My Birth Story Part 2 by Coach Kelly
In case you missed it, check out Part 1 of the story. All caught up? Here we go!
We held hands as we meandered along the hospital walkway with our overnight bag and pillows. We checked in on the labor and delivery unit around1 PM and got a room. Sounds nice right? Like staying at a luxurious hotel. The room was spacious with a good view, but a hotel it was not. A hospital gown was laid on the bed for me. No thanks, I’ll stay in my own clothes. An IV with pitocin was started around 3 PM. I was encouraged to sit down, rest, read, and relax. Boring. I mean, I’m a CrossFitter… I couldn’t just sit there! Chad and I ate a meal together and our good friend and Local, Cristy, came by to give me words of encouragement and to pray with me. She did not know this at the time, but her words could not have been more perfect for what I was about to face. They were just what I needed.
Chad and I walked around the unit several times because I felt anxious just sitting in our room. Not much was happening so the pitocin was turned up. On one of our trips, I had to stop, grip the handrail on the wall and breathe. If I went to rest in my room the contractions slowed and were less intense and when I walked, they were worse. I remember it starting to feel real when I leaned over a bosu ball on the bed, looked out at the sunset and hummed along to ‘Carolina in My Mind’ while the midwife massaged my back. Things were a blur after that. Chad probably remembers more of the specifics than I do, but I have never, ever felt such excruciating pain (sorry for those ladies who have yet to give birth)! I tried to breathe and relax like I had practiced. We changed positions. Chad rubbed my feet and my back. He and my doula were trying to apply counter pressure during my contractions and it just did not seem to be enough.
I asked for some nitrous oxide to help through the contractions. This was helpful initially, but even it could not keep up with the pain. I’d have to start breathing it as I felt a contraction coming on so it would have peak effect at the peak of my contraction then dissipate. We did this for what felt like hours. I remember being in the bathroom completely naked not caring whatsoever who saw me. Contrast this to before labor started when I thought there was no way I was going be one of those women who was naked! I remember the midwife and doula saying something to the effect of, it wasn’t real until the clothes came off!
While I waited for the bathtub to fill up so I could labor in there, I remember leaning on the side of the bed while Chad rubbed my shoulders and my doula rubbed my back, crying, saying, ‘I’m so tired. It hurts.’ My doula asked me to try a new position until the tub was ready. I moved into the tub and it was nice initially. I remember lying there moaning in pain for a very long time, then the contraction would ease, I would take a breath, and another one would come. I just could not believe it. They were coming fast, lasting forever and with no rest between. The pitocin had been turned off by now. Chad held my hand and I told him I needed the midwife. I was in so much pain, I did not know how to cope.
I cried and I felt disappointed in myself for not being stronger. I should be able to handle this right? I’m tough. I didn’t want to ask for help, but I didn’t know how much longer I could do this. The midwife said my only option at this point was an epidural. I didn’t want one of those. In my mind, it felt like a failure. Then, she said something I’ll never forget. ‘Kelly, there’s a difference between pain and suffering. I think you’re doing the latter and that’s not what this is about.’ Of course it wasn’t. The whole experience was to bring a healthy new life into this world, no matter how she arrived.
The midwife checked me to see how I had progressed. Remember I had come in a 3 cm and I was only 6 cm! After 12 hours of labor, only 3 cm of progress! The midwife said the pitocin would need to be restarted. Not without an epidural! The wonderful anesthesiologist came within a few minutes and in less than 10 minutes I was able to relax, breathe, and smile again through contractions. It was around 3 AM. My doula had to get on a plane so a new doula came, Chad and I went to sleep and we woke up around 9 AM to a new midwife. She told me I was at 10 cm (seriously?! My body did all that hard work while I slept!) but that Evelyn needed to come down a bit more before I was ready to push so we just let gravity do its work and around noon it was go-time!
Tune in Wednesday for the final part of the story!