Tuesday, August 30, 2011

She's here!

I was MIA for a week or so there and for a very good reason..

Dahlia Jane Culpepper 
August 23, 2011
7:46 a.m.
8 lbs, 6 oz.
21 inches long

We are completely in love with her.
I get it now.
All the stereotypical things parents say about the feeling you have when your baby is born, I now understand and feel.
She couldn't be more perfect.
And she couldn't be more adored.

Here are the details of the day that started with me peeing at midnight and ended with me holding my answer to prayer in my arms..

At 11:50 something on August 22, I got up to pee. As was my nightly routine, this was just the first of many trips to the bathroom..or so I thought.  I remember being VERY tired. So much so, that I almost fell asleep while in the bathroom.  I returned to bed to lie down and instantly I felt like I had wet my pants. Which was very confusing to me since I had just returned from the bathroom. Then it dawned on me : my water had broken...I thought.  I looked at the clock, 12:00 a. m. .  I woke John up and told him that a.) either my water broke or b.) "sorry! I just peed the bed!".  I went to the bathroom  and just stood there trying to figure out if my water had really broken or not. I was going in circles, literally and saying to myself, "Is this it?  No it couldn't be! What do I do now??"  Then a gush of water. "Yep, this is it!"
Here is the progression of what happened at our house during the next 10 minutes:

Me:  "John, I am getting in the shower, hurry up and get ready!"
John: Stares blankly at me and then runs to the other bathroom..literally runs.
10 minutes later:  he was MIA.  Or so it seemed..he was doing something, I'm not sure what he was doing but I couldn't find him. 
 Not important because 5 minutes later  we were in the car and I was surrounded by towels.  5 minutes after that, we were at the hospital and John ran into the ER to get a wheelchair and ran out and when I say ran out I mean RAN OUT. Like lightening speed ran out.  
(He was doing  a lot of running that night)
He wheeled me in, and we told the ER people I was in labor. The ER nurse looks at me and says, "it doesn't look like you are in labor." Then, I mentally slapped her a little bit. I showed her the wet towel between my legs and proved it to her. I think she got the point.
I was checked into the OB floor and my mystery fluid was tested and indeed it was the good stuff, amniotic fluid.
This was the point when the nurse left the room and I started crying.
Not because I was scared. (Well, maybe a tiny bit)
Not because I wasn't ready, because I was definitely ready.
I think it was just so REAL to me at that moment that THIS was the day I was having our Dahlia.
I can't explain the feeling. It was just amazing and overwhelming. 
They checked me. I was a 5-6 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced.
Progress! The last I had heard (the previous Thursday) I was a 5 and 70% effaced.

For the next few hours my contractions grew closer and stronger.
I had gone into this with this as my goal: to go without medicine for as long as possible and hopefully not have any at all.  At 7 centimeters I was in a lot of pain. I was on the birthing ball for about a half hour, which helped a little. It relieved a lot of the pressure but still, it hurt! I asked for the epidural. I was upset that I was asking for it and really didn't want it. I just didn't like the pain.  Before going into this, I had prayed and told God that I really wanted to do this naturally. I asked him if that was what he wanted me to do, to make it impossible for me to get it when the time came, if I asked for it.  So here we are, I am asking for it. I was asking John if he was disappointed in me a lot. I was upset with myself for some reason. Who knows why. I was tired  and I was hoping I could do it sans meds. I didn't take the pain medication because I usually  get nauseas on pain medication. The thought of nausea on top of heinous contractions didn't seem pleasant. I was taking my chances and I'm glad I did.
Next, I got back into bed and rested.  I was beginning to get very tired.
They were calling the anesthesiologist and doing all of the things they have to do before administering an epidural. The last thing being, they checked my cervix.  This is where things turned.
I wasn't a 7.
I was a 9, almost a 10 and completely effaced. In about 15 minutes I had dilated 3 1/2 centimeters!
No time for an epidural.
I knew as painful as it was, I knew this was the way it was supposed to be and was thankful for this answer to prayer. I wasn't shouting the praises of God at that moment or anything but I knew in my heart that I was going to do this and that it was possible. 
So for the next two hours I was all business.
I had a wonderful team of nurses who were encouraging, helpful and positive. They were very sweet.
John was unbelievable. He  was completely encouraging. If he was scared by my screaming and moaning, he didn't show it. He was a rock. He was positive. He was tender. He was THERE.
I couldn't have asked for a better partner and coach.
My doctor, Dr. Carson, had her game face on too but amidst her seriousness, she was a great leg holder and an amazingly motivating doctor.
During that time they put an internal fetal monintor in (yes, IN) Dahlia's precious little head to make sure they could monitor her heart beat during this intense time of pushing. I am sure it was pretty intense for Dahlia too! Poor little thing.
During the two hours, I tried 4 methods of pushing.
The bar that attches to your bed and you sort of hang from it and bear down, then  the "oh crap handles" as John calls them. I pulled on a towel that John had in his hands and then the legs up, push the baby out at all costs position. I'm sure there is a more technical term for it but that's what I call it.
By the time my doctor came in I had  been pushing for an hour.
I got a little pep talk telling me I was going to have this baby because another hour of pushing with no baby would result in a c-section. This is when I got super serious. No C for me!

