Today was the day, and what a day it has been! I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude, love and amazement that it will be hard to put it into words just yet. However, I wanted to blog about our birth story while it was still fresh, so here are the nitty gritty details.
Our plan was to have a natural birth, but I didn't want to go around proclaiming that to the world beforehand because I tend to cry when I stub my toe and I wanted to have complete freedom to say "Okay, I can't do this! Bring on the epidural, please!" without feeling like a failure. Turns out there was no time for any of that "I can't do it" nonsense.
We were lying down for bed when I asked Sylvain to rub my back. Then I had to go to the bathroom about ten times and after each time I needed my back rubbed again. Finally, around 11:30, we decided there was something to this and we should probably start timing what must be contractions. They were very sporadic, some were eight minutes apart, some were five, some were three. Some were 70 seconds long, some were 45, some were 30. We had absolutely NO IDEA WHAT WE WERE DOING! So finally, around 1:00 AM we called the hospital. When we told them how far along I already was, they said we could come in any time we wanted to and I wanted it to be soon! I was so worried about getting to the hospital too early, but considering I had no idea how to get through those contractions without freaking out, I really wanted to be around some nurses and other professionals. "But didn't you take childbirth classes?" you ask. Why, yes we did, and we forgot EVERYTHING. It came down to me saying "Let's go to the hospital - NOW!" so that's what we did.
The ten minute car ride in the pouring down rain was excrutiating. I could not make myself relax, I could not get comfortable during contractions, and even thought I knew it was dangerous, I was pleading with Sylvain to drive as fast as he possibly could. We arrived around 1:30, they took us up to our labor and delivery room and we discovered that I was fully dilated! We arrived just in the nick of time - yes! I got the urge to push a little after 2:00 and the midwife and nurses had the room all ready to go. We collapsed the bed so that it looked like a chair and they hooked up the squat bar. I sat on the edge of the bed between contractions and when I felt like pushing I just leaned forward, grabbed the squat bar and gave it all I had! We did that for a while, then changed to the half lying down/half squatting position and that worked really, really well. So well that she was born at 3:19 AM! I helped pull her out and put her on my chest, they cleaned her up and we spent two hours together just staring at each other, trying to get her to eat (which she did) and trying to pick our jaws up off the floor while we figured out what in the heck just happened. She was wide awake, trying to pick up her head, looking right into our eyes and it was beautiful.
Sylvain was amazing. From the car ride, to the registration desk, to standing by my side while I labored and pushed, he was cool, calm and collected. There were times where I was freaking out, where I thought "Stop this right now, I can't do it!" and he would say, "Rach, you ARE doing it, just keep going." The nurses and midwife, Allison were also amazing. Mom made it down in time to see the last few pushes, and the whole room was full of cheerleaders telling me how well I was doing and that was the biggest motivator of all time.
And I won't lie to you, people, it HURT. I have never in all of my life imagined that kind of pain...but at the same time, it didn't hurt. It was a hurt with a purpose, it was the weirdest, most amazingly empowering feeling in the universe. When it was all over, I just laid there and thought, "Wow, I could conquer the world right now." I felt so GOOD. They gave me a shot, they numbed "the area" and they gave me a Motrin. I was on top of the world and still am! After a couple hours they took us down to our recovery room and Sylvain got some sleep. I laid down and closed my eyes, but certainly didn't sleep a wink.
The little girl is eating (or trying to, at least), she's pooped, she's all wrapped up and sleeping like...um...a baby! She is the most precious little wonder and I can't stop staring at her. Sylvain has already changed her diaper, swaddled her and rocked her to sleep. I feel like we were meant to do this! I know we'll run into all kinds of problems when we get home, but for today, we're all okay.
And we did it. With the help of God, nature and our family. And I'd do it again, too. It was amazing.
I'm Rachael. My occupations include, in this order: daughter, sister, friend, teacher, wife, and mother. I may seem like a grown up, but don't be fooled - I have no idea what I'm doing. We have lots of family around the world, so this blog is our way of saying, "Here's what's going on in our little corner."