We finally made it to the hospital. Sixth Street and Rosedale at Harris Methodist Downtown has to be the bumpiest road in the world! I was dying in the backseat, or at least I sounded like I was. I was so mad at my husband, but, at the same time, totally understood that it was beyond his control. He pulled up to the door and I remember sitting in a wheelchair and being pushed into the tall building and feeling a little silly. I slid through the entrance and into admissions mooing like a cow. There I was met by what I thought was a man, Nancy told me later that it was in fact a woman. She put her hand on my belly and went on to let us know that we "should've been there hours ago." I was so annoyed by this, but decided I had more important things to do than argue with this ignoramus.
I kept my head down the entire time. From this point on, all I saw was feet. I was concentrating, focused, "in the zone."
Wheeled down the hallway at a moderate speed, I continued my long drawn out birth song. I'm sure all the people around me were quite amused, but I did not care. I remember doors to an elevator opening and then being pushed out into yet another hallway. At this point, I was sure that I would to have to be held at admissions and asked all kinds of silly questions but, thankfully it was not the case.
I zoomed into my hospital room #1 in the Labor and Delivery Unit. I can hear it in my head now, "The water birthing room, right?" asked the orderly who was wheeling me around, "Yes," answered my doula. Relief surged through me. "Thank You Lord, that no one else is birthing in that room tonight."
I was helped out of my wheelchair and up onto the bed. They strapped a Electronic Fetal Monitor onto my gargantuan stomach, and soon enough all of us heard the beautiful "thump...thump...thump" of my tiny man's heart.
Was seemed like a second or two passed, and I heard a sweet whispering in my ear, "Tori, would you like to get into the tub?" This was my Midwife, Lindsay Kragle. "YES!" was the rather quick response. I hopped off of that table and into the tub and soon as I possibly could.
It was like heaven, being in the water. My contractions were still powerful but the soothing warmness of the water helped ease them a bit. I stayed in the tub for awhile, although, it only seemed like moments to me. There I sat, moaning full force in that white plastic box. My sounds reverberating off of the walls. The floor made of tile and the empty walls magnifying every groan.
Every once in awhile, the little guy would wiggle all around during a contraction. I would grimace and say, "Oh no, please baby, don't move baby."
I would be coming down off of a mountain peak of intensity and he would move and I would start back up again. He wanted out. I wanted out.
I heard lots of whispering amongst those outside the bathroom. It had been Nancy and I for a little while. Then Tyler and Nancy. Then all three of us. Lindsay was in and out. After three hours in the tub, and me dilated to only a 5, Lindsay came to the side of the tub and said, "Tori, I think you might need to move out of the tub for a little while. You can come back later if you wish."
I moaned. I didn't want to move. Moving was scary, these contractions were scary, but I knew she was right.
They waited until my latest contraction eased and then lifted me out. As soon as I stood, I remember trembling with the intensity of another one. I clung to Tyler with all my might. My legs, like Jell-O, felt lifeless and weak. "Don't drop me!" I cried. "I won't drop you, I promise." But I felt insecure, so I sat on the toilet seat for a moment. I remember that after going to the bathroom, another strong contraction came. One of the strongest. Of all of them, they were the worst when I sat on the toilet seat. I moaned and my moaning climbed and peaked. On the verge of a scream, they patted my arm "It's OK, you're doing great, Tori." Nancy, "Those strong ones are bringing your baby down."
As soon as I could I stood and slowly made my way to the bed. And there I stood through a few more until I finally was able to climb up on top of the bed and sit. I was so tired. I had never been so tired in my entire life. In between contractions, my eyes would close and I would jerk back to reality with the tightening of the next one.
Not once, did I ever think, "I can't do this anymore. I need some relief." I did think, however, "I just wish I could sleep, for just a little while." But then my brain would kick in, "If you take something to rest, you'll have to do all of this again. Start over." And we all knew I wasn't going to do that.
I stood a few more times and climbed atop the bed a few times. My water still had not broken. I can see Lindsay's face in my mind, so I know that I must've looked up because she was saying something important.
Lindsay: "Tori, I would like to break your water if that's OK with you."