For the next hour, I pushed. When I say I pushed, let me just say I PUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHED.
I got petechiae on my shoulders, neck and face (see here for an explanation, it's not super gross or anything, promise)
With two ex-military people holding onto each leg, coaching, counting and patting my legs to relax me, I was being motivated  on and on to keep on going.  I told John to shut up a lot and then would apologize in  between contractions.
During the last half hour of pushing, I began to pass out between my contractions. Then I'd wake up and push. Finally after another half hour of pushing, pushing, pushing, I saw the nurses setting up all the "gear" for birth. Dr. Carson let go of my leg, sat down at the end of the bed and started to coach from there.
Within 5 minutes, I was being told to feel my baby's head (which I didn't! I couldn't I was ready to have her head out!). Then Viola!
Dahlia Jane was born at 7:46 a.m. on August 23rd.
Friends and family who were in the waiting room down the hall through closed metal doors heard the final scream that I gave when she came out. I wasn't one of those quiet women during childbirth. I couldn't be a Scientologist at all.
Anyway, she was HERE!
This moment cannot be explained, the moment that they placed her on my chest and she had her little thumb in her mouth, and her other hand up by her face, when her eyes met mine and stayed there.  I was thankful.  I was elated. I was relieved. I was amazed, I was in love.
John was ecstatic. He was hysterical, in a good way.

"We have a baby! She's here!" *he kisses me* "Look at her sweet face!" *he kisses her*  
"I can't believe it! You did it! "*he kisses me*.

The next hour is a blur. 
 I watched my daughter get her first bath by my husband, I nursed her for the first time, I watched family and close friends cry over her and adore her.
After everyone had left and it was just me and my husband and my daughter, I had that feeling of being complete. The feeling of basking in a long moment of God's faithfulness was precious.  It was surreal. It was awesome.
I will never forget that moment, the moment  where I was holding the answer to my prayers in my arms, holding my miracle.

I could go on and on about the awesomeness of my stay at the hospital.
I was treated like a queen. My daughter was adored by the staff. John was waited on hand and foot too. Friends came to wish us well and love on our girl.
 Our first few days home have been great!
We went home a day and a half later and have been learning the ropes since then. I am learning to cherish  sleep like never before! Dahlia is nursing well, she has had no problems and is a sweet, sweet baby. We are truly blessed and are so very happy that she is ours. 

not doing so well here..

all better (for a minute)

This is right before I started pushing

sweet little swollen baby.
An 8 pounder! Now it made sense why it hurt so much!

daddy gives her a bath

sweet baby toes

holding hands for the first time

Nurse Robin doing the stats

"fearfully and wonderfully made" indeed!

For this child I prayed; and the Lord has given me my the desire of my heart

1 Samuel 1:27


  1. I'm bawling. Literally bawling. Eric is going to be so confused when I told him I was getting up early to study! LOL.

    The Lord has indeed given you the desires of your heart. This is a verse I've used often when I think of Carter, in a different version it says "For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him......Blessed be the name of the Lord." He is so good to us, HIS people. He is SO good to us to take care of the AMAZING miracle that pregnancy and childbirth is. He has surely put his hand of protection around Dahlia.

    She is the luckiest to have you and John as parents. May her days be sweet, and may you continue to fall in love with every minute of her life. I am just so happy for you and looking forward to the day I get to meet sweet Dahlia.

    And girl...just so you know...I am WAY proud of you. Having two C-sections, I don't understand, but your birth story sounds like one I would have wanted (yes, pushing and all...). I'm so glad that God gave you the inner desires of your heart.

    I couldn't be happier for you and your family.

    All my love.

  2. love love love this story, you are a trooper!

  3. There's nothing in the world like making a sister friendship in elementary school and reading this blog today and bawling tears of joy for you!! I could relate to the feeling of failure when you asked for an epidural. (Mine didn't take so I also was blessed with natural deliveries) and the fear of being told I would need a "C" if I didn't push the baby out. I also told Jay to shut up and profusely apologized in between contractions and was told to feel my baby's head and said "no!" and pushed harder cause I just wanted the pain to stop and see my baby! AND last but not least, my last baby, Luke was 8lbs 6oz which made a HUGE difference in the time it took to push compared to my other two! lol GOD IS GREAT! Dahlia is just beautiful! Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience! I loved hearing about it and look forward to cheering you on your newest and future adventures in motherhood! Congratulations Missy!,
    Love Leah

  4. PS...She does look like her daddy quite a bit but looks a LOT like you in the second to last picture you posted. ;o)

  5. That last verse is the one I thought of as soon as I knew you had her! A definite answered prayer. Love this story! Reminds me so much of my story with Grayson (except he came much faster and only 45 minutes after I got to the hospital!). Soooooo happy she's here and such a good baby for you and John! Congratulations, Missy!!!! Such a blessing and I'm so happy for you!!!! xoxo

  6. i had tears as I read this post!!!! SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!

    I was reliving the birth of both of my sons as I read and I know exactly what you mean by the love! AHHHH! She is just so cute!!

    AND 8 lbs with no meds! AMAZING!!!!!