A few weeks before Maris was born, I began to have a sense that I may need to have her naturally. The thought first entered my head after reading the blog of a friend who told about the birth of her third son. The labor was completed without aid of any kind of medicine and thanks to the good work of a mid-wife, his head came out perfectly round, mother un-torn. (TMI? You did read the title of this blog right?!) Now I have always known this mama was a rockstar and this was baby two of three that had come along without drugs. It was not the facts alone that caught my attention. It was something else, unidentified (even still) that caught my heart. I read the story with tears in my eyes. Pregnant woman crying? No shock there. The story, however, lingered with me and then a thought burst through my otherwise stubborn head. “What if I went natural?”
Now, you must know, I have really had a sense of dumbfounded confusion at these people who in this place in history would choose to have a baby sans drugs. Truly, I did not even want to know why someone would entertain the notion of willing pain. When there is relief from pain offered…particularly when facing the feat of pushing something the size of a small watermelon out of….well you get the picture. My feeling was, at the end of the day, natural, c-section or the (God-Blessed) Epidural, we all ended up with a baby. Given my strongly held belief about the value and important nature of drug relief from pain, the thought of going natural was not something that interested me in the least. So the entrance of the little question….”What if I went natural?” was something of another world.
January 31, 2015
On Saturday, Jan 31st, my sis and I had planned to get our nails and toes done at a cute little place in North OKC. My son was staying with grandma and time alone with my sister is not a frequent occurrence. I got my 39 week self ready (sort of) and set off to our 11am appointment. People were looking at me with that sympathy look. You know, the one that says, “You poor (HUGE) thing, you could probably drop that baby out in this pedicure spa.” The lady doing my toes asked (with wide eyes), “When are you due?” The question was repeated by sympathetic patrons and other nail techs. “I would just smile and say, oh, next week but it will probably be a couple more, my first one was late.” I fully anticipated returning to work on Monday and had made meeting appointments for the upcoming two weeks with people.
When our nails and toes were done, about noon, I waddled (in a dignified manner) to my car. Terry called and asked if I could pick up Myles from his mom’s house. A few minutes after 12pm I arrived at the Big Rimmers and was greeted by a bouncing toddler who excitedly asked me to eat grilled cheese with him. I sat down with him and ate my grilled cheese…and his (I was 39 weeks preg, give me a break). Just before 1pm, I asked Terry’s sister to help me get Myles into the car because something didn’t feel right in my back and the thought of picking him up was somewhat overwhelming. At 1pm, we got in the car and drove home to get Myles to sleep for his nap.
While I was driving I felt what seemed like it might be a contraction. I looked at the clock. 1:04pm. At 1:09pm, I felt another probable contraction. That can’t be right. Five minutes apart with no previous warning is unlikely. I quickly downloaded an app to count my contractions and started timing them. By the time I got home, about 1:30pm, my contractions were close together. “Terry, I think my contractions are two minutes apart.” (In true Terry style) “Well, that is quite frequent,” he said. I asked him if we should go to the hospital and he said that if I wanted to have natural labor, it would likely be more comfortable at home.
I sat down to read a book to get ready for my staff meeting the next day. I was breathing through some pretty good contractions at this point. I asked Terry to download a movie. He said, “From the sound of it, you are not going to make it through the download.” He went to clean the kitchen instead. Feeling guilty that I wasn’t cleaning but knowing that I needed to stay put, heating pad in place, I tried to keep reading. A couple of pages later, I asked him to call his mom ‘just in case’ we needed to go to the hospital. While he was on the phone with her, I let out a blood curdling scream….”YOU GOTTA HELP ME!!!!” He came quickly. It was clear to both of us at that point that this was not labor that was going to back off. Our baby was on her way.
(In distress) “I can’t wear this to the hospital…my shirt and pants don’t match!” Torn between helping me and loading the car, Terry got me back to our bedroom to change, where I proceeded to scream my head off because the contractions were coming right on top of each other. At 2:27pm, we were in the car, pulling out of the garage. Myles was still asleep in his room and we were two steps away from getting the neighbor to come sit with him until someone from Terry’s family arrived. I called my mom (Totally losing my mind) and let her know what was going on. At first, she was concerned that someone may have been in an accident from the hysteria. They she calmly said, “This is labor.” (The woman had four children naturally) Now on speaker, I hear my dad say, “We will pray for you.” I hung up before I could hear the prayer. That was the only call I mad before I threw my phone to Terry so I could concentrate on losing my mind.
It was a rainy Saturday and people were out for their leisurely drive. This pace simply did not work for a man who had a normally controlled woman absolutely going ballistic in the seat next to him. I was screaming, “Jesus, Help me!! You gotta help me!!” Perhaps the most sincere prayer of faith I have ever uttered. Terry began dodging cars in a race to I-40 and then raced down the interstate to the hospital. By the time we reach downtown, he was running red lights. About Western and Reno, I hit a decibel of screaming that unnerved by darling husband and he was ready to jump in with his medical training. “Do we need to pull over?” he asked. Waving frantically for him to go, we drove on.
At 2:48pm, we arrived at the hospital. We parked in physician parking (perk!) and buzzed in at the door. Terry calmly stated, “We need to be checked for labor.” I was doubled over. They went to get a wheelchair and we were rolling. I am not sure how I ended up on the hospital bed but they got it as low as they could and started trying to help the screaming lady. With one fistful of Terry’s jeans and the other hand gripping the hospital bed, I labored, signed paperwork, got checked and screamed for drugs. Upon arrival, I was an 8, probably 20 minutes later, I was complete. I began having the urge to push and let everyone on the wing know that she was about to come out. They held me steady. My doctor was still on her way. Not really knowing where I was or how much longer I had to endure the pain I caved and got a spinal block. 2 minutes after my spinal block, my doctor walked in the room and we were ready to push.
Spinal blocks are kind of a weird thing because it literally seemed like someone else’s legs were in front of me and the control of pushing was completely gone. I did the best I could with my mind telling my body what to do but ultimately we had to use the vacuum. My doctor later told me that we would have had to use the vacuum anyway because the cord was wrapped around her neck. She indicated that a vacuum with no meds to help can be pretty brutal.
At 3:47pm, only an hour after our arrival at the hospital, Maris Grace Rimmer entered the world. Upon first sight, [after getting over the shock of how much she looked like Myles] I loved her. I felt like she had already been mine forever. Everything about her was perfect to me and ‘skin to skin’ was heaven.
I know now that the strange premonition that I needed to go natural was just God preparing me to labor without aid. It is interesting how he takes care of all the details, even the ones we don’t know we need.