Me: "I don't want to be put on a time clock." - referring to hospital rules about how long they'll give you after your water breaking
Lindsay: "Oh honey, you're not. You're almost there. You don't have to worry about that."
Lindsay: "Now after I do this, the contractions are gonna get a little bit more intense."
Me: "How MuCH MoRe iNTeNSe!"
Lindsay, with a half smile: "Well you have to birth this baby, but you're gonna be OK."
Me again: "OK," like a little child.
They started to tilt the electronic bed back. I remember hating that. I scared me. It's funny the thing's that scare you when you're in labor. The fact that a baby was going to come out of ME, didn't scare me. But the bed going back down did.
I layed back. And one came. It was not cool. I felt as if laying down, I was working against my body. My womb was trying to tilt forward with all it's might and I was laying down making it hard for my Uterus to do it's job. And I thought of the thousands upon thousands of women through the centuries, made to lie on their backs during the entire labor process.
Prone, feet in stirrups, no control. And I wept inside for them.
I howled, I needed UP! Somehow my body said, "If you get up it will be better!" And Lindsay was breaking the bag of waters as fast and accurately as she could and I was crying, "Oh my, gotta get up." And she finished and there was a small rush and I was up and in control again.
After a little while my midwife, Lindsay whispered into my ear, "I have to leave now, Tori. My shift is over. Are you going to be OK? Gloria is going to take my place. She's right here with you."
I nodded. It was fine. I just wanted to birth this baby.
Looking up for one moment, I saw her. She sat there...arms in her lap, poised and calm. She looked like an angel. Gloria was here with me now, to help me the rest of the way through this journey. There was such a peace in the room. It was beautiful.
I worked through each pain. They were getting stronger and stronger then all of the sudden the urge to push came over me. It's feel right to explain it this way...
It was almost as if I was in the Ocean for the longest time. Being tossed up and down with the waves. In and out of the water taking a deep breath when I rose to the surface. I knew that I would be fine. I knew that I wouldn't drown because I had Someone watching over me. He had planned it this way. After hours of being on the Sea, I finally gave in and became part of it.
Leaning forward and grabbing hold of the bar, I began to push. After one or two pushes the pain overwhelmed me...something didn't feel right. I stopped, took a breath. Gloria came to me and checked quietly, "You have a lip left. You're at a nine and a half. You can wait; you don't need to push, unless you want to. Whatever feels right." I didn't see her face, my eyes still cast down and half closed, but I could hear her smile.
My eyes searched for Tyler. There he was, in the chair at the foot of the bed, watching intently, a half smile on his face and I was comforted. He was my rock. I worked through them patiently, sweat dripping down my stomach, hair hanging in my face. I moaned through each intensity. My moans rose with each contraction...in a crescendo my song soared high above the room. My doula asked me later if I sang, because of the vibrato in my labor song.
Finally, It took control, and I let it wash me ashore.
My body wanted to push again. My mind thought, "But what if it's not time, what if I shouldn't? No, she'd stop me...right? Oh, just push Tori, who cares." And I did. I pushed with all my might. I felt him move down. After my push, he came back up. I pushed again, and again. He stayed. I was so loud. It sounded like a loud growl..."Aaaaauuuuhhhhhhhh!!" And after about twenty minutes and with the final push, his head, his shoulders, his whole little body came tumbling out and into the careful hands of my midwife, Gloria. She quickly handed him to me.
First words to Will: "Hey little man, I'm your Mommy."
He didn't cry much, just enough to let us know he was okay. Daddy came over and glowed with pride. A smile ear to ear. He kept saying, "Look at him!"
"I think his hair is red!" I squealed. After his bath, we could see clearly his long copper strands.
And there I lay...After the long hard journey through the waves. I lay there on the shore, exhausted, with just enough energy to mother my child who lay there beside me.
I fed my child. And they checked him over. He was perfect. 9/9 on his APGAR. All of this on a beautiful Sunday morning at 9:00, the 29th of November 2009. He weighed 7 sweet pounds and 7 cuddly ounces. Will Haddon Gillit, William Tyler Gillit and Me, we spent a few precious moments together before the rest of the family came in. Those were the sweetest moments I have ever lived. I never want to forget the way he looked, smelled, sounded.
"For this child I prayed..." 1 Sam 1:27