I was three days past my due date, and Kyle and I went into the doctors office with full expectation that they would require us to schedule an induction.
I had yet to have one contraction (that I knew of), and I was dilated only to 2, as I had been for two weeks. Walking, spicy food, and all of the other tricks did not seem to be working. My entire pregnancy, I was adamant about avoiding induction and not being medicated unless absolutely necessary. Of course, I was feeling a bit defeated entering this visit.
Samuel's birth was everything that I didn't think I wanted...
And it turned out absolutely perfect!
We left the doctors office on Wednesday, and headed home. Only this time, we drove home only to pick up our hospital bags, eat a hardy meal and head right back to the 9th floor. During my appointment, we discovered by membrane had been ruptured. Most likely for three days. Thus, an induction was necessary and in our immediate future.
I remember driving home, tears in my eyes, and scared out of my wits. Although I was so ready to meet our baby, all of the medical intervention had me fearful. Just like throughout the pregnancy, I prayed that no matter what, the Lord's hand would be upon every possible detail.
Fully and completely. My eyes swell up just thinking about His faithfulness to us.
We walked into the hospital, checked into triage and waited. It was the strangest waiting period of our lives. We sat with our luggage next to us, knowing that the next day we would be holding our child. Our first nurse greeted us with a huge smile and I immediately felt more at ease. She lead us to a room with a tub, as I had requested, and gave us the run down of where could find the popsicles and late night snacks.
Within two hours, I was dressed in a gown and slippers, with the pitocin running through my veins. Kyle and I passed the time by walking around the hallways of the 9th floor, perusing television shows and hanging out with our nurse.
Within two hours, I felt my first contraction. I looked at Kyle with such excitement, "that's what a contraction feels like!" For any mother currently reading this, you're probably thinking that my excitement didn't last too long. For that, you would be correct. Pitocin greatly intensifies the strength and longevity of your contractions. One never knows how the body will react to it (and I had only heard the horror stories of having the medication), which is why I wanted to avoid it if possible.
Around 10 pm, my contractions increased from approximately 6-8 minutes apart to 2. I labored in the tub for almost two hours, with Kyle by my side. He was the best birth partner I could have asked for. Reminding me to breathe, relax, and massaging my back, we worked through every contraction with little break time to prepare for the next. It was this strange combination of beauty and pain. Those hours are one of my favorite memories of labor, despite how physically uncomfortable ( <-- understatement of the year) they were.
I was positive that I had dilated to at least 6 at this point, so I requested that the doctor come check. Low and behold, I was only at 3. THREE?!! Just a complete punch to the gut. The nurse and doctor gave me a lot of encouragement with a topping of reality. I was looking at another 6-8 hours of these 2-minute apart contractions. Typically, this strength would only be experienced during the transition phase of labor, not the entire labor. I mentioned to my nurse that this drug was inhumane.
Kyle looked me in the eyes, squeezed my hand and reassured me that it was my decision on how to move forward. We'll get through those hours naturally if I wanted. All I could think about was how tired I already was, and how I wanted to enjoy this experience and not suffer through it. I felt disappointed yet relieved at the same time.
The anesthesiologist team arrived 20 minutes later, and did the entire run through of what to expect. After another 40 minutes of contracting while attempting to remain as still as possible, the epidural was finished. Then we waited. The nurse encouraged me to sleep as much as possible through the night, but teams of workers kept coming into the room to check on this medicated body of mine.
That night went so quickly. I watched the clock as it was on the wall directly in front of me. Drinking water and chomping on ice cubes, I tried to sleep off all of the thoughts going through my mind. It simply didn't feel real that we'd welcome our child in a few short hours.
By 4 am, I was dilated to 6 and encouraged, yet again, to try and sleep. Kyle slept next to me on the sofa and I laid in bed, in and out of sleep...continuing to watch the hands on the clock move one hour after the next.
Come 7 am, I felt rested and excited. I recalled those hours laboring in the tub vs. comfortably resting in bed and was yet again reassured that I had made the best decision for baby and myself. Our night was enjoyable, and I can't confidently say I would have even had the strength to push had I opted to naturally labor with the pitocin all night.
I told the nurse I felt some pressure and asked me be checked again. Casually, the OB walked into the room and 10 minutes later, I was pushing. He checked me and with a smile on his face exclaimed, "you're ready!" I was at 10! (Finally :)!
Call me crazy, but pushing was pretty fun! It was like finishing a marathon. Kyle, our nurse and and the OB surrounded me, counted during pushes and cheered me on. The room wasn't chaotic or full of random people, it was both calm and full of excitement. Stressless and enjoyable. Another nurse brought in a mirror so I could see the head of dark hair that the doctor told us about. It still feels like a dream that I saw our baby in that way. This entire process is such a miracle, there's just no other word to describe it.
Our baby crowned, and in the next push his body was fully out. They placed him immediately on my stomach and I was in shock. They just kept cheering me on to keep pushing, so it took a second for me to realize that our baby was born. Kyle exclaimed, "it's a boy!!" as soon as they placed him on my abdomen. Still in shock. I remember not knowing how to hold him because so many hands were on his body, checking his vitals, wiping him down, etc. Kyle leaned down and kissed my forehead, and I moved our baby boy up onto my chest. He tested his lung strength a bit, while I just held him as close as possible. Still in shock. This was our baby. We finally met.
We looked at our baby boy and at one another. This was Samuel Gage, our son.
It took about an hour for everything to calm down, and I just laid there holding Samuel as the nurse and physicians did everything they needed to. Because he was laying right under my chin, I couldn't see his face. I kept asking Kyle who he looked like. I couldn't wait to see every little feature that made up our son.
Our parents were waiting outside in the waiting area all morning. Once everything calmed down in our room, we invited the grands in to meet their new grandchild. They walked into the room with immediate tears of joys. We announced that babyVK was a boy, and told them his name. Millions of pictures, tears, laughter and phone calls followed.
Samuel Gage was born at 8:29 am, weighing in at 7 lbs 4 oz and 19.4 inches long. He had a full head of dark hair (which is already turning blonde), and huge dark blue eyes.
We named him Samuel because we love the timelessness and strength of it, as well as the meaning, "God has heard." (Also, since our last name is a bit of a mouthful, we found it to be a challenge to come up with names to use with it ;)
Gage was my great-grandmother's surname. We always wanted to use a family name and both loved the name Gage. A lot of people have asked what we are going to call him and we figure over time something will settle in. For now, we call him Samuel, Sam and when he is really getting a good lung workout, Sammie G.
Welcome to the world, little man! So glad you are ours.