time to go to the hospital. My doula drove us there and our mountain of stuff. So glad I brought my exercise ball and my old flip flops! We got there in less than 5 min. but had to wait another 15 b/c the on-call dr. was busy. I made sure the ladies at the ER check-in desk knew I meant business. I remember them calling the dr. again to ask how much longer. We took a couple pics in the waiting area and then the dr. arrived. She made me lay down and check how many cm dilated I was (up to this point all I knew was that 3 days earlier I was at 4 cm). To my surprise and joy I was 8 cm. I got pumped that it would all be over soon. It hurt SOOOO bad to lay down. The dr. (on-call not my dr) was so rough and careless in her care of me. I did not like her. They wanted to put me in a wheel chair to go up to the L&D room, but the thought of sitting down on that chair made me want to die. So I walked and entered into the gated, locked, dreaded "surgery room". I never saw the place where the actual c-sections take place (PTL). I went to a side door to the changing (locker room) place. There I put on a lovely robe and inserted my clothes into a trash bag. They put nets on my feet (over my flip flops) and head/hair. Strange. This whole part felt strange and hospital like. The room wasn't bad, but it was very dark and gloomy. I would hate to have to spent any more more time than necessary in there. I just sat on my ball next to the bed with my doula trying to do all she could to make me feel comfy. Oh, and Steven is down stairs filling out paper work. It was such a relief to see him walk in not long after me b/c we had heard horror stories about the paperwork. He and my doula were also in the "surgery gear", including hair nets.
I got my IV b/c I needed the antibiotic for my strep B. Then, I moved into the shower for a little relaxation. The shower was awesome. I sat on my ball with the really hot water hitting my back for over an hour. I think it felt too good and I relaxed too much b/c it slowed my labor down. But I needed that time to prepare for what was to come. The next part was the worst and the end. My dr. wanted to check me after the shower so I had to climb up onto the bed and lay down. I could not believe she wanted me to lay down (laying was the worst pain I've ever felt). This was by far the worst (after the ER dr). So I was 10cm, but Lydia was still high up and needed to come down. So I got off that table ASAP and let gravity be my friend not my enemy. I tried squats and swayed a lot. My doula continued some cool pressure point hip/lower back stuff. I leaned a lot on Steven. The pain was the most intense yet. I think it was during this time that I lost my stomach via my mouth (several times in the trash can thankfully) and lost control of my bowels (not sure where they ended up). I was hurting so much that I didn't even care. Ha. Pretty sure I never re-robbed after the shower either. It was just me and my body doing whatever it needed to get this baby out! I do remember specifically when my water broke. I had been coughing a lot from congestion the days before. So when I coughed it made my water brake. There was all kinds of body substances on the floor (why I'm thankful I wore my old flip flops b/c they saw their last day there in that room).
Around this time the Dr. made a great decision to move to the other room (there are only two delivery rooms). The table (bed) in the new room was much better (not that I spend much time on it). I continued to sway b/c the squatting was too much for my knees. I also told my baby girl it was time for her to come out and that I was ready not to be in pain any more. I think she heard me. It was time to push. The feeling that I wanted to push was about the only thing similar from the labor with Karis. My doctor had arranged the bed so that I could basically sit almost straight up to push. There was even a bar for me to hold on to, but my arms were too short to reach so my doula wrapped a sheet around and gave it to me told hold. The pressure was on as Steven, my doula, my doctor, two nurses, and the pediatrician looked on. Most of the time I don't mind the attention of a small crowd, but giving birth is not most of the time. Ya know. This strange situation made me more than a little anxious and caused me to "stall". Nothing was happening. I lost my cool and my train of thought. I thought this baby may never come out. At this point I also believe my doctor got more than a little concerned. I looked around the room and cry out for help. Thankfully my doula stepped up and took control of my helpless self. She got me off that table and on my feet again. I was resting my top half across the table with Steven behind me and my doula in front of me. The nurses were put to work to move a work table out from the room b/c my doctor needed room to get behind me. Why? Well, that would be because I decided (after asking permission from my doula ((I didn't care what my doctor thought so I didn't ask her))) that I would indeed push this baby out while standing up on my feet.
Standing at 5:30am, after pushing only a couple times Lydia was born. I'm still not totally convinced that my doctor didn't just reach up and pull her out b/c she came so fast. I felt so relieved and yet so tired. So I climbed back up on that table for the last time and delivered the other stuff while Lydia and I shared her first moments of life outside the womb together. Yes, she latched on right then and there! This was one of the petitions I had made to the Father for the last nine months.
The pediatrician (not the one we wanted initially, but the one that we are glad was there) showed me how strong and thick the umbilical cord was. He let Lydia hang out with me until I was ready for him to take her to be measured and stuff. We are thankful for him.
So the rest of the story is that Lydia and I were wheeled into our normal room together (another horror story avoided- many people told me that I would be in a "observation area" separated from her for up to several hours, but since I didn't have any drugs in me there was no reason for a dr. to keep an eye on me- however, the nurses didn't understand this no drug exception until I demanded that they understand). We enjoyed the quiet hospital room even though it was hot (no AC). Karis came to visit (no longer quiet) and it was the beginning of our family of four. That's my story.