When I was around 6 months pregnant with Aria I really began to pray for my labor and delivery. I mean really really pray. When I was delivering Peter I had the drama of preeclampsia and with James I had a post delivery hemorage and ended up needing a blood transfusion.
So with this third pregnancy I was asking God for a calm and peaceful labor and delivery. I was also asking (begging) that I make it to the hospital on time (see James's birth story). I knew that ultimately it was all out of my hands but I also trusted that God would give me the grace and strength to handle whatever was coming my way....
Ok so let's start at the beginning. Some of you might remember my little hospital visit about a month back. After my 37 week appointment (37.3) I though my water had broken. That resulted in a false alarm trip to triage. I thought for sure that it had broken but alas that was not the case. We came home to the boys without a baby but I didn't really mind because there were things that still needed to be done.
At my 38 (38.3) week appointment I was a couple cm dilated but nothing else too exciting to report. I shared with my doctor that I was starting to feel really anxious about delivering Aria. I just couldn't stop thinking about how intense it was having James. It was getting to the point where every time I had a contraction I'd start to hyperventilate and my heart would race because I was so nervous. So then my doctor suggested that we induce that coming Friday, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I was all over that! I'd be at 39 weeks exactly and then I could have "everything in my control". Or so I thought.
Friday morning (induction day) I got a call at 5 a.m. from the hospital saying that labor and delivery was totally swamped and understaffed. They then told me my induction was being pushed back and they'd call me when it was time to come in. Well. That call never came. Maybe it was the rain or the full moon but everyone decided to have their babies that weekend and since my induction was purely elective, it was eventually canceled. We rescheduled for the following Friday but I knew in my heart I wouldn't make it that far.
So while I did my best to keep my chin up, I was really bummed that the induction fell through. That whole week I spent getting ready for her and picturing her in my arms. Obviously I knew that she was still coming no matter what but it was hard to switch gears like that so quickly. I went from pumping myself up for labor back to being terribly afraid of when it was going to jump up and surprise me.
A few days went by and at my 39 (39.3) week appointment I was a little more dilated but again, nothing more to report. So I did my best to stay clam and be patient. Then Wednesday morning (12/17) I woke up at 4 a.m. with contractions. They were really far apart. Like 20 minutes apart. I thought to myself "maybe I should just labor at home here for a little bit" then another thought popped into my head "Oh yeah great idea, but remember how James was almost BORN IN THE CAR?!" So I woke up Andrew, made sure my sister was situated with the boys, and we were off to the hospital.
When we got there the contractions were strong but still ridiculously far apart, however, I was at 5cm dilated which was music to my ears. The triage nurses told me to go walk the hospital for an hour to try and get the contractions closer together. At this point it was around 7:30. So we started walking the halls laughing and joking together. It was actually a really sweet time with my husband. Then we ran into my father who is a physician at the hospital I was at. He joined us for some walking, fed us breakfast in the physicians lounge, and introduced us to lots of other doctors. It was awesome seeing my Dad in action!
Anyway so back to Aria! After the hour of walking the contractions were stronger and closer together and I was now 6cm dilated. The triage nurse said that there was no way I was going home and it was time to get me admitted. Which was a good thing because I would have just camped in the parking lot until it was baby time. No way I was leaving.
After consulting with my doctor and our favorite nurse (and good friend!) we decided to break my water and move things along. I requested an epidural for the remainder of my labor. Now, I'm not going to sit here and defend my decision to get an epidural. I loved going natural with James...Well at least once it was over I did and I most definitely want to go natural again in the future. But for baby Aria, I just felt like it was the right call. My last two deliveries had been so dramatic that I just wanted to do what I could for a peaceful (drama free) birth.
And thank the Lord that is exactly what I got.
After my water was broken the contractions immediately started coming 2-3 minutes apart. 30 minutes later I was at 8 cm and then about an hour and a half later I was at 10cm. When it came time to push, she was out in 3 contractions (9 minutes of pushing total). Now every woman is different but for me, even with an epidural, I can feel when it's time to push. The contractions are crazy hard and I think I'd have to be dead not to feel them. So after about 6 minutes of pushing I started hyperventilating and losing my "ish" a little. The doctor who was delivering Aria got me back on track pretty fast. She looked me in the eyes and said "I need you to stop hyperventilating. Take a deep breath. And give me one more push." It was super "Remember the Titians" -esque. It's like she knew I used to be swimmer. My athlete brain totally responded to her coaching. I took a deep breath and gave that final push. And there she was!
My beautiful little girl was placed directly on my chest and we were both covered in a warm blanket. The cord clamping was delayed (yay!) and we were still able to donate the cord blood (double yay!). We had a full hour of skin to skin and then eventually moved to our new room. She got her first bath 12 hours after being born (triple yay!) and continued to nurse like a champ. I was back on my feet pretty quickly, even though for a while I was a "fall risk" because the epidural wasn't wearing off fast enough. Thankfully that was as dramatic as it got for me. No preeclampsia and no post delivery hemorrhage/blood transfusion.
Aria was just about as healthy as you could imagine. They did hear a small murmur in her heart but everything was cleared by the cardiologist. Apparently 50% of newborns will have a small murmur that just goes away with time. She'll go in at 6 months just to make sure everything has closed up.
We took our little lady home the next afternoon and we reunited with our boys. I love how all three children have such different birth stories! While Aria's was definitely the smoothest, all three are truly beautiful. I am so thankful for all the blessings God has given us.