At 6:32 pm on June 16, 2015 Milo Chapman Sanders was delivered safely into our aching arms. He was 7 pounds, 4 ounces of love and bravery and spirit, and we are blessed to call him Son.
Matt and I had planned for a natural delivery, primarily due to all the complications we had with sweet Oliver. (Look here for the adventure we had bringing Oliver into this world at 9:56 am on June 17, 2013.) We had been chatting with our Midwife on ways to avoid similar complications, we had been working with our sweet doula, and I had been seeing a chiropractor.
And then, at 35 weeks I began itching, crazy-wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-throw-yourself-into-a-cold-shower-type-itching... which led to a diagnosis of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. After the diagnosis was confirmed, an induction was quickly scheduled.
Not. Part. Of. The. Plan.
We met with our Midwife on Monday and she agreed to give us a day to try to get labor kicked into gear on our own. I was already dilated to a 5 and 80% effaced and she thought we had a chance of getting there without induction. And we tried everything. And I mean, everything. And everything did, in fact, include acupuncture. Lets talk about that. Needles sticking out of my feet, legs, arms, hands and in between my eyes. We were covering our bases... Eastern Medicine, Western Medicine, Herbal Teas and prayer.
But it was not quite enough to tip me over into actual labor.
And as we drove to hospital the next morning, I could see the birth we had been imagining fade away. I tried to poise my heart for a birth similar to Oliver's, steady myself for complications and prepare for another stay in the NICU. It was a surrendering and a yielding and a prying of my fingers off MY Plans. And it was stormy in my soul.
We got settled in our room. Nurses came and went. My IV was placed. Fluids hung. Our doula, Alicia arrived. And the pitocin drip began. And to be brutally honest, I had very little hope that I would be able to labor without an epidural. I mean, I wanted to do it without an epidural... but I knew when contractions hit full force, especially pitocin induced contractions, I would buckle. I don't do pain. I very rarely do discomfort. There is a reason I don't do marathons... or run... ever.
And then we waited. And chatted. And walked. We wore the hall of the labor unit out, and became shockingly familiar with the dreary, muted art work at El Camino Los Gatos Hospital. And every hour or so, the nurse would up my drip of pitocin, until I was getting 12mu and still not in active labor.
At 3:30pm we asked to have my water broken, rather than continue to up my pitocin drip, and within 30 minutes I was in the thick of it. Breathing deep, holding Matt's hands, and letting wave after wave of contraction roll over me. And they built, and grew, and gentle waves quickly turned into a pounding current, leaving me groaning in Matt's shoulder.
And he held my hands, and my heart, and my gaze. And my eyes found his. Every. Single. Time.
In between contractions, he read scriptures over me that we had prepared ahead of time, scrawled on the backs of pictures of newborn Oliver. Gentle reminders of what is true, of who God is, even in the uncertainty of a delivery room and in the pain of labor.