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Ladies,

I have a question for those of you who are done having babies.  How did you know you were done?  Did you feel your family was complete?  Did you ever have moments where you were unsure? 

I feel I am being pulled back and forth on this one.  I do NOT feel that we are complete (yet).  But I’m not necessarily sure that that feeling necessarily means I’m supposed to have another baby.  I’m torn and confused…and last night’s dream makes me wonder even more…but I’ll blog about that one tomorrow. 

Until then…please comment and let me know your thoughts on this one.  Scott has an appointment in a couple weeks, and I guess I just want to make sure that we are doing the right thing.

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After taking some time to monitoring the baby, I was allowed to take the monitor and spandex belt off.  If I remember right, we were still being monitored when my doula arrived and boy was I relieved.  She told me my other doula was going to try to come, but her kids were very sick.  They were throwing up and had diarrhea.  “No!”  Scott and I both said.  The last thing we wanted was to expose our newborn to sickness!

So I just had one doula, the doula who is being mentored.  She knew some of the techniques that helped a laboring woman get through the intense contractions and she began to show them to me.  It wasn’t long after that when they moved me to the laboring room.  I have to admit I was relieved because then I knew I REALLY was in labor.  This baby really was going to be born soon! 

The room was huge and the nurse transfering me (while I lie on my bed) bragged that she got me into the “newest” room.  It certainly was new and very nice.  Flat screen tv, marble shower, hardwood floors.  It was beautiful.  There were plenty of chairs, a table, and a rocking chair in there also, but at that point, I was just happy to be in any room.  I was in pain. 

 

I tried a number of laboring positions, from leaning over the table/tray to sitting on the birthing ball.  At that point, I just wanted to stand up and lay my head on someone’sshoulders and breath as I rocked through the contractions.  The back pain was bad and it seemed that when someone would push into my back to relieve the back pain, my belly pain just got worse.  Eventually, the contractions became even more intense and I headed for the shower.  I sat on the ledge as my doula sprayed hot water on my belly.  It was amazing how much relief the water provided during the contractions.   I sat there for what seemed like forever, breathing through the contractions.  I kept my eyes closed most of the time not even noticing when someone switched out with my doula.  I didn’t even care how hot the water was.  When the nurse returned to my room to tell me we had to put the monitor back on, I nearly cried.  I hated that stupid spandex belt.  It made things worse.  But I complied.  I got out of the shower, dried off, and pulled the belt up over my body and onto my now red, water-burned belly.

I had the nurse check me again.  To my surprise, I’d progressed to 7.  Maybe this labor wasn’t going to last too long.  The pain was terrible, but as long as I could hang out in the shower, I thought I might be able to make it through.

But the contractions continued to get worse.  They monitored the baby and it seemed to take forever to get the readings they were looking for this time.  Of course, the baby was fine, so they  let me take the belt off again.  I headed back to my comfort zone – the shower.  But the contractions were getting worse and the shower didn’t provide nearly as much relief this time.  The night wore on and everything seemed a blur because all I could do was prepare myself for the next contraction.  I remember trying different positions in the shower, the back pain getting so intense, I hoped the hot water being sprayed on my back would help.

 

It didn’t.  I remember the nurse checking me again, I felt like I needed to push, like the baby was hitting my bottom.  It was not comfortable, no, it hurt.  I hadn’t progressed anymore, but the pain continued to increase. 

I was frustrated because I wasn’t progressing but the pain was getting so bad I was yelling and tensing up.  The shower no longer helped.  I remember being on my knees, thrashing my head back and forth in agony with each contraction.  I didn’t want to lay down, sit down, stand up.  I just wanted to get this baby out.  At one point, I apparently bit my husband on his chest.  This served as a humorous moment for my mom and Scott, which was good because they felt so helpless.  I didn’t remember biting him, until they told me about it later.  Then I remembered being in so much pain, I even stuck my own hand in my mouth to bite down. 

