I know I will in no way encapsulate all of the details that I desperately want to capture in writing this post, and I’m not even sure what I hope to accomplish by sharing it with you… The miracle of birth? This amazing thing we call “being a mom”? How mysterious all of it can be?
I don’t know.
But I do know that if I don’t at least get some of it down in writing, attempt to commemorate this amazing little boy’s entrance into this world — I’ll regret it forever.
This upcoming weekend marks 4 months of having this hunk in our lives. And this is his birth story.
It was Wednesday March 18, 2015. I woke up just before sunrise. I could see the sun just beginning to light the treetops outside our bedroom window. Nick had long gone to work and Wyatt still lay sprawled out next to me in what appeared to be a peaceful slumber.
Hmm… I felt cramp-y. Sort of mild menstrual cramps — something I hadn’t felt in ages. Huh. Those are new. I haven’t felt these yet. I thought to myself, but nonetheless thought them unremarkable.
I decided to lay in bed a little while longer and check a few things on my phone. Wyatt would be up soon enough and then we’d head down to breakfast. I was thinking about what to make for breakfast when I heard his soft sweet voice. “Ma-maaaaa.” Just the way he always says it in the morning when he first sees me. I could hear him smile as he said it.
We got in a few snuggles, kisses, tickles and cackles before making our way down stairs. I made eggs and bacon, one of Wyatt’s favs. We then sat down at the table, him on my lap and ate our breakfast together. I’d been having regular contractions for days now, and these continued this morning and while we ate breakfast. I kept describing them as “not the real deal”. They were more than Braxton Hicks, but not the intense ones that signal the start of labor.
After breakfast we made our way into the family room and proceeded to have a very leisurely morning. I’d made the decision over the weekend that Monday was going to be my last day at work, that I was to go ahead and start my maternity leave. I was 4 days past my due date. I’d been getting increasingly anxious. Somehow making the decision to start my leave a little early (as in before he was born) took all of that away. I felt at peace, and it was wonderful.
Wyatt and I had been on the move: walking, running errands, doing anything and everything to coax the baby in my belly out, etc. since mid week the week before. I had my 41 week check at 11:30AM that day — so it felt nice to be still and have restful morning with my bub.
Around 10AM I told Wyatt that we needed to head upstairs so I could get cleaned up to go to my doctor appointment — and that Mammie would be coming over in about an hour. Just before I rose to get off the couch I had a significantly stronger contraction. One I didn’t just move right through. I thought to myself something along the lines of: Oh baby! Keep that up! But really didn’t think much farther past that.
We made our way upstairs and yet again, I began to leisurely get ready. Brushing my teeth, my hair, getting dressed: all the while Wyatt running between his room and ours playing.
I think I was brushing my teeth when I had my first contraction that I paused what I was doing and thought that I might practice controlled breathing. Oh man. Oh man! I know I was standing at the bathroom sink because I remember looking up and smiling at myself in the mirror. Now that one felt real. I thought. A few more of those and I thought, Maybe I should start timing these…? I had yet to time any contractions up until this point, I just new they hadn’t been strong enough. I went and grabbed my phone and continued to get ready while timing them. After a few more went by I realized they were only 6 minutes apart. Oh baby!
I called Nick at work. And said something like, “Hey babe. So I’ve been having contractions for about 30 or so minutes now and they are 6 minutes apart. They feel real, but I’m still walking through most of them. I’ve got my appointment here shortly so I guess I’ll just see what they say when I get there. I just wanted to give you heads up, okay? But don’t get too excited! Bye!”
Okay. He was on standby.
Oh crap! The hospital bag. It was mostly packed, but I needed to throw a few last minute things in there. I started moving really fast. Like really fast. Pretty much running around like a crazy woman — throwing things in bags, throwing clothes on Wyatt, throwing food on plates.
The leisurely pace then switched to “lady on a mission”. I suddenly had an exponential amount of more stuff to do before I left for my appointment. What if this was a fluke? What if this was the real deal?!
I had called my mom, she was indeed on her way. She said that me and Wyatt should both just get in the car and she’d take me. I said no and that I was fine. I was still up and moving and I really wanted to labor as much at home as possible. I swear I could hear her think Are you crazy?! through the phone.
I hung up and started moving again. I wasn’t walking through contractions anymore. And geez, how close are they together now? I timed. 3 minutes. 3 minutes?!
When my mom got there I was sitting down to get Wyatt to start eating his lunch so he’d be occupied as I hustled out the door. I was still smiling and practicing my yoga breathing, but now shutting my eyes through contractions. I felt like I needed to really focus.
“I think I’m gonna take you up on your offer,” I told her.
And it was a good thing I did! (FYI, Contractions aren’t really all that fun when riding in a car.)
I made a phone call to my doctor on the way. Contractions were ranging any where from 3 minutes to 10 minutes apart — and they seemed to be associated with how active I was. They finally evened out and became extremely predictable on the car ride there.
“Should I come in for my appointment? I’m on my way. Or should I go to labor/delivery?” I wanted to know.
And this, this right here is why I put so much faith in my ob/gyn. He says to me after a purposeful pause: “What do you feel comfortable doing?”
