This story I am about to tell is the greatest love story of my life (next to falling in love with your daddy).
Here it begins…
I woke up on Thursday, January 19th 2017 at 5 am to some mild cramping and discomfort. I had gone to bed the night before feeling odd and not like myself which I kept mentioning to your daddy, but we both chalked it up to pregnancy fatigue. The weeks leading up to this day were filled with lots of false labor pains so I tried not to get my hopes up that this was the real deal. I got out of bed and got some water and some Wheat Thins to munch on in bed. Around 6 am your dad woke up to my snacking and asked if I was okay. I told him I was having some sharp pains but I was sure they probably weren’t labor pains. He suggested that we start timing the pains to see if there was a pattern. He had a contraction app downloaded on his phone for this exact occasion. After about 30 minutes of timing we realized that they were coming in waves every five minutes and that I was definitely in labor!
The pain started to intensify so we got to work getting everything around for when we would leave for the hospital. The plan was to labor as long as I possibly could in the comfort of our home before heading to the hospital, so I got undressed and got in the shower knowing that the hot water would help dull the ache of each contraction. Your sweet father brought me a chair to sit in in the shower because my legs were shaking so badly and standing was becoming too painful. I had big plans to do my hair and makeup for the hospital but as the contractions began to escalate those plans quickly dissipated. I gave instructions to your father from the shower as he rushed around the house getting everything we would need to have with us for your big arrival. It seemed like time slowed down as I sat in the shower and waited for your daddy to tell me everything was ready and we could go to the hospital. I focused on getting through each bout of nauseating pain that seemed to be coming even closer together with less of a reprieve in between. Finally it was time to get dressed and in the car. Your dad helped me get dressed as I labored through the contractions that were causing me to have to stop and rest every few minutes. Finally, I had my oatmeal in hand and we were loaded up in the car and headed 5 minutes up the road you the hospital. I tried my best to eat the oatmeal dad made me and get something in my stomach as I knew I was in for a long ride.
We arrived around 8:30 am, parked the car and I hobbled into the hospital. The woman at the front desk was asking me questions and I could hardly talk through the sharp contractions that were radiating through my body. Your dad continued to answer questions for me as a nurse came up behind me with a wheel chair and carted me off to the labor and delivery wing. I was so greatful to be able to sit down and focus on my breathing as we arrived to the delivery room where you would be brought into this world. I got changed into the too big hospital gown that they gave me ( I actually put it on backwards at first) and climbed into the hospital bed where they hooked my belly up to monitors that monitored your precious, steady heartbeat and my contractions. Your dad came into the room from getting us checked in and boy I was so glad to see his face. Finally, a nurse came to check how dilated I was and told me I was at 4 cm and that they would call our midwife. I was so relieved to hear that things were progressing with the labor and knew we would be meeting you soon!
As time passed the contractions only worsened and had me gripping the bed rail for dear life. The pain caused me to throw up and shake so badly. Your dad rubbed my back and legs as I tried to breathe deeply through the pain that was now coming quickly with little rest time in between. The nurses asked if I wanted any medicine to take the edge off my pain and after a few questions about the medicine I agreed, YES! The medicine hit my system quickly but did very little to take away the pain, instead it made me so tired I could barely hold my eyes open. The nurses told me that Rebekah, our midwife was almost there, which was good to hear because that meant things were progressing and I needed to know I wasn’t going to be stuck in that state forever.
Once our wonderful midwife arrived, she immediately checked my progress and told me that I was getting closer and suggested I try getting out of bed and labor in some different positions. The thought of standing up or moving sounded like torture, but I knew it would help speed things along so I decided to try laboring in the shower for a bit. Your daddy helped me make it to the shower as I clutched his arm and leaned on him for support. I undressed and sat on the shower bench closed my eyes and tried to relax as streams of hot water hit my body. I was so deep in concentration that I was actually tired and felt like sleeping as I labored in the shower. Your dad took the shower head and sprayed warm water all over my belly, back and forth as I closed my eyes and tried to relax into each contraction like my birthing coach taught me.