I was out of control.  I started crying to Scott, telling him I could not do this anymore.  “I can’t!  I can’t!”  I screamed.  Finally, the nurse talked to me.  She told me that it was possible that I was tensing up so much I was not allowing my body to progress.  I knew my next option was an epidural, but I did not want to do that.  I was afraid that if I agreed, I wouldn’t progress anymore and I’d end up with another C-Section.  Memories of my first labor experience haunted me.  It seemed things were following the same pattern. 

Scott and I talked, and finally, I knew I couldn’t take anymore.  I knew that I wasn’t progressing and I knew I was closing my body up every time a contraction came along.  So I agreed to an epidural, hoping I wouldn’t regret my decision later.  The nurse hooked up some fluids and told me I’d have to wait until the bag was empty before they could give me an epidural. I looked at her in dread.  “How long will that be?”  I asked.

She didn’t want to give me a time frame. She knew better.  Even 5 minutes would have been too long.  “Until it’s empty.”  She said, and then walked out. 

Finally the anesthesiologist walked in.  They made my mom and doula leave the room as she prepared to give me the epidural.  She started talking immediately, telling me the procedure.  When she told me that I would have to completely hold still during the contractions while she inserted the needle, I freaked.  “It could be dangerous for you and me.”  She said.

There was no way I could sit still.  I asked her how long it would take, she told me about 20 minutes.  20 minutes!?!  That’s like 10 contractions!  I looked at Scott and told him I didn’t know if I could hold still that long.  He assured me I could.  But as the contractions came, I couldn’t. 

The anesthesiologistrefused to do the epidural if I couldn’t sit still, and that was understandable.  I didn’t want her sticking a needle up my back if I couldn’t sit still either!   I asked her if she would give me just a contraction or two to practice being still, and if she would wait until the contraction was over before starting so I’d have one less contraction to endure.  She started packing up her supplies.  “I’ll tell you what.  When you make up your mind, call me.”  And walked out.  She was not a patient woman.  She wasn’t going to give me one contraction to breath through, to practice being still through, and she was not going to promise me that she’d wait through the end of a contraction before starting on my back.

I cried.  I told my nurse she was not a patient woman and I saw the look on her face.  She was pissed.  She agreed withme.  My mom and doula came in.  I guess when the anesthesiologist walked out, she smiled at them and said, “She changed her mind.”  Only my mom said it was almost a half-evil smile.  My doula called the other doula.  The other doula called her a real bitch.  She said she was like this to everyone…very difficult to work with and the nurses dreaded sharing the same shift with her.

I told Scott I didn’t want the epidural now, because I knew I couldn’t sit still.  But I couldn’t endure this pain either.  I was trapped.  He continued to talk to me, speak logic into my clouded mind.  “She’s not going to take any risks, Melissa.  This is her job, she knows better.  She will wait for you to get through the contraction.” 

Finally, I agreed to the epidural and while I waited for the “bitch” to come back, I practiced breathing through some contractions.  She came back in, again expressing the importance of being still.  While she prepared everything, I continued to practice breathing.  I had to sit on the edge of my bed and lean over, hunching my back good so she could see my spine.  I dug my foot under the bar on my bed and used that foot to brace myself through the contractions.  With the urge to move and sway, I pressed my toes up under the bar and pulled on it with my foot.  Doing this helped me remain still through the contractions.  I figured out a way to do this and she hadn’t even inserted the needle yet.  It turned out the 20 minutes she said I’d have to remain still, was only about 2, the actual time she took inserting the epidural.  The rest of the time, she was simply preparing, washing my back, taping the needle in place, etc.  “She COULD HAVE TOLD ME THAT.”  I thought.  For some reason I thought that the actual insertion was going to take 20 minutes, which was silly because I’ve had an epidural before.  But I just wasn’t thinking straight. 

