I woke up the next day severely disappointed. I was not in pain from contractions. In fact, I hadn't felt this good physically in weeks! For the next two weeks I followed the same bedtime ritual as the night of my 38 week appointment. Scrub the house. Re-pack the suitcase. Shower. Tell James "tonight's the night!" . . . wake up baby-less. I was a fool to think I could predict baby T.'s arrival. An absolute fool!
Two nights before my "41 week" mark of pregnancy, I woke up with severe lower back pain. It was so bad that I couldn't go back to sleep. I noticed that the pain would be really bad for about a minute, stop for a few minutes and then come back. Apparently, this is what a contraction feels like. I started timing the contractions, and discovered that I was having 1 minute contractions every 4 minutes. I showered, got dressed, and woke up James to take me to Labor and Delivery. Once we got to Labor and Delivery, they put us in a cold room and hooked me up to a torture device. I believe it's formal name is "Non-stress test", but I will tell you right now . . . this test had me stressed. After a few hours of lying perfectly still while having insane contractions, and being periodically checked for dilation, I was sent home. My body wasn't ready to have the baby.
I puttered miserably around James' parents house from around 7am to 2pm, waiting for my contractions to get worse. My doctor said to come in later in the day to get re-checked, but I wanted to wait until I couldn't stand the pain any longer. I wanted to make sure that the next time I went into Labor and Delivery, I would walk out with a baby. When I went to get re-checked, pretty much nothing had changed. My doctor gave me two options: 1) I could go back home and keep laboring there, or 2) I could get checked in to the hospital, have my water broken, and get induced. At this point I couldn't possibly imagine going home again, and my doctor agreed that given my state of misery it was probably time to speed up the process. James and I were elated. We were finally going to have this baby!
James and I got checked into our hospital room and started watching Seinfeld to distract me from my labor pains. The doctor came in and broke my water (which doesn't feel nearly as weird as I thought it would) and soon after that they started the pitocin. I tip my hat to anyone who has given a natural birth while on pitocin, because that stuff is a wench. Instead of having a 4 minute break between contractions, I had a 1 second break . . . maybe. It was intense contraction upon intense contraction. I have never felt pain like that. I don't think I could have even comprehended pain like that without experiencing it. Not even Jerry Seinfeld could distract me from this pain. And that is saying something.
I got an epidural about an hour after the pitocin. I think the anesthesiologist might have been an angel. I felt better after that epidural than I had since my second trimester. The pitocin started speeding things up, and before I knew it, I was at an 8. Suddenly, fear came over me. I was really going to have a baby! What if the baby didn't like me? What if I didn't know how to be a mother? What if I didn't like being a mother? Would everything be okay? Every time a nurse came in to check my progress, the fear intensified. By the time I got to a "10", I was nervous enough to chew my hand off.
It was time to start pushing.
I'm not sure how long I spent actually pushing, but it felt like minutes. Before I knew it, a loud cry filled the room. This cry was the sweetest, most beautiful sound I had ever heard. It wasn't a sad cry, or an angry cry . . . it was just "waaahhhh". As soon as I heard this cry, my nervousness immediately wore off. I was in love.
(okay, maybe the cry was a little angry. ;) )
I had been warned that my baby would potentially look like E.T. upon arrival, and a little alien is exactly what I was expecting. While I surely would have loved an alien baby, my perfectly human son was a pleasant surprise.
The nurse put our baby boy on my chest and tears filled my eyes. Big, bright eyes looked up at me like I was the most interesting thing in the world. Tiny fingers wrapped around my pinky. Soft, pink lips gently opened and closed. I was born to raise this child. Having him in my life was already the greatest gift God had given me, and it hadn't even been 5 minutes.
James and I decided early on in my pregnancy that we didn't want to name our child until we met him. We had thought about names, and there were names we liked, but we didn't want to pick anything until we could see our baby and feel his spirit. We tried out a few names while the baby nursed on my chest. Was this baby a Harrison? Could he be a Grant? No . . . this baby was definitely an Ezra. Our Ezra. Our little helper. Our sweet, sweet boy.
I had a few complications after giving birth to Ezra, so I didn't get to hold him again for a few hours. He was sent to sleep in the nursery while I recovered. When I woke up the next morning to feed him, I fell in love all over . . . and honestly, now that he's a nearly month old I've fallen more in love with him every day since. While it has definitely been the hardest month of my life, it has also been the most wonderful month of my life.
I am so grateful for my sweet baby Ezra.
(preview of our newborn session by Debi Rae photography)
I could go on and on, but I will save that for my "1 month" post later this week.