My growing abdomen was heavy and uncomfortable. I couldn't sleep at night. Contractions made most days difficult to muddle (or waddle) through without difficulty.
I felt weary and overwhelmed and scared.
The induction date was growing closer and I could feel the anxiety building in my mind as I remembered my last experience with one. I had to forcefully insist, against my doctor's wishes, to not be induced shortly after my due date, though because of the increase of risks after the 42 week mark, I had agreed to an induction when I reached 41 weeks, 6 days. I have gone "overdue" with all three of my children and expected to do so this time as well. I felt no need to force this baby to come out, despite my own discomfort because there was no medical reason to do so. I fervently prayed that the Lord would allow this baby to come prior to the scheduled induction, but that no matter what, His will be done.
|Taken at 41 weeks|
My husband, wonderful man that he is, continued to remind me that the Lord is faithful and had not given me any reason to doubt (does He ever?), yet I allowed myself to continuously sink into that "what if?" pit. As more time went by and the looming date came closer and closer, my anxiety level soared and I could barely pass a day without privately dissolving into tears(aren't hormones wonderful?). It didn't help that I had several episodes of contractions over the course of the last couple of weeks that made me believe I was going into labor only to be disappointed at a false alarm. I was spent, both physically and emotionally and I wondered why the Lord was making me wait even longer. I prayed for Him to give me grace and strength every day because I was so very very weak. I pleaded with Him to lift the burden of anxiety from my shoulders and help me remember that He was in control.
After another false alarm Friday night, my husband decided to go ahead and start his paternity leave so he could be home to help me in the last few days before the baby's arrival. I'm so very grateful for him. Every day, we woke up and to ease my cabin fever and to distract my overactive mind, we went walking. I was hoping to encourage labor to start prior to Tuesday when I was to report to the hospital at 7AM for the induction. Saturday evening, I actually went into the hospital because of strong and frequent (though not regular) contractions. I was observed for two hours and sent home, discouraged and tired.
In the dark and early hours of Monday morning, I found myself tossing and turning. I couldn't sleep or get comfortable so I decided to move out into the living room so that I wouldn't disturb my husband. I lay in the recliner, staring out into the dark room, praying to God and asking Him why this seemed so hard--this waiting on His timing. Why was I filled with such doubt? If I did have to go to the induction, I knew He'd still be there with me, but I couldn't help but feel(foolishly) like a lost child wandering without her parent. Finally, I just dissolved in tears. I went into the bathroom to hide the sounds of my sobs from my sleeping family and there in the floor, I let God know about my frustration, my sadness, my fears, my anxieties. Cast all your cares upon Him...
About ten minutes later, my husband found me there, scooped me up and just held me and prayed over me. Have I mentioned how thankful I am for him?
We went back to bed and I slept as best as I could manage. I awoke the next morning with painful contractions, but they never formed a noticeable pattern, so I assumed it would just be another day to muddle through and that my baby would come the next morning via the induction.
We decided to drop our other three children off at my sister in law's house to spend time playing with their cousins while we went and tried to walk some more. My husband patiently reminded me that we still had an entire day before the induction and that God is faithful.
It was far too hot for me to walk outside and not have a heat stroke, so we hopped from store to store, me leaning against shopping carts and walking. In the early afternoon hours, the contractions started to become significantly more painful and sharp. They were ranging from five to seven minutes apart and were starting to take my breath from me. I suggested that we go to the hospital just to check and see if anything was happening, though if I'm really, truly honest, I was doubtful and expected to be sent home(I'm stubborn sometimes and don't learn my lesson easily). It was shortly after 3PM.
