It all began Sunday morning. We were rushing to get ready for church because I wanted to go to first service. I had jumped in the shower to bathe your sister and just as your dad was getting her out a contraction hit. I have contractions all the time from 20 weeks on and even more so as my due date draws near so this would have been completely normal except I could really feel this one. I realized in the middle of the contraction that I was using the hot water on my back to help with it. That’s when I said to Josh “Maybe we’re not supposed to be going to first service.” That was about 8:15.
I decided to lay down in bed and drink some water to see if the contractions would let up. I wasn’t there but a few minutes when I was up going to the bathroom and having another “real” contraction. Your dad had taken G to play in the family room, but I wanted him to be with me so I sent a text to your grandma at 8:30 to let her know I was having “some pretty good contractions”. After some indecision and anxiety about whether I was in labor or not I finally told her to come to the house at 9:20. I really needed your dad to be with me because I was battling some major anxiety. Anxiety that this labor would be like G’s. Anxiety about the pain and the unknowns. We had just established the night before during our date that anxiety was a very real issue in my life and something that Josh needed to pray against. So your dad came and prayed for me and I texted 2 others to have them pray for me as well. After that the peace of God just sort of slipped in. I had started the the birth playlist I created earlier in the week which was all worship music. Then I just walked and worshiped between contractions. I just kept walking – first in our bedroom then out to the “formal living room” where the computer was playing the music. I’d walk and rub my belly or I’d walk with my hands raised in worship. It was beautiful. It was exactly how I had imagined labor this time: peaceful and in the presence of God. When a contraction would come I would stand with my hands on the computer desk for support and just move through them. Sometimes I’d move my hips in circles, sometimes figure eights, sometimes swinging front to back, but almost always dipping up and down, keeping my knees loose to make sure I didn’t tense up against the pain. At some point I started to smile as the contractions hit their peak or even laugh! I was so thankful my body knew what to do and that The Lord was giving me the birth he had promised. Earlier in the week your dad and I were praying as we went to sleep and as your dad finished praying for me and your upcoming birth I felt the Holy Spirit say, “This is going to be a good birth.” And as we often do when the Holy Spirit speaks, I questioned whether it was Him or just me thinking that and wanting it to be from God. So as each contraction peaked I found myself laughing or crying tears of joy – the kind you cry when His presence is so strong you can’t help but cry. I am still amazed at His goodness :)
Eventually, Josh would come and stand behind me as the contractions got stronger. He just held my hips or sometimes held a heating pad to my low back. At times I felt the contractions in my back but NOTHING like the back labor I had with G. During this time I tried to eat and drink as much as I could to make sure I had the energy I would need all the way through. Last labor I got so weak at the end of 19 hours that they were forcing me to eat and I did NOT want to eat when in that kind of pain. So I drank juice, lots of water, iced pregnancy tea, and ate applesauce and a banana. I tried to eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich but just couldn’t do it. About 5 hours after the first contraction I decided to head to the birth center. Contractions were getting closer together about 2-3 minutes apart. They had been about 5-6 min apart.
When we called to tell them we were coming in we requested to be in the same room where G was born. It’s the smaller room but I knew I felt comfortable there and hoped that would help labor progress. We arrived at 1:35 PM. At this point contractions were nice and strong. They checked me and I was 4 centimeters. I was happy but contractions were getting stronger and stronger very quickly. I thought “Dear God. I better be dilating a lot because these are intense.” They were so intense. I was vocalizing and moving so much just to get through the pain. I wanted them to check me again, but it had only been an hour and what if I hadn’t dilated at all? That’s worse than not knowing.
For every contraction I stood at the dresser and Josh held the heating pad wrapped around my front while also pushing on my low back. Again, some back pain but not like with G. Although I DO think these contractions were more intense. I got to the point where I would bang my fists on the dresser as each contraction peaked. Then I felt like I might throw up, and I had hope, because I knew that meant I was probably entering transition. They checked me about an hour and 20 minutes after getting there and this time I was 7-8 centimeters dilated. Thank you Jesus! I knew those contractions had to be that intense for a reason. They told me I could get in the tub. As I waited for the giant tub to fill with water the contractions were intensifying and I just kept thinking “I’ve gotta get in that tub!”
