Sunday, February 14, 2010

Natural Delivery? I don't want to talk about it.

So, I will write...
I decided long ago that I was determined to have Hope without an epidural. There were many reasons for this decision. The main one was that I have had a botched spinal tap that caused a hole in my spinal column, caused all the spinal fluid to leak out of my spine which resulted in electric headaches and I couldn't get up off the floor. I layed flat on my back in my bed for 5 days praying for God to heal the hole without being able to move AT ALL due to the headaches. I could feel the weight of my brain in my head because there was not spinal fluid around it. I ended up having a surgery called a patch procedure done where they take blood out of your arm and let it coagulate and then go back into your spinal column and patch the hole. It took 6 months for my back to stop hurting from that. That was when Reece and Bubba were tiny babies.

So, I have a healthy fear of needles in my spine now. I thought to myself, "this is baby #4. I am strong from working out. How hard can it be?". I asked my sweet friend who is a massage therapist if she would help me during delivery. We met once and went through a strategy and talked about breathing. I didn't have a birth plan. But I had worship music and tons of Scripture.

I wanted to go into labor naturally but with Tim's job and the fact that we don't have family in town, I finally just decided to go ahead and get the ball rolling for convenience. Tim's mom and dad were here. My mom was here and it was Saturday so Tim didn't have to worry about work.

I was 5 cm and 80% effaced and I was having irregular contractions. I did every natural thing to cause myself to go into labor on Friday. Eggplant, Black and Blue Cohosh, Red Raspberry Tea, breast pump, walking, etc...My doctor said he could break my water and that it should be enough to send me into labor. I will never know if this was the best decision but it was the one Tim and I made so I just have to let it go.
I didn't sleep at all Friday night due to nerves and contractions and Tim, mom and I headed to the hospital Saturday morning at 6 am. My doctor broke my water around 8:30 am. He said if the contractions didn't start, he would have to do low doses of pitocin. I know enough about pitocin to know to stay FAR away from it if you don't have pain meds. So, I started walking the halls trying to get my contractions to start. We walked and walked and walked and walked. Slowly the contractions started. They weren't really painful and I would giggle through them while Tim and I held hands waving at the nurses. It was fun and romantic just to be with Tim walking the halls and squeezing his hand through contractions.

My friends started to arrive. Val and Suzy (who I always say I COULD NOT DO LIFE WITHOUT), Tim's mom and dad, Jennifer, Robin (my doula). We talked and laughed and spent a beautiful time in prayer. Diana (my amazing friend who just happens to be a photographer) showed up around 12:30. It was like a big slumber party with my friends. The sun was shining through the windows. There was snow on the ground outside. The contractions were manageable.

Life was good.

Tim and I kept walking and walking as the contractions started to increase in strength. At 2:30, she checked me and said I was at 8cm and 90% effaced. I was so happy because it really wasn't that bad. So, I decided to rest some. When I sat, the contractions slowed so I sat and talked with the girls for about 2 hours. I was still having a great time thinking what's so bad about this??

Tim and I started walking the halls again. The contractions were starting to get painful but still made me laugh. I would just curl my toes, breathe and keep walking through them. I decided to have the nurse check me around 5:30 pm to see what was happening. THIS IS WHERE THINGS STARTED TO UNRAVEL.

She, checked... and checked... and checked. It was painful. She said, "I am so sorry I am having a really hard time finding your cervix". After what seemed like and hour (but I am sure was just about a couple minutes), she said "no change- still 8 cm and 90%" and walked away. Mom and I weren't convinced she knew because I felt as if things had changed.

Then, within minutes, I could feel my body going into a whole new level of labor. All of the sudden, things were no longer funny. I didn't want a big party any more. I wanted the music turned off and needed to just lie in bed looking at the black box thing on the ceiling. Thinking I was still at 8, I wasn't too concerned but I certainly wasn't laughing through the contractions anymore and I was really having to TRY to breathe through them... pushing against Tim's hand as he pushed against mine while my doula was reading Scripture to me. Things were taking a turn in my body and I knew it. I quickly decided I didn't want to do this anymore. I wanted meds. It was getting too painful. After a few REALLY hard contractions, I began feeling lots of pain and pressure. A type of pain I had never felt before. Like my body was catching on fire and about to explode.

The only Scripture that I really remember hearing was this one...

"Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord." Isaiah 66:9

My doctor was not at the hospital. The nurse was suppose to call him when I was getting close. I love my doctor. He seems like part of our family because this is my 4th baby with him in 6 years.

We have a really cool relationship and I knew everything would be OK as soon as he got there to help me.

