The Beginning of Selah’s Birth, Pt. 3

Selah was born 4 months ago today so I think it’s only right that I do my best to finish her birth story today.  When we got to baby & co, I basically spent all my time in the shower or the huge tub.  The hot water helped considerably, but I did not like the fact that I was unable to move in the tub.  The shower was wonderful, but at some point it became difficult to stand.  During the last 3-4 hours, the pain increased and it became more difficult to keep my head clear and above water… figuratively and literally.  My mother had arrived at this point and I asked if she would read some notecards that I had written verses or motivational statements on.  There were three that I tried to keep repeating in my head over and over as the pain became too much.

  1. This pain is just a moment and it will pass.
  2. Philippians 1:6 – He who started a good work in you will carry it to completion.
  3. Isaiah 66:9 – In the same way, I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.

That last one especially stuck with me and I’m pretty sure I began to cry at this point.  Like I said, things got a bit cloudy from here.  So, what I am saying is… here is either the bits and pieces that I do remember or it is second hand information from Taylor or my mom.  At some point, my sister, her husband, and their two kids got there, as well as Taylor’s mom, dad, and sister.  I think he went out to say hello and update them once, but I really did not like being left alone, so he stayed by my side throughout everything.  (more on Taylor’s just sheer amazingness later…) So… there are a few different stages of labor and in my birthing class I remember them saying that the last part of labor is the toughest.  The contractions are very close together and they are the most painful.  I do remember, however, that there are supposed to be breaks between contractions, just not very long.

At this point, my water STILL had not broken and it was around 3-4am?  I was in what they call “transition” and my contractions were the worst they’d been and very close together.  I began to have what I later learned were called “rolling contractions.”  This basically means, before the first one is over, the next one has already started.  So, the first one reaches its peak and as it’s coming back down the hill, the next one picks up.  I would have about 3-4 of these in a row before I’d get about 20-30 seconds of rest.  This was more mentally tiring than physically.  I knew they had to end, but at that point in time, it never felt like they would.  I would begin to feel relief and it would start hurting again.  My sister has told me that she was in a room down the hall feeding her daughter, and she could hear me moaning and whimpering.  (I vaguely remember this because the next morning in the hospital with Selah my throat was soon sore.)  My brain was wearing down, I was leaning over the bed on an exercise ball with Taylor trying to support me.  This is the point where I began saying and believing, “I can’t do this.  I can’t do this.  It’s too hard.  I can’t do this.”  Taylor, being amazing (I’ll get to that later, just kept saying, “yes, you can.  You ARE doing this.  You’re so close.  You can do this.”  I tried to keep telling myself, “This has to end at some point.  Just hold on.  This has to end.”

At some point in this miserable cycle, my water broke.  It was not at all like I expected it to be and I know it surprised Taylor, but it FINALLY broke.  I became a little more excited and energized at this point because I felt like now she could come out and all this pain wasn’t happening in vain.

I’m going to take a quick pause here and talk about Taylor.  He has always been great at being a supportive person when you are in need.  He was wonderful when my dad died and throughout that whole grieving process.  He was just amazing.  There is no other way to put it.  I never doubted how he would handle labor.  He has this way of becoming completely calm and logical during stressful times.  The whole time we were at home and I was dealing with contractions, he was right there rubbing my back and being encouraging.  We got to Baby and Co and he stood in the shower with me, helping hold me up, rubbing my back, handing me a bottle of water and forcing me to drink.  When I was in the tub, he was sitting on the floor next to it, holding my arms, squeezing my neck, reminding me to breathe, and once again, forcing me to drink water.  When I moved to the bed, he was there, rubbing my arm, reminding me to breathe, forcing me to drink water, etc… He was always telling me I could do it, asking questions when I couldn’t, just being present. In the words of my sister, “I remember how amazing Mom said Taylor was.  She bragged on him for days.  Telling how he stayed right with you and didn’t leave your side for anything (even to change his wet clothes).  She said he was always so confident and encouraging.  He was seriously your biggest fan and coach all in one.”  He had not left my side.  So… here we go….

