I have just finished nursing my little one, and since both she and my husband are now asleep, I thought it's a good time to write a few words about our dear daughter's arrival. Those of you who might not be interested in birth stories (like the occassional gentleman) are welcome to skip this.
I woke up in the middle of the night between Tuesday and Wednesday with pretty intense regular contractions which were already five minutes apart, so we got dressed, ate quickly and drove to the hospital we decided on earlier. We both wondered whether we should stay home for a while longer, but since it was our first time around we decided not to take a chance.
To my disappointment, I was told I'm only 1.5 cm dilated and we were sent to take a walk and come back after two hours. I progressed to 3 cm, but then we were stuck. After 3, 4, 5 hours there was still no progress, and I also began to feel my contractions becoming weaker. The doctors began pressuring me to induce, the main idea behind which was, "why not? It's about time!"
We said we're going to watch and wait, thank you very much, and left. We were both pretty sure that it's the stress of an unfamiliar environment and the mental pressure of "not being on schedule" that's halting the progress. By this point we had a sleepless night behind us and were much too tired to go home. I was exhausted, and gladly agreed to stay with my in-laws, who live nearby, and rest.
Throughout the evening, my contractions began picking up strength again, and this time we weren't in such a hurry to leave the quiet and privacy of our room. We prayed together, and around midnight, my waters broke, which meant it's time to go. Since we were a bit disappointed in the first hospital, and had one nearer, we thought we'd just try there. I'm so very happy we did.
I was relieved to hear I progressed to 5 cm, and was sent into delivery room immediately. The entire birth was guided by a wonderful certified nurse/midwife. The only time a doctor came in to see me was to draw some blood and offer an epidural, which I declined. I walked around a lot and breathed through each contraction. I couldn't put my prayers into words, but my husband recited psalms to me the entire time, and I drew the letters of the Lord's name in my mind's eye. I also took long warm showers, which did wonders to help me relax. From time to time, I was requested to do monitoring, which I was able to do while using the birthing ball - something I never did before, and was pleasantly surprised to learn how simple and helpful it is.
After three or four hours, I began to be concerned because despite what I expected, my contractions didn't intensify. I wondered how long I can keep going - but then an examination showed we're already at 9 cm! I was thrilled and continued walking and jumping up and down on the birthing ball. Less than an hour later, I went into the shower again, and at that moment I felt as though I need to push. The painful contractions I felt earlier were gone. I was told to come out immediately, and another check showed what I already knew - I was fully dilated, and ready to welcome the baby.
For the first time, I climbed up onto the bed, and believe it or not, fell asleep for a few minutes. After two sleepless nights, I'm sure you understand. I conserved my strength and only pushed when I felt the need to. It took less than an hour from that point until I finally had our sweet, beautiful, precious, long awaited child in my arms. I have no words to describe that moment. I couldn't believe it, but there she was, our beloved baby. It was Thursday, 5:55 in the morning.
Giving birth to little Miss T was a glorious, wonderful experience, which taught me that my body was made for this and can do this. I'm so very, very, very thrilled we let the baby take her time and went through this without any interventions or drugs. The simplest things, such as warm water and sincere prayer, were most helpful. No, it wasn't painless, and yes, it was hard work, but I knew that each moment is bringing me closer to holding my baby, and I'd go through it all again in a heartbeat.
We returned home yesterday, and it's wonderful to be back. Thank you for all your kind wishes and congratulations.
And what about the name? We still haven't officially decided on that one, but I will certainly let you know when we do.