So Monday March 29th, contractions started early afternoon. They got more consistent and harder as the evening went on, but were still just light. We actually had Family Home Evening with Robbie's aunts and uncle and cousins and that was nice cause it distracted me a bit. I had decided part way through this pregnancy that I wanted to do it natural. I had an epidural with both Bree and Gabe, and had great experiences, But there was something in me that just wanted to try. Wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Around 9 PM I started timing the contractions. They were still 7-10 minutes a part, only 30 seconds long, and not too hard. I tried to go to bed, but just as I would doze off a contraction would start. So after about an hour after that I went out to the front room and turned on a movie (Meet the Parents...needed something funny), just needing something to keep my mind occupied. I was wishing it was the day time and I could be playing with the kids cause I could imagine Bree saying, "You can do it mom! You'll be ok!" But, Meet the Parents would have to do :) As they got harder and closer together I found myself on my hands and knees, just breathing through them. I wanted to get Robbie, but I knew if we ended up in the hospital that night it would be better if he had some sleep. And I could handle them. I was feeling SO grateful and really happy that my water hadn't broken and I could stay home and labor as long as I thought. About 1 AM I called my doctor because the contractions had gotten harder, were 3-5 minutes a part, and were about 1 minute long. (The cue to go to the hospital is if that stays consistent for an hour = the contractions 3-5 minutes a part, 1 minute long, and getting harder) Though it had only been 30 minutes, since I had tested + for Strep B (they test your urine a few weeks before you're due...everyone actually has it and it's not harmful, just at different times does it travel through your urine for a few months, and then it goes away...if you have it when you are delivering there is a possibility it can cause infection in the baby) they like to run an IV with antibiotics for the baby before you deliver. So I thought I maybe should go in a little earlier so they could start those for my baby. He said yes come in, and we arrived around 1:45 AM. On the way in the car the contractions were getting harder. (My legs get REALLY shaky when I'm in hard labor, and I figured out this time around that it must be when I am dilating.) I tried to prep myself the whole way to the hospital to not be discouraged if I was only dilated to like a 4 or something when I arrived...not trying to get my hopes up. But when they checked me I was almost an 8!! I was SO HAPPY!
The next hour was so intense. But the miracle was this sweet nurse named Leslie. I could NOT have done it without her! And without tips from my sweet friend Nicole who delivered her last baby naturally whom I had talked to a couple weeks prior. She said that she told her husband not to let her have an epidural...and if she asked for it to remind her that they didn't want one...so I told that to Robbie and he was so good..."Jesika you know you don't really want one. We talked about this, you can do hard things (thank you Janae! That was from you! I love that!). Just make it through this contraction..." He was so good :) And Nicole told me that with every contraction think about that it's just moving my baby down, bringing him out. That visual helped a ton. And then Leslie would just say the perfect things..."Your body was made to do this. Just breath through it, faster now, just make it through this one..." in this perfectly calm, serene, inspiring voice. There were several times when I would just cry out, "I can't do this!!" and Robbie and Leslie would just keep encouraging me. Leslie was an angel. Literally. I was SO exhausted. My mouth was SO dry and Robbie would give me ice. I think I had my eyes closed for that whole time of hard labor. And my sweet husband was so great (compared to our first delivery when he was "saying all the wrong things" bless his heart :) every time a contraction would come I was up on the bed on all fours and I would just breath and he would put the palms of his hands on my lower back (which was where the most pain was) and rub back and forth. It was really helpful and he was so patient with me...cause it had to be just right. I could hardly talk but I found myself yelling at him, "No UP! DOWN! HARDER! HONEY C'MON!" while he's cheering me on. So amazing they still love us after what we put them through sometimes! Then during the 2 minutes or so of rest in between I would just have my head in my hands and catch my breath, shaking like crazy. BUT, I was learning how to handle the pain. So it honestly seemed like as the contractions went on, instead of freaking out at the climax of the contraction and screaming, "I can't do this!" like I did for the first little while, they actually got easier because of my ability and knowledge of how to handle them. Leslie said when a contraction comes and I feel like I need to poop then she would check me...so after one where I felt like I needed to push she checked me and said, "The baby's head is right there, I'll go get the doctor!" Now with Bree and Gabe once they told me I could push since I had been restful on the epidural I got this huge adrenaline rush and felt like, "Ya baby! Let's get this baby out!" And I was so excited! But with this one, I was just so exhausted. I didn't know if I could do it! When Leslie said, "Ok when you feel the next contraction push..." I just yelled, "I can't! I just want to die!" (I'm laughing and crying as I am writing this!) I pushed the first push and could hardly breath afterwards. I did NOT know how I was going to push again. In my head it was like, I can't do this. I don't have anything left. BUT, there is no going back?! I can't just stop right here...like I have to go through with it. The only thing I could do was say a prayer for strength and then gave it my all. Nicole couldn't have described "the ring of fire" any better :) And as my friend Natalie (who just had her fourth baby naturally, and at home) said, "When that baby is coming out you roar your woman roar!" I'm pretty sure I roared. Two more pushes and he was out.
It was crazy. I was so completely wasted afterwards that when they put McKay on my chest I was bawling and just said, "I love you baby but I just need to catch my breath..." and was just shaking like crazy and was so happy it was over. (If this doesn't make you want to have a baby naturally then I don't know what will :) But I talked to my brother Mike a few hours afterwards, and it's neat thinking about it all now and the parallels with the gospel and the Atonement. What an amazing thing to experience. Doing something for someone else, who is totally incapable of doing it on his own. Made me love my Savior even more. I am SO glad and grateful I did it. I feel empowered, and humbled. If it wouldn't have been for Leslie though I honestly don't think I would have. She was my angel in the garden. And what a blessing to experience that. Michael asked if I felt closer to McKay because of doing it naturally. And do you know what? I don't. The spiritual experiences were there with the other two but just in different ways...like with Gabe I went in, light labor but my water had broken, got the epidural, a few hours later they said, "His head is here you're ready to push!" Got that adrenaline and pushed him out...everything was so calm and beautiful. They put him on my chest and Robbie and I just smiled and the spirit was so strong. He was here. He was healthy. What a miracle. The room was so peaceful. And with Bree it was amazing being it was our first. Having that little life, fresh from heaven, placed in your arms for the first time is unforgettable. But honestly I just feel more mature this time around. More like a natural mother with McKay. Nothing awkward, nothing new and weird. I knew my breasts were going to hurt like a mother in the next few days so it wasn't as bad, I new I was probably going to be emotional and tired, and that things would probably be crazy...and they were, but it was wonderful. Seemed SO much easier than the other two transitions. So I guess I can say my love for McKay is greater only because of my love for Bree and Gabe and my experience being their mother. So it's all actually quite equal. Maybe the father of the prodigal son loved and welcomed back his wayward son with such happiness and gratitude because of his love for his righteous older son? Because he knew the blessing of having a righteous son.
Whatever the case may be, it was a beautiful birth. Right after the experience all I could think about was how my next births I will get an epidural :) But now (don't hold me to it) but I'm pretty sure I'll do the rest naturally. I think I will get better at it too, cause after all, this is what God created us for, right? Ha, we'll see when the next one comes! Hopefully I can request Leslie as my nurse!