Happy first birthday to my little Jonah Stephen! I thought a great way to celebrate this special day would be to share Jonah’s birth story. It is something that I have been wanting to write down since it happened, and I figure a year from the day is the perfect time to do it. It was such an important and amazing day for me and Josh. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I promise to leave out any gory details. If you do read it, thanks for listening, and I hope I can share at least 5% of the amazing-ness that was October 1, 2010.
I am not very good at being patient. Ask any driver in front of me who doesn’t go when the light turns green. When it came to the baby in my belly who kicked my organs throughout the day, I was in an even bigger hurry to get him out. I was ready to meet this little guy and introduce him to the world. My doctor didn’t help much with easing my anxiety. At about one month from our due date, she predicts that Jonah would be early. “This baby is soo low,” she says. So not only was I impatient, but I was convinced that I wouldn’t have to wait another month.
Our due date was a week away (Sept. 30th), and I was at another appointment, wishing I was home with my baby already. Where is he? Why doesn’t he want to come out?! My doctor gives me an out: induce on October 1st if he hasn’t arrived on his own. I didn’t need more than a second to agree. “Yes. Definitely,” I said.
My birth plan (the one I planned on) was to go all-natural and drug free. My how things change when you feel that baby with every breath and step you take. I knew an induction would make a natural birth harder, not to mention making it drug-full and not really natural at all. But at this point, my crazy pregnant self needed an end in sight, so the induction was set. I just prayed that he would be healthy and that was it. At the end of the day, regardless of your birth plan, you are a mom and he is in your arms. That’s all I wanted.
October 1st, 2010, 3:00am: Josh and I are up, packed, and heading to the hospital for our scheduled induction. I had prayed all night that Jonah would decide to come on his own that morning, but no luck there. We would need to give him a little push.
I had not experienced a single contraction yet. Any Braxton-Hicks contractions I had were very rare and very mild. I had no idea what a real contraction was going to feel like and had worried that I wouldn’t even know when labor would start. Now at 4:00am, hooked up to every machine and wire and strapped with a mobile monitor, the Pitocin started to drip, and it was on.
Mr. Pitocin made sure I knew what a contraction felt like. The contractions hit like a hurricane: full-force, non-stop, and without mercy. In other words, they hurt. Doctor broke my water to get things moving. That is when the pain really kicked in. I tried walking around, sitting in different positions, using all breathing/relaxation techniques I had learned, but that Pitocin fought back and the contractions raged on. I was having level 9 (to me) contractions every 1-2 minutes! I couldn’t catch a break. They just kept coming and coming, and I was not handling them well.
Doctor came in around 10:00am to check my progress. “You’re at 1 cm,” she says.
I almost lost it. I had been in extreme pain for almost 5 hours, and nothing had happened. The pain was so overwhelming, I just couldn’t relax and let things happen. I was stuck at a 1 and knew I couldn’t handle this pain much longer. “I’m done with this,” I said. “I can’t take it anymore. I want the epidural. I’m giving up.”
Everyone in the room was in favor. They knew I was in pain. Even Josh, after asking me several times that this was what I wanted, was ready to see me out of pain. He was so strong for me and with me every second, but this was not the birth experience we had expected. Everything was too fast, too furious, yet with little to no progress. For my sanity, I needed that pain to go away.
Mr. Drug-Man/My Hero arrived with his needle. I had to tell him when to give me the shot (in between my minute-apart contractions). I knew I could only sit still during that little break. After 10 minutes, the contractions began to decrease. Pretty soon, all pain was gone, and I was actually smiling. Such a relief. I went five hours epidural-free; I was proud. Now, I wanted Jonah out more than ever. How long would it take?
At 1:50pm, doctor came back in to check me. “Well, lady. You did it!” she exclaims.
“You’re at a 10! We can start pushing.”
Was she serious? How could this be? I went from 1cm to 10cm in a couple of hours of just laying there. My body had finally relaxed from the epidural, and my progress had flown. It was amazing, a miracle. Our cheering squad in the waiting room was informed, and they were thrilled. Jonah would be arriving soon. It was up to me now to do some pushing so we could meet our little boy.
I pushed for an hour. Josh, my mom, and sister were there cheering me on and counting for me. Josh was amazing. He was my rock through the whole day, and having him right next to me, holding my hand and counting to 10 over and over kept me focused and got me through. At 3:00pm, the doctor came back for those last couple of pushes and caught our sweet baby boy at 3:07pm. Josh cut the cord. Jonah cried his beautiful cry. I smiled.
I can’t describe the joy in those moments of seeing that baby for the first time after such a long day of pain, waiting, and work. It was just so worth it all. Maybe he didn’t come on his own, maybe I couldn’t go natural all the way, but he was there and healthy. He was ours.
As I held him on my chest moments after he was born, I whispered to him: “I love you my sweet baby. Happy birthday.” I got to say that again today–one year later. What an amazing gift and what an amazing little miracle he is. Happy birthday, Jonah. Everyone calls this your first, but between you and me, it’s the second.