Elisha Paul was born on Saturday, March 20th 2010 at 12:11pm. He weighed 8 lbs, 5oz and was 21 inches long. He was an epidural-free vaginal birth after less than 12 hours of labor and only 45 minutes of pushing.
The story starts Thursday. I began having stronger-than-usual contractions around 10pm, and so hubby and I decided to time them. They didn’t necessarily intensify but they became very regular. So, we eventually sucked it up and went to the hospital at 1:30am Friday morning after a shower and a bit of procrastinating just in case everything faded. The hospital monitored me and I didn’t progress after three hours of waiting and walking around, so they sent us home only slightly disappointed. Sometime in the night, everything faded.
Friday I stayed home from work in anticipation of something happening, but went all day walking and eating spicy food to what I thought were only a handful of contractions. I did however begin to notice the loss of my mucous plug throughout the day. (Oh yeah, birth TMI just for you.)
Sometime early Saturday, all of that changed. Around 2 in the morning, I woke up to contractions I couldn’t sleep through. Once it was too uncomfortable to lay in bed, I got hubby up and hovered a while in the shower. We waited and labored at home until I couldn’t handle the discomfort anymore. This time, we got to the hospital and stayed. The nurse admitted me and the road to getting Elisha out into the world began. Early labor was pretty tolerable for me. I did a lot of standing and walking once the nurse let me off the monitor.
As transition hit, I spent some time in the lovely jacuzzi labor tub. After my two hours was up there, it was very hard to dry off. I did some more standing and laboring on the birth ball, but at around 7cm, I was getting tired. A half dose of Stadol by IV let me doze a little between contractions and ease me further along. I finally had to ask for the other half of the Stadol for the last centimeter or so, but I’ll admit I never once thought of that epidural. Once I could concentrate on the waves of pressure and pain as they came, I realized I only had to make it to the top of the wave every time. That highest point was all there was, and then I could crawl down again into a breath or two of quiet.
Granted, near the end, those waves were like mountains, crushing the timing of my breathing, and eventually some came without a single pause behind the other, but for some reason, I could wrap my mind around their terribleness and think of just what was to come.
I labored until about 11 in the morning. Sunlight had begun to flood our hospital room and when the nurse checked to find me finally at 10cm, she accidentally broke my water as she did so. It was finally time to push. This was the hardest for me; it felt as though my body had no idea what to do. It seemed to take forever to get the hang of how to position myself and how to bear down at each contraction. What felt like forever, though, was only 45 minutes.
In less than half an hour of groaning, Elisha was crowning and the doctor was there and Justin was continuing to be the awesome support he’d been my entire labor. Everything moved so fast and then something—no someone—was crying. It was our baby.
I knew it was a boy.
Then Justin was crying and I was crying and a very squirmy, fresh baby was in my arms all snuffling and shoving his little fists in his face like he’d been doing in the womb. Out were the tiny feet that had been in my ribs for so long, dancing their way into the world. Out was the face that was love at first sight. And over was all the struggle of birth.
My body fared rather well. No severe tearing, but certainly a few first time souvenir stitches to the tune of about a second degree. I managed to survive the nine months of pregnancy without hemorrhoids, but apparently pushing did me in a bit. Hopefully, they won’t hang around. Even recovery has been great, but I have to be careful not to do too much … especially now that we’re out of the hospital (oh, that place where no one sleeps!).
Everything is good. Not everything has been easy, but Eli and I are both newbs to breastfeeding, after all. Everything is beautiful now that we’re a family.
I’d like to add that the staff of Virginia Baptist Hospital was amazing. Never once did I feel out of control of my birth, and never once did I feel like they didn’t have my and the babe’s best interests in mind. I’d also like to add that I have the best husband in the world. Hand’s down.