Sunday, March 16, 2008

Birthing Children, Part Two

This is the second of our "birth" stories... click here to read the first.

Though we didn't find out our first son's gender before he was born, we opted to find out the gender of our second baby. We were so excited when we learned that we would have another son. I know many people desire "a girl for me a boy for you and praise the Lord we're finally through"... but we have always wanted more than the average number of children (even from our early days in dating, this was something that confirmed our "rightness" for each other). So having our first two children be little boys that would grow up as buddies so close in age to each other, and who could grow to be young men who will challenge each other in their walks with the Lord-- this was a wonderful thing from our perspective.

After the intensity of the experience of our first son's birth, you can imagine how wary I was to be adamant about waiting for our second son to come on his own... that decision had come back to bite me!

As we discussed our concerns with my doctor (physical, financial, and emotional), he suggested that as long as everything seemed normal and healthy, we could induce a week early in order to avoid the possibility of re-living anything similar to our first birthing experience. We still prayed and asked others to pray for a natural experience, and I believe God answered that prayer-- just not by bringing him on his own. (Heck, I even tried giving a little "help"-- I took castor oil in large doses two different times in the week leading up to the induction date... still, nothing happened except having to go to the bathroom a lot!)

We scheduled an induction (one week before his due date), and I went into the hospital in the morning, and they started the IV drip of pitocin (a medicine that causes contractions) at about 8:30/9am. Contractions began immediately and my body responded well to the medicine. Though my cervix tends to dilate E-X-T-R-E-M-E-L-Y slowly, things were progressing, and by noon, things were advancing quite well.

It was such a different experience from our first... peaceful and quiet, with a young and sweet nurse who made us laugh when she did have to come in, and generally left us alone when it wasn't necessary that she be there. I was able to breathe through contractions and talk with friends and family in between... it was such an enjoyable labor.

Around 3, things were getting intense and I knew it was almost time to push. See, this time, I didn't get an epidural, and I actually *knew* what my body was needing to do. What a difference it made to be able to work with my body rather than feeling like it was the enemy! (And for the record, I'm not saying epidurals are wrong or bad-- they're just definitely not good for me.)

When they checked my cervix for dilation, they found that I had very quickly jumped from a six/seven to a NINE (ten is when you can push)... so suddenly, the scurrying began- getting the tables set up, running to call the doctor, etc. Very quickly (within one contraction, I think), I knew it was time to push. I told Doug, "Tell them I'm pushing-- I can't help it" (hey- your body really DOES know what to do when it's time). Of course, the nurses came in and told me not to push, but --seriously, come on!--what's a girl to do? I kept right on pushing. The doctor sprinted in the room JUST in time to catch his head, and to me, once the head's out, the rest is a breeze. He was born a little after 4pm. He was given to me, and I was able to hold him for a while and just look at him. We were able to nurse right away, and my small tear required minimal stitches.

After nursing, Doug went with him to the nursery and I was able to get down off of the bed, and walk to my room, stopping at the nursery to watch as they weighed and measured him (he weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces... nearly two pounds lighter than our first).


It's funny-- with as adamant as I was with our first to do everything "natural", here's how it came out:

  • required pitocin anyway
  • got an epidural (TWO, actually)
  • I was in a mental fog and physically in a wheelchair for the first 12 hours, too weak from the entire experience to be otherwise.
  • Doug didn't get to hold him for 3 days (I held him only for 15 seconds right after birth)
  • didn't get to nurse him for 4 days
  • in the NICU with medicine and wires galore for 7 days because of infection
And with our second, though I was "scheduled" for his birth, the only real "unnatural" thing was the use of pitocin.
  • No epidural (I did get a dose of stadol, a pain reliever, the last 30 minutes of labor)
  • held him and nursed immediately after delivery
  • I walked into the nursery and back to my hospital room on my own
  • no meds, no interference for him, etc.
After what had been a horribly emotional and trying first birthing experience, this one was completely a blessing... I felt so free and blessed to be able to hold him all the time, to be able to snuggle in the middle of the night in our hospital bed, to be able to check out every little amazing part of his body and stare at his feet, his hands, and his perfect little face.

Though it wasn't technically a fully "natural" experience, it sure FELT like it! And I am still so grateful to God for giving me that contrast and teaching me how different each labor/delivery experience can be. And I'm so thankful for this funny and sweet little man that God has put in our family-- he makes us all laugh and has such a precious personality. He'll be four this summer, and is a delightful son to us and brother to his siblings.


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