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***A quick note here: I wrote this post three weeks after Gracen was born (March 26th), and it has taken me this long to publish it. Over a MONTH. Because this whole mother of 3 thing is a bit more exhausting than I imagined. More on that later, though…

Labor & Delivery

Dad, you may just want to go ahead and bid us all adieu. This is not a post for the super-faint of heart or anyone who gets uncomfortable at the mention of the word “uterus.” I will, however, be as discreet as possible because—despite having three children—I do still have some modesty.

Just not enough for someone who watches Andy Griffith reruns on a daily basis.

(Seriously, dad. You can get back to Mayberry now.)

I’ve often said that my favorite part of the entire pregnancy process is delivery day. When I was pregnant with JJ over 5 years ago (!!!), I read so many books, blogs and articles and heard so many horror stories that I was petrified of at least three dozen hypothetical scenarios:

  • What if my water breaks in the middle of the grocery store?
  • What if I have this baby in the back seat of the car on the way to the hospital?
  • What if my epidural wears off right before I have to push?
  • What if I have to push for three hours?
  • What if I tear?
  • What if I tear…completely?
  • What if I have to have an emergency c-section?
  • What if I can’t breastfeed?
  • And on and on and on…

These fears were only fueled by the one-up mentality some women seem to take when they describe their own labor and delivery.

It’s the maternal version of the when-I-was-your-age-I-had-to-walk-to-school-barefoot-in-the-snow story.

Despite my veteran status as a mother of 2, I was still a bit petrified as we drove toward the hospital for my 10 a.m. induction on Thursday the 26th of March. I had the same questions swirling around in my head as I did my best not to correct Brian’s driving the entire way there. I was on edge as we parked, unloaded the car, and checked in at the nurses’ station.

No more than 5 minutes after our arrival, we were greeted by our dedicated labor nurse, Stacey. She is a rather tall, adorable woman with the warm accent you would expect from a native Alabamian. I suspect she is close to our age, and we hit it off immediately. Probably because the first thing she said when she walked into the room was, “Gurrrrrrrrrrl, you are TINY! I can’t believe you’re about to have a baby!”

Ummm…you had me at tiny.

Seriously, I’m adding her to my Christmas card list. Sure, I knew she was lying, but it worked like a charm. Stacey was my BFF the rest of the day. Her demeanor completely calmed my nerves and set the tone for the entire process.

Stacey wasted no time getting the room prepped and ready for our little bundle to arrive. When she found out we didn’t yet know the sex, she was so excited for us. She took out the onesies my mom made and arranged them in the bassinet.

Labor & Delivery

Once I was dressed (or, rather, undressed), the room was prepped, and my IV was inserted, my doctor arrived. She’s not one for small talk, so she got right to business. “Okay, let’s check to see how dilated you are, then we’ll break your water and start the Pitocin.”

Boom. Done. Water broken. Pitocin dripping. NBD.

That whole procedure took less time than it took me to fix my hair that morning.

And then we just waited…

Labor & Delivery

We waited for the contractions to pick up enough that I would need the epidural. It’s a delicate thing to get the epidural at the right time. Too soon and you risk it wearing off before delivery. Too late and you can’t sit still for the anesthesiologist to administer it. Once I rounded the corner from discomfort to pain, I requested the epidural.

“Um, pardon me, but I’d like to be numb from the waist down now. Thanks.”

The anesthesiologist was a very well-respected doc, a friend of a friend, and a Georgia grad to boot. So, I was pretty sure I was in the right hands. Epidurals aren’t the most painless procedure in the world, but they beat the ever loving crap out of full-blown contractions.

Just sayin’.

Once I was numb—or not really numb as much as without pain—we waited for the contractions to pick up as they should do.

We waited…

Labor & Delivery

and we waited…

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and we waited.

Every time we thought we were closing in on the big moment, the contractions would die down again. Which is precisely why I had not one but TWO false alarms with this pregnancy.

After a few hours of the waiting game, my nurse decided to step things up a bit. Literally. Stacey decided to let gravity do what the Pitocin was unable to do—namely, get this delivery party started.

Labor & Delivery

Well, this Throne of Gravity did the trick, and the contractions started in again at full speed. We could tell this was exactly what needed to happen to get this baby boy or girl headed in the right direction. We finally made it to 10 centimeters.

Labor & Delivery

But then, about five minutes before the “big event,” I started to notice that my right side was COMPLETELY numb while my left side was COMPLETELY UN-NUMB.

Worst fear realized.

I called Stacey over and explained that the pain I felt wasn’t just the need to push. I felt that sensation before with two other epidurals, and it’s not painful.

This. Was. PAINFUL.

I breathed through the contractions—each one more intense than the last. By the time they located another anesthesiologist, I had breathed through nearly a dozen or so contractions (I don’t know…I lost track of time by that point) with full feeling on my left side.

