Suddenly I woke up from my short nap and knew that it was a stronger than usual contraction that had woken me. Your daddy was just getting home from a job and wanted to take a nap too so I laid there for a long time thinking maybe I’d fall back asleep but I slowly began to feel that something was different about this time. By mid afternoon I was almost positive we’d end up at the birth center that night so naturally, I sent daddy after some chocolate frozen custard. It was the only thing that sounded edible as I was preparing myself mentally for a long night. I messaged your Auntie Tonya and told her that I was pretty sure I was in labor. She said that she was going to be leaving soon to shoot a wedding, so naturally, now would be the time for real labor to start since the plan was for her to come and document the event. She said to text her when we were ready to head that way if this turned out to be the real deal.
I decided to call my midwife, Lois, around 3pm to check in even though my contractions were just setting up to be about 7 minutes apart. She made sure I was feeling fine at home and told us to check back in around 5pm. By that time they were getting closer to 5 minutes apart but things were still going well at home so we decided to check in another hour. By 6pm they were just under 5 minutes, I had showered and we were beginning to get our things together. When I called Lois she said she’d meet us there in about 45 minutes. Daddy checked in with family to let them know we were really headed to meet you soon.
On our way to the birth center which is about 20 minutes from home I got a text from Lois saying she was running a little late. We joked about how some people already thought it was crazy to wait until contractions were under 5 minutes to head in and that if they got a text from their doctor saying they’d be a little late, they might be freaking out. We loved how laid back this process already was turning out to be. As we got to Yoder and were about to turn into town we heard a car horn and at the last second looked to the right just as a SUV flew past us on the shoulder. Daddy slammed on the brakes and managed to stop the car just inches before we collided. The other driver stopped his vehicle and ran over to make sure we were okay and it turned out to be someone daddy knew. We all were shook up by how close it was and on my side but I’m pretty sure there was some sort of angelic bumper pad that stopped us in time. Otherwise, we would have been on our way to the hospital instead of arriving at the birth center just a few minutes ahead of our midwife.
I snapped this shot of daddy right after we got there.
Lois got right to work preparing the room and soon it was time to check out how far I was dilated. We had made it to almost 5cm laboring at home. Things were moving right along and we decided to break my water around 7:15pm. Pretty soon Tonya arrived with some food and we all sat around and chatted for a bit. My contractions were getting really strong by now and I had daddy hold my “hot thing” (heating pad) on my lower back every time they came. Lois wanted me up and moving around but I really just wanted to lay in bed.
Finally I agreed to try sitting on the exercise ball but the one at the birth center was tiny compared to mine at home and it was incredibly uncomfortable.
We decided that I would try using the breast pump to see if we could move things along but sitting in the chair and beginning to pump I suddenly had intense pain in my hips. It was like having a contraction that lasted for 5 minutes. I had tried not to worry in the months leading up to this about my bad hip and how it would affect my labor, but it was turning out to potentially be a problem. I jumped out of there and went back to my comfortable position in bed. After another quick check I was still only at 5cm but I asked if I could get in the jacuzzi tub. This was the turning point in my labor.
At first when I got settled in the tub it was an incredibly uncomfortable position to be in as my contractions came. As I began to let myself relax and daddy poured warm water over my tummy with a cup I slipped into a deeper place of focus. Without having any plan beforehand to try to, I started to visualize that I was swimming in deep water. Each time a contraction came I would go there and tell myself that I was weightless and completely comfortable. I pictured you there with me, sometimes daddy was there, sometimes I was all alone but always in water. Daddy fell asleep on the stool beside the tub and I stopped having him time my contractions because I was too focused. After an hour of this it was time to get out.
I got back in bed and we began to time my contractions again but they had slowed to almost 4 minutes. Tonya had fallen asleep in the recliner by now and my midwife decided to get some rest too. Daddy laid with me and kept trying to keep time but he began to think I was going to fall asleep too. I was in such a deep state of relaxation.
Suddenly it happened! Before I even had time to think about what I was feeling, I was pushing. It came out of no where. After the second time Tonya woke up- she recognized that sound! She went to get Lois who had also heard from the other room and was on her way to check on me. She decided to check to see if I had dilated more and we were all totally surprised to discover that in the hour I spent in the tub I had become fully dilated! It was show time.
Lois quickly went to call her nurse, Rosina, to come down to the birth center. I had little idea what was going on around me, only that I HAD to push. Because the birthing stool was also too short for me and other positions hadn’t gone so well earlier in the evening because of my hip, we decided I would push on my side in bed. This meant holding up one leg and daddy and I worked together to do this. It took a little while to get into a good rhythm but with Lois and Tonya both coaching me, chin down, good good, now rest, things began to progress.
I had no idea going into labor how long the pushing stage was supposed to last. I also was paying absolutely no attention to the clock.
Sometimes I would catch a glimpse of it but nothing was registering other than the need to push. I could hear the others sometimes say good, good and then Tonya squealed and someone said “Look at that hair!”.
Eventually I had turned myself off to the pain but was beginning to feel my strength leave me. I would push with everything I had, telling myself that this time you would come out but you seemed to be stuck. I started to think that I didn’t have enough strength to do it but with so many coaches, that didn’t last long. Your daddy kept whispering to me, telling me that I could do it, that I was doing a good job and that he was so proud. Lois told me to reach down and feel your head and then I knew it was time to get you out!
Finally, after two and a half hours of pushing I felt you slip out and immediately you began to cry.
They quickly brought you to my chest and I could barely open my eyes or believe you were finally here! You were so slimy and squirmy and screaming at the top of your lungs.
Everyone laughed at how loud you were. No questions about your lungs! Daddy was laughing and touching you. He kept telling me that I had really done it!
After I held you for a while it was time to cut your cord and daddy got to help with this. He was so calm and focused.
It took a while for my placenta to come and then mommy had to get some stitches because you decided it was a good idea to keep your right hand up by your face while you came out. This was probably one of the reasons it took so long to push you out!
We all guessed how much you would weigh and everyone thought somewhere in the 7 pound range. Boy were we all surprised when you weighed well over 8!
Daddy asked if honorary Auntie Tonya wanted to hold you and she of course squealed. After getting in a quick fix, tired Tonya headed home.
Everything about you was perfect. After she checked out mommy some more and everything looked good it was time for Lois to head home and for you to try to eat.
Daddy settled into bed with us with you nestled on a pillow beside me. We all dozed while you nursed.
It was hard to believe that any of it was real. It had been such a long night but you were finally with us and I had really done it! We never questioned our choice to have you at the birth center instead of a hospital and even when I was beginning to think I didn’t have enough strength to get you here, I never wished I had an epidural. I have never been more completely exhausted in my life but I felt incredible knowing what I had just been able to do. Everything about our experience at the birth center was just right for us. Mommy would not have done well with too much stimulation and we were able to keep only a small lamp on during the entire night until you came. Lois and Rosina both speak quietly. There were times that Lois asked mommy to do things she didn’t feel like she could do, like change positions, and I would tell her no. She didn’t argue with me or get pushy she just gently guided me until we had accomplished what was needed (I guess after delivering almost 3,300 babies you get pretty good at it). It was perfect. I feel warm when I think about that night. I’m so glad Tonya was there to document all of it so that now I can watch it from a different perspective. Also, she’s so good at pushing, I mean encouraging mommy. And we were so blessed to have such a calm and skilled midwife and nurse there quietly facilitating the whole process. I can’t imagine facing labor without your daddy there by my side. There were times I didn’t know where I ended and he started he was so close. And getting to see him finally meet you and kiss your forehead will be something I never forget.
And now we have you!