Giving birth is as easy as 1, 2, 3…NOT!
I think training and racing an Ironman is easier than giving birth. To give you an idea, Ironman training usually is about 4 months of training 6 days a week. On weekends, I would get up around 4am to be at the lake training by day light. Training would typically be what I did Saturday and Sunday along with lots of laundry, endless eating to replenish my needs and then getting ready for the following day. Weekdays, I would train before and/or after work. Several days of the week I would have two training sessions in a day or have brick workouts. When you train for an Ironman and have a full time job, that is ALL you do because that is ALL the time you have. Then, the race is all kinds of fun and crazy mixed together; but mostly fun and adrenaline pumping awesomeness! The emotional feeling of accomplishment is well worth all the work and time. Now, I have to tell you, neither one of my Ironman races went perfectly. Both races, I had issues. My first one, Ironman Texas, I was having severe knee pain that started shortly after I began the bike and continued until I finished the race. I had to rest and go to Airrosti for rehab for a few months. My second, Ironman Chattanooga, my GI was a wreck. My intestines felt like they were inside out on the run and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to even walk far without feeling like I needed to use the port-a-potty. This race was my first introduction to the new Gatorade formula and my body hid reject! So, all that to say, I have not had easy Ironman races and still, giving birth is WAY HARDER!
Today, I finish up my delivery story. I hope you have enjoyed the previous two parts of my adventure. As you know, Everitt was born on February 11th. His arrival has been one of the most joyful, difficult, character building, emotional, stressful, wonderful, happy times in my life. All you parents out there can relate to the emotional roller coaster I am sure. With that said, I wouldn’t trade this time in my life for anything and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else but loving my baby boy and watching him grow into the boy and someday man God has in store for him to become.
As I am waiting for a labor and delivery room, hospital staff are trying to have me fill out paperwork. The contractions start to get even stronger so I ask Michael to finish up the documents (aka. sighing our life away). He is also managing both of our phones and responding to text messages because I am no longer able or want to think about texting people back. Focusing on getting through the contraction becomes my priority. The pain started getting more severe around 2pm. We had told family that I was in labor and that made everything even more real.
As we were waiting for a room, Michael and I are working quickly to order what we still needed off Amazon and make a list for family to bring from our house. Thank goodness for family and Amazon! Michael and I sent a list of needs to my sister and brother-in-law and they were fantastic about getting everything and even taking care of our dog. Necessities were ordered through Amazon with 1 day shipping and would be here before we go home. Now to focus on the important issue at hand…giving birth!
After I got moved to a private room, the contractions (as expected) continued to get stronger. Michael was communicating with our Doula about when to come as well as helping me get through each contraction. He would watch the monitor as the contractions peaked and let me know when it seemed I would be getting some relief. He applied pressure to my back and hips to help alleviate the pain and distract me. Initially, I was lying in bed working through the contractions. As I was “riding” the contractions, both Michael and I found it interesting that they would not always completely alleviate after they peaked. Sometimes one contraction would have two peaks before my body would calm down and I would get a short break. Those were the worst…or so I thought until the crowning process began…
After being on my back for a little while, a nurse got me a birthing ball and helped me figure out how to use it. Oh, do I love the birthing ball! Once I got out of bed and was in a sitting position, it felt like progress was happening. I didn’t dare watch the clock in the room though because I knew labor could be hours of pain and I didn’t want to know how long I had been going through it. Also, the inability to know when the pain would stop was difficult to accept. Being an athlete, I like to know where the finish line is. I hate loops in a race because I don’t want to get close to the finish line just to run past it and run away from it. (Side note: Loop courses, which most Ironman races have loops, are a character building experience for me. I keep signing up for races so I guess I need more character building in my life.) So, labor with a finish line nowhere to be seen was pretty intimidating and character building to say the least. To go through the pain of labor with no idea when it will end was the toughest thing I have ever gone through.
By the time my Doula, Yvette arrived, I was at 4 cm and progressing well. It had taken me about 2-3 hours to get to 4 cm. Apparently, they say getting to 4cm is some of the hardest part about labor (I don’t know if I agree). Yvette helped with progression by having me do lunges, change positions, get up to go pee and drink Gatorade to ensure I had energy to stay strong through the process. She also helped guide me on how to breathe through the contractions. There is definitely an art to breathing during labor.
It took me about 4 ½ hours to go from 4 cm to 10cm. Usually, they say normal progression is 1 cm per hour so my body was working overtime to get Mr. Everitt into this world faster than normal! Let me tell you, this process did NOT feel fast to me. Another misconception on my part was I thought when the baby was crowning, it would be one or two pushes and he would be out…not so much. That was super painful as well and I felt like I kept nearing the finish line, but kept running past it on my 4th, 5th, 10th push. Yvette and doctor both guided me to push like I was the most constipated I have ever been. Thank goodness for their guidance. After what felt like forever, Everitt made his debut!
I have to give Michael and Yvette kudos because without them, delivery would have been much harder and I don’t know if I would have been able to achieve my goal of delivering all naturally. I am very proud and thankful God gave me the strength and guidance to achieve that important goal! Michael and Yvette were encouraging and knew exactly what I needed throughout the whole process. When I didn’t think I could do it and entertained the idea of taking the pain away with medical assistance, they reminded me that I WAS doing it and that I needed to focus on the current contraction instead of the long process. There were several times, I wanted to quit and knew I couldn’t. Literally, I couldn’t stop and had to trust that God would give me the strength to continue through the pain of labor. There is no quitting with labor. Remembering that God created my body to birth a baby was helpful. I tried to pray and say scriptures, but when the pain got so strong, my mind went blank and all I focused on was surviving the contraction with hopes I would get a break soon. As Everitt was crowning, the contractions got stronger but, I had longer breaks between the pushes. Those breaks were so important to provide rest and strength for push to come! During the crowning process, I don’t remember, but Michael said I was cracking jokes with the doctor and smiling. I think I was just trying to compartmentalize the pain and survive. That would be the athlete brain in me. I stated questioning if I was going to survive this process or if Everitt was ever going to make his debut! Low and behold, at 9:45pm that special night, a miracle happened; Michael and I got to meet our precious little boy!
Before giving birth, I thought pregnancy was challenging. Don’t get me wrong, being pregnant definitely had its difficulties, but giving birth is a whole new level of challenging and pain! I am so thankful and happy to have been able to deliver naturally with only IV fluids. Looking back, the most amazing part of giving birth naturally was being able to feel the progression. As my baby boy progressed further down, the pain moved with him. I could feel the pain go from the middle of my abdomen to my lower abdomen and pelvic area. That was so interesting and re-assuring to be able to feel. Progression was so important; contractions were so painful I needed the reassurance that things were moving along and he was going to come out and the pain would end. The doctor allowed Michael to catch Everitt and place him on my chest. The moment I saw my precious boy, I was filled with overwhelming love, a desire to cry because of the pain I was in, thankfulness that the birthing process was done as well as immense joy to meet my gift from God. Our first skin to skin moment was unforgettable. I never knew I could love someone as much as I love Everitt. My heart was and continues to be overwhelmed with love for my baby boy! Michael and I consider ourselves blessed to have felt connected immediately with him as many families struggle with experiencing that immediate bond.
Everitt is now over a month old. Oh my how time fly’s by! Each day is a new adventure and we learn together (even Emma won’t let us get far away as she has become protective of us). It has been so much fun but, at the same time such new territory that it’s a little intimidating. We try to have new experiences each day as well as build upon the last. One of the hardest things for me to get used to, is being needed all the time as I have chosen to breastfeed him. It is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. It is amazing to know that my role in my baby boy’s life is unique and cannot be replaced by anybody. At the same time, I never anticipated how much I would be needed. I am excited to get to know my baby boy more and more each day. It is fun discovering his personality and exciting to see who he will grow up to become. Looking at him, my mind is blown that God created a precious boy and he was growing inside of me. Now, I get to see Everitt every day to teach and train him who God is and who God wants him to be. Everitt gets to he help me become the mom God wants me to be. To God be the glory on our grand adventure!
I hope you enjoyed my delivery story. It was quite the adventure and I am blessed to have had an “easy” delivery without any complications. Please pray that we continue learning about each other and growing together in the way God has planned for us.