Once in the tub your dad got in behind me to push on my back or push/pull on my hips to help open my pelvis. I was just waiting for that urge to push! When it came, the midwife Nora and birth assistant Debbie heard me and came rushing in. (All hands on deck :) I asked if I was allowed to push and Nora said I could so I started pushing. Your dad was behind me the whole time, pulling on my hips while I pushed. At this point your grandma was also in the room and at some point G came in with your Aunt Zoe (Zoe originally said she didn’t want to be there because she didn’t want to be traumatized for life. lol) I only remember being vaguely aware that G was in the room. I was completely focused on pushing. I could feel when you moved down and as painful as it is, it really is the one of the coolest feelings. After one of the pushes I reached down to see if I could feel your head and I could! Except I realized it wasn’t your head it was your sac. My water hadn’t broken yet! During one of the next contractions there was a giant pop. I jumped it scared me so bad. My water had broke and soon after you were crowning. Nora told me I had to change positions because she wanted to see what was going on. I ended up on hands and knees with your dad in front of me, supporting me to keep my head out of the water. I knew your dad wanted to be the one to catch you but when the midwife says move, you move! All of this was happening very fast while you were crowning and the birth assistant was telling me to do little breaths and not push so that your head would gradually stretch me without tearing. I was trying so hard to do the little breaths but then I’d start pushing then I’d go back to breathing. I seemed so out of control. And then after about 15-20 minutes of pushing they told me your head was out. I have no idea why I cannot tell when my babies’ heads come out! Next thing I know Nora is pulling you the rest of the way out and telling me to lift my right leg over your umbilical cord and flip over. She handed you to me, and you were so tiny! You were completely covered in vernix because you came 2 and a half weeks early. I was just completely in awe of you and how fast you came. I couldn’t believe it. I just kept saying “Hi baby. Hi baby.” You were born at 3:38 PM – 2 hours after arriving at Birthways.
Your respirations were high at first so they had me rubbing your back while we sat in the tub. Apparently, you also had a short umbilical cord. I don’t know why or how that happens. We weren’t in the tub too long when they had me get out to deliver the placenta on the bed – still holding you of course. That’s when they told me that there was no tearing, and I said “Thank you Jesus!” I said that phrase so many times in the hours that followed your birth. God answered so many prayers. Your birth was so wonderful that I couldn’t help, but be overwhelmingly grateful. Even during the extremely intense contractions of the last 2 hours I would pray, “God give me a break. I just need a little break.” Then I’d think, “No. I’d rather he come fast. Let’s do this!”
After delivering the placenta, your dad cut the umbilical cord. Then I nursed you while your dad hung out in bed with us. (Your sister was asleep in the family room.) Josh and I couldn’t believe how great everything had gone. You were even nursing like a champ :) Eventually everyone came in to see you and hold you. Both grandfathers cried when they held you for the first time. Zoe couldn’t stop crying either – I think because she actually witnessed your birth. I don’t know if it’s possible to see the miracle of birth and not cry.
Everyone was commenting on how tiny you were. You weighed in at 6 pounds 8 ounces and measured 18 inches long. Much smaller than your sister but also 3 weeks earlier than she was. You surprised us all coming so early and so fast :) but I’m so glad you did!
In the hours that followed your birth I felt the same natural high and joy that I felt after G’s birth. I was very talkative – like when I drink too much caffeine :) And I was eating everything in sight!
When G finally woke up she came in to meet you. I think she was overwhelmed by the 13 people in one tiny room. She clung to me and did not want to look at you until we told her, “The baby brought you candy, G!” Then she smiled real big and pointed at you and said, “Baby!” She then proceeded to eat the entire box of candy hearts that your Poppa, thankfully, had in his pocket.
A few hours later, dressed in one of your dad’s outfits from when he was a baby, we strapped you in your car seat and headed home as a family of four.