The Beauty of Battle
Strength is something we don’t realize we have until we are put in a situation where we have to find it or perish. Daily challenges make us stronger and because of these challenges we grow, we evolve. When we go through a difficult trial we are forced to cope. We fight through the layers of emotion. In the fight our body, mind, and spirit are tested. It is only in the chaos of the battle that we are truly able to mold ourselves into a stronger, wiser, more enriched embodiment. It is only in the battle that we find our true self. Be grateful for strife because without it we wouldn’t flourish into the beautiful souls we are. This is the beauty of battle…
A sharp pain in my lower abdomen kicked in and I knew it was time. At 11 PM contractions hit and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of urgency, excitement, and fear of what to expect…
I decided to wait it out as long as possible because I knew once I got to the hospital I would be bound to a bed and as uncomfortable as the contractions were when they started I knew they would be worse laying down. I told my husband to read the bit of information for the support partner in What To Expect When You’re Expecting. I grabbed an exercise ball and started rolling around on it like a walrus rolls around on dry land… or that’s how I felt.
I’ve always loved a challenge and mostly charged anything that scared me in the past but this fear was a completely different feeling than I had ever felt before. Knowing that a human is about to come out of your “flower” is SCARY! I was terrified and rightly so.
My husband reassured me at the time that it was probably just braxton hicks (false labor or mild cramps) which is just your body’s way of preparing you for the real deal. I reassured him it was time and I was going to take a shower and take my time… fix my hair and makeup. Yes, as laughable as it is, I thought I could look good during childbirth.
I made it through the shower and I actually did curl my hair but the makeup didn’t make it on. The contractions were too strong at this point to comfortably stand up straight. It gets to a point where you have to hold on to a counter or anything to brace for each contraction. The best way to describe this feeling for men (someone kicks you right in the balls) – women (a period cramp straight from the underworld intensified times ten). We grabbed our bags and hopped in the car en route to the hospital. In this moment I was very excited and anxious. I couldn’t wait to meet our tiny little human.
At the hospital they make you fill out paperwork which is just so enjoyable when you feel like a knife is going through your cervix but yes I would LOVE to thank you.
The hospital room was very cold and uncomfortable. I asked the nurse if I could use the bathroom just to buy some time. I locked the door and paced back and forth as long as I could until the pain hurt to the point where I was doing this awkward shuffle or dance that you would see someone do if their crotch was on fire. The nurse came in and hooked up an IV and my contractions were also being monitored on what looked to be a richter scale. The waiting game had begun.
I wanted to have my baby naturally and without any pain medication. Most women would “like” this but reality is you don’t know what to expect until you’re going through it.
Six hours in and I asked for the IV pain medication which you can only have every 2 hours. When that hit I felt nauseous but it helped with the pain from the contractions. At this point I thought to myself, ” I got this. This isn’t so bad.”
An hour passed and close to the end of the second I asked for another dose. The second dose helped but it wasn’t killing the pain like the first. Two hours later couldn’t come fast enough and I asked for another dose. This time it didn’t help but I didn’t want to give up the fight and get the epidural yet. I was determined to make it through without an epidural mostly because I already had lower back pain and heard the epidural could make it worse.
Ten hours in and this sharp pain hit right above my left hip in the pelvis. It was immobilizing. I tossed from left to right and dug my thumb in to see if it would relieve the pain and it didn’t. I was breaking. I laid on my right side to try to alleviate the left hip and dug my head under a pillow and cried. I felt completely hopeless at this point.
My Aunt who had already went through this three times before looked at the computer to my right and let me know the contractions were only hitting at 25% meaning they were going to get much much worse. I immediately asked for the epidural in a panic.
