I'm suddenly realizing that I never wrote about Wilson's birth story. Most of you probably never really missed it, but this blog is morphing more into a family journal for us... and so it's something I want to write about while it is still (somewhat) fresh on my mind.
I said all along that I felt like Wilson was going to come early; It was that same feeling I had when I was just sure he was a boy. I definitely believe in motherly intuition (or just some prompting of the Spirit). He was due to arrive on August 29, so I made sure that I was ready to go two weeks before that.
My Mom was already here on August 23... she had come a few days earlier because Andrew had to go to a leadership retreat with some students and I did not want to go into labor while by myself. We went out to eat lunch that afternoon with Rebecca and her girls. I got a buffalo wrap because 1) I craved spicy things all through my pregnancy and 2) I heard that spicy things sped the process along. At lunch I prompted Leighton (then 2 years old) to tell Wilson several times that it was "time to come out and play!"
After lunch Mom and I went to the mall to walk. This is when I started feeling... different. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew the labor process was about to begin. Mostly I felt like I couldn't walk another step. Around 3:00 that afternoon I felt my first contraction, but I honestly thought it was gas pains. When it kept happening every 15 minutes or so, I decided these must be contractions! I was confused, though, because they really didn't hurt at all like I thought they would. Yet.
Andrew came home around 4:30 or 5:00 and he started to track the frequency and length of each contraction. Okay, this is not at all what I was imagining would happen. I totally envisioned standing in the middle of a puddle of water, running to grab the bag of clothes while in red-faced pain, Andrew carrying me to the car, speeding to the emergency room with our flashers on.
Not even close. Welcome to reality.
We sat calmly (okay, I set calmly) on the couch and as I felt a contraction coming I would tap Andrew on the shoulder and he would write it down. They were getting a little more painful as the night went on and I couldn't speak while they were happening. Around 9 or 10 they were getting about seven minutes apart so we went on a walk down our street to try to speed things along. I remember walking (with Andrew and Samford) and thinking "I can't wait to do this with Wilson!" I was really baffled at how calm I was. I had been so scared of the whole process of labor, but now that it was happening there was a supernatural familiarity about it all. It was as if I had done this before and it was no big deal. Looking back, I know this was grace, grace, grace!
The contractions started to become consistently around 5-7 minutes apart around 10:30 or 11:00 and Mom and Andrew were all but begging me to get in the car and go. I dug my heels into the ground to wait until midnight. Someone had told me (don't know if it's true or not) that the hospital will charge you for the whole day regardless of what time you get in, so part of it was me being frugal and part of it was me wanting to spend as much time in my own comfortable house as I could. I am not particularly a fan of hospital beds.
So Andrew and I got in the bed and he kept timing, begging me in between contractions to get in the car. I said "Midnight or water breaking. Whichever comes first." Well, at 11:50 my water broke (or so I thought, later I learned that I had a leak...eww). And we got in the car. Mom came about 15 minutes behind us.
The contractions began to hurt worse at this point, but I remember thinking what a peaceful pain it was because they had such purpose behind them. At that point I realized while some choose to go totally natural (which I might do in the future)... there really was a beauty in the pain.
I went to straight to the observation room where I found that I was 5 cm dilated. Score! I was so thankful it wasn't false labor. The nurse kept asking me if I wanted pain meds until I got the epidural and I turned them down trying to be all super woman like. But then I had the realization that it might be a few hours until I started to push and it might be nice to get a little sleep (which was impossible to do while feeling contractions). So I got some pain meds. I was so thankful for this for two reasons:
A) I got a good two hours of sleep before I got the epidural
B) When I did get the epidural I was SO relaxed... this was incredible because it was the part I was dreading most
The epidural worked perfectly and in a few minutes I could not feel anything from the waist down... but I was totally mentally aware of everything going on. I was so excited! I couldn't get over how excited and calm I felt. I really thought that I would be freaking out at this point.
This is where things get a little hazy for me. I wish wish wish I had someone writing down notes of all that happened for me. But alas, wishing doesn't really do much good so I'll have to go with my memory. I think it was around 7:30 when I reached 10 cm. I remember the nurse telling me I was there and then she told me the doctor on call was in a C-section and so I'd have to hold off for about 20 minutes to push. (What??)
This is the point when I started to panic... and say ridiculous things. Like: "What if I can't help but to push?" (I really thought for a moment that my body might start pushing on its own) And: "I think I feel his head!" The nurse kind of freaked out about this and said "What do you mean you feel his head??" What I really was feeling was just pressure. That nurse was totally capable of delivering that baby, I'm sure, but for whatever reason my biggest fear at this moment was Wilson popping out on his own with no one to catch him.
Much to my relief, the doctor finally poked his head in around 8 and I started to push not long after! I didn't feel a thing pain wise, but MAN was that a work out. I don't know what I was expecting, but I was wishing at this point that I had done some ab toning before this day. Mom and Andrew were both in the room with me and I had one on either side. They were great coaches and more red-faced than I was. Andrew and I laughed at Mom because we were pretty sure she pushed harder than I did when she screamed "puuuuuush" each time. I'm so glad we didn't film this.
At 8:57, Wilson made his grand entrance and it was such a beautiful moment for me. I hate cliches, but I don't know how else to describe it besides time standing still. When he was put in my arms and I got to look him in the eyes for the first time... it just felt right. It was like I already knew him, like he was already a part of our family before he was.
So many people say "How can you go through labor and not believe there is a God?" And I used to think that was because of the miracle of pushing a human being out of another human being. But now I realize it's something much different: there is something beautiful about life itself... about being a part of the beginning of someone's existence. And the fact that I could feel that beauty and significance in that moment, there was no way I could get by with saying: "Well, I just saw a human take his first breath... now he's going to grow, make some money and die someday." No, there is something grander going on here. We are born into a life of purpose... and I know that purpose is to know and enjoy the Lord our Creator and to make Him known.
I can't wait for Wilson to know Him.