Born: Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 6:20 p.m., 7 lbs 8.5 oz, and 18 inches long
This was quite the different birth experience in so many ways. Life leading up to Cecilia’s birth was hectic to say the least. Life in our home was filled with one stress after another. Then my blood pressure was increasing and I was experiencing a tightness in my upper back and chest that was leading to a hard time breathing. Last week was filled with one sleepless night after another and because of my inability to function as a human being. So when I lost an entire night’s sleep on Saturday I was at the end of my rope. I was broken mentally, physically and spiritually. The cross of the week and no sleep made me hit rock bottom. I was literally in tears Sunday morning and I told Adam that the baby had to come out today even if I had to find someone to do a c-section. He of course didn’t want to do such a thing because he knows me better than I know myself, but he conceded that something needed to happen that day.
We went to 7:30 a.m. Mass Sunday because Adam had to take Fulton to the doctor at 9 a.m. since he was running at a temperature and we needed to know that it wasn’t the flu. At the last minute I decided to go with the family instead of trying to stay home and rest. Satan had kept me from Jesus long enough and I needed my Lord. Even the hospitality ministers at church could see that I was not in good shape. Adam’s mom flew in from Indiana just the night before to help us. Thanks be to God. She agreed something needed to happen that day. I called my general practitioner to see if I could get some type of anti-anxiety medication but they wouldn’t prescribe anything to someone pregnant and only referred me back to my “OB”. So I called the answering service for the Birthing Center and told them I needed to talk to someone.
Lauren, the midwife on call, called me back and I told her I couldn’t go on like this any longer. The sleep deprivation was too much. I told her I wanted to have a c-section. She said, “No way, Lady!” She said I could come in and she could give me something to rest and I could even stay there. Needing a pep talk and not knowing what else to do, Adam packed up the car “just in case” and we headed over to the birthing center.
At my last prenatal appointment, the baby was still pretty high so the midwife couldn’t tell how far dilated I was. On the way to the Birthing Center, I thought and prayed, “wouldn’t it be nice if I was 7 cm dilated!” When we got there around 10:45 a.m., we went into the nice Santa Fe birthing room. It’s so lovely–it has a tile picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a couple of statues of the Blessed Mother and baby Jesus. Lauren discussed our options with us. She told us about the meds that could help me sleep. She said she would check to see if I was dilated at all but she wouldn’t feel good inducing labor if the baby wasn’t a little further down and I wasn’t dilated. So she checked. The baby dropped a little and I was already 6 cm dilated!!!! The answer to our prayers. And we don’t even know when that happened! Our discussion changed. We all agreed this baby could come today with some good contractions. Lauren told us to go for a good brisk walk around the parking lot and see if we could get this going. If not, we could trying pumping and some herbs that would stimulate the contractions.
Off we went on our walk. If it was God’s will we asked Him to help us have this baby today. We prayed every prayer we knew by heart, the rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and asked the intercession of every saint we could think of. We prayed for all of the people who were praying for us and who had asked for our prayers and we offered up the whole experience for them. After about 45 minutes of brisk walking-no contractions. My upper back was beginning to ache though. So we went back to start up on the pumping and herbs and get something to eat before we went into labor.
After pumping and a couple of doses of herbs we were having some pretty regular contractions at 2:30 p.m. Although I must admit, they didn’t hurt. For all my pregnancies I always had back labor. I didn’t know what a front contraction felt like. I told Lauren that I felt a tightening in my uterus but it didn’t hurt. She said to count that as a contraction. So we did. With that we were having contractions every 10 minutes then every 5 minutes. My upper back was hurting so I would alternate standing in the shower for a while to alleviate that ache. (Funny thing, Lauren mentioned she had an upper back ache with her pregnancy and never knew of anyone until me who ever had it. So perhaps it was not all anxiety related.) The contractions started getting a little harder but nothing that required Adam to do more than count how long they were or spray water on me. I was encouraged that we were still going. I was now 7+ centimeters dilated. Then around 4 p.m. they started getting intense but around 4:30 they slowed down and then went away. I laid down to rest for a few minutes. 5 o’clock rolled around. I wanted this baby by supper time! That was my goal. I got back up to see if we could get things going again. After another round of herbs, the contractions got stronger. Adam started his coaching. We were on our way, I started pulling all the tricks out of the hat to get this baby to drop a little more. 6 p.m. I wanted to get checked again. I was tired. This baby needed to come out soon or I wasn’t going to make it. I told Adam and Lauren if we’re at 9 cm then let’s break the bag of waters. Lauren said that was the only thing keeping the baby so high and she was pretty sure things would go really fast after that. She checked and I was at 9 cm. She broke the bag, and the back labor pains came full force. Then Cecilia was born at 6:20 p.m.
I had some excessive bleeding but Lauren gave me a shot of petocin and cytotech and any hemorrhaging was stopped. Cecilia was born with the cord around her neck and was a little blue but was otherwise okay too. The experience was all in God’s plan. At one point Adam and I discussed that since my labor pains were so mild even up to 9 cm dilation I was still smiling and making little sarcastic cracks here and there, how would we EVER had known we were in labor? God works all things for the good for those who love Him.
I was humbled by the whole experience in many ways. In a entirely new way, I can empathize with women in labor who have long, tiring, very painful labors and although they want a natural birth, are just spent. Truly, I was 100% envisioning a c-section as the outcome Sunday. I also came to rely on my friends and family more and more and actually asked for help which is something I’m often too proud to do. The last week we couldn’t have done anything without our friends who came to watch the kids even for a little while. For all the friends and family who prayed with us, for us, and over us, I knew God would hear your prayers–THANK YOU. For you who offered up your suffering for me and the family, as Fr. Tim told me on the phone one night, how much sweeter will be our reunion knowing we were united in our sufferings this way. And for my sweet mother-in-law who came on the spur of the moment to help us out. If she wasn’t here to watch the kids, we probably would not have gone in to meet with the midwife that morning. I’m also so grateful it was Lauren who was on call at the Birthing Center as I don’t know if the other midwives would have been so accommodating to my distress. She gave me the talk and options I needed. And of course my husband who had his own set of hectic things going on at work and trying to keep me sane, he’s still the best coach in the world and I couldn’t have done it without him and our Blessed Lord.