After I had Will, I was traumatized. His birth was emotionally scarring for me and I'll never be able to fully explain why. To be honest, there was a moment during Wills birth that I thought I was going to die. And after a couple months of processing those feelings, I started having some "episodes." I don't even know what I would call them. But my whole body would start shaking, tears would fill my eyes, and I had to choke back the lump in my throat whenever I thought about that day. I finally had to tell anyone that would ask about his birth, that I simply couldn't talk about it.
So the thought of getting pregnant again really rattled me. It brought back all those anxious feelings I had been working so hard to dispel. After what seemed like dozens of pep talks from Chris, I finally felt somewhat ready to start trying for another baby.
When we found out we were expecting, I immediately started researching VBAC's (vaginal birth after cesarean). I knew I wanted a completely different experience this time around. And I DEFINITELY knew I didn't want another c-section. I know that some women love their c-sections, but I just knew that for me, it was tied to a lot of feelings that I didn't want to experience again.
At my second doctors appointment, we found out that I had a blood disorder that rears up during pregnancy. Which also meant that I wouldn't be able to receive an epidural during my delivery (some of you may remember that the same thing happened during Will's birth). I was kinda crushed again. I am just NOT a naturalist. I love the idea of drugs masking the pain of childbirth.
So I basically had two options. A) If I wanted a VBAC, it was going to have to be un-medicated, or B) a repeat c-section under general anesthesia.
After a lot of thought, I started gearing my wussy-self up for an unmedicated birth. I read ALL the books (I'm not kidding... I have like 8 birthing books still under my bed), I researched all the methods, and talked to all the people I knew who had gone naturally. The idea of it all scared the living daylights right outta me.. but I knew I didn't want to be to put to sleep during my babies birth, so I chugged on.
Chris and I took a 5 week hypnobirthing course (bless his heart. like seriously. 5 weeks?!), and that is where I finally started to feel okay about the whole ordeal. I felt like I could do it! Like it would be hard, but manageable. I was even, dare I say, kinda excited about it! But in the back of my mind, I still longed for the idea of an epidural.
Without going into all the medical lingo and to make a long story short (or just a really long blog post a smidge shorter) there was a TINY chance that I might be able to receive an epidural. My mom and I would say, "If all the stars miraculously line up..." And thats just the truth of it. About 5 different things had to come together in some crazy way, in order for it to happen. So I just shoved that idea to the back of my mind and tried to forget it.
Fast forward to 2 days before my scheduled induction. I had been taking steroids to try and possibly boost my platelet level (the determining factor for the epidural) for about a week. I went in to my hematologist to get my blood drawn to see what my platelet count was at. I had high hopes, thinking that the steroids would work and I could have the option of an epidural. When the nurse came out with my results, I instantly knew they weren't what I was hoping for. "Your numbers are still dropping. The steroids aren't working for you..." GAH. My levels were at 77,000 and going down pretty quickly. So I cried my fair share of tears and tried to move past it.
On the way home that day, I got probably the strongest spiritual prompting I've ever had in my life. "I am mindful of you." Those words didn't leave my brain for the next two days.
October 21st. Induction day. We got a phone call at 7:00 a.m. and headed in. I was a ball of nerves. But so excited at the same time! How was I going to survive a natural, pitocin induced, birth?! I just tried not to think about it.
Soooo... the option of an epidural was back on the table after 9 months of thinking I couldn't have one. The word "relief" can't even begin to describe how I felt in that moment. I told my nurse I wanted to kiss her... Haha bad timing with the whole LGBT legalization right?
I still wanted to try (with an emphasis on TRY) the whole natural thing though. At that point, I pretty much knew I didn't want to feel her coming out, but I wanted to labor for a while without the medicine.
Around 11:30, things started getting intense. Funny enough, I spent quite a bit of time at first, on the toilet. I remember my hypno instructor saying that it was one of the most comfortable places, but I never thought I would labor there! Because.. how flattering is it to sit on the toilet, right? Let me tell ya, all things "flattering" were gone-zo pretty fast. So I just sat there.. and sat there. For some weird reason, I wanted to be alone while I was in there. So every time a contraction would start, I would yell out to Chris, and he would come in and put counter pressure on my knees. And then I would make him leave so I could talk myself through everything that was happening. I remember during one contraction, Chris came in and started asking me a question. I yelled at him to, "stop talking to me!!" Haha poor guy. Other than that instance, I think I was a pretty nice laboring woman, right babe? ;)
(one of my favorite pics that our nurse snapped)
Once I made it out of the bathroom, I labored on a chair for the next 4 hours. It was the only spot that felt comfortable. I tried the birthing ball for one contraction and about died. So that went out the window really fast. Chris would put counter pressure on my knees and my mom would press down on my shoulders. It was insane how much relief those two things combined provided.
