Bethel's due date was November 3rd of 2016 if you go by my original pregnancy test at the health center where Darrell works and November 2nd if you go by what my delivering doctor told me after my first appointment. She came on my doctor's predicted date, Wednesday, November 2, 2016 ... the day the Cubs won the world series! The day I had a baby withOUT an epidural! ;)
I was convinced that Bethel would come early. I had heard many second babies come early. But I'd also heard that many come late. I was hoping for early because, seriously, what mom doesn't? Pregnancy is hard work, yo! But I was convinced she would come a few days early just like Haddie did. When Beth didn't come early, I copped a bad attitude. I was so tired of being pregnant. The day before she was born, I was sitting in my Tuesday morning Bible study, admitting to the ladies how I'd been struggling with my attitude over the past few days but was also being encouraged by the discussion that day that God is in control, and His plan was gonna be the best plan. Little did I know, the very next morning ... 2am to be exact ... I'd start my contractions that would bring my sweet babe into the world in a fairly short amount of time!
With Haddie, I had no contractions until about 15 hours after my water broke, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. My contractions were 5 minutes apart from 2:00 to 3:00 that Wednesday morning. They weren't terribly painful, more like pretty uncomfortable menstral cramps, but they hurt enough to keep me awake for most of that hour. I didn't think I was ready to go into the hospital because I expected those contractions to be much more painful at 5 minutes apart, so I decided to call the hospital, just to check it out. By the time I got through to someone, my contractions spread out to about 10 and 15 minutes apart. So the doctor on call told me I wasn't ready and that I needed to wait for my contractions to be 5 minutes apart. So for the next three and a half hours, I spent my time "watching a movie" ... riiighhhtt ... on the couch ... standing up every so often to brace myself through the contraction pains. I never once thought "I need to get myself to the hospital" because the contractions weren't 5 minutes apart yet. So around 6:30 in the morning, Darrell came downstairs to check on me. He asked, "should I stay home from work?" And I replied, as I'm doubling over from the pain, "my contractions are only 7 minutes apart, so why don't you head to work ... I can always call you, and you can turn around if you need to." So Darrell headed upstairs to take a shower. Thankfully, HE has brains in his head, unlike me, so he never planned to go in to work. By the time he got out of the shower, I was like, "yeah, we need to go to the hospital." So we packed up Haddie and our hospital bags and headed that way.
On the way, my contractions were definitely 5 minutes apart! I remember grabbing hold of the overhead handle in the Santa Fe every 5 minutes and breathing hard and fast through the pain. We got to the hospital, and Darrell dropped me off at the door while he parked the car and brought Haddie in. When he and Haddie got upstairs, I was doubling over the counter, sobbing, trying to fill out some paperwork. What the heck?! I am doubling over from contraction pain, and you people want me to fill out some paperwork???!!! It's hilarious now, but I was not laughing then! By the time I got to the triage room, I could barely stand the pain that was coming way closer than 5 minutes apart. They told me to put on a gown and pee in a cup ... yeah, right! Again, are you kidding me!? So I shut the bathroom door, stripped off my clothes ... after your first labor experience, you don't care a whole lot about modesty ... and just barely peed in that daggone cup for them. I couldn't figure out how to get the God-forsaken gown on either! So I opened the door, asked them if I could order my epidural already (they looked at me like I was dreaming, which did anything but help my calm), and told them I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to put on that gown! By the time they got me on the bed to check me, I was dilated to 7cm! No wonder I was feeling the pain!!! They wheeled me to my room and started my IV. Right as they rolled me all the way into my room, I started to get the feeling that I wasn't gonna get my epidural. A few moments later, one of the nurses said, "it's too late for an epidural." Fear and panic welled up inside me! I already knew that I wasn't gonna get my epidural, but to hear them say it was terrifying! But by that time, I was already dilated to 9cm, and the contractions were so close together I barely had time to talk or think! I remember the fear that overwhelmed me when I found out it was too late for an epidural ... I immediately started sobbing and asking the nurses over and over again ... "since I can't get my epidural, the pain will be short-lived, right? The pain will be short-lived?" They reassured me that it would.
I was so terrified of the pain of childbirth. I was terrified with Haddie too, but with her, I only had to feel mild contractions for about 45 minutes before I got my epidural. So I experienced nothing like what I was experiencing with Bethel! During the most intense contractions, I remember a nurse telling me that "Mother Nature" will do her work, pushing my baby through quickly with my contractions. I distinctly remember thinking, "I'm so glad that I have JESUS, NOT Mother Nature! Thank you, Jesus, that YOU are with me!" From the time I laid down on the bed in the triage room when they first checked me, until I dilated to 9cm, I was praying almost non-stop and remembering my focal points that I never got a chance to put up in my hospital room .... "Just breathe, and trust Jesus." and "Do not be afraid; remember the Lord who is great and awesome!" I repeated this phrase and verse over and over and over to myself through my sobs and fear and pain. And just before I started to push, the fear swelled so much I didn't know if I could face it, but then, all of a sudden, WORSHIP for the Lord welled up in my heart, and I began WORSHIPING God ... whispering praises and thanksgiving to God for being so good and faithful and kind and always with me. i couldn't believe it! I was about to experience my greatest fear, and I was praising Jesus!
I started to push, and it was the most excruciating and terrifying experience of my life!!! After about 4 pushes, I wasn't sure if I could do anymore. The pain was more than I thought I could handle. I screamed with each push, so much so that I surprised myself. I screamed until the doctor said that the screams would make it take longer to get Bethel out because I was focusing more on the screaming than the pushing. So you better believe I shut up right quick and pushed her OUT! Only about 5 pushes, and praise Jesus, she was out and crying right away! I was so thankful for the relief from the pain. And I was so amazed at God and my baby when they put Bethel on my chest. From the time we got to the hospital, until Beth was born was about 45 minutes! She was born at 8:26am. Bethel's birth was the most excruciating and terrifying 15 minutes of my life, but I learned so much from that 15 minutes and experienced proof of so much spiritual growth in my life! Not only that, but I have a perfectly beautiful baby girl from it all. I would not trade that experience for anything! Our time in the hospital was heavenly too. With Haddie, I had a miserable couple of days in the hospital ... battling all kinds of fear, self-condemnation, and other spiritual warfare. But with Beth, it was a sweet time of bonding and visitors and being totally pampered. God is so awesome! And I am so incredibly thankful for my sweet Bethel and God's never-ending grace to continually work in my life! To God be the glory!!!