Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Birth of Georgia Grace

Less than 24 hours old
In order to accurately tell the birth story of Georgia Grace, I need to start WEEKS before her due date; 5 weeks to be exact. The last week of September, I headed to the doctor for my 36 week checkup. James was out of town on a 20-day trip, so it was just me and Sophia. My doctor decided to do an internal exam when I told him I was feeling a lot of pelvic pressure. He checked me and then proceeded to tell me that I was 3 cm dilated and almost fully effaced! I panicked and asked him what that meant. He suspected that I would probably be having a baby in less than a week! Seeing as how my husband was unreachable a million miles away, I called my mother and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I was not ready for this baby! I had hardly started nesting! My husband was out of town! Our house was filthy! We didn't have a pediatrician! I hadn't stored enough meals in the freezer! I just wasn't ready. I drove to my parent's house completely hysterical, saying, "Jesus I trust in you, Jesus I trust in you, Jesus I trust in you."

After a lot of prayer, James and I decided he should come home early from tour. Each time he traveled thereafter, I anxiously prayed that the baby wouldn't come until he got home.I had always expected her to come early. Sophia came 3 weeks early, and I assumed this baby would come early too. My original due date was October 2nd, which then got changed to October 24th. I assumed she would come somewhere between those two dates. Over the next few weeks, I became a nesting mad woman. In all honesty, it was torture. I had zero energy to do anything, and yet my nesting instinct told me to do EVERYTHING.  I was so anxious about life with two children. I wanted to be prepared. I cleaned our house top to bottom and nearly died in the process. I cooked and stashed more meals in our freezer than I knew what to do with.  I dusted every baseboard, every nook and cranny. I guess my doctor was wrong. 4 weeks went by, and still no baby. I walked, I jogged, I ate food drenched in tabasco sauce, I ate 2 pineapples one afternoon, I made ginger snaps with cayenne pepper, we did other things as husband and wife  that are supposed to induce labor.... still no baby! At this point, I was just plain mad! I was so ready for her, and yet she was just content to stay in utero for what seemed like forever. I always think that God has such a sense of humor. It took us over a year to conceive this baby, and now He was once again trying to teach us patience, teaching us that she will come when He wills her to come and no sooner. Okay. Time to trust Him. After I had gone a week past my due date, James and I made the very difficult decision to do an induction as recommended by my doctor. I was VERY opposed to induction, but through prayer, I continued to hear God telling me to trust. Despite being very dilated and effaced, this baby wasn't coming! I knew an induction was necessary.

On October 30th, after saying a sad goodbye to Sophia, we headed to the hospital. I made it very clear to my doctor that I did not want any sort of drugs for the induction. I wanted to keep things as natural as possible considering I already felt that the situation was completely out of my control. He obliged by breaking my water at 10:30am, with the intent that this would start my labor. It was pretty uneventful, as there was no "gush" of fluid. The nurse encouraged me to walk in hopes that it would cause the bag of waters to leak.  For the next 6 hours James and I power walked through the hospital and around the outside of the building.   I must have looked like an idiot! A big, fat pregnant lady in a hospital gown and my husband's tube socks parading through the hospital. I jogged up and down the stairs, I did a few squats, and when I began to feel pressure, I would walk faster. I was determined to get the contractions started. When Sophia was born, our entire family was there in the hospital room visiting with us before I delivered and it was wonderful, however, this time I wanted none of that. I simply wanted time with my husband, intimate and personal time to prepare for this next chapter. We spent those 6 hours talking, reminiscing, laughing, praying, and giving thanks. It almost felt like a last minute babymoon. James was such a great coach and the exact support that I needed. That day was truly one of the best of my life.