And though it was the most intense pain I’ve ever felt, I can honestly say that it was bearable since it was only on one side. It’s strange to say this, but I was actually glad I got to experience a bit of that end-of-labor pain. Though, let’s be honest, I was ready for a “top up” before I started pushing.

The doctor arrived just in time. He gave me a bit more anesthesia, and they rolled me to my left side to let gravity take it where it needed to go. Within moments the pain was gone, and I was back to where I was before the Throne of Gravity sent all the pain relief to one side of my body.

It couldn’t have been two minutes later, and I felt that familiar sensation. The non-painful but very real need to push…

And this is the part of the story that generally frustrates most women who have had to push for hours on end. With some gentle coaching from Brian, Stacey and my doctor, I pushed a total of 4 times before we got to experience what is one of the most precious moments in my entire life.

As tears rolled down my cheeks, Brian looked at me and said, “It’s a boy!”

I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything in the world.

Not for a fully-decorated nursery or a closet full of gender-specific clothing. To have my husband announce the gender of our baby as he entered the world was one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced. In one single moment, all the waiting was worth it. All the wondering about our baby’s gender. All the back pain, the indigestion, the swelling, the nausea…it was all forgotten.

For the first time I got to hold our baby straight out of the womb (JJ and Averi were both “in trouble” at birth and needed some special care before we got to hold them). To be honest the whole experience of skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth was a bit…messy. Amazing. But messy.

Labor & Delivery

There really must be something to it, though, because Gracen started rooting around for nourishment a mere 10 minutes after his birth.

This may also explain why he has already gained a pound and an inch since his birth!

(Update: Our 2-month-old man baby is now a 14 pounder and wearing size 3-6 month clothes.)

We’re now at the 3 week mark, and I can honestly say that I feel almost 100% again. Now, before the haters start hating, I will say that 100% for me is a pretty low standard since I’m not exactly a marathon runner or a high energy person in general. 100% for me is yoga pants and PB&J for lunch. 100% for me is not being able to remember my son’s name when the pediatrician asked me (this has happened at least half a dozen times in 3 weeks). 100% for me is asking the doctor to check my son’s vasectomy to make sure it looks healthy.

His vasectomy, y’all. 

He was two weeks old.

Still, I can honestly say that I could do this labor and delivery thing 50 times and never get sick of it. Truly. There are few things I enjoy more than the gift of bringing a life into the world—from conception to birth.

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What a precious gift and privilege our Creator gave to us women. What a picture of his creative capabilities! What an expression of His common grace!

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What a priceless experience to share with the people we love!

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So for those of you who are pregnant with your first child, please don’t let the horror stories of labor and delivery keep you from enjoying the process. Sure, things won’t go how you planned. It’s painful. It’s messy. And a little bit gross.

Seriously, you’ll see more fluids than your friendly Jiffy Lube employee. 

(That’s officially the grossest thing I’ve ever written on this blog.)

Labor & Delivery

Your birth plan won’t really happen. Your husband will say something stupid. You will say something stupid. You’ll cry a lot for no reason. Your body will never be the same.

Ever. 

But…

Then there’s this.

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And this.

Labor & Delivery

And this.

Labor & Delivery

And, suddenly, all the stretching and scars and bumps don’t seem to matter as much.

That’s why God gave us clothing.

And Spanx.

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Comments to "Labor & Delivery"

  1. Marguerite

    May 26, 2015

    Beautifully said! You had me crying. Congratulations on your beautiful son and beautiful family. I wish you all the best. P.S. I LOVE your blog!

  2. Kim Jordan

    May 26, 2015

    I’m so happy to hear the good news of a safe delivery and a healthy BOY! I’ve passed through B’ham 4 times since your last post and I’ve wondered about you each time. I was on my way to and from Marietta to babysit my three grand daughters and so I understand how taking care of THREE can be all consuming! It takes me weeks to get rested up after I’ve been there and I didn’t just give birth to one of them! So happy for you and your family! I can’t wait to read your next post!

  3. G-Man

    May 26, 2015

    Note to self: 1.) Heed the warnings! 2.) Stay in Mayberry. 🙂

    Great post. I did skim over portions of it however.

  4. Heather Garcia

    May 26, 2015

    thank you for sharing something so personal. I love birth stories, they are like snowflakes, no two are alike. Congratulations to you and your beautiful blessed family.

  5. Kris

    May 26, 2015

    Wonderful post and story, thank you for sharing. You have a beautiful family. Our 3rd is also named Grayson, but spelled right 😉

    Take care!

    • Katy in a Corner

      May 26, 2015

      Awwww…great to hear from you, Kris! Thanks for the kind words, old friend. And I mean old as in age. 😉

  6. Whitney Standlea

    May 27, 2015

    I’m glad I took the time to read this. So sweet and such a happy thing to hear about! And vasectomy. Uhm.. Very funny.

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