It's been three weeks since our angel face has been with us and it has been quite a ride. I know all moms say this, but it is crazy how much you can love someone so quickly. I can't help but stare at her little face and I want to burst when she smiles. But getting Lucia into this world...well that was not so lovely. I wanted to write a post about her birth because it was crazy. It was unexpected. It was not what I had planned. But God used the entire experience to let me know early on...this whole parenting thing is not going to always go according to my written out plan.
Warning: There is a bit of detail in this post about the birth. If you can't handle cervix and vagina talk...please move along!
I was pregnant at the same time as a few other women I was close to and they gave birth before I did. Three of them had gone into labor naturally and all had their babies in their hands within 8-10 hours. So I figured, why would I be any different? Well....I was wrong.
Lucia was cozy in the womb and didn't want to come out. We were a week over due and my doctor said we needed to come in and get monitored to make sure she was still doing well. They hooked me up to a monitor for about an hour and Lucia's heart beat was strong and consistently in the 150's. Good news. After monitoring they did an exam...still, at 41 weeks, I was barely dilated and my cervix was not thinned out at all...not so good. So they sent me over to get an ultrasound to get a closer look at Lucia. After a short examination the doctor said that we needed to go to the hospital right now and have a baby. I was with my mom and Josh and we all looked at each other confused. He said that the fluid around the baby was extremely low. Really not good. The minimum amount of amniotic fluid that should be in the womb should be five centimeters. I was at one. Thankfully, we had brought our hospital bags with us, and my mother, Josh and I headed over to the hospital, and my sister Melissa hopped in the car in Jersey and began heading up to Albany...All of us were excited to meet our little one soon! Oh how unaware we were of what would take place over the next 30 hours! These smiling photos were the calm before the storm!
We got to the hospital around 12pm on Friday, July 25. They began monitoring me right away and said that the baby would have to be continually monitored for the entire labor process. Around 2 pm my doctor came in. He explained that at this point the option for natural labor is off the table. Unless I refused, possibly risking the health of my child, they needed to start the induction process. This was not what I planned. I planned a natural birth, with my good ol' birthing ball, my essential oils, my calming Christian music and a generally quickish process...well that all went out the window. To start with, I could not eat, only drink clear fluids, which I was not aware of until they told me. They said, in case a C-section had to be done, they need the stomach to be empty. Apparently this is normal, but I was not aware of it...and I came to the hospital right around lunch...ugh.
Fast forward to 4 pm, this is when they started the induction process by putting in a cervical balloon. Yes, it was as horrible as it sounds. Basically this is a tool that will manually open up the cervix. It was not comfortable AT ALL. Extremely painful to get in and very uncomfortable to have in. They also put in cervidil which was supposed to thin out the cervix. I was told I have to leave that in for 12 hours before we could move further. 12 HOURS!?!? I thought my whole labor process would take about 12 hours not just this first part!
The 12 hours began at 4 pm on Friday. At about 5 pm I started to have contractions every 5 minutes, and that lasted for the entire 12 hours. Fun stuff. Josh was in solidarity with me and would not sleep or eat the entire time....I had to force him to go eat by hour 13.
After 12 hours I was hoping to be dilated much further...to our disappointment I was only about 2cm...after 12 hours!?! So they began Pitocin (not in my birth plan!). Pitocin is used to induce labor, but unlike natural labor it can make the contractions much more intense, with higher peaks and less build up into a contraction. They started me off slowly with the Pitocin at 5 am. This process took very long. For me to get from 2 cm to 9 cm it took about eight hours. Eight LONG hours of contractions and terrible pain!! By 6-7 cm I could not take it anymore and I had to get an epidural (again not in my plan). I did not like the epidural at all. Yes, it was great to not have intense pain, but I could not feel my legs at all and because I have scoliosis (this is what the doc. said) the medication they used traveled up my left shoulder and numbed my left arm and part of my neck, which was not pleasant. By 9 cm dilated the pain had pushed through the epidural and even after they 'topped it off' I was still in tremendous pain. I was sick to my stomach throwing up, I had an intense headache, on top of terrible contractions and back labor.
At this point I was literally begging Jesus for strength. I don't know about other moms but this was the point where I looked up and said "Lord I don't think I can do this." I was so tired, I had eaten nothing in over a day, and the pain was unbelievable. Through the entire process I was praying, as well as Josh, my mother, my sister and a whole host of other friends and family. I knew that the Lord was listening, he always does...so it was very hard for me not to cry out asking him where he was and why he would not shorten this process. I was desperate for some kind of relief! Relief I did not get until she was born. However, I did get peace in those last moments before we started pushing. I felt like God was telling me...hey I am here...but this is the process, this is what and how it is Lisa. I felt a strange peace when I was desperately crying out. Almost immediately, I felt the pressure to push.
Lucia was face up, which added to the pain. They tried to put me in positions to turn her, which was very painful, but she did not turn by time it was time to push. The midwife and nurse said that it would be harder to push her out and many times first time moms are not able to do it. I thought in my head...oh hell no! I did not go through 26 hours of hard labor to get a C-section! I was determined. So we started the final process and after two hours of pushing Lucia was born.
Due to the labor, and how long and hard it was, and the fact that Lucia was over due she passed meconium (her first poop) in the womb. We knew this when she was about to come out so they called in a respiratory team. If she inhaled the meconium it could cause all sorts of issues. So they wanted to be ready for anything.
When she came out, they yelled at Josh to cut the cord "quickly" and they took her right away to the heated bed. She didn't cry. We were freaking out. They worked on her for about five minutes, suctioning her all out and we waited...and prayed for a cry! Josh didn't want to leave my side but I told him to go and talk to her. She was so alert, eyes wide open and looking around like she was shell shocked, while they suctioned her and pressed on her little chest. When Josh walked over and started talking to her she looked right at him and started crying. Praise God! It was over. Finally. She was here. She was healthy and I finally got to hold my little girl.
I have never in my life felt so much pain. I have never in my life felt so desperate for relief. It was so wild and intense and even though Jesus did not take the pain away I knew that he was there, he was with me, his peace was surrounding me and for some reason it made the pain bearable...and like everyone told me..once you see her face you won't even care about all the pain...and they were right.
Hello friends! I am Lisa. Lover of Christ and family, a former television reporter, and a wife and mom who strives to live a healthy, toxic free lifestyle.