I prefer midwife delivery because they tend to use less interventions, they aren't in a huge hurry and they do all they can to give you a safe, natural delivery without things like episiotomy's (big ouch). The only practice in the Gwinnett County that could guarantee a midwife delivery didn't allow children to come to your monthly visits. While I try to always leave the children at home with Steve (Micah does a great job watching them and Steve is still able to work from his home office) during visits, I didn't feel I could guarantee this, plus I wanted the kids to be able to come at least once to hear the baby's heartbeat and to the ultrasound when we learned the gender. So I opted to deliver in Athens with a group that had three wonderful midwives and I could deliver at St.Mary's. At St.Mary's you labor, deliver and have your postpartum care all in one room. This really appealed to me!
My pregnancy with Jacob seemed to be my easiest. Maybe because I have gotten used to the aches and pains, and maybe because I was so thrilled---it put all the physical pain in perspective. Asides from the physical discomforts the pregnancy itself was very uneventful. My drives in to Athens were relaxing and my visits were short and simple. It was great and I am very pleased with the care I received from Women's Health Associates in Athens.
They agreed to induce me exactly one week early on January 8th. At 36 weeks I was checked in the office and found to be 3 centimeters dilated and 50 percent effaced. Yeah! A head start! By 39 weeks I was the same but maybe a bit more effaced.
The day before I went into the hospital a friend of mine came over and helped me clean my house. I did way more than I probably should have physically and by the end of the day my whole body hurt. But I had a sparkling house! I made sure I had the list made for the friend that was coming to stay with the children, several casseroles made and put in the fridge, and mine and the babies bag packed. It was hard to sleep Tuesday night, between the physical pain and the excitement and anticipation. Wednesday morning came none too soon. I showered, gathered up my stuff, gave instructions to our baby-sitter, and Steve and I headed out.
I had a lot more peace at this point about the delivery and reminded myself, this baby is alive and well, I just have to get him from point A to point B. :) I ate breakfast on the way...I think we had oatmeal muffins and eggs if I'm remembering correctly. I had packed some plain yogurt and a few other snacks for in the hospital.
When we got there I was thinking I wasn't going to be allowed to eat anything else so I told Steve to hurry and help me find a spoon so I could eat some yogurt before the nurses came in! As it turns out, I was allowed to eat well in to my labor. The only concern was that if I decided I wanted an epidural I wouldn't be able to have one if I had eaten. But my wonderful midwife told me that they wouldn't deny me an epidural if I had eaten so I gladly ate!
My first nurse was wonderful. She got my IV started (relatively painless! she did a great job!) by probably about 10 am. By 11 I was having contractions. They didn't really hurt. By about 1:00 or 2:00 my midwife came and checked me and when she did she stripped my membranes. After this the contractions become much more sharp and painful, coming every 2 to 3 minutes. At some point I decided to get into the tub. Probably around 5. Between 11 and 5, I walked the halls, sat on the ball, listened to a wonderful sermon from church on Steve's laptop, had Kelli read to me from a Ruth Beechick book on teaching reading, Kelli also read from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening which was hilarious because the morning reading for that day was a chastisement to Christians for being luke warm in their devotion to Christ and I think Kelli was hoping for something much more encouraging! we just laughed and laughed! I probably stayed in the tub for about an hour, it was quite hot, but the contractions didn't hurt nearly as bad but still came regularly, and I ate like a whole cup full of ice. I got out around 6ish and decided I would just get the epidural. The midwife checked me and I was 7 cm's, and this is the point that I typically get epidurals.
After talking with the mdiwife about the reality that the nausea and vomiting I experienced after delivering Samuel was not due to the epidural, and after realizing the fact that my fears about having a shoulder dystocia baby were really unfounded and if that did happen they have ways to get the baby out even when the mother has an epidural, I decided that I had experienced enough pain throughout the entire pregnancy, and that I would prefer to have an enjoyable delivery, not a screaming, crazy, frantic, extremely painful delivery, and so I would just get the epidural.
Now, getting the epidural was absolutely no fun. It was of course, during this time, that the floodgate of tears opened up and I sobbed. Not just from the pain, but from everything. All my fears, the emotion of the delivery of the baby I thought we would never have , the knowing he would probably be my last, the decision to get the epidural itself, all of it, I just sobbed. And held onto my midwife's arm. Getting the epidural really did hurt more than I could remember from previous ones. It seemed to take longer too. Maybe because I was crying so much. But thankfully it took the first time and by probably 7:30 I was resting comfortable on the bed. Steve brought me some hot tea and I've never enjoyed a cup of tea more! I hadn't realized I would be able to have hot tea! Drinking hot tea had become a comfort thing for me during the pregnancy. I drank a lot of "pregnancy tea".
By the time I asked him if he would get me another cup, the midwife and the nurses came running in (probably at about 8:20 PM) asking if I felt anything different. Apparently my contractions and the heart rate monitor showed them something had changed and I was close to delivery. I had felt like something might be different but it was a very minor feeling of pressure or just an internal shift. They went ahead and checked me and sure enough, within an hour of getting the epidural I was fully dilated and in fact the baby's head was near crowning. That always happens when I get epidurals once I"m in transition. I relax and within a very short time it is time to push that baby out! (Not so with Micah--my completely natural delivery. I was stuck in transition at 9 cm's dilated for 2 hours!)
So they rush to get gowned and the room prepared for the delivery. They got me set up in the pushing position and I did the typical pushing when I can't feel a darned thing, but yet it works, and within 3 contractions he was born.
When he came out I just remember feeling, "Oh my goodness, he is real". Sadly, I felt like crying right away, because I felt bad for all the crying I had done while I was pregnant with him. We've been going through a really, really hard time with the health of one of our children, and I cried more during Jacob's pregnancy than all of them combined. But it was something I really couldn't help, despite the fact that I wanted to be completely cheerful for Jacob. I tried to push those guilt feelings away though because I didn't want to remember the birth of Jacob being a sad time, but rather a joyful time. And it was! I just had to forgive myself and recognize that it was okay for me to have been human during a very difficult time in our life as a family.
Jacob started nursing within a few minutes of delivery and nursed almost solidly for 2 hours! (ouch!) They only took him for a couple minutes to weigh him about an hour after he was born. The nurse was amazingly patient, allowing me to have all the time I wanted with Jacob after his birth. This was the longest I had gotten to hold my newborn in the hospital after a delivery. Typically they are quite anxious to get the baby over on their little warming bed to get all the stats. I can only imagine how peaceful a home delivery would be, but I don't think I would ever feel comfortable delivering at home. I'm not against it at all, just personally wouldn't feel comfortable...just in case.
It was probably 1 or so in the morning by the time we were all changed, every one was gone, the nurses went out, and we turned out the lights to rest. I layed down in the hospital bed with Jacob on my chest and rested, but didn't fall asleep. About an hour later the nurse came in and informed me that baby would have to sleep in his bassinet. This is probably the first time I felt a twinge of annoyment at the hospital staff telling me what to do with my baby. (I suppose I have a bit of a rebellious streak) But, I went ahead and laid Jacob down in the bassinet and crawled into my bed. Within about 2 minutes he was squeaking and I felt an unnatural vaccancy so I decided I didn't care what they said or did, I scooped him up out of that cold, sterile bed. I laid down on my side in the hospital bed, tucked him into my chest, and proceeded to rest, but not sleep the rest of the night. They didn't want me sleeping with him...so I didn't. He slept and I adored the closeness of my baby, tucked in right next to my heart, savoring every moment of that sweet first night.