Here is the story of how he came into the world. Yes, it's long, but so was labor, about 36 hours to be approximate. Maternity pictures thanks to Crissy Terrell Photography, and labor pictures thanks to my friend Tiffani.
I had an appointment with my OB on Thursday, January 3, the day after my due date. He said I was effaced, but not dilated at all. I was also spilling trace amounts of protein and retaining fluids; both signs of toxemia. My blood pressure however was still looking good which, when high, is the most important indicator of toxemia. He said he wanted to see me the following Monday, and would discuss induction if those factors were still present.
Going into labor naturally was important to us as the likelihood of a C-section rises considerably when you're induced. I saw a chiropractor both Thursday and Friday in hopes of getting Eli to turn (he was posterior/sunny side up) and to drop. I sat on an exercise ball for hours and employed a few other techniques to try and start labor.
Labor with Eli began very slowly, starting and stopping; increasing and more noticeable Braxton hicks gradually turned into real contractions. I first noticed consistent contractions Saturday evening as Tommy made me walk up and down every aisle at Kroger. They eased a bit through the night, but I still woke up to contractions occasionally. Around 4am I lost more of my mucus plug (I had lost some about 24 hours prior) and never really went back to sleep.
We obviously didn't go to church that Sunday morning. I tried to find comfortable positions to labor in and did some of the moves the chiropractor showed us to get Eli to engage. I timed contractions occasionally, only to find them very inconsistent. They mostly lasted for a minute, but would change from 10 to 5 to 7 minutes apart every few hours. By the early afternoon I was already beginning to feel weary. Tommy was an encouragement to me and prayed over me often.
Around 3pm on Sunday we called our friend to come pick up Daniel. I was so afraid that he would be quite sad and knew that would only make me even more emotional. Daniel totally surprised me and went completely willingly without a tear. Once he left, labor was more of the same, fairly strong, but inconsistent contractions. I tried napping while we watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but woke up moaning with each contraction.
Tommy made me scrambled eggs for dinner, even though nothing sounded good, especially not eggs; I knew they would be gentle on my stomach. I also at some point convinced him to clean the bathroom incase I was sick. As evening grew closer we started discussing going into the hospital. On one hand I didn't feel as far along as I wanted to be before going in, but on the other I knew I wouldn't last laboring through another night. We ended up texting my friend Tiffani, who I had asked to be with me during labor and delivery. We agreed that once she arrived we would leave for the hospital.
We checked into the hospital by 8pm and I changed into a gown, peed in a cup and got strapped up to all kinds of things. My first pelvic exam showed I was dilated to 6 centimeters, completely effaced but that Eli was at a -4 station, which is pretty high up. My blood pressure was high and irregular for the first hour or two we were there, and then it went back to a more regular reading. The results of the urinalysis showed I was spilling higher levels of protein and the nurse gave us two options. Use a catheter to get a more accurate reading on the protein levels or start some pitocin to kick up contractions and hopefully get Eli to engage.
I felt pretty sure the catheter would only show that I really was spilling protein, and thus dealing with toxemia, for which the "cure" is delivery. So we decided to skip the catheter and go straight with the pitocin. Our nurse started pitocin at a level 2 around 10:30pm. By then I was hooked up to an IV with fluids and pitocin, a blood pressure cuff, a sensor to monitor contractions and another to monitor Eli's heart rate.
Contractions on pitocin were a bit stronger, and more regular. Aside from being tired, I felt like I was able to manage contractions pretty well, moaning and focusing on relaxing during each one. When I was checked two hours later I was still at a 6, a 7 during contractions so we upped the pitocin again, to a 4.
One hour later, around 1:30am I was checked yet again and the nurse said I was at an 8 and having good strong contractions every 3 minutes. She also mentioned my having a bulging bag of waters. When I was in labor with Daniel, my waters were bulging also, and we chose to break my water and labor progressed pretty quickly after that, so we decided to do the same thing again. And somewhere in there we upped the pitocin again, to a 6. By this point my legs were shaking so bad that Tommy and Tiffani had to hold them for me so I could try to relax during contractions and not worry about my legs flopping around.
Two or Three hours later the on-call doctor checked me and said I was actually less dilated than before now that my bag wasn't pushing on the cervix. I was so discouraged and totally exhausted. I told Tommy that I really didn't think I could do it anymore. Without my waters to cushion the contractions, I wasn't handling them as well. I couldn't relax like I knew I needed to, and knowing it was already after 4 in the morning I didn't think I'd have what I needed to push him out when the time came.
Tommy and I didn't mention it until afterward, but we were both thinking about how if we weren't careful and on top of things, this could quickly end in a c-section. Praise God that throughout everything Eli did great, his heart rate was never an issue and neither the nurse nor doctor were ever concerned about him. He also moved nonstop during labor. We could hear the static on his monitor as his arms and legs stretched during contractions. In fact, I think he bruised my ribs toward the end. During each contraction he would kick his feet up to my chest, decreasing my already reduced lung capacity. I remember trying to push his feet down so I could try to relax for the contractions.
Thus, we arrived at the epidural. I had to lean over the side of the bed, my legs shaking, my uterus contracting and my back prepped for the epidural. For a bit I thought I was going to be sick and could imagine the anesthesiologist missing my spine because I was heaving. Fortunately that didn't happen, but instead my legs slowly became tingly, and the contractions steadily became less intense, and then eventually not even noticeable. By 5:15am I was relaxed and taking a breather from the labor of labor.
Our nurse came back in a little later, checked me and low and behold, he had dropped and I was ready to push. The nurse asked me to push once to see where we were at. I could feel enough to know how and when to push, but not feel the pain and discomfort of doing so. After my one push she quickly told me not to push again and then ran to get to doctor.
As they quickly prepped for delivery I asked if they could set up a mirror so I could see Eli being born, something I was too freaked out to do when Daniel was born. I am so glad I did. The doctor asked me to push and Eli crowned, and again and his head was out, and again and there was his body! I was emotional as they placed him on my chest; this is what we had prayed for for so long!
Eli Marvin was born at 6:05am, Monday, January 7, 2013. Tommy cut Eli's umbilical cord, and Eli nursed so well, such a welcome surprise after Daniel! The rest of our hospital say was uneventful, and we happily went home Tuesday afternoon.