Obviously taken before contractions started!
 Finally, after a long afternoon it began to dawn on me that I was about to deliver a human from my body. Fear set in big time. I had been fearful the entire pregnancy. Once you experience miscarriage, I don't know if it's possible to not be fearful. There are just so many things that can go wrong! I was also fearful for childbirth. My first delivery with Sophia was very "doable", maybe even easy. What if I wasn't so lucky this time? I knew I wanted another natural birth, and yet I heard myself asking the nurse what sort of pain meds were available if I needed them. James looked me square in the eyes and said, "stop asking about medication, you've got this". Those words left me feeling empowered. I have done this before. Yes, it's been four years, but I have done this before. I've got this! And so at 6:30pm my doctor broke my water again, and this time I felt the "gush". Contractions started almost immediately. Each time I felt a contraction, I squeezed James' hand and just breathed long, deep breaths. We tried to watch a few episodes of "Friends" as a distraction, but soon it became too hard to focus. It got to the point where the contractions were one on top of the other with maybe a five second break. I felt major pressure and assumed my bag of waters would gush again. It wasn't until James insisted I let the nurse check me that I realized that pressure was the baby's head! She checked me and immediately paged my doctor out of a C-section. I was 9 1/2 cm and ready to push. When they tell you it's  time to push, there is a combination of excitement filled with adrenaline and complete panic. My doctor rushed in and as he was putting his gloves on, I frantically screamed, "hurry up, I need to push!"  At that point the pressure had escalated a lot and I could hardly focus on my breathing because I could feel her little body ready to come. Immediately after that first push I felt a sense of relief. My body remembered that it had done this before and I felt full control over my ability to deliver another baby naturally. I don't think I ever opened my eyes. I simply listened to the voice of my nurse and especially James. Those contractions hurt like hell. Each time I pushed, I remembered the last two years in my head. The longing in my heart for this baby, The prayer and pleading that God would bless us with another child. The long, agonizing year trying to conceive. And now here I was just minutes from meeting her. These thoughts are what got me through the contractions. I held my breath for a count of ten and pushed. And then I did it again and again. At one point I screamed,"I just can't do this!" Until James told me he could see her head, and then I knew I could do it. Anything to make those contractions stop!  And anything to see her sweet face! A few more strong pushes, and out she came. I am so grateful that I was able to deliver naturally. I have loved my natural births with both my daughters! Though the contractions hurt like hell, and sometimes you really feel like you are in hell, there is no greater feeling than giving that final push and feeling the sensation of your baby coming out. What a rush! And nothing makes me feel like more of a woman!  I pushed for a total of less than 10 minutes. Yeah I know, all of womankind hates me for having a 10 minute delivery.... But let me tell you,  I labored through those contractions full force for 2 hours and they were excruciating!!  I was in shock that she came so fast, and yet I don't think I could have gone much longer because of how intense it was.
I can't believe you're here! I felt like I was dreaming.
Daddy in awe of you
First family photo!

Looking back on the day, I see God's hand in all of it. Those 5 weeks of thinking she would come any day were torture! God really forced me to be patient and fully place my trust in Him during those weeks.  I DID NOT want that induction, and yet God allowed my heart to change and to trust that the induction was the right thing. Despite needing an induction, I am so grateful to the nurses and especially my doctor for being understanding about my wish to not be given Pitocin to start labor. Most doctors are not patient enough to let you wait it out all day for contractions to start.  Though I was fearful of my doctor delivering the baby since he didn't deliver my first, I found myself grateful he was there. Our doctor is Catholic just as we are, and that entire day I felt at ease knowing that he was there not only as our doctor, but also as part of the body of Christ and having a full appreciation for the dignity of human life. If I had been ready to push even five minutes later, he would have been unavailable in a high risk C-section. And thank goodness my delivery was so fast so that he could get back to the C-section! That day James did and said all the right things. He was my rock to lean on. I know that God guided him in exactly how to coach and encourage me. The day was truly beautiful.

Georgia Grace, you sure took your sweet time in deciding to greet the world. Now that you are here, we can't imagine life without you! You truly are our miracle baby. We will give God thanks everyday for the gift of you.

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