Ok, ok, ok. Grab a snack…this is a long one. But I promise to not leave you hanging this time.
By the time we arrived it was about 10pm. They checked on baby and everything looked good. I was 4 centimeters dilated. I guess that’s one centimeter for EVERY. DAY. I. WAS. IN. LABOR.
Also terrible…each time they went to monitor the baby, it took them forever to find the heartbeat because baby was staying so high (hence the labor sagaaa). For the record, taking forever to find your baby’s heart beat combined with the nurse not being fluent in English is actually even more terrifying than it sounds. That’s life abroad for ya.
So to avoid scaring off any of my 5 readers, I will just give you the P.G. version of how the next 6 hours went. I am more than happy to share all the gory details with whoever wants to hear about it over a cup of coffee. You’re buying of course; I’ve earned it.
After we checked on baby, we got settled into our room. As luck would have it, Wednesday when we stayed there we were in a nice, small, private room, but Saturday the suite was available for us. It was a majorrrr upgrade. It almost makes the wait worth it. Oh wait.
Oh, hey there, super pregnant miserable Ali.
I paced for a while through the contractions and then my midwife asked if I would like to take a bath. My suite was conveniently connected to the room for their large birthing tub. I was thinking “oh yes, I love a good bath”. Now amended to say, “I love a good bath, WHEN NOT IN LABOR”. Really, nothing takes the fun out a nice, warm, relaxing bath with dim lights in a nice quiet room like your baby and uterus have a severe disagreement about if said baby will or will NOT be leaving the womb. Each time a contraction would come I would thrash about trying to find any comfort (IT WAS NOT FOUND). Come to think of it, it reminded me a bit of this scene.
After the bath I asked my midwife to check me to see if my prolonged agony had a least produced some progress. At this point it was about 1am. This brings up a fun little story. You all know Isaac, my precious saint of a husband, always kind and polite. Well, through a small misunderstanding…he got into a bit of a heated argument with our midwife right in the middle of a nice bunch of unrelenting contractions. Word to the wise: try to not hack of the person delivering your baby when in labor…
So you see what had happened was…when I got out of the tub, I asked my midwife to check me, and she just kinda stood there (granted it was 1am and she was probably in a daze). So Isaac, eager to get her to help me before another big contraction hit said something to the effect of “umm…check her??”. Keep in mind, she spoke English, but not super well, so Isaac skipped all the pleasantries like can you, would you mind, would it be possible, etc. and it was NOT received well.
She looked at him, took a moment, and then angrily responded “Isaac, do you have a problem with me? Have I done something to make you unhappy with me???” I could not believe what was happening. I was in so much pain and the contractions were coming hard and fast; I was not, I repeat NOT about to have my midwife quit on me. So I did what any
logical, spiritual, deranged, exhausted, overdue, laboring person would do, I grabbed her hand and started praying for her, thanking God for her heart to serve and her skills to bring healthy babies into the world. Heartfelt prayer…justtt provoked by a slight moment of insanity/terror.
Either my prayer worked or it confused her enough to forget the argument and check me. Praise the Lord, I was 8 centimeters BUT the baby was still very high aka. still not coming (fun fact- between both pregnancies with the boys and 9 hours of stronggg Pitocin with Judah, I had never gotten past 2cm, so this was new territory). I paced the room some more, just trying to survive. I was doing everything I could through the contractions to help move baby into position. It was at this point I looked deep into Isaac’s eyes and begged for help; any semblance of composure was gone, like LONG gone. I knew I definitely didn’t want to have an epidural, but in my desperation I asked my midwife if there was any other option for pain relief. She ever-so-helpfully reminded me that I was at a NATURAL birthing center. Somebody hold me back.
Looking for any relief, I got in a HOT shower. Through each contraction (can you overuse that word in a birth story post?? If so, I’m sorry), I would try to help the baby move lower. I labored in the shower for over an hour but was growing restless. So I mustered what strength I had to get out and I asked my midwife to check me again. Her response: “that is really not necessary.” I fought the urge to reply in a manner more like—in a real low voice… “now you listen here..” and opted for PLEASE instead.
She checked me, and do you know what she said? DO YOU KNOW WHAT SHE SAID??
NO. CHANGE. After two hours of intense laboring I had made no progress.
…that was the moment we decided having two kids was plenty and that three was downright greedy, and we packed our bags and went home…
Ok, ok, ok. We didn’t do that, but only because it wasn’t an option…
It gets worse, y’all. So here we are, 3am. That’s 82 hours of labor, and my midwife says “Ali, I think it is time we consider a C-section, this doesn’t seem to be working”.
A C-SECTION. A C-SECTIONNNNNNNNN. I had no idea that was a thing, like 4 days of labor and 8 centimeters progressed and “whelp, thanks for trying, but…”. I was not about to quit now. I went into problem solving mode and ask if they wouldn’t let me go any longer, that maybe we could just do epidural to wait and see if I would progress. My midwife agreed this was a good option and told me that the anesthesiologist would arrive in about 30 minutes. She said that once I received the epidural that I could sleep for a few hours and then try again. I could have kissed her. A NAP? A NAP? Hallelujah, sweet baby Jesus.
So I sat on the edge of the bed, still writhing in pain, as they started an IV in preparation for the epidural. My midwife began to notice that I was starting to get the urge to push. Guys. Straight up. At this point I had my eyes on the prize…
baby NAP. I was doing everything I could to not push. We had a plan, remember??? DRUGS, NAP, try again.
People began bustling in and out setting up supplies, while my midwife’s tune changed and she began encouraging me to try to push. They brought in a birthing stool and things started to get real. In my state, I just didn’t want to move, so it took my doula and midwife about 5 solid minutes of coaxing to get me to leave the side of the bed and begrudgingly sit on the stool. I just kept thinking “where the heck is that dang anesthesiologist??”. My midwife looked at me and told me that I had to decide: epidural or keep trying; she needed to know if she needed to call off the anesthesiologist. In the tiniest voice I had, I told her I would keep trying. It all happened so fast…gloves were coming out, in preparation for the birth our midwife ask Isaac if he wanted to catch the baby, and then my doctor showed up and we all know they don’t get doctors out of bed at 4am for nothing. Could it really be happening?? Surely not.
Ever since we showed up at the center Saturday night everyone kept saying things like, “Allison, you are having a baby!” or “Today is finally the day!”. My response varied between ya ya/whatever/sure I am/ liar liar pants on fire/ I’ll believe it when I see it, but there was my doctor, “Are you ready to have a baby?”.
With my new-found determination, I focused, breathed, and after just 15 minutes of pushing I heard Isaac shout through my delirium, “It’s a girl, baby. We have a baby girl”. At 4:17am on Sunday, January 29th, Zoey entered the world.
In my exhaustion, I had honestly forgotten that we were anxiously waiting to see what the gender of baby #3 would be, so it took a minute for his words to sink in. Isaac handed me our baby girl. From no progress/potential c-section to baby in arms in less than an hour. God is so good. I have never felt such sweet relief in my entire life.
21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.