The day before:
We are now a family of 8 (6 children, 2 adults)! Thomas had an eventful arrival today at 12:10pm in the afternoon, weighing 6lbs 15oz and measuring 20 inches long.
Labor was nothing like it was "suppose" to be. It has seemed as if my body had been trying to go into active labor for several days now, but because Thomas was not able to "help" in the process by dropping into place like your average baby would at this point, my contractions remained irregular and unproductive.
We came to the hospital this morning around 3am and I was put on the monitors to see what was happening with my labor & with Thomas' heart rate. My contractions had slowed down to every 8ish minutes (they had been at 4 minutes). With every single contraction, his heart rate would drop, and it became obvious and worry-some that something was not "right".
After several hours more of painful and not really productive contractions here at the hospital, the midwife discussed in detail with us what our options were and what the worse case scenarios could be concerning little Thomas' arrival. At this point it became quite apparent that my hope for a "natural" child birth with Thomas was not going to be an option anymore because he was going to need to be watched VERY carefully and we were going to have to do everything we could to keep him as little stressed out as possible, while at the same time getting him OUT of mama sooner rather than later.
I first got an epidural (our chosen method of pain management so it could be in place should Thomas need to be delivered via c-section, which was a real possibility at this point). Once I got the epidural, my contractions really kicked into gear, which really stressed out our little Mr Thomas. With every contraction, literally every nurse on the floor was watching for his heart rate to go back up after. I was turned this way and that way, constantly having to change my position to help him "recover" through each contraction. I was put on oxygen, my water was broken and a water solution was added to my uterus to try and cushion Thomas from the contractions. Thomas was hooked up to an internal monitor and I had a catheter inserted since I was pretty much stuck to the bed.
My epidural wasn't working very well for me, but it managed to take the edge of most of the pain. I labored until 9 cm and that's when things stalled. The midwife was able to clearly see that the problem may be that Thomas' cord was too short, but since he still continued to recover at an ok pace after each contraction, she wanted to wait to see if my body would finish dilating and if Thomas would indeed be able to be born vaginally. With every contraction, Thomas would now "descend" and the move back up once the contraction finished which further fed the suspicions about his umbilical cord issues.
Nathaniel and I both were offering up prayer after prayer for the safety of our little guy. I was emotionally distraught at knowing this could very well end up being a c-section delivery. It was at this point, that I determined I had to try to push Thomas out, despite that I wasn't really feeling any *intense* urges to push (because again, Thomas wasn't pressing hard against my cervix and birth canal like he would in normal circumstances). I was still 9cm with a "rim" still around the edges of my cervix, but I asked the midwife if I could try pushing to which she said, if I feel up for it, to try.
By God's grace alone, and without the pain relief one usually gets from an epidural, I gave everything I had to push, and our little Thomas was safely delivered into our arms. His cord was indeed short and was wrapped around his neck which answered all the lingering questions as to why my labor was acting the way it did and why Thomas was stressed during contractions. I just was so relived that he was SAFE and that we avoided having to deliver him via a c-section. With tears, I thanked my midwife for not allowing anyone to rush her into ordering me in for a c-section (because there most certainly was a lot of pressure to do so) and after Thomas was born, mommy, daddy and Thomas all fell asleep for a nap LOL! We were all just plain worn out.
Thank you for your prayers and your congratulations on the arrival of our precious Thomas. We are so blessed to have him and look forward to getting to know him as he grows.