My water broke, I asked him to go and get Alice Ann, he did.  He came back and Alice Ann came in after him.  She took one look at the floor where my water had broke and said, “Okay.  So.  This isn’t an emergency, but that’s definitely meconium.  That means that baby has pooped in utero.  We want to make sure that she hasn’t ingested any because if she has, she could be sick.  This is one of our reasons that we transfer moms to the hospital.  This is a non-emergency, but we do need to begin that transfer, okay?  Do you understand?”  Now you see why we really like Alice Ann.  She’s honest, forthright, but she makes sure you understand that everything is okay.  She was very much like Taylor.  I nodded my head (all I could manage at this point) and she left the room.  I started to cry, partially because of exhaustion, partially because of pain, partially because I was afraid that everything was falling apart.  Taylor assured me that everything was alright and that Alice would have said differently if it weren’t an emergency.  My mother cried at this point, I believe.  A few minutes later, Alice Ann came in with a wheelchair and wheeled me out to the parking lot.  Taylor got in the driver seat of our car, I got in the passenger seat, and Alice got in the backseat.  We drove over to the hospital, Alice reminding me to breathe the whole time.  Ya’ll… sitting down while having contractions is the WORST.

We got to the hospital 3 minutes later, they wheeled me into the elevator and took me upstairs.  It was about 5am-5:30am.  They got me into a room, onto a bed, and Alice Ann talked to the doctor about the rest of the delivery.  They immediately let me begin pushing.  Let me just say… they told me that when you started to push everything would change.  It certainly does. The pain of the contractions basically disappear because now you have a job and that’s exactly what I needed.  I desperately need a job, a purpose.  As soon as they let me start doing this, time flew by and I actually felt like we were getting somewhere.  Looking back, it was so exciting.  She was coming and soon.  They told me that they could actually see her.  This wasn’t something I had made up.  There was an actual baby and she was being born within the hour.  It took about an hour of pushing and when she was born there was such a relief.  I have never felt relief like this.  They lifted her up so that I could see her and then they took her to the other side of the room.

Because there was meconium in my water, they wanted to make sure she hadn’t ingested any.  She had to be suctioned and then they washed her off and handed her right back.  It was 1-2 minutes max, but it felt like eternity.  We laid there and she immediately just curled up on my chest.  She was warm and smelled lovely.  Her skin was perfect, her nose was perfect, her adorable little body was just perfect.  They moved us to a different room and as they wheeled us down the hall, the hospital played “Brahms Lullaby” to signal Selah’s birth.  I, of course cried, because that’s what my mother used to hum to me when she would tuck me in at night.  About 30 minutes after we got to the room, Taylor came over to the bed and said, “Are you okay? Do you need me?” and I must have made a confused face because he said, “Can I use the bathroom?”  I burst out laughing.  I hadn’t even noticed that he hadn’t used the bathroom, but I should’ve known.  He had been with me since 6pm the night before and now it was 6:30am.  I told you he was wonderful.  I spent the next day or two just laying in bed with Selah and watching Selah lay on Taylor’s chest.

Baby & Co continued to be supportive in the next day or two and even the next several weeks.  I have called and facetimed several times since she was born for many reasons.  I will always recommend them to anyone who is looking for great women’s care.  I cannot tell you how beautiful this whole process was for me.  I know it’s different for everyone, but despite all the pain and the last minute change of plans… it is so incredibly worth it.  I’ll end with another special memory from my sister: “When I first came into the room, I saw her sweet little angel face and I saw in my mind the first time I met you in the hospital, and I knew how amazing and special this moment was, so instead of going straight to my niece, I hugged you first.  I knew what you had done to bring her into this world, I knew how hard you had worked, how scary moments had been for you, and I knew all the flurry of emotions you were experiencing (and would experience in the next 8 weeks to come).  At the same time, I could see you at that size and I was so proud of you, I thought my heart would burst or overflow.”

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