I am a mother. I’m not quite
sure how that happened or what I’m doing, but I have a darling little boy who
stares into my eyes…and I love it. It’s been a crazy road the last couple of
weeks, but I am happy to report that I am slowly settling into life as a mom.
Here’s the story of how my life was happily turned upside down:
William Graham Harr was in no hurry to get here. He took his sweet time. It almost drove his mother crazy. Every Braxton-Hicks contraction made me wonder if "the real thing" was beginning or if it just more practice. I ran out of projects to work on, and I had to go to the grocery store again because I had assumed we'd be in the hospital already.
Friday, May 11 (one week overdue), I woke up at 6:00 a.m. with contractions about 6-8 minutes apart. They weren't particularly painful, so I figured it was just more Braxton-Hicks. I told Graham to go ahead and go to work, but to keep his phone close...just in case. I was still trying hard not to get my hopes up, sure that the contractions would stop any minute. But they didn't. They continued all morning, not really getting more intense though, until my mom and the doctor's office said I should probably go to the hospital to get checked. I told Graham to come home for lunch and not to plan on going back.
We headed to the hospital around 2:00, and we were admitted. After checking and observing me for a while, the nurse told me I was in "latent" labor, which basically meant that it was the beginning stages of labor but I wasn't really progressing. Not again! I thought. Basically we had two choices: go home and wait for labor to progress on its own, or allow the doctor to break my water and induce labor with Pitocin if necessary. I really didn't want to introduce chemicals that could cause potential problems later, but I REALLY didn't want to go home. After some discussion and a prayer, Graham and I decided to stay and see this thing through, sooner than later.
At about 5:00, the doctor broke my water (weird feeling, by the way). At 7:00, they determined that Pitocin was going to be needed to nudge things along, so they started the IV. Whoa, what a nudge! Time became a blur for me after that, and all I will say about the rest of the process is that I will be forever grateful for an awesome nurse who kept encouraging me to stick with my plan for a natural birth, for a jetted tub that helped me relax through some of the toughest parts of labor, and especially for a dedicated husband who stayed with me the whole time and helped me to remember to breathe. I know he was exhausted by the end both physically and mentally from trying to help me in every way he could, which often meant putting counter-pressure on my legs with all the force he could muster during contraction after contraction for several hours.
Finally, after several more hours of labor, getting stuck at 9 cm dilated for a while, and an hour of pushing, William Graham Harr made his debut. He weighed in at 8 lbs. 10 oz. and measured 22 inches long. He had a full head of dark hair, and we thought he was adorable from the first moment. Graham says it was incredible to see him be born, but I didn't watch, and I was too busy being relieved and recovering for the several minutes right after to pay much attention to what was going on.
Looking back, I am amazed by the whole experience. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done. It was an incredibly difficult mental challenge to keep myself relaxed and positive, rather than letting myself be overwhelmed by pain and fear. Still, it was a beautiful experience, too. I felt empowered by realizing what I am capable of, and it brought Graham and me closer in a way I can't describe.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I'd do it naturally again.
Besides, isn't this face worth whatever it took to get him here?
And this is my favorite sight these days...my two favorite boys together: