Exciting things have been about in our household. We welcomed our new addition last week, which is why I haven’t written in a few days. Little Katie couldn’t wait to see the world and arrived in a mere 3 hours of labor. We arrived at the hospital, it seems, just in the nick of time, being admitted around 8:30, only for her to arrive a bit after 9.
Now when it comes to pain, I am not the type of person who thinks “Hmm, this isn’t so bad, I will chug through it.” I am more the type type to say “How will I live through this stubbed toe?!” Needless to say, an epidural was definitely part of my birth plan. (Okay, there may have been one fleeting moment before the final stage of labor where I thought maybe I wouldn’t, but that lasted all of 5 seconds). Katie had other plans for me. She decided to give me the “gift” of natural childbirth.
Looking back and finding the joy in those incredibly painful moments is a lot easier now than it was that morning. The first hour of early contractions swiftly escalated to painful scream inducing contractions. (Which may or may not have caused me to scare my poor 2 year old, who attempted to comfort mommy with hugs and by asking if I was happy). The only thought going through my mind in those moments were “Oh God, make it stop.” And when they did stop “We NEED to get to the hospital.”
Obviously, the pain only got worse when we got to the hospital and when the doctor asked “Did you want an epidural?” immediately followed by “It would be easier without it,” I knew the decision had basically been made for me. I was wheeled into a delivery room surrounded by a team of women I didn’t know (2 residents, 2 nurses and a med student – things progressed so fast, my doctor hadn’t gotten to the hospital in time) and my wonderful hubby who helped deliver our little bundle. They were encouraging, positive, and simply amazing. It felt like a huge team effort, everyone doing their part to welcome her into the world. Within minutes, she was born and the craziness died down into an exciting buzz of energy, laughter, and joy as we announced her name, “Katie Joy” only to find out that one of the doctors who helped deliver her was named Katie, and a nurse in the room had a daughter with the same name.
So maybe it’s not easy to find joy in the pain of labor, but the one thing I do have to say is, I wouldn’t change my experience for all the epidurals in the world. If Katie hadn’t made such a swift entrance, I may not have had the opportunity to experience this incredible moment with each and every one of the amazing women I was blessed to be with. They are now an eternal part of this extraordinary moment that I will cherish forever. If things had happened another way, I wonder if I would have been conscious enough to remember the names of a majority of the people who helped to treat me, from the delivery room, to the days of recovery. The pains of labor forced me to be fully present in that moment. There was no way I could possibly be thinking about anything other than what was immediately going on. This engrained and solidified the memory in my mind more fully, I believe more than any other experience I could have had.