It's wild to believe that its been one whole month already since our little Alma girl was born. I've been dragging my feet on writing this post because, well, I'm not sure why. Her birth was pretty intense and has been an interesting one to reflect on. Y'all, I chose to have a natural, unmedicated birth. And it hurt. A lot. My three previous births were all done so with the aid of an epidural. And while the first two went fine, the third one did not, and I desperately did not want to relive those feelings. It was so strong that I could not feel a thing. You might think that's a good thing, but for me it wasn't. Also, the older I get, the more I learn, the more I feel empowered. Knowing there is a great possibility that this would be my last birth, I knew it was my last chance to challenge myself. And I did it. And while I'm grateful I did, I can't say that I would choose a natural birth again. Whoever invented the epidural was a genius, and I shall forever remember that.
My little Alma. She's here. And she's going to be strong and fierce and independent. I just know it, because that's the way she arrived in this world. She kept me guessing, and came just one hour past her due date. I thought for sure she'd come early like the others did. She gave me contractions every night for a week, which resulted in a really clean house, fresh laundry for days, and a fully stocked fridge. One good thing that came from her staying in as long as she did was that my doctor was able to deliver her. He'd missed my two previous deliveries, and was on vacation until just a few days before she arrived. And after my wild ride that was her birth, I'm so glad he was the one to deliver her. For a situation that I couldn't control, it all worked out in its own way.
My contractions began around 8:45pm on the night of my due date. I had wanted to labor at home for as long as possible, but I had an appointment earlier that day and my doctor advised that I not wait around at home too long, and come in after having regular contractions for two hours. He was afraid if I waited, I may not make it to the hospital. I wanted a natural birth, but I wasn't quite looking to deliver her at home. So I did as I was told, and headed in to the hospital around 11pm.
I was checked in and settled into my room at 11:30pm. I was 4cm dilated and 70% effaced, and from there things progressed rather quickly. Since I was screaming through my pain, I don't have a clear memory of how it all went down exactly. That's probably a good thing. Nick jotted down a few notes, but again, we didn't have much down time.
I tried to walk around as much as I could, anything to keep me from having to lie in the bed. My girlfriend was coming to take photos, and I just kept telling myself I had to hold out until she got there. She arrived at 12:45am, and there wasn't a dull moment after she walked in the door. The urge to push kept getting more and more intense, and at 12:55am while sitting on the toilet I felt it was time. I knew enough to not deliver her there, so I sent Nick to call for the Dr. He quickly came in as I made my way to the bed. He checked me and I was 6cm dilated and 90% effaced. I heard him whisper to Nick to not let me get out of bed again. I don't think my doctor was even out the door when I was hollering that I was ready to push. He turned around, checked me again, and this time I was complete. The next eleven minutes were the most painful and intense minutes of my life, and I honestly had to piece them together from the photographs. I know I screamed, which both startled me and felt necessary at the time. We all weathered some choice curse words and a handful of pushes, and at 1:06 am, my little Alma slipped into this world.
I was spent. Every ounce of my body was exhausted, and I barley had enough energy to hold my daughter in my shaky arms. But I kissed that sweet, warm face and smelled in her beautiful scent and even shared her with her Daddy.
I've never before had the feeling that our family was complete. I never knew exactly how many children I hoped to have. But Alma makes me feel those things. There's always a chance for a curve ball later down the road I suppose (never say never, right?) but for now she's my bookend, and I'm pretty satisfied with that.
To see more photos, watch this beautiful slide show my girlfriend captured and created for us. (Photo credit to Jennifer Bahn Photography.)
Welcome to the world, my sweet baby Alma.