The pain is now so intense (I don't have the vocabulary to describe this pain) that I started to scream.... "No! No! No!... I canNOT do this! Help me... somebody please help me." I soon began to realize there was no one to "help" except the Lord. I have never cried out to God like I did in that hospital room last night.

"My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." Ps 84:2

My doula and Tim were amazing. I had asked everyone else to leave. My mom was listening to me scream in the hall and crying her eyes out. My mom DOES NOT cry. It was B A D. I was screaming at the top of my lungs, "NO! NO! HELP ME God, please HELP ME!" over and over and over. I thought I was going to die.
"At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor"

Isaiah 21:3

I cannot believe Tim still loves me after what he saw last night. All 9 of us have a mild case of post traumatic stress disorder now thanks to me. My mom told me today that it is the worst thing she has ever gone through in all of her life-- listening to me scream in pain. My friend Suzy actually started a blog today after hearing me cry out to God in such pain. The blog is great. Kind of embarassing that I put my friends and family through so much psychological distress.

Read her blog if you have time!!

I used to not understand how people who had been in a war and gone through traumatic events suffered PTSD 40 years later. Now, I DO.

I had a bucket in front of me because the pain was making me so nauseous. The nurse came in and said I need to check you and I said in sheer and absolute panic, "THE BABY IS COMING!!!". She said, "I will go call the doctor". I could feel Hope coming out and I still had pants on. I was gripped with pain and could not even begin to take them off. Tim took them off for me (I think- that is what he told me. I don't remember). My hair was all in my face and I wanted to put it in a pony tail so bad but I couldn't do anything except scream.
I remember Tim trying to pull my hair back. I was sweating. I wanted to lay back in the birthing position but I couldn't move.
The nurse was gone 2 seconds and realized there was no time. She buzzed a button and said "Find Dr ?? and get him in here now!". At just about that time, baby's head appeared. No doctor. No prep. Me, Tim and the doula were delivering my sweet baby. I was SCREAMING. If I could have unzipped myself out of my body and run away or knocked myself out, I would have. I have never and will never go through anything that physically painful again. I was so scared. There was no doctor. I was begging God to help me. My friends praying in the hall.

And then, out came Hope. On the bed. No doctor (revision-Tim says a dr came in as baby was coming out- I don't remember that). No one telling me to push. I really don't remember anything at that point. I honestly think I was in a clinical state of shock. I have never felt so scared and helpless in all of my life.

The "doctor" the nurse had dragged in there (I have no idea who this guy was. He may have been the front desk man for all I know) came in with a stunned look on his face. He helped with the post-delivery stuff. I was still in insane amounts of pain. I was sick. I was too weak to even look at my baby much less hold her.
Baby Hope had made her grand entrance and WOW was it grand.
She was beautiful. Bright eyed, peaches and cream skin, perfect while her mommy looked like she had been hit by an 18 wheeler.
She was not squished or blotchy at all because she flew through the birth canal so fast.
They kept trying to get me to hold her but I couldn't. Too weak. Too sick. In shock.
With the boys, this (delivery)was a special time. With Hope, I could not enjoy my first minutes or even hours with her. I am still trying to process something so traumatic and my nerves are still shot. I will NEVER NEVER NEVER consider another med-free child birth. I will never recommend one without warning. It was horrible.

I don't mean to sound so negative but I need to write how I feel before the post-baby amnesia kicks in. I know some people love natural childbirth but I am not one of them.
Working through contractions all the way up to 10?? No problem.
15 minutes of the Ring of Fire and birthing the baby???

I am starting to regain my sense of humor though.

I told my mom and sister that it reminds me of when I watched the Little House on the Prairie episode where the blind school burns down as a little girl. I was so traumatized by it, mom said I just rocked in a rocking chair staring at the wall for hours and hours. That is kind of where I am now.

I have also decided that Eve is not in heaven. If she is, I am going to tackle her.
If I ever wondered if God's Word was absolutely 100% true (which I really haven't), not any more. What God says is TRUE...

"To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children." Gen 3:16

Tim's sister had a cool perspective about natural labor. She said it gives you a greater appreciation for the pain and suffering Jesus Christ went through (ultimately that He chose)to give YOU life. I would have done anything to get out of that room. Out of my body. Stop the pain.
Jesus chose to stay on the Cross.
For me.
For You.
Out of pure Love.
A suffering unimaginable.
Obedience and Humility on display for the World to see.
The Lamb of God.
Power under control.
I experienced a small part of the curse of sin yesterday.
He BECAME the curse for us.
He took the punishment for us.
He died in our place.
He could have called down angels or come down off the Cross and simply spoken a Word and showed His power and glory.
I had no way out yesterday.
He did.
He stayed on that Cross.
"But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
Gal 3:13
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2
I am sitting in my hospital room alone. I am exhausted. I haven't slept in ages.
But, I am overwhelmed with God's perfect little gift that He has given us.
He has given me the desire of my heart.
He has given me another baby.
He has given me Hope.
She is healthy.
She is beautiful.
On this Valentine's Day, I have so much love in my life.
I fell in love with Tim in a whole new way yesterday.
I have 3 boys who have my whole heart.
I have a DAUGHTER to share my life with now.
But, most importantly, I have a God who loves me and demonstrates His love to me on a daily basis.
"But God demonstrates his own LOVE for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8
I hope you know how much God loves you.
Respond to His love.
"LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."
Deut 6:5

