We saw so many evidences of God’s grace, they almost seem impossible to count!
Wednesday Morning: I felt like maybe I was having some contractions, but they went away by the afternoon, so I figured they were Braxton Hicks, and not real labor yet.
Wednesday Evening: I asked for prayer for patience at Community Group. I was excited to meet Julie and be done being pregnant, but I was feeling so good, aside from a couple Braxton Hicks contractions, that I figured we’d still be waiting a while to meet our baby.
Wednesday Night: Later that night contractions started up again, but weren’t very intense at all. I went to bed, not thinking anything would happen that night. I woke up at about midnight to contractions that were feeling a lot stronger. I decided to start timing the contractions and try to estimate which stage of labor I was in. I timed the contractions while laying in bed for a couple hours. I woke Brandon up at 2:30 in the morning, and said I thought we should go to the hospital. My original plan had been to labor at home for as long as I could, but I wanted to know if I was in labor or not, so we went in.
When I called the hospital I told them my contractions were about 5-7 minutes apart. They said from how I was sounding on the phone (still able to talk), and the description of my contractions, that they would probably be sending me home, but we went anyways. I was pleasantly surprised when they measured me at the hospital and I was already dilated 4 centimeters! I was excited to know that it was really happening that the Julie would be arriving soon!
Thursday Morning: My wonderful friend, Stephanie, joined us at the hospital. Labor started intensifying shortly after she arrived. She and Brandon were very busy taking care of me through each contraction. They were giving me massages and reading scripture and playing music for me. I was so grateful for their encouragement and help. One of my main goals in labor was to glorify God in my labor. I didn’t want to be like the women in the movies who are cursing and angry with those around them. I think by God’s grace I was able to have an attitude throughout labor that glorified God, and at times was even a worshipful experience.
After several hours of laboring, my doctor came to measure me and see how I was progressing. I’d made it to 8 centimeters. At that point, I was disappointed to hear it was only 8. I was so exhausted, and all I wanted to do was lay down and sleep. I’d had a lot of reasons for wanting to have a natural childbirth, and had really had my heart set on that. But, when I knew I still had several hours of contractions, I decided I wanted to have an epidural to get me the rest of the way through. My contractions were really painful at that point, and as one was ending the next one begun. The hardest part was sitting totally still through 2 contractions while I got the epidural. Afterwards I was able to sleep and rest, which I was grateful for after feeling so exhausted. I had feared that I would feel disappointed in myself if I got an epidural, since I’d been so set on not getting one. I’m really grateful that God gave me peace with that decision. (However, I did later have my pilonidal cyst, which the doctor thought was probably caused by laboring with the epidural, and pushing a way that injured my tailbone without knowing it. This was one of my fears for having an epidural. But I also can’t imagine injuring my tailbone and feeling that happen without pain medication. All in all, I still feel good about the decision).
Thursday Afternoon: I woke up a couple hours later and it was time to push. Again Brandon and Stephanie, as well as the amazing nurse, were great encouragers. Maybe halfway through the pushing the nurse said that she could see Julie’s head, which had lots of dark hair on it. I was so surprised since I fully expected a bald baby. The pushing went on and on, and I wasn’t really making progress. Finally my doctor asked if I wanted help with the vacuum. Again, I’d wanted a natural birth, but God brought me to a place where I didn’t feel ashamed or defeated for having assistance. The rest of labor went really fast! My doctor gave one big suck with the vacuum. Julie’s heart rate had been great through all of labor, until that moment. They realized the cord was wrapped around her neck, which was why she hadn’t moved for a while despite all the pushing. They cut the cord quickly and got her out. Brandon got to trim the cord later, but it was a little to high pressure for him to cut the cord while it was wrapped around her. She was quite purple from the cord being wrapped so tight. They laid Julie on my chest, and I finally got to meet her. What a thrill! I was overjoyed to finally hold my beautiful baby girl!