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Chaniel Garrett: The Birth. {Part 2}

In: Celebrating Our Little One

So, I opted for the epidural.

For those of you just joining us, we’re talking about the birth of our 4th child, second son…feel free to start here – or get the back story, part 1, here.

Meanwhile, back to the not-so-much-labor story on this Labor Day.

I told the nurse to go ahead and call in the dude. The one I would trust to put a giant horse sized needle in my spinal column. *Gulp*.

So she started giving me all these instructions like, “When he comes in, sit here. Chris? You can move that chair over here and sit down here. Only one person in the room while he’s in here….”

Good grief. Someone a little crazy about their back-stabbing-with-a-giant-needle rules much? 

I was still dealing with these contractions, and at this point telling myself things like, “Maybe there’s only 2 more after this one.”

The dude came in. Then he forgot something and had to leave the room.

“Maybe *now* there’s only 2 more after this one.”

I was breathing hard through them all – trying to relax and deal with the pain without being too dramatic. But these things were for real. And now that I had made that decision about the epidural, I wanted it. Like, 3 contractions ago.

He came back and started commanding the room. “Ok, sit on this side of the bed, curl your back like this for me…”

Another contraction hit.

“Hold on. Give me 80 seconds.” I said. He didn’t seem pleased with the wait.

I breathed through it, then started to move into position.

“You’ll feel me wash your back 3 times. Then a bee sting. Then cold.”

Wow, dude. That inspires confidence. I am seriously terrified of epidurals. Remember, I opted out for my last two births?!

Wash one.

Wash two.

Another contraction starts.

“OK, hold everything. I’ve gotta focus here.” I said.

Wash three.

Yeah, he was ignoring me at this point. Crazy man. Didn’t he see I was in labor? Who does he think he is? I’m about to pay him thousands of dollars for this. Can’t I call at least a few shots?

Bee sting. Bee sting is next. Breathe. Breathe. Man, can’t we skip the bee sting?

Bee sting. I was looking right at Chris. My eyes got really big. He told me my back was crooked. I thought for sure I would be paralyzed for life now because I didn’t hold my back straightly curved.

Meds go in. Contraction ends.

Whew. Glad that’s over.


I lay back and things start to lighten up.  I had asked for a super low dose epidural – like one where I could feel everything, but not be in as much pain. This epidural was perfect. I knew when every contraction was there and felt everything I needed to to have an effective labor – probably could have even gotten up to walk around with help if I wanted – but the crazy pit contraction pain was gone. Those epidurals really are worth the money and the grief.

So, my nurse Diana sticks around to see if I’m doing ok with the extra meds. I mention to her that I think this is the best epidural ever because I can still feel everything but the pain.

She said, “Well, I told him that’s what you wanted. And he’s the head of the anesthesiology department here. So he knows how to make that sorta request happen.”

Oh. So I guess that’s why he felt he could call the shots.

Oops. Sorry Mr. Amazing Pain Med Dude. I promise to pay your bill promptly. 


At this point, It was around 11:00 PM.  My doctor came in again and chatted for a bit. I mentioned to her that it was Kyle’s 32 month birthday. She said it would be really special for us to have this baby on the 19th, and she thought it could happen. I kinda thought she was crazy.

Again, me with the denying.

I have 12-16 hour labors. No way we’d have a baby before lunchtime tomorrow, I thought.

Diana told me she was going to let me rest, but to call her if I felt anything different – any sorta pressure or a need to push.

Chris, having worked all day, was ready for a little rest. Jaalah took a little rest. I probably looked like I was asleep too. Except I wasn’t.


Around midnight, I felt the strong need to finally face God. And all the answers to prayer that – just the night before – I had been crying my eyes out about. Assuming He wouldn’t answer them.

I had prayed so hard for a miracle with Kyle. After not getting one, and then dealing with Chris’s brain tumor – then his stroke…I just felt too broken to ask for another miracle.  Asking for a natural labor start, while Jaalah was still around, seemed like asking for another miracle, and I felt like it wasn’t going to happen. And I had been so worried about how my faith would survive with yet another unanswered prayer.

So here I was, in no pain, but obviously having a baby. In a dark quiet room where all I could hear were snores and my baby’s perfect heartbeat.

And I had to face the reality that God *had* answered my prayer and that we were about to have a baby – in several hours, of course – and that this was my moment to 1) humbly ask for forgiveness for my disbelief yet again and 2) praise Him for this gift.

Those were my moments of heart felt praise and trust.

And I’m so glad I took them because…


Around 1 AM, Diana came in. “So, you feeling any different?”

