When you're pregnant, and even before, you hear so many different stories about what Mother's experienced as they delivered their little miracles. Some of the stories are beautiful and inspiring, while others are (let's face it) a little terrifying and downright scary. So going into the week leading up to my delivery I prayed (a lot!). I asked that God would give me courage and strength. I asked that everything would go smoothly and we would both be safe, but I honestly didn't fear too much for either of those, as I knew He'd take care of His girls. I was more consumed with my mind in the situation. I knew my body was made to do this, and it would hurt, and all of the other good (read: not so good) stuff. But I didn't know how my mind would react. Would I be elated with joy and so overwhelmed that I wouldn't think on the pain? Would I be so overwhelmed with fear and anxiety that I missed the beauty of it all? I didn't want the latter, and so I prayed. I prayed that I would be present, that I would take it all in, and that I did.
Here's the story of Owen's Grand Arrival.
The week before Owen was due I went to my Doctor's office for my weekly checkup. She checked everything out and said that she expected her to be with us that week... like in the next couple of days. She said there was something she could do (I'll spare you the name of what she did) that would ensure that Owen would arrive within 24 hours. She asked if I wanted her to do it, and I hesitantly agreed. I say hesitantly because 9 months of my life had built up to this one question and in that moment I determined that our little girl would be in our arms the next day (big questions right?!). So I said yes, of course. I got in the car and started crying. I was SO excited and overwhelmed at the thought that she was really going to be here, in my arms, looking at me, completing my heart. I text Elisha and said "she'll be here in 24 hours". Ha! Surprise!
I went home and my Mom was there, equally as excited as I was. I made sure our bags were all good to go, and we waited. We had bought movie tickets earlier that morning and so we decided to go ahead and go. On the way to the theatre I began to feel contractions, they were slight but steady, so I began to count. I counted throughout the entire movie and logged them into my phone. By the time it finished and we were driving home, the contractions were closer together and a bit more uncomfortable. Elisha asked if I wanted to go to the hospital and I said no, thinking we needed more time to make sure it was happening.
We went home and I just sat on our bed counting. I was so nervous that we'd go and it wouldn't be happening, and then I'd be disappointed/embarrassed and have to come back home. I wanted to be certain that I was going into labor. I called my doctor and she asked about the contractions, and then suggested that I go ahead and head in. I agreed.
So off we went to the hospital and every movie scene I've ever watched of women going into labor began to flash before my eyes and I remember thinking, "this is really happening. I'm going to have a baby. I'm going to push this tiny human out of me and I don't know if I'm actually ready for this." Nerves began to kick in at this point. Every time I had a "what if I can't do this" thought, Elisha would quickly reassure me that it was going to happen, she would be healthy, and I was going to do great.
We arrived at the hospital at around 11pm, Thursday, June 7th. They said my contractions weren't quite close enough to consider me in active labor, however my doctor was certain she was coming soon enough that they went ahead and admitted me. Elisha walked me around the hallway for the next hour. We moved slow and talked about random things, laughed together, and stole food from the kitchen pantries (not really, it was there for us to take).
It was a sweet little moment where it was just the two of us - our last for a little while.
Once I went back to my room they hooked me up with all the things and ran the tests. They told me to try and get some rest, but I mostly laid there watching tv and listening to Elisha sleep. I kept my hand close to my belly, taking in every movement of hers, as I knew these were our last moments like this. It all felt pretty surreal still. At around 5am things started to get more real. The contractions were coming in steady and the pain was persistent. I went ahead and got my epidural and this is where things went a little "unplanned". I should say that by this point, I'm in crying pain and very ready for my epidural. As it was getting put in, it felt a little "off". I can't explain it, but I felt like something wasn't quite right, but since I'd never had one I didn't think I was one to judge what was right or wrong.
The next few hours I began to feel numbness all over, which was a sign it was working, except for one spot along my left abdomen. This felt like a dead spot for all the pain of the contractions to be felt in their entirety. It was awful. I want to sugarcoat it, but it is what it is, and it was awful. My entire body began to shake uncontrollably, like intense shivering that went from my fingers to my toes. I couldn't think straight I was in so much pain. They tried rolling me over to my side to have an injection of morphine go straight to the spot. This provided a short respite of relief, only to return soon after. They tried adjusting where the epidural was placed which again only offered momentary relief. Finally the last resort was to insert an entirely new epidural. Dear. Lord.
And so they did. I clung onto my nurse and cried as she prayed over me (she was an absolute angel!), and they did another epidural. I prayed that this one would take. My body began to receive it and numbness fell over the left spot (Praise God!), but then the pain came, to the center of my abdomen, where all the contractions were being felt yet again. The spot had shifted. What?! How?! I don't even know and neither did they. And I thought the first time hurt, oh my word, this was so much worse. I couldn't form full sentences, the shivers were making my body come off the bed, and through chattering teeth I told the nurse I had to deliver now.
They called the doctor and she checked me out. The nurse told her I couldn't wait and so the doctor said we could start. Thank you Jesus! I began to push, and as I did the pain began to lessen, as my entire left leg went completely dead numb (like I would've guessed they had cut it off). Good to know the epidural finally kicked in, ha! As I began pushing I kept my eyes closed, so focused on getting our little girl earthside safely and quickly. In between pushes I would gaze up at Elisha who looked utterly amazed at what was happening, as he assured me that I was "doing so good", and telling me how he could see her. Seeing her through his eyes was the best, and is still my favorite thing to do.
I pushed for 20 minutes and she was here.
At 11:14, Friday, June 8th. Our crying little angel girl was placed on my chest and I repeated "Mama's got you" over and over again until she calmed and lay there with me. And truly truly truly, in that instant, it was all worth it. I would've done it all over again a million times just for that moment of holding our girl in my arms. There was no pain that could overshadow that sweetness.
The nurses cried as they watched Elisha and I marvel at what Abba had created. She was (and is) perfect.
We were utterly amazed.
They cleaned her up and our friend had arrived to capture our first moments with her. My parents were outside just dying to come in and see her. We welcomed them in and there it was, pure joy filling the room. Years of expectation met with God's faithfulness.
We kissed and fawned. We ooed and awed. We took in every little bit of her until it was time for them to move us into our new room. And I should mention that I could still not feel my left leg. It would remain completely and totally numb until midnight. Other than that, my recovery went quite smoothly.
We would spend the next day welcoming family and friends, the people who would love our little girl for years and years to come. I didn't sleep much, but I didn't mind.
I had all that I needed in that little hospital room.
I finally understood what it meant to be "full". My heart, my entire being, my life... was now full.