Friday, March 1, 2019

Payton Shirleyanne's Birth Story

My birth plan: have a natural birth
Reality: induced & epidural

How it happened: I had a fairly easy pregnancy until my third trimester when a pregnancy mouth tumor (PMT) paired with crazy anxiety made me eat all the sugar in hopes of escaping the reality of childbirth and the constant thoughts about ruining our child. Guess what? It didn't work.
Side note: If you don't know what a PMT is, check this out! Mine looked exactly like the one pictured except it was on the top. Gross.

I knew it was pretty normal to go over your due date but it didn't make it any easier. As days passed my due date grew, so did my PMT. I didn't want to see anyone and I certainly didn't want to smile and reveal the horrid grossness so I stuck to closed mouth until that was impossible. My lips were also so chapped from not being able to close my mouth that I was in constant pain. 

So 7 days past my due date, with the news from my dentist that they wouldn't remove the PMT until after I gave birth and the news from my doctor that my daughter was showing zero signs of entering the world, I made the decision to be induced. At the time, it was the hardest decision I had ever made. It took me over 24 hours to finally make the phone call to schedule it. If I would have called a few hours earlier, we would have had a leap year baby. I little bit wish I would have but then she wouldn't share a birthday month with her dada (and uncle and grandma and pappy). 

The hours leading up to my induction appointment were filled with so many prayers begging God to make me go into labor on my own. I texted everyone I knew who prayed to ask them to join my efforts. Looking back, I can see God teaching me so much through my daughter's birth and in a way, it was a glimpse into what motherhood would be like for me. A constant struggle between what I think should be and what is.

I took a shower, did my hair, and put on clean clothes as my husband packed the car. Our appointment was at midnight. We drove to the hospital, almost silently, parked the car, and walked through the empty, cold, and silent hospital. I wondered if this was the kind of place I wanted to bring new life into. 

We checked in like we were about to board a plane. I don't love flying.

After a bit of a room shuffle, I was hooked up to an IV. My sweet husband asked the nurse to find something to cover it up for me because I’m a bit squeamish around needles and blood and such. #myhusbandisperfectforme I kind of felt like a rockstar for surviving that serious intrusion. I’m a sensitive patient for lots of reasons. Mainly, I’m just a sensitive person. My senses are always on overdrive so the harsh lights, chemical smells, and medical jargon really made me uncomfortable.

Things were ok for a bit until my contractions were right on top of each other. Like 30 seconds apart. I wanted to punch the nurse for telling me to breathe. I think my husband gave it some real thought but decided being present for his daughter’s birth was a better choice.

The pain got to be too much and I cried out for an epidural. My husband and I locked eyes and he knew I was serious. I’m not lying when I tell you that my experience getting an epidural was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. The first time didn’t work, which I don’t even understand because I did zero research on it because I had zero intention of getting one. Lesson learned. So I had to stay still as I was sobbing and dealing with way too fast contractions for the anesthesiologist to try a second time. The second time is a charm? Oh, and he apparently went to school with my older brother and thought it was the perfect time to chit chat about their acquaintance-ness. I’m sorry! I was trying to bring a human being into the world. I wanted to talk about other things, like the fact that my husband was contemplating punching someone for the second time in a few hours.

But then I could breathe and talk and sleep.

I learned later that my husband went and curled into a crying ball of nerves once I fell asleep. He is seriously my rock. Well, Jesus and then my husband. #priorities

So I slept and visited with the family who had been there for hours patiently waiting for Payton to say “hello.” We played cards and did other things I can’t even remember. I basically just waited for the pitocin to do its job.

17 hours after we entered the hospital it was finally time to push. I couldn’t feel anything so I did some practice pushes to make sure I could make it happen. Apparently, my doctor was happy with my performance so she went to take a nap because she had been on for something like 36 hours and felt confident Payton was at least an hour away from entering the world.

My doctor was wrong. She had gotten about a 15-minute nap before the nurses went to get her in just enough time for her catch Payton on my third push.

And just like that, we were parents and I could have cared less about how she came into the world. She was healthy and eating and snuggled in our arms. Our family was 3, regardless of whether or not labor went the way I wanted it to.
If you look closely, you can see my PMT. I was trying so hard to smile in this photo because I was happy, but I also didn't want to look back on these photos and only see the grossness of it. Talk about a confidence destroyer. 
I didn’t have to birth my placenta because I had marginal cord insertion so my doctor went in and pulled it out to keep it the cord from detaching and bleeding out. I was for sure grateful for the epidural at that point. Once all the normal shenanigans were over we shared our bundle of joy with friends and family.
We were anxious to go home and be in our own space so we only spent one night in the hospital. I don’t regret that decision at all. I still had a hard time visiting with people because my PMT did not disappear with Payton’s appearance into the world. That’s a story for another day.

I will never forget waking up our first morning home and seeing my husband snuggling our daughter. Nothing else mattered. Except for breastfeeding. That’s also a story for another day.
I wish someone could have told me that the clouds lift and you’re left with a lot more good than bad. I hated so many parts of my daughter’s birth story right after it happened, but 3 years later, I see so much good. My body and mind have healed in ways I didn’t know they needed to and my daughter has been an integral part of that process. Seeing her develop into her own human being who has opinions and desires and likes of her own makes me feel like we’re doing it right and her birth story seems to have more of an impact on me than it does on her.

My pregnancy and her birth story are full of moments I had to rely on God's strength to get through. I see God’s hand weaving all of the pieces of joy and fear and anxiety and laughter and struggle and tears into a whole life. My whole life. A life where I am a much stronger person than I thought possible. Happy 3rd birthday, sweet girl. I'm so very honored to be your mama. And tired.

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