So, anyway, since my mom was watching the kids, we had the day to ourselves, and I figured that by doing some shopping and errands around town I could get those contractions going again, and the long drive to the valley wouldn't have been wasted. So Chad and I went to breakfast, Walmart, Kohl's, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Hobby Lobby, and the mall. We got some Christmas shopping done, Chad bought me some beautiful sapphire and diamond earrings in honor of our soon-to-be son's birthday, and I got some more yarn to crochet some hats that I sold at the Christmas Boutique at Country Kitchen. We ran out of things to do around 4:30, and my contractions, though still going, weren't getting any closer together. So we drove home.
Well, what do you thing happened once we were at home over an hour later? My contractions sped right up. Literally the minute we pulled into the driveway they sped up to five minutes apart again. I wasn't going to get over-excited this time. So I took a shower, and Chad and I went to the church building so he could play basketball with his buddies as planned, and I walked in the halls to make sure my labor continued progressing. By the time we left the church at 8:00 pm, the contractions were coming less than five minutes apart, and I was huffing and puffing. I was confident that it was time to go, and sure that triage wouldn't send me away this time. Well, as we were driving to the hospital, it quickly became apparent that we should have left earlier. My contractions quickly became long, frequent, and unbearable. My pain level surpassed the point where I had gotten epidurals with Bree and Mason, and I started to worry. I really wanted to make it to the hospital in time for an epidural. Then when we still had 10 minutes of driving ahead of us, I was fighting the urge to push, and I started worrying that we'd make it to the hospital at all. By the time we got the ER entrance, the contractions were so close together I couldn't even walk the 20 feet to get in the front door. The details are hazy, but I vaguely remember yelling in pain as I was quickly wheeled to a labor room, and I almost started crying when the nurse said I was completely dilated and there was no time for an epidural. But by this time I could barely fight the urge to push, and thankfully the doctor was there in a few minutes, and the baby was born a couple contractions later. I have never felt such pain in my life. Having a baby is always messy, but I at least felt like I maintained my dignity when I had the epidural drugs on my side. That was not the case this time. I screamed my head off, and it took all the nurses' coaching and everything I had to keep from freaking out, and focusing enough to push through the pain. I am so grateful that Riley came out quickly and easily, and it was over and I was recovering nicely before I knew it. So, now that I've experienced both, which do I think is better: epidural or natural?
Well, there are many pros with going natural:
- No scary big needle in my spine,
- No catheter,
- I could walk right away and didn't have to wait for the numbness to wear off,
- No nausea/vomiting from the drugs,
- No excessive IV fluids to cause extra swelling,
- No lower back pain that lingers for weeks.
- Insanely unbearable pain.
In summary, the pros of a natural childbirth easily outnumber the cons. But I'd choose an epidural every time.
The hospital stay at Mercy Gilbert was comfortable, and the nurses were very good. Sleep was hard to come by because I don't do well in a bed that isn't my own, let alone one that's lined in plastic. But the on-demand movies were awesome, and we watched a few while I either fed the baby or crocheted. I've been thankful that the recovery pain this time around has been minimal, and I'm feeling really well. And from the moment he was born, Riley has been a champion breastfeeder. Riley was circumcised yesterday, and then we were really ready to come home. My parents brought Bree and Mason to visit and to meet their new baby brother. They were so excited, and Bree was especially smitten. It's still surreal to have a third little baby. I have a family of five now, and I am loving being a mom to such beautiful kids.