1cm in four hours is definitely not the progress one hopes for when they go into labor. Especially when those four hours are spent enduring contractions that come every 1.5 minutes without the help of an epidural or painkillers. But the atmosphere in my Labor and Delivery room was still hopeful. So far, in spite of all the delays, things were going almost exactly according to plan. We had on praise and worship music and we prayed and talked and laughed as I alternated between rocking back and forth on the birthing ball and walking up and down the halls.
Eventually I got tired and moved to the bed to labor. The amazing nurse I mentioned earlier showed me how to relax my whole body and breathe through the contractions that were getting stronger and stronger by the minute. Thankfully this helped me to endure when it felt like the pain was going to rip me apart. So I sat back against the pillows, closed my eyes, relaxed as best I could, and prayed some more.
I stayed like this for what seemed like hours. Every once in a while I would look over at my friend and husband for reassurance and then close my eyes again and concentrate on making it through the contractions. They prayed over me all the while and the atmosphere in the room was very peaceful. It was a peace that came from knowing God was ultimately in control.
Around 3:30 am my water broke without me really realizing what had happened. I was concentrating so hard that when it happened I overlooked it as just more fluid leaking as it had all night. It wasn’t until the nurse came back to check on us at 4:30 am that I realized it really had broken. By this time my contractions were 30 seconds apart. The pain was unimaginable and I had still not progressed beyond 2cm.
So in spite of all that I had hoped for and the birth plan I had so carefully prepared, I opted to receive the epidural. As upsetting as this was, I knew that this may be exactly what we needed in order for my body to relax enough for labor to progress. I was sad, but I decided to sacrifice my own wishes for what I hoped would be best for our baby girl.
They administered the epidural fairly quickly and soon enough I was numb from the waist down. The nurse instructed us all to settle in and relax once again and we all tried to get some sleep. Unfortunately sleep is not easy to come by when one is in labor, even when you can’t really feel your contractions. So I laid in the dark thinking about how our whole world was going to change and dreaming of what our girl would look like.
At 6:30 things went south. Since receiving the epidural and being hooked up to internal fetal monitors my blood pressure had been steadily rising and Lily’s heart rate was slowing. My doctor who had so far let me labor pretty much unassisted, rushed into the room along with a team of nursing staff. He talked about her decreasing heart rate and the fear that she was going to inhale meconium as she came out. Apparently when my water broke it was meconium thick. Oxygen was strapped to my face and I was turned on all fours in an effort to make our baby more comfortable. This worked for a time and my doctor left the room promising to return soon and check on us.
Soon came about 5 minutes later. Once again they all rushed into the room, strapped oxygen on my face, turned me on all fours, and gave me a shot to stop my labor. My contractions were coming so rapidly that our baby could not keep up and her heart rate had dropped to 80bpm. It was the most frightening few moments of my life. My doctor sat beside me on the bed and apologized but stated that Lily simply was not able to tolerate labor anymore. She was fading fast and he had a feeling that she was simply too big to come out. He feared that she might need to be rushed to the NICU and have tests run if she inhaled the meconium she was surrounded by.
So the decision was made to perform and emergency C-Section. We were rushed into the operating room, my husband donned scrubs and a hair net, and we prepared to finally meet our baby girl. When the doctors pulled her out it was as if my body knew the work was over and I was finally able to relax. In fact I struggled to stay awake long enough to even look at her!
Thankfully they were able to clean her up and keep her from inhaling any meconium at all. My husband held her in his arms for almost 45minutes as they cleaned me up and stitched up my incision. I cried and laughed uncontrollably as I listened to her cry for the first time. My doctor laughed as she smiled up and him (a real smile from a newborn!) and when they placed her in my husbands arms she simply gazed up at him with big blue eyes. She was so awake and alert!
Our baby girl was born at 7:25 am on January 25th. She was a whopping 9lbs 7oz and 22.5 inches long. She was indeed too big to fit through the birth canal, her head was caught on my pubic bone! Apparently that was why she never fully dropped into my pelvis and I never dilated beyond 2cm.
But in spite of all that had gone “wrong” I was happier than I had ever been in my entire life. My plans had completely unraveled at the seams but it was okay. Because God has blessed us beyond measure! He looked down and saw all that needed to happen for Lily to come into this world a healthy baby. He orchestrated everything according to His will and for our ultimate good. So the title “God Laughs” doesn’t come from the saying, “we make plans and God laughs” as you may have thought, it comes from my sincere belief that as He looks down on us now, 5 weeks after her birth, and watches Lily grow, and smile, and giggle, He laughs too. He laughs because He loves her more than words can describe, and He has a plan for her ultimate good greater than any her father or I could dream up.
The End is Just the Beginning….
p.s. I would just like to note that I could not have done this without the help of Angie Gallegos the friend who was with me every step of the way from the very first moment I learned of my pregnancy straight into the Labor and Delivery room. And my husband, who held my hand, and prayed with me, and loved me through both the amazing times and bad times.