Ok! I am officially done talking about natural delivery. I am going to pretend like that never happened or I start to have an anxiety attack. If you are thinking of going natural, try it! Maybe you will jump right through that ring of fire. :) I am pretty sure your doctor will be there too.

Time to think on things that are right, noble, true, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy and excellent. And, there is a tiny little girl who likes to suck her thumb and is all of those things.

God is so good! He answers prayers and He gives His children the BEST gifts.

To the praise of His glorious grace!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

James 1:17


Anonymous said...

AMEN - baby you're special. I can't believe I get to go through life with someone like you! I fell in love with you all over again yesterday - happy Valentine's Day! - Tim

AG said...

Steph, I think I love you even more now ;)

Wow Girl, GREAT post!!

Now we both share "The RING of FIRE" birth story!!! :)

Hope is such a beautiful baby girl!

Angela said...

Wow. I am just in amazement.

So glad that everyone is okay.

Can't wait to see her--let me know when you'll be up for visitors! You have my cell. :)

Lindsay Rose said...

WOW! I don't know you very well but I am always inspired by you. Congratulations on your Valentine Hope! May God bless you and your family with this sweet little girl!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations sweet Stephanie, you did a beautiful thing. Hope is precious and so lucky to have such a wonderful family. Your post was awesome! You have such an amazing talent for writing and making us remember the love Jesus has for us! Praying for you and family.


Unknown said...

Stephanie and Tim,
Congratulations! I am so excited. You are going to love, love, love having a little girl in your house! I can't wait to meet her.

I have decided I probably should not read your birth posts though since I have to go through this in 5 weeks :). I've been praying I can have a VBAC and go on my own WITH DRUGS, but maybe I'll schedule that c-section after all where I don't feel any pain until afterwards :).
Love, Selena

Tracy said...

Wow! What an experience! Congrats on your sweet baby girl. God is so good!

Mrs. Davison said...

Congratulations! I am so happy for you that you have your supportive husband and loving family and friends. You know how much the Lord loves you, so you know you can make it through anything. I am so glad everything turned out so well.

Mama Fish said...

Oh my Stephanie! I don't even have words!! What an experience! And no doctor too! Tim sounded like he did awesome! Amazing husband of yours....

I love, love, love how you related your suffering and how you wanted to run, to Christ's suffering in which he chose. It gives me a new way to look at how he suffered to give me life!

Hope is precious! So sweet and tiny and beautiful!! Congratulations!

HIS Child said...


She is beautiful!!!! And her Mom is one tough lady. I pray that the two of you will be able to snuggle and she will sooth all the trauma from her Mom. God bless you all. You got part of the story, Tim is defiently your Hero.
Rest and bask in the gift that is Hope Elizabeth Blackiston.
A big hug and back rub to you,
Love ya,

Unknown said...

Honey. I am so sorry you have PTSD from this. I had PTSD from the csection that I had to have. Thankfully time heals these memories and one day it will seem WAY better right? I love that Hope likes her thumb and she is true, lovely, excellent...I love her already!

Jackie Blue said...

What a great post ...

I have been there....with my fifth (and last) . She was born on the 4th of Doctor ...he was at a picnic ..I kept hearing the nurse tell him he had time. I kept telling her different, but she argued with me! Imagine the time they realized I spoke the truth that the baby was coming...their was no time for a spinal anything...and she was coming...and yes, 16 yrs later I still remember that ring of fire!
SO heart, my prayers go with you...may your daughter have your strength in life!

Mary Ann said...

Stephanie, Time will heal things and then one day you will be in Hope's room wanting an epidural ... for YOU! I was glad I had a hymnal in my corner of the birthing room for the first grandbaby. I fumbled onto "He's got the whole world / little bity baby in His hands." That quieted my spirit. Never been near another birthing room. Jehovah-Nissi has His all loving sustaining banner over you. Onward, girl!

maryanne420 said...

Happy Valentine;s Day! Oh girl, I prayed for you that His grace is sufficient for you, that you can do anything through Christ who strengthens you.