Finally, relief.  My screaming and moaning (and biting) stopped.  I was able to relax.  I could still feel the contractions coming, but it was the pressure hitting my bottom I felt, as if my uterus was pushing the baby downwards.  It wasn’t comfortable, but certainly bearable.  The anesthesiologist returned to my room after a while and didn’t so much apologize, but told me she was proud of me and told me she wasn’t trying to be mean, she just wanted to make sure I didn’t get hurt.  At that moment, she could have been my best friend.  I didn’t care how rude and terrible she was during some of the most intense pain I’d ever experienced…I was finally experiencing some relief.  She walked out and told my mom I was a real “sweety.” 

Sometime during the night, and I don’t remember if it was before or after the epidural, my mom told me if I could just hold on a few more hours, I’d have the baby on her birthday.  I looked at her and said, “I don’t really care.”  She laughed at me.  Even though deep down inside I thought it would be extra special to have the baby on my mom’s birthday – the 4th of July, while she was here to witness the birth of her grandchild, I couldn’t help but wonder if this baby was ever going to be born!

For the next several hours, the nurse came in to check on me.  The spandex belt I grew to despise was already on me and the baby remained monitored since I was stuck in my bed.  Every couple hours, I was rotated from one side to another, lying a bit on my stomach.  These different positions continued to help me progress and try to get the baby to turn the right way, because the baby was face up and not wanting to turn. 

I tried to sleep the best I could, to get rested up so I would have the energy and strength to push.  I managed to sleep lightly, but woke up through most of my contractions, because I could still feel the pressure.  I remember Scott and my mom taking off for a while to get something to eat.  I remember the doula doing the same, and then returning before my mom and Scott and setting up the sofa seat for herself to sleep on.   This left a couple of chairs and a rocking chair for my mom and Scott to sleep on.  They came back and Scott had my mom sleep on the two chairs while he attempted to sleep on the rocking chair.  I remember thinking it was a bit strange she was taking the couch.  Wasn’t she supposed to be looking out for me and my husband?  But I was just too tired to say anything. 

The night progressed into the wee early hours of the morning and eventually Scott found his way to the floor.  I felt bad for him, wishing there was room on my bed to share.  Finally, the sun rose, and it was getting close to time for my doctor to come into the hospital to check up on me.  The good news was, I was progressing, and around 7-ish in the morning, I heard the even better news.  I was ready to start pushing! 

They sent the anesthesiologist in to turn my epidural down so I could feel what I needed to feel.  A quiet man walked in.  He wasn’t so very friendly either, but he wasn’t unpleasant, just quiet and serious.  He turned my epidural down, and I started pushing as we waited for the numbness to subside.  Finally, I had enough feeling in my legs to get up on my knees.  I leaned over the back of my bed and pushed from that position, letting gravity help me. 

I stayed this way until I felt I could do other, preferable positions.  I couldn’t wait to pull out the bar and start pushing in a squatting position.  To me, this seemed an even more natural way to push.  I pushed for a while as the nurse and doctor checked my progress.  They told me I was doing a great job pushing.  That made me feel good, like I was doing my job.  Even with the epidural, I was strong enough. 

 

The baby was still facing up and my doctor came in and said he wanted to try to turn the baby’s head.  I agreed, knowing it would be easier to push the baby out that way.  So he put his hand up there and tried to turn the baby.  He smiled.  “She’s got plenty of room to move.”  He said.  She’d turned right around.  And then another look on his face.   A look of surprise.  He shook his head.  “She turned back.”  He said. 

“You have one strong baby!”  He said as he wrestled with this little one trying to get the child to turn again.  Apparently, this baby was fighting him.  He kept shaking  his head, half-way laughing.  This child didn’t want to turn. Every time he’d get the baby going, the baby would turn back up.

I kept pushing for a bit, and the pushing time reached to about 2 1/2 hours.  My doctor decided to talk to me about other options.  He explained how the vacuum worked and asked me if I’d be interested in trying it.  I kept thinking I’d still be pushing for a while before we used the vacuum and remember asking him how long it would be before he’d try it.  “Right now.”  He said.  “We can do it right now.” 