I was monitored for a little over an hour and in that time, my dilation went from 2 cm (when I'd arrived) to 3 cm. Since I was 12 days past my due date, I expected that they'd admit me at that point (as this is how it had occurred with my last pregnancies), but my doctor when called said that "he wasn't going to do anything to progress my labor since it was Labor Day." I was a bit baffled, as I hadn't asked for anything to progress my labor, and I told the nurses that I was not really comfortable going home as I suspected this labor might be faster than my previous ones, especially since I'd been having very intense contractions for nearly two weeks. They decided to call my midwife (I go to a practice with a OBGYN/CNM team) who said for me to stay and be observed for a couple more hours, but that they'd likely send me home and I'd be back for the induction in the morning.
I became quite frustrated. At this point, I believed I was in early labor and felt dismissed by the people who were supposed to be in charge of caring for me because it interrupted their holiday plans. I didn't know what else to do, so my husband and I just prayed and waited. More waiting.
The contractions picked up in intensity. I was actually fighting back tears through them, they had become so sharp and intense. I had still not been officially admitted to the hospital and received much hemming and hawing whenever I suggested that we get the ball rolling.
Around 7PM, our pastor called my husband to check on us (my husband had sent him a text earlier in the day requesting prayer) and while they were on the phone, I had the most intense contraction I'd experienced yet. I gritted my teeth and tried not to make noise because who wants their pastor to hear them moaning in pain? Then it happened...my water broke. I informed my husband that it was time to end the phone call because we needed to call in the nurses. I later found out that he and the pastor had been praying for things to get moving at the very instant that my water had broken. How's that for God's timing? :)
As with my previous deliveries, once my water broke, things started happening rather quickly. The nurses finally started the process of admitting me to the hospital so that I could start having my blood work done and get hooked up to the antibiotics (I had Group B strep). It was a tough time because after that point, the contractions doubled in intensity and I was in a great deal of pain. My husband, stood next to me, praying over me and with me through the worst of them. It was slightly frustrating that I had to deal with signing paperwork and other things in the midst of all this because of staff not listening to my own intuitions earlier in my stay, but I powered through with the help of my husband. I am not against epidurals and have had one with each of my previous deliveries, but hadn't been allowed any relief up to this point because I had not formally been admitted as a patient.
I was at 4 cm when my water broke and within the hour after, I had progressed to 7 cm. I knew the time was coming and quickly and my midwife wasn't even at the hospital yet. I just focused on the task at hand and when I reached 8 cm, I asked to receive my epidural. I had to wait for it a little longer because my admitting blood work had not been processed at that point. I spent that time leaning heavily on my husband and prayers to the Lord to give me grace and strength that I knew that I didn't possess on my own. I muttered, "Help me Lord Jesus, give me strength" through the pain so many times I can't tell you how many times the words passed my lips.
I finally received the epidural, which provided some relief and allowed me to catch my breath and relax my muscles for a short while. Unfortunately, I experienced a reaction to the medicine that I'd never had before--uncontrollable shivering. I have had this happen AFTER birth, when the medicine is wearing off, but never after the initial administration. The shaking was so bad that when my midwife finally arrived, she requested that the epidural be turned off so that I could gain control of my own body for the delivery. It was only moments later when I felt the urge to push.
Things went well at first. However we had a few issues with the baby's shoulders being large and trying to get him "around the bend," so to speak. The epidural wore off rather quickly and by the time my son was crowning, I could feel everything again. A few more pushes and he was here!
22 inches long.
Here, at last.
He was born at 9:44 PM, only a little less than two hours after my water had broken and the night before the scheduled induction.
We are so happy to welcome him to our little family.
|My other children meeting their brother for the first time|
God taught me a thing or two about patience during all of this. He also taught me a lot about humbleness. And doubt (and why it's so foolish).
Even in the midst of my own weakness, He has greatly blessed me and I am still in awe of His mighty hand.
I have bowed my head over my new son many times in the few short days he has been here, asking God to forgive me for my doubt and thanking Him, over and over for blessing me in spite of it.
I've thanked him for showing me (again) that even though I'm completely unworthy, He loves me anyway and He listens to our hearts and prayers.