Ahh! Yes!!! Okay… “I’ll see you at my appointment in about 20 minutes then.” It was decided.
We pulled up to the office and I got out of the car. Mom and Wyatt were going to chill in the parking lot until a verdict was reached. “I’ll see you soon!” I said to them both as turned to head into the building.
I continued having contractions. In the elevator. In the waiting room. Once they had me back in the exam room. I was getting so pumped. No, really, soooo pumped. They were strong. I breathed and smiled through them. I focused and practiced breathing in fully and then slowly releasing it while imagining water rushing over my body. Give in and open up. I reminded myself.
My doctor came into the room, made some casual comment about how sometimes the uterus gets aggravated and presents signs of labor, but “we’ll see”.
“Yep, it looks like you’re about 6 cm dilated.”
“Yep. So you’ll just head straight on over to the hospital. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200” he said with a hint of a smile and excitement in his voice. “I’ll be seeing you very soon.”
He stepped out and then quickly poked his head back in. “Any thoughts on whether or not you’ll be going natural?”
“Natural all the way.” I said with a grin. Nothing, absolutely nothing could have knocked that grin off my face. I was in labor.
That was around 12:30pm
I called Nick on my way back down to my mom’s car and filled him in. He was going to meet me in the lobby at the hospital which was right next door. Thankfully he was just down the street at work.
As I approached my mom’s van she got out and I said with a big smile that it was “go time”. I wrangled Wyatt who was playing in the front seat while popping strawberries into his mouth. I hugged him and kissed him, told him that I loved him, and proceeded to buckle him in his carseat. The whole time I was thinking the next time I see you, you will be a big brother. And just how surreal that was.
Next thing I know I’m meeting Nick in the hospital main lobby trying to catch him up along with making new arrangements with his mom over the phone to pick up Wyatt. A couple pauses for contractions and we’ve reached the front desk of labor/delivery.
At this point I’m on an indescribable high. Pure joy and excitement are pumping through my veins. But check in (despite having pre-registered) is taking too long. With every question asked (that I’d already answered by pre-registering)I felt more and more frustration creep in. Which made contractions start to hurt.
We finally got back to our room. The nurses were nice, but again with the 20 questions. Nick was awesome at trying to alleviate me being bombarded by the “entrance exam” so I could focus on progressing through my contractions. But at one point I had two nurses performing two completely separate questionnaires an another one administering the IV all while my contractions were getting stronger.
The quicker we get this part over the quicker I get to go back to being joyfully excited someone reminded me.
Finally, everyone vanished almost as quickly as they had appeared. I was able to resume focus. More successful at smiling and breathing and visualizing through my contractions. Yes. Everything was feeling good again.
Nick and I talked. We laughed. Everything was surprisingly calm in between contractions. I felt totally normal. I could get up, move, everything — it was awesome!
Contractions were strong and closing in. The first time I was checked since my appointment was around 2:10pm.
“8-9 CENTIMETERS?!” I was in transition labor? What?! No way. No way! I felt too calm. Too good to be this far along.
After a little while longer I started feeling a lot of pressure.
At 3:10pm I was checked again: 9 cm 100% effaced but my water still hadn’t broken yet. It was proposed that we go ahead and break it.
I studied my doctors face, and then said “Okay. You know I’m trying to go as naturally as possible here. What are the side affects of it?”
And then from behind him Nick chuckles, “Having a baby?” We all got a few laughs out of that one. And then decided to move forward with breaking my water. I simply went with my gut. The fluid was a little green indicating meconium but I wasn’t shaken.
The nurse was in the process of describing how the bag of water had been keeping his head from directly engaging my cervix and how my next contraction would probably be a lot more…
Yep. A LOT more intense. But shockingly manageable. The raw magnitude of my contractions was more encompassing than I’d ever imagined, but at the same time I didn’t want to shout or scream or cry my way through them they way I thought I might have.
God built you for this, I reminded myself. My body is wise. I felt empowered.
Eventually the time came for me to start pushing. I wasn’t aware of it at the time but for the first several pushes, I held back. Everything was just so intense. I’d given birth before, I knew I was physically capable. But this time around, epidural free, it was different. It was the intensity I was fearful of, I think. It wasn’t until one of the nurses said, “don’t be afraid, don’t hold back” that I became acutely aware that that was exactly what was happening.
Give in. Open up. Don’t be afraid. These were my thoughts.
With the next two pushes I submitted to what can only be described as the incredible raw power that is the female body (UPDATE: and one fierce warrior cry!) and, lo’ and behold, at 4:29pm my little perfect boy was born into this world.
I was ecstatic.
I immediately noticed that he had light hair. As I searched his face and his body I could feel joy radiating through me. I looked up at Nick and noticed he was teary. And that’s when I realized I wasn’t. I honestly expected I would ball like a baby (just like I did with my first) but there in that moment, all I felt was inescapable and indescribable bliss.
More grins all around.
I can’t tell you how much joy filled me that day, and how much joy still fills me when I think of all the events that transpired that day. The fact that I went into labor on my own, progressed on my own, and had probably the smoothest delivery ever. To meet my baby in the best and calmest of circumstances. I am blessed. God had it all planned out from the very beginning and it brings me even more joy to always know that his hand is upon our lives.