After a while I was ready for a change of position. Your daddy dried me off and helped me get back into my hospital gown. I decided to try laboring on the birthing ball. I sat on the ball next to the bed and leaned back into your dad’s chest. He massaged my lower back and tummy as the pain became excruciating and contractions were now right on top of eachother. I refused to let the pain get ahead of me and gripped the hospital bed for dear life as I focused on trying not to scream out in pain. I moved onto the hospital bed and asked my midwife to check my progress because I knew I was in the transition stage of labor because that’s when they say the pain becomes unbearable and most women feel like giving up. After she checked my dilation, I was at 8 cm and my water still hadn’t broken. Rebekah offered to break my water and cautioned me that doing so could slow my labor down. I was desperate for something to happen and decided to give it a try. I got another dose of Nubane which caused me to freak out on the inside because it didn’t seem to make a difference in my pain levels and I was in the most pain yet.
Once the the midwife and nurse came in to break my water I was so greatful, I knew I needed a distraction because I felt like I was dying. After a few minutes of poking and prodding I felt a rush of fluid and my water had broken. I saw a look of concern on my midwife’s face and she told us that there was a chance that you would be born not breathing. She told us that the fluid was not clear and you might have meconium (waste) in your lungs. We were concerned but I knew that worrying would be a waste of energy and I neede all I could get.
The next hour or so was spent laboring on my back in the hospital bed with your daddy praying over me and speaking truth and encouragement to me. I was so deep in concentration that time and space ceased to exist, it was just me and you and the the rise and fall of contractions standing between us. I knew that each one was getting me closer to meeting you, so I battled onward.
In the meantime, our midwife had gathered a team of doctors and nurses who were bustling in and out of the room preparing for your arrival. Through tears I asked to be checked as I knew it was almost time to start pushing. Once I was checked, I was told that I was fully dialated and I immediately asked if I could start pushing. I was told that I would feel when it was time to start pushing so wait for that feeling. After a bit longer, I didn’t want to wait anymore so I announced that I was going to start pushing. I was told all the different positions I could try and finally settled on leaning over the back of the hospital bed. Once in position I tried pushing while everyone gathered around me and coached me. My midwife said to push harder, I thought I was pushing hard until I suddenly got the urge to push and it took over my whole body. Every muscle in my body was clenched and I was pushing so hard. With each contraction that came, I pushed. I was exhausted, cramping, and dripping sweat; I didn’t know how much longer I could keep this up, I felt so weak.
Next, I was told to move down on my side in the bed and continue pushing. My midwife told me that just a few more good pushes would get you here, and that was all I needed to hear. I began pushing with everything I had left, I felt pressure, I felt pain, and I barely noticed all the medical team that had now entered the room and were waiting your arrival as well. My trembling legs were being held up by your dad and a nurse, I looked into your daddy’s eyes, we were so excited to meet you in a few seconds! Finally with one good push and stabbing pain, I felt you slide out and you were born, at 1:17 PM.
Like the midwife predicted, you were born not breathing and before I could see you, your daddy cut your cord and you were whisked away by doctors. Before they could take you I reached out and touched your wet little body. You were in the back of the hospital room surrounded by doctors all working quickly to get your lungs cleared out and help you start breathing on your own. I was still laying on the bed, Your dad holding my hand, by my side like he had been all 8 hours. He kissed my forehead and I knew you were going to be okay. I said to myself “I refuse to fear”. I knew that God had you in the palm of his hand. While we waited for you, I passed the placenta and got stitched up. All the while I kept looking up to your father’s face for reassurance that you were okay. He never wavered and smiled down at me with his warm eyes, letting me know you were okay. Finally the most beautiful sound reached my ears, it was you. You were crying which meant you were breathing on your own! The doctors brought you to me and put you on my chest. In that moment I knew that being your mommy was my greatest task yet and that as long as I lived I would love you.
That is your birth story Graham Nathan Rasbaugh, born 7lbs. 2oz. 19.5 inches long.
We love you to the moon and back ❤