Now back to the actual story. Pretty soon after we broke my water, things got really serious. My contractions were getting wicked awful and coming close enough together that I couldn't really relax between them. Plus, my body must have been surging with adrenaline because I was shaking uncontrollably, which was also contributing to my inability to relax between contractions. I was pretty much just sitting on the birthing ball, wailing during the contraction and then trying not to vomit after it was over since I was feeling really nauseous. By this time it was after midnight and I was, naturally, getting really tired. So I asked for an epidural--mostly because I was still afraid of getting so worn out that I wouldn't be able to push. Unfortunately, to give you an epidural they first have to put a bag of fluids in you intravenously and draw blood and do your labs, all of which takes about 30 minutes. And I know 30 minutes isn't that much time in the scheme of the labor but when your abdomen is on fire every 2-3 minutes, it is a long time. So by the time they got the labs back (which happened before all the fluids were in me) I was trying not to scream "GET ME THE EFFING EPIDURAL!!!" because I knew that it wasn't the fault of anyone in the room that it was taking as long as it was but it was getting really difficult to wait.
An example of how great our nurse was: the woman who normally does the epidurals was in the middle of giving one to someone else, so Michelle called the anesthesiologist to come in and do mine so I didn't have to continue to wait. I don't think all of my fluids were in yet but I think she could tell I had met my limit so she kind of let me go ahead once I had about 80% of it in. Once the epidural was in and finally started to work, I was able to lie down and semi-rest but not sleep because I was still shaking from adrenaline. Mike got to lie down on the couch that was probably about half his length and snooze a little bit. I found some old episodes of Friends on TV and watched those since I couldn't fall asleep due to the shaking.
After another few hours Michelle came back in and said the baby's heartrate was dropping. For an instant I was terrified that she was going to say this meant a c-section, but instead she suggested flipping me on my side to see if that would relieve the stress on the baby and cause his heartrate to go back up. So first she flipped me on my left side and that didn't help, then she flipped me on my right and his heartrate went back up. Before she did this, she checked my dilation again. She said that I was now at 9.5 cm but that the baby was still up pretty high. He had moved down a bit, but she wanted to wait and see if the contractions could move him down some more before we started trying to push. This also frightened me because the main reason I had a c-section with Elijah was because he would not descend. I was all the way dilated and pushing correctly for hours but he just wouldn't come down.
Now that I was on my side I could not see the TV, I could only lie on my side and try to rest as much as possible. However, for whatever reason, flipping me on my side made me shake even more. So instead I started praying. They were mostly just repeated prayers of "please move this baby down... please give me the energy to push him out... please move this baby down... please give me the energy to push him out..."
Not long after that I started feeling extremely nauseated. I had been feeling pukey for quite awhile, but it was starting to get really bad now. I suspected it was partially because I usually take my anti-nausea medicine before I go to sleep and I, obviously, hadn't done that tonight. (They did give me some zofran but it didn't really help me much.) In hindsight I realize now that God was answering my earlier prayer. I knew I was going to puke and Mike brought me a barf bag so I vomited in it but I puked so much that it didn't stay all completely in the bag. Plus, I was still lying down so it's hard to aim your puke when you're lying down. Michelle came back in when I puked and helped to clean me all up since I had gotten puke on my hospital gown and even some on the bed. But she also told me that the force of the vomiting had actually caused the baby to move down.
Elijah meets his baby brother
Soon after that I started pushing. By this time it was like 2 or 3 a.m. and of course I hadn't slept all night so even though I was still super duper shaky, I was having trouble keeping my eyes open and not nodding off. So I prayed harder for extra energy to push. The pushing began and went on for a little while when I had to throw up again. This, again, moved the baby down even farther. Finally, he got to where we could see him. I had told Michelle I would like a mirror so I could see him. I told Mike he didn't have to look if he didn't want to, but Michelle said no, he had to see. It was important for dads to see it happen. Not sure if she meant that as a way to say that he would regret it if he didn't see his child emerge or if she meant that he needed to see what I was having to do to give birth to his child so he could appreciate it (maybe a bit of both).
She brought a mirror in and I was able to see the tip of his head emerging from me. It was very exciting because I finally believed that we were actually going to have a successful VBAC. I think that gave me a bit more energy to push. Also, once I could see my lady parts, I was able to push more correctly because I could see what I was doing.
I think I vomited one more time during the pushing and Michelle was using oil to try to stretch my perineum so that it wouldn't tear but she said she was fairly certain I was likely to tear because it was so tight. My doctor came in later and said pretty much the same thing. She said if she went ahead and did an episiotomy he would probably come out a bit faster, whereas if we waited for me to tear, it would take longer. So I agreed to the episiotomy and continued pushing. (She did it well. I only required one stitch to repair it.) Not long after that, he finally squirted on out. The doctor suctioned out his mouth and nose and then they placed him directly on my chest. It was very exciting since I did not get that experience with Elijah. (I didn't really get to hold him until like an hour or two after he was born.)
So that is how Simon was born. I am so grateful that God allowed me to have him vaginally. The recovery hasn't been fun but it has been SO much easier than the recovery when I had Elijah. Truthfully I don't feel like it was a great accomplishment on my part because it was mostly vomiting that got him out. I feel more like it was God taking care of me and giving me the birth that was the best situationally for our family.