Originally, I thought I would try all these different positions that we had learned during our classes. And I REALLY wanted to use the tub. But honestly, pretty much everything we learned disappeared as soon as I was in intense labor. I couldn't even think of those things. I was in another world during those contractions. But I felt like I was on top of it. I wasn't drowning in the pain, and mentally, I was okay. Not great, but okay. I think if I would've had a little longer in between contractions, I could've managed a little better. I was only getting 50-60 seconds breaks in between each contraction. So it hardly felt like enough time to regain strength for another.
My nurse kept saying, "You are doing awesome!" And at one point, it annoyed me a little and I said, "Am I really? Or do you just say that to everyone?" Haha.
I was groaning pretty loud through each contraction. But I didn't even care. It was the only way I could keep myself from holding my breath. During a couple contractions, I remember pulling the classic line, "I CANT DO THIS ANYMORE!!!!" And then the contraction would end.. and I would think, "Ahh what the heck. I can do another." I will say though- if I wasn't prepared for a contraction, it was 10 times worse. I got caught standing up a couple times during a contraction, and it literally made my knees buckle with the pain. Those were the worst ones.
Around 4:15, they did a dilation check and I was at a 7. Which surprisingly, the number neither discouraged nor encouraged me. It was just a number. But at that point, my nurse told me, "You can go from a 7 to a 10 within a matter of minutes. And at that point, it'll be too late for an epidural. So I just want to make sure you know that.." It COMPLETELY threw me out of my mental state. I didn't want to miss my chance at an epidural. I really didn't want to feel that "ring of fire." So I got scared. Scared that I was going to miss my window! So within like 10 minutes, I told her to call the anesthesiologist. I felt pretty good about making it to a 7, and I was wanting some relief.
Holding still while he was administering the epidural was undoubtedly the hardest part of my entire labor. Just thinking about it is causing my uterus to hurt! I squeezed Chris' hand so hard that I remember thinking I was probably hurting him.. But not even one minute later, I was feeling the effects of the drugs. It worked SO FAST and it was such an amazing feeling. In that moment, I realized why I never wanted to go without an epidural. Because they are a birthing woman's best friend I tell ya! If an epidural was a man, he'd be married to the hottest woman on earth, making more money than Bill Nye. (I just realized that I meant Bill Gates, but I'm leaving it because who doesn't like being reminded of Bill Nye?) Things were smooth sailing from there.
I was thinking I would dilate to a 10 super quickly, but lo and behold, the epidural totally stalled my labor. So I was as limp as a dead fish for a solid 3 1/2 hours before she checked me again and I was fully dilated. But those 3 1/2 hours were heavenly. Family came and visited, and everyone got some dinner. Including me! Don't tell my nurse... I'm calling BS on the whole "no eating" thing, cause it felt right to me!
It just so happens that my induction was scheduled for the same day as my little brother Devins 21st birthday! I found out that night that he had been fasting for me all day, even though it was his birthday! (His golden birthday at that!) It makes me tear up every time I think of it. How sweet is he?
These 2 were in on the delivery and I'm so glad they were able to experience it with us!
At 8:30, my nurse told me it was time to start "practice pushing" with just she and Chris. So we got all geared up, and I got about half way through my first push when she said, "Stop!! Don't cough, don't sneeze, and don't push. Im calling the doctor." Apparently she was comin' and she was comin' in hot!
15 minutes later my doctor arrived and the fun began! It's such a raw, surreal moment when you realize that everything you've been waiting for for 9 months is just minutes away. Oh, what I wouldn't give to go back and relive those moments. I pushed a whopping 5 times, and she was out!! I was in such disbelief when he held her up. I couldn't believe she was finally here. And I couldn't believe that baby fit inside of me! And that she came out of me! He set her on my belly because her cord was too short to put her up on my chest. I was so scared to touch her. I just kept my hands up in the air next to her (refer to photos), because I was afraid I wasn't supposed to touch her or something. We let her cord pulse until it was finished, Chris cut it, and they handed her up to me. To feel the weight of her little body on my chest was indescribable. It was something I longed for with Will and never got; so it was an incredible moment of healing from the past and welcoming the future.
I did it. I got my healthy, beautiful baby girl and I got the birth I had always dreamed of. I love my Christopher Dan more than words can say and experiencing everything together was such an emotional, spiritual rush. I'm so happy I have him for eternity and that he is the father to our beautiful children.
Scotlynn Michelle Jepsen
7 pounds 11 oz
Scotti was named after Chris' older sister Holly Michelle. She had cerebral palsy and passed away when Chris was only 13. Although I never met her, I feel like a huge reason why Chris is the way he is, is because of her sweet influence in his life. I'm grateful to her for that and can't wait for the day that he gets to introduce me to her. Until then, I hope our little Scotti possesses some of the same attributes that Holly did, and that she fills our home with a similar love.
She has surely become the very air to our lungs.
We love her so.
She has surely become the very air to our lungs.
We love her so.