The nurse asked everyone to leave the room and a doctor came in to administer the epidural. I was asked to sit up on the edge of the bed and not to move. My contractions were unbearable at this point but the thought of the needle slipping and hitting my spine or a nerve from a movement and paralyzing me kept me from moving. I closed my eyes and faced the ground and cried almost to a point of defeat. I was upset that I couldn’t hold out without the epidural. I felt that I had let myself down. After they were done I resumed back in my position as before and they checked my vitals to make sure everything was ok. The nurse wrapped a device around my stomach to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. I was still trying to lay on my right side because the sharp pain over my left hip worsened. The epidural helped with my contractions but not the new sharp pain. The nurse had a concerned look on her face and then let me know the baby’s heart rate was dropping. She then asked me to lay flat on my back to see if we could get it back up. When I repositioned the sharp pain got worse and I cried in pain. The baby’s heart rate picked back up on my back so I had to deal with the pain. I asked for another epidural. They administered it and yet I still felt everything. It didn’t take. At this point I was going to have to deal with the pain.
I was told my doctor was still in surgery with another mother but would be done shortly…
My contractions were now at 100%. Each hit was a blow to my spirit. I felt like I was getting beaten down by a force I had no strength to fight at this point. That’s it. I was over it. I made my mind up that I couldn’t take anymore and I was pushing whether they liked it or not.
I told my husband to prepare to catch the baby because I was pushing, doctor or not. My Aunt ran to get the nurse to let her know of my decision. My mom sitting to the left in the room with tears in her eyes and a helpless and frantic look. My husband calm and cool kept monitoring my vitals and providing me with ice chips when needed.
I sat up and started pushing. I couldn’t believe how much pain I was in. It was unbearable but I was bearing it and at this point all I could think was let’s get this over with.
My body was exhausted. I was overheating and started feeling sick. The nurse came in and set everything up and told me when to push. I pushed and felt like I had to throw up so my husband gave me a bag to throw up in. I would push and then throw up. I yelled, “Get this thing out of me!” (at the time we didn’t know the sex which is why thing was appropriate). I yelled again, “Cut it out”. These were cries of pure desperation. After an hour had passed I broke: spirit, mind, body. I was done. “You can see the head!” said my Aunt. I cried uncontrollably. My Aunt grabbed my shoulder and said, “You can do this! Don’t give up. You have to do this!” The nurse stepped in and said you have to pull it together the baby’s heart rate keeps dropping. My husband on the left with a calm voice said, “She’s right there! I can see her. Just one more push!” The fear of losing my child set in and I focused on everyones words. I straightened up and followed commands. All I could think was that I might lose my baby. I prayed in hopes that the baby would be ok. The sharp pain above the left hip was stronger than ever and yet I ignored it to focus on pushing. The doctor stepped in and placed both hands in and pushed down. A hard stretch and I came off the table in agony. He then had to cut down to help the baby come out. He asked for the Kiwi which is a suction device. He placed it below and told me to push. I took a deep breath and used every ounce of strength I had left. The doctor saw a dark purple head and then a cord wrapped around the neck. The heart rate dropped. The doctor tried to get his finger under the umbilical cord but couldn’t because it was pulled too tight. He looked up and asked me to breath out slowly and that loosened the cord enough for him to lift it up and over the head. The remainder of the cord was wrapped around the tiny body.
Looking in the mirror hanging from the ceiling I could see a little purple body come out. “You have a little girl!” the doctor said. No cries. I was horrified that she wasn’t breathing. Finally a slight movement from her little arms. The doctor allowed my husband to cut the umbilical cord. I felt them lay her body on top of mine and I felt her tiny belly, arms, legs, toes. The feeling at that moment truly is indescribable. My eyes were closed and I just held her close to me and said to my husband, “Look what we did!”
My introduction to motherhood was more difficult than I could have ever imagined. I looked at this blessing that I just worked so hard to get and praised the heavens for her life. Two big beautiful eyes stared up at me as she fed for the first time and my whole being was flooded with more love than I had ever felt before. My tiny miracle. She was perfect. Nothing else at that moment mattered. I forgot about the pain and just marveled over God’s creation. Perfect marvel.
The most difficult and painful time in my life gave me the most beautiful and fascinating gift. The miracle of life. The beauty of the battle.