So I figure, since Rowan will be 8 weeks on Thursday (gosh, I can't believe that!), its about time that I share his birth story. Although this is not an event I am likely to forget, I want to have it written down so the memories stay fresh.
My last post was on my 40th week, on my due date, jokingly complaining that I was still pregnant. Little did I know that things would take an incredible turn that evening! My brother and sister-in-law were over for dinner that night, and I started getting contractions while they were there. By 9:30pm they were becoming regular and a little stronger, but I had gone through this same thing so many times, I decided to see if I could go to sleep. Sleep never truly came - the contractions continued, growing stronger, and at 1:11am I felt something that I had never felt before! I woke up Seth, probably scared him half to death, saying we have to get to the hospital NOW! We rushed around, throwing last minute items into our hospital bag, and were on our way by 1:30. That was the longest car ride of my life! We only live 10-12 minutes away from the hospital, but it seemed to take forever! The pain was becoming increasingly more intense - it felt like my abdomen was going to split open. I knew from an OB visit the day before that I was already at 5cm dilated, so the whole ride I kept saying, "We should have left sooner. I'm going to be too late for an epidural!"
Finally we arrived and rushed up to the labor and delivery unit. I was so relieved to see a nurse that I knew and liked from my previous hospital stay. She was wonderful, got my IV started quickly and labs drawn, verified that I was still at 5cm, but then it took soooo long (or it seemed like to me) to get the results back from the lab so that I could have an epidural. It's funny, I was totally on the fence my whole pregnancy about whether or not to have an epidural, but the moment I felt those contractions, my mind was made up! I would not do it otherwise :) I was pacing around, leaning over the bed, but the contractions were every two minutes, leaving no time for any recovery in between. My parents popped their heads in the door in the middle of one, and I remember telling them "You probably don't want to be in here right now - I'm not being a very nice person." Ha! The whole time I just kept saying, "we waited too long! we should have come sooner!" Poor Seth, he was so sweet, but just had a look of "I have absolutely no idea how to help to you right now" on his face. When the anesthesiologist arrived, I was again relieved to see a familiar face - a doctor that I knew had years of experience and is excellent at what he does. And then it was suddenly all better - I'm telling you people, once the epidural took effect, it was an entirely different world.
That was at about 3:15am or so. The nurse finally had a chance to check me again, and found that I was 8 cm dilated! I couldn't believe that I had advance that much so quickly! We felt like I would deliver before her shift was over, but then the contractions slowed down. My parents and Seth's parents were able to come in and visit, and my precious aunt and uncle came as well in the middle of the night to see me! I felt so loved. Since things had slowed, the nurse advised that I try to take a nap while I had the chance. It was smart advice! Seth and I were able to catch about an hour of sleep before the morning shift change happened. I was a little sad that my nurse wasn't the one to be in on the delivery, but she was so sweet and gave me a hug and promised to see the baby when she was back the next night. My day nurses were fabulous as well though - I really couldn't have asked for a better team to assist me through labor.
At the next check, I was 9 1/2 cm dilated. My OB arrived around 8:30am, and said I would be ready to push soon! In the middle of her visit, she got a call from her 12 year old son saying he left his homework at home. I felt great, we figured she had enough time to run home, so she was like, don't push till I get back! I thought it was pretty funny! While she was gone, Seth and I had a moment to ourselves to just talk and pray. It was a beautiful time that I will always remember and cherish - our last minutes alone as a family of two. She returned soon, and at 9:30am she broke my water and I started pushing. The whole experience was pretty amazing. I am still in awe of how smoothly things went and at how peaceful the feeling was in the room. Seth played relaxing music for me that brought back memories of our trip to Tennesssee (Local Natives, Minus the Bear's latest acoustic album, Grizzly Bear, Death Cab for Cutie - I'm telling you, no kid was born to better music than Rowan), and he was the best coach ever. He compared the whole experience to cycling, and with each contraction and push we were going uphill, or sprinting to the finish. It wasn't obnoxious at all, but was just what I needed to visualize to keep me going. My incredible sister was also in the room, taking pictures for us, and I am so thankful she was there too.
I ended up pushing for about four hours. At one point when contractions had lagged, they had to give me a small dose of Pitocin, but things picked right back up after that. Rowan came at 1:17pm. I had been calm up to that point, but when the doctor said his head was out, I immediately started crying, and then when he let out a little cry, it was the best sound I'd ever heard. They put him on my chest, and tears were just streaming down my face. My son had arrived. The baby I had prayed for, begged God for, for all those years, was finally here. I can't even describe the overwhelming emotions I had in that moment. After he was all cleaned up and everything was settled, Seth and I had an hour to ourselves with Rowan. He was so calm and peaceful, just laying on my chest. We were both crying, praying, thanking God for this enormous blessing.
I am so thankful for the whole experience. It was incredibly beautiful, I felt great the whole time - just laughing and chatting between contractions. We had asked God for an atmosphere of peace and that is exactly what He gave us. I felt safe and well looked after, and knew that Rowan was in the best environment for whatever care he might need - it was the perfect labor experience and I wouldn't change a thing.
So that's that. Rowan's story is complete. I think this will be my last post to this blog - it's served its purpose, and it's time to move on. This journey over the last four years has been the hardest challenge I've ever faced, heart wrenching at times, but so worth the battle. Miracles happen people. Rowan is living proof of that. We were told by one doctor that our odds were too slim to take the chance, and our second doctor advised us to cancel the IVF cycle three times during the time I was doing injections. THREE TIMES. But each time we prayed and asked God to get us to the next step, and each time He gave us EXACTLY what we had prayed for, exactly the requirements the doctor gave us in order to continue to the cycle. So don't give up. I'm so glad we didn't.