Little Shep (10 days old)
I hate to bore everyone with a birth story, but inquiring girlfriends want to know...
Seriously, it was the hardest thing I've ever done. When we first got pregnant, I thought I was a huge woos. I was terrified about the labor and delivery. I planned on using all the drugs that were available to me. The least amount of pain possible for this girl, please.
And then we took our prenatal classes, which are offered by Mayo for all their patients. I would highly recommend these classes for all first-time parents. It really helped to ease our apprehension about what to expect. I slowly started to have faith in my body's ability to birth a baby. Putting together a birth plan helped me to walk through the different stages of labor in my mind, and talking through different scenarios with Winn and my mom (a/k/a the best labor team in the world) was good preparation for me. I went into it with the mindset that I would like to go without drugs if possible, but I gave myself permission to accept them without guilt if I decided to go that route in the end.
I started having painful contractions around 11:00 p.m. on April 28th. Thinking I would have a fast delivery like my mom and sisters did, I planned on being done with this whole labor thing in just a few hours (I can hear you all laughing). Who was I kidding?! 17 1/2 hours later...all back labor, I might add...Shep was born.
Anyway, back to 11:00, I went downstairs so I wouldn't disturb Winn. Around 4:00 the next morning, when the contractions were coming on hard and regularly, I woke Winn up. We showered and packed the car and cleaned the house in between contractions. We called the hospital a couple hours later when they were around 3-5 minutes apart and stopped and picked up my mom around 7:00 on our way to the hospital.
I was surprised to learn that I was only dilated to 4 when we got there. After monitoring me and Shep in the triage area for a while, they admitted me. For the next 9 1/2 hours my mom, Winn, and I found ourselves in some pretty awkward positions as they helped to try and alleviate my back pain, me on all fours, Winn squeezing my hips together while Mom applied pressure to my back (I'm sure you're grateful to have that picture in your head). We tried the birthing ball, the shower, walking, kneeling, you name it.
When the contractions started to piggy-back, they told me that as far as drugs were concerned, it was now or never. But then I was dilated to 10, and I thought it must be almost over. I can do this. No drugs, thank you. I had always heard this part was short and would pass before you know it...
Wrong-O. Three hours later they finally suggested I try pushing.
And 40 minutes later, at 4:26 p.m., they laid the sweetest little boy on my chest.
And I'm not going to say I instantly forgot everything I had just been through (in fact, I think I said something along the lines of "I can see why people say they're never going to have another kid after this"), but I will say that I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I realized how devoted my husband is to me. And I watched him cry as he met Shepherd for the first time. I gained a new appreciation for my mother and what she has gone through for me, and continues to go through. I marveled at how perfectly God designed our bodies for this. And I learned that I am strong. Much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.