“Oh!”  Wow.  “Okay, let’s do it!”  I said.  I was ready for this baby to be born and it looked like I was going to need a little help to make it happen.  At this point, the thought never occured to me that if this didn’t work, I’d have to have a C-Section.  I just knew she was about to be born. 

The nurses and my doctor started to prepare things for the birth of my baby.  A table was brought towards the doctor where he was sitting.  He attached the vaccuum to the baby’s head before I even realized it and then it was time to push again.  I pushed.  Pushed again.  I could feel the baby moving and before I knew it, the baby’s head popped out and everyone started getting excited.  I can still remember the feeling of her moving out of me.  The doctor told me to stop pushing for a minute.  I guess her cord was wrapped around her neck, but he also didn’t want her coming out too fast.  Too bad, because before I knew it, the rest of her just popped out.  “It’s a girl!” 

Everyone cheered and got excited, but the reaction I’ll always remember is Scott’s.  He was so excited, so happy, so in love. 

They placed her in my arms nearly right away.  At first, I was just thrilled to have her in my arms. 

Then, I realized that I really didn’t know what to do.  My last two babies weren’t placed in my arms right after birth.  I had to wait until the surgeries were over. 

But I recovered from the shock quickly, and before I knew it, I was admiring the beautiful child lying in my arms.

My doctor shook his head as he told me she just came out, and I guess her coming out so fast caused me to tear pretty bad.  “Third degree tears” he told me as he stitched me up.  I even tore some on the inside.  I told him maybe I made the wrong choice, maybe I should have asked for an episiotimy.  He disagreed.  He said my tear avoided other areas that an episiotimywouldn’t.  Even with 3rd degree tears, I’d made the right choice. 

I turned back to my daughter, staring at her in disbelief.  I did it.  It wasn’t really a “natural birth” like I’d planned, but still, I’d reached my main goal – No C-Section.  My little girl was finally born…and the best part of all, she was born on the 4th of July, my mom’s birthday.

That night, Scott and I were settled in our room.  They moved me, and while the room was much smaller and not nearly as fancy, I was happy to be in this room, because it meant my baby was finally in my arms.  We talked about names, trying to decide on one that fit our little girl.  We had a list, and we went through it.  But Scott and I both seemed to like one name in particular…the name, you can find here, with the right password.  It just seemed like the name that was supposed to be, which made sense, because while I was pregnant with our little girl, I prayed and asked God to give us the right name.  The middle name seemed fitting, since it is also my mom’s middle name.  They share the same birthday, Scott and I wanted them to share the same middle name. 

After I got home, I looked up the meaning of our daughter’s first name.  We named her without knowing what her name meant, and tears welled up in my eyes as I read the one word that in many ways, changed my life – a word that I’d seen many times before, a word that meant many more words to me.  Even her name was a gift, an answer to prayer, a message and reminder that God will find little ways to continue speaking His love to me.

and that one word is

CAPTIVATING.

 

***If you haven’t, check out Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, get it at half.com!

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I can’t believe it has been a week since the baby was born!  I promise to get on the birth story soon!  But obviously it has been a crazy week, and today we celebrated Joshua’s 7th birthday. 

So today made for an emotional morning as I remembered where I was last week, giving birth to my daughter, and where I was 7 years ago, giving birth to my son.  Time flies way too fast, especially when you are trying your hardest to cherish and treasure every moment!

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Well, this is Melissa’s mom.  First, let me say that I am not the writer that Melissa is.  She can write things and make them so interesting, just full of life.  But I told her that I’d try to keep everyone informed, so here I am.

Melissa has been having steady contractions now for several hours, and, of course, we’re wondering if this is the real thing.  These contractions have again been steady, but this time they are even more intense.  I have to say, Melissa has been doing so well, and she’s handled things wonderfully.  I’ve never gone through labor having 5 children around me.  Even little Madison has been sensitive.  She’ll look and see Melissa has her eyes closed and say, “Mommy is sleeping.  Be quiet.”

Scott has just taken the kids to a friend’s home.  The pains are coming too close, and are too intense now.  We’re hoping and praying that this is it, and that both mommy and baby come through wonderfully.  Melissa deserves to have exactly what she is wishing for (a successful labor and delivery and healthy baby).  And I believe that is what the Lord has planned for her.

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What is it about the night that makes my uterus want to work?  I was up all night again.  The contractions became more intense and eventually I got out of bed and headed downstairs with a couple of pillows and sat on the recliner part of my couch.  I had the heating pad on, which did wonders for my back, but these contractions were definitely doing something.  I could feel the tightening sensation work its way down, and while painful, I have to admit there is something powerful about being able to feel this muscle work from top to bottom.  There was no talking through these, just focusing on relaxing and breathing!

I had the tv on when I first went down and ended up flipping to that reality show with Tori Spelling.  It caught my attention and I was able to pause between contractions so I could keep up with what is going on in the show.  I have to say that I got a good laugh when she was waiting to see her OB and freaking out about her baby possibly punching through her placenta and uterus and damaging vital organs (therefore drowning itself in her own blood).  Oh my gosh.  What a way to lighten up (false) labor!  Her husband tried to rationalize with her that she has nothing sharp to puncture through the uterus with, but Tori said, “Hello!  She has nails!”  As she held up her hands with her neatly manicured (probably fake) long pink nails attached to her fingers.  Just what I needed to lighten up a long, exhausting night!

Finally, I moved off the recliner and lie on the couch where I was able to sleep for 2 hours with a few contractions waking me up in between.  They apparently spread out after I stopped timing them, but I’m stilling having a few every hour!  This could go on for days, folks.  I guess I’ll deal, because I know I’m getting closer to having this baby! 

I’m off to attempt to take a nap now.  I don’t know why I’m even trying.  The contractions are starting up again, but who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky!

 

 

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I’m still having contractions.  They are just here and there.  They got pretty intense early this morning.  I really had to focus on my breathing and there were a couple of times they caught me off-guard and I was not in a relaxing position when they hit…nor could I get in a relaxing position until they stopped.  OUCH!  I got up later this morning and sat with my achey back and hips against a heating pad.  It felt so good!  I guess my body is just getting ready for the real deal.  At least I can take comfort in knowing that I’m going to have a July baby!

We did manage to get the t-shirts done and packed in the bags the other day.  Here are a few pics of what the kids will wear when they show up at the hospital to find out if they have a brother or a sister.  (Okay, we have t-shirts too!)  Since Dwight is on Team Pink but didn’t want to wear pink, I made his special. 

Now, I’m going to go get ready to get out of the house for a bit.  Scott is working from home and taking us out for some Mexican food for lunch…maybe that will get things going!

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Of course this is how it happens!  We call our Doula, call the doctor and let him know we think we are at the beginning stages of labor. 

I have a moment where I start crying because I just feel so guilty about leaving little Madison at someone else’s house overnight without being able to explain to her what is going on.  She’s still just one and although she senses something is going on, how could she possibly understand?  So I cried because I really didn’t know how she’d handle the night and felt guilty about leaving her somewhere else, wondering where her mommy is.

We get the kids all fed and bathed and pj’s on, bags packed and ready to go to “Uncle Joe’s” and then the contractions start spacing out.  At first they spaced out about 10 minutes apart but were much more intense.  Then they just kept spacing.  I’m still having contractions, and they are slightly painful, but not consistent enough to call labor!

We’re calling this one a fire drill.  But the bags are still sitting by the front door.  I called my doula back and let her know what was going on (and of course the contractions start picking up again), but that is how it works!

I’m going to try to get some sleep.  Maybe tomorrow…

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