My mind was set on a natural delivery from the get-go. I didn't want to be induced nor did I want an epidural. If you ask why, I feel like there are a bajillion reasons I could give you. One of the main reasons was that I wanted to feel and understand the depth of our sin with the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:16 "To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children..."). There's definitely pride mixed in there, and, ironically, even as a pharmacist, I've never been a fan of drugs of any kind. But as you know, life doesn't always give you exactly what you want.

My due date was April 1st. Throughout most of my pregnancy, most people would joke about how Maddy was going to be an April Fool's baby. I think there were only 3 people who responded with, "Oh yay an Easter baby!" (bless your hearts). There were many days where I would talk to Maddy and ask her, "Ok Maddy, do you want to be an April Fool's baby?? Do you want to deal with all the jokes when you grow up??" *silence*
I think she heard me though because April 1st came and went and on April 2nd at 2:07am, my water broke. This crazy girl actually held out!

I wasn't feeling contractions when my water broke (thankfully I had been sleeping on a towel for several weeks before my due date in case Maddy decided to come early), and I knew right then and there that things were not going to go the way I wanted them to go. My timer had started, and I knew I only had about 24 hours before our hospital would want her out because of the risk of infection to both me and the baby. I tried to go back to sleep, took a shower...twice, paced around back and forth. Nothing.
8 hours later, we finally headed to the hospital only to find that I was only about 1cm dilated. I still wasn't really feeling any contractions, and even the initial stomach ache cramps had stopped. After all the machines were hooked on and they put in the IV, we started playing the waiting game. THE WORST GAME TO PLAY. They wanted to start pitocin right away to spur on the contractions, but I kept begging for them to just give me another hour, just one more hour. They told me by 2pm (which would have been 12 hours since my water broke), that they were going to start pitocin. I started feeling some contractions around 12:30pm but when the doctor came and saw me around 2:30pm, she told me that we weren't progressing fast enough and reminded me of the consequences and risks of infection if I kept wanting to wait. Our baby's health was more important than my pride, and I finally conceded to start pitocin at the lowest dose.

Soon after, the contractions started picking up. 4 hours later when they checked me, I was about 3-4cm dilated. Everyone in the room was celebrating except for me. 4cm just seemed so far away from the 10cm I needed to be at. And I was getting so tired. They said they weren't going to check me again for another 4-5 hours, and I started to get frustrated and my spirit started to shatter. I couldn't focus and the pain was picking up fast. I couldn't even focus on the NCAA tournament that was playing in the background even though I wanted so badly to watch the game. My bracket was on the line, people!

Fast forward to about 10pm, and I was done. The pain intensified x1000 and I was thrashing around in my hospital bed. I kept moving (more like stumbling) from bed, to birth ball, to leaning against the bed, to walking to the bathroom. Nothing helped, and I was in tears. I was exhausted and delirious. The monitors on my stomach made everything so much more uncomfortable. I finally caved believing that I was only at about 6cm at this point and there was no way I could hold out for another 4 hours. I asked for an epidural. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel.
The anesthesiologist gave me the epidural around 10:30pm. The resident came back soon after to check me and exclaimed that I was 10cm dilated...
...*slaps forehead*

My initial reaction was anger and frustration. If I had known that I was already 10cm dilated, I would have tried to hold out! All that time spent in pain felt like it was such a huge waste. They had us wait another hour and tilted my bed up so that gravity would pull baby further down since I no longer felt anything waist down. When the time finally came, after an hour and a half of pushing, Maddy came roaring into this world. I cried as I held our goopy baby in my arms. Nothing mattered at that point. Our sweet baby girl was finally here. 

My fear of side effects from meds came true after the labor and delivery (it truly never ends). Our first night back home I ended up with an intense migraine. It was debilitating. I couldn't sit up or else there would be immense pressure on my head radiating to the back of my neck. Everything was throbbing. Laying down was the only position where I found relief. We awkwardly tried to breastfeed baby while I was laying down on my side, but it just wasn't working. I forced myself to sit up and breastfeed while it felt like someone was squashing my head the entire feeding. I was frustrated, I was tired. I blamed myself for being weak and getting the stupid epidural or else none of this would have happened. I cried. A lot.

I've been dealing with the migraine for almost 11 days now post-delivery. The frustration has not left me, especially for someone who likes to bounce back right away and likes to go-go-go. I feel chained to my bed or couch. The Lord has definitely been humbling me through this slow and painful process telling me that I need to learn how to depend on others and LET others help me and that I CANNOT do this alone. I literally, physically, cannot.

I can't say enough how Danny truly is THE BEST dad and husband. He has been trying to let me sleep as much as possible and has essentially been the one changing all of Maddy's diapers (look out for his review on diapers and wet wipes coming soon in a different post). Every time she starts crying at 3:30am, he'll spring up from bed, tell me that he's got it, and has me rest while he soothes her. What have I done to deserve such love?

My labor and delivery story definitely was not what I had hoped for, but it's my story of how Maddy came into this world. At the end of the day, whether I had a natural birth, an epidural, a C-section, whatever it may be, what's most important is that baby is healthy. And this little booger definitely is. We have been blessed with such a great gift.