“Not really.” I lied.

Why did I lie? I don’t know. I guess because I didn’t feel too much different, and I also knew I wasn’t quite ready to face all the bright lights and extra people in the room and crazy talk and the “do this” and “do that”‘s that come with the it’s time to push phase.

I had felt him moving further down the birth canal – but I wasn’t pushing with contractions. I was breathing right through them.

The room was so dark and quiet and relaxing…I didn’t wanna mess all that up. Besides. I’ve still got seeeeeveral hours on this thing right?

And it’s not like he’s gonna come out on his own.


Spoken like a true woman who is on her fourth delivery but doesn’t realize what that means….

“Well, I’m gonna go ahead and check you – the doctor asked for an update. Is that ok with you?”

She did.

“Oh my, girl. You are complete – and he’s about an inch away from crowning.”

Well, he can just sit there for awhile, right? As long as I don’t push, he can hang out there for awhile and I can wrap my brain around what’s about to happen?

“I’m going to let Mary know. She’ll probably want to come in and confirm.”


1:05 and Mary, my doctor, walked in.

Chris got up and Jaalah stood up to see what she’d say.

“Well, how are you feeling?”

“About the same. I guess he’s getting close though?”

“Well, let’s see.”

She put on a little hat – like a blue mesh surgeon cap sorta. And some shoe covers.

Diana pushed a button on the wall and this giant light started coming out of the ceiling. Sorta Star Wars-ish style.

It was Chris, Jaalah, myself, Diana the nurse, and Mary the doctor in the room.  And that crazy drop-down sci fi looking light. The main room lights were still off. No crazy hullabaloo yet.

“Oh you are definitely close!” the doctor said. “Are you a good pusher?”

“Well, yeah – I’m a great one actually! But I don’t know how I’ll do with this epidural.”

“Well, let’s do a couple practice ones, what do you say?”

“OK, sure.”


1:10 AM, and Diana and the doctor were fenagling a few things at the foot of the bed – dropping the end of it and gathering some instruments I guess? My belly was so big, I surely couldn’t see a thing.

Chris texted someone really quick to let them know the doctor had come in and we might start pushing soon.  He came over to stand next to me.  He put his phone in his pocket.


1:14 AM and you’d better not blink or you’ll miss this…

“OK, on the next contraction, let’s go ahead and pull your knees back and you give me a couple practice pushes, ok?”

Well, ok sure.

The next contraction comes along. I pull my knees back.

“Oh, he’s crowning!”

Wait, what?

Same contraction…”Ok, how about that little push – just a little one…”

I do.

“Well here’s his head!”

“ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!” I yelled to her.

She pulls a loose cord from around his neck. “OK, one more little push…”

Still same contraction…

I feel him kick my ribs one last time. Like he was pushing off the side of a swimming pool before a big race. I push a little one last time.

“….and here he is!”

The clock clicked over to 1:15 AM.




He screamed and screamed and screamed. It was glorious.

I couldn’t even look at him because I was in tears. Complete sobbing tears. And we couldn’t tell whose cries were louder – mine, or Chris’, or the baby’s.

They put him right on my chest – I had asked for them not to bathe him and  to wait awhile to weigh him or anything else.




Still with my eyes closed, I asked about four times, “Is he ok? Are you sure he’s ok?”



My doctor, every time, patiently said, “He’s just perfect. You should look at him.”

I finally did, and the cries – my cries – started all over again.


I remember slipping my finger into Kyle’s cold hand and just willing with all my power for him to squeeze my finger. When I put my hand in Chaniel’s, he squeezed. I cried. Again.

I thought about feeding him…and just about that time, he started eating all on his own. So all those stories are true – the ones about the baby finding the breast and latching on right after birth all on their own.

It was around 1:20 AM.

Amazing how your world (and your thoughts about labor and delivery and how long it’ll take) can change so drastically in the span of 5 minutes. Especially when you aren’t expecting it.





I looked at Chris in complete shock – I mean, he didn’t even have time to hold my hand? This kid pushed himself out; he started feeding himself. I didn’t even break a sweat?

Honestly? I kinda half expected him to pack his own bags at discharge and walk himself out of the hospital.

“Can I even call myself a mom?” I asked the doctor. “I feel like I didn’t do a thing.”

She smiled. Because she knew the next day I’d feel like I did alllllll the things. 🙂


More stories coming – when the girls meet their brother, my favorite hospital bag things…a few others…

For now though – happy Labor Day!



  • Jennifer

    September 8, 2015 at 6:18 am

    I cried reading this, God has heard your prayers indeed.


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