I'm so sorry about the traumatic experience. I pray that looking at Hope's beautiful face will ease the pain each day.

I am truly so happy for you.

Mary Anne C

aimee said...

Bless your heart...I know your pain...I was put in the hospital on a Thursday night, all was planned for induction bright and early Fri morning ( I had a natural childbirth not by choice with my first--they couldnt get the epidural in due to my scoliosis--tried over 2 hrs) so we had it all planned I WAS NOT doing it again..anyway at midnight I got up to go to the bathroom and my water broke..the nurse checked me and I was 1cm....this story is NO LIE telling u I thought I was going to die for the next 45 min..checked again 8cm then all of a sudden I was time...I was freaking out because I had no epidural yet its now 12:45 am the nurse leaves to call my dr and my sweet baby was COMING with just me and my husband...nothing was sterile or ready..the called for the ER dr to run up and by then she was out..delivered by my nurse at 1:15 am so I know what u went through and IT IS TERRIBLE!!!! (but you will quickly forget about it I promise..I cant wait to hear you say in a few months--"I could do that again! :) ) Congrats on baby Hope...she is beautiful!!

~cassie~ said...

Awesome post...Congratulations on your precious little girl...God is Good...ALL the time!!

Unknown said...

Does being cut in half by a chain saw pretty much explain it? I know. I had two children naturally and one of them was 10 pounds 6 ounces. It is quite intense, but I really think that you will appreciate the choice you made later on. Belive it or not, but the memory of the pain will fade away because of the joy Hope brings you and you will honestly be able to say that you brought her into this world in the healthiest way possible. No regrets, sweet one. EN(JOY!)

Becky said...

After pushing for TWO HOURS with my first son, I swore to anyone and everyone who would listen that he was going to be an only child. There was NO WAY I was going to EVER go through that again!

Nineteen months later, I was in that same hospital with my 2nd son and I ended up having two more, all of them without pain meds.

I had a doula with my first son and she said something to me that has always stayed with me. She said, "What an arrogant society we live in that we think we should be able to do something as incredible as bring life into this world without pain." I truly believe that the best thing for babies is to be birthed naturally and perhaps someday she will realize the sacrifice you made for her benefit. God bless you and little Hope!

Anonymous said...

I got an epidural just minutes before Alexandria was born, after being in labor for 22 hours. I thought going natural was the thing for me, too----wrong! I was BEGGING for meds. With Torey, I hit the door asking for an epidural. There are no flashing signs over the exit of the hospital saying "she went natural!" even though there should be! -Wendy

Anonymous said...

I too had the issue w/ my spinal tap and the fluids leaked out around my brain causing TERRIBLE headaches...laid up in the bed for days not able to get up and enjoy my sweet baby...and I had to have TWO blood patches to finally fix it, it was terrible. Everyone always said to me, surely you wont get an epidural again after that, to which I respond, I sure will...I would rather go through the headaches than child labor!! And now after reading your post, that is totally confirmed to me so thank you for being so brutally honest! My 2nd is due in April and I plan on getting the epi as soon as they will allow it. Im just thankful Hope and you are both healthy and she is beautiful! I know she was worth every bit of the pain...
Jennifer Froehlich

Anonymous said...

I'm SO SO sorry for the trauma!!! :(

I just hoped to add my 2 cents worth for anyone that might read your blog and feel they couldn't have a natural birth. Not all "natural" births have are as traumatic.

I have had all 3 of my sweet babies naturally...completely on purpose. My first, I was 17 years old. After living overseas where all women had natural births, sometimes alone, then picked up and went on with life, I didn't see a need for all of America's medical interferences. She was upside down which is back labor and more painful than my other two, but nothing as you talk about. Up and shopping 4 hours later. Actually, up and happily shopping 4 hours later with all 3.

Oh, and my last birth was a planned home birth. BEST thing EVER! So relaxing, so private, and so "in the zone". Healed super fast after that one. Love, love, loved it and wish I could have 12 more that way!!!

Praying that God will heal your sweet heart as well as your memories! Also praying that those deciding their birth plan will not be overcome by their fear of the unknown, but hear God's calling in deciding for their own and their little one's birth experience. :)

Ann Katherine said...

I just read this post again. We are considering baby 4 now and I had natural child birth last time as well so I can relate. I found a new level of pain that day. Thought I would split in half for sure. Brandon just stood there with his mouth open. We were at home with a midwife and her assistant and our photographer lol. She got pictures of it all. I think I would do it again. It was a genuine moment, unforgettable, albeit painful, if painful even describes it. I had 2 with the epidural in the hospital with no serious repercussions but my favorite birth was the home birth with no epidural and the midwife. For real. Unforgettable.