First and foremost, this is my youngest son’s birth story. While I don’t suppose it’s going to be too terribly graphic in the language I use, it is still a birth story – complete with contractions, delivery, and placenta talk.
Our sweet boy joined us on the day that our pregnancy was 41 weeks along. From 39 weeks forward, I was a mess of anxious nerves and fear. The fear was whether or not I could handle one more thing. One more especially big thing – the care of a newborn. We are walking through an incredibly busy season in our lives, and quite frankly, I couldn’t see exactly how to fit in the feeds and diapers and cuddles and demands that come with a newborn. I was anxious to see his beautiful face and to kiss him and hold him, but the fear was so real, so present.
I always knew this boy would come during the dark hours, late night or early morning, it would be dark out. As a result, nighttime was not my friend during those final two weeks of our pregnancy. I would start contracting, sporadically, but it would happen. And that tingle of excitement would course through me, and my fear would be there, asking me if I was enough for this one, too. I would give the contractions an hour to even out, which they didn’t do, and I would take a hot shower and go to bed – almost with a sense of disappointment that I wasn’t meeting our son yet.
I met with the midwives when I was 40 weeks, and was gently reminded that if I wasn’t mentally ready, it would affect my ability to go into labor. So I spent the week from 40 to 41 weeks making sure that the house was ready, and that I was as ready as I could be. When I met with my midwives the following week, we talked about what steps we would take if I made it to 42 weeks – no fear mongering, no stress, no pressure at this talk. They just kindly explained the tests that would show us baby’s condition, the placenta’s condition, and whether it was safe to continue waiting, or if we should try harder to stimulate labor. We also talked about things I could do at home, from extra walking, to nipple stimulation, and we discussed a little “stretching and pulling” (a very mild membrane sweep). They also said that if my contractions started in the evening hours again, to do whatever kept them going. For me, this was mainly sitting on my exercise ball and rolling around in a figure-8 or side to side. No shower, no going to bed if I was contracting.
After weighing all of the options, I opted for the “stretching and pulling” and after visiting a little more with the ladies, I headed to the store. We had shopping to do. My dear hubby met me at the store and we shopped and ate and went home. Nothing was happening, and I was starting to think this baby would stay inside until forced out. Once the kids were in bed and I sat on my exercise ball, the same ol’ nighttime contractions started. I rolled around on my ball and kept thinking about meeting this baby. (At the time, we didn’t know he was a son!)
An hour into this and my dear husband started getting ready for bed. I didn’t want to stay up by myself and when he asked if I was coming to bed I told him, in no uncertain terms, “No, I’m having a baby tonight.” Course, he gave me the “Oh is it time now??” look, and when I told him I was just having the mild, non-regular contractions that I had every night, even he looked a little hopeless. He settled in on the couch to rest since I wasn’t in need of much support at the time. I was thankful he was close, though.
The hours ticked by. The same thoughts I had every night kept going through my mind. “If these contractions get 9 minutes apart, I’ll call Joy.” It was always “If they _________, I’ll call.” and that milestone never really happened. I knew I needed to call as soon as I thought it was really labor, because I deliver quickly. But it just seemed like another night of false labor. I used a timer on my phone and they weren’t consistent. They weren’t strong.
Around 2 am, I think, I took a hot shower, but I didn’t go to bed. My mild, non-alarming, non-regular contractions continued. That right there is when I should have called. I know that now, but at the time, I didn’t want to cost Joy her night’s rest for something that wasn’t going to result in our baby being born. Then, our work phone rang, we sent one of the guys on a call, and Jimmy decided to shower. I think that was about 3 am. I was ready to call it a night and go to bed. But just before he climbed in the shower, I had a profoundly stronger contraction. One that made me kind of hold my breath. I told him we would call when he got out of the shower, so he made it a quick one. I walked around the house, and did a few squats, and had a few mild contractions. Nevermind. We won’t call.
Now I’ve missed a whole night of sleep, only to go to work on Thursday, sleep deprived and cranky.
The very next thing that happened, was I held the table for dear life, squatted and begged in a not so coherent voice for my husband to make the call, which he did. This was a few minutes after 4 am. I could barely walk to our bedroom, and suddenly the contractions that were sometimes as much as 20 minutes apart were coming back to back and had become intense. Intense doesn’t even do these justice. I kind of panicked for a minute, and I questioned whether I could do this or not. I had less back labor than ever before, but the pain in the front, lower part of my abdomen/uterus was new to me and it scared me.
My sweet husband called his dad to come help with our daughter, who woke up with the commotion of things.
I squeezed all of the blood out of my husband’s hand holding it, and I was shaking. Joy came rushing in a short 25 minutes after we called her. She started getting things ready, and asking if my water had broke, and what had been happening. I shook my head about the water, and let Jimmy do most of the talking. I think. I wasn’t very mentally present, until I realized no one called Chesley. Joy handled that for us, too.
She asked if I felt like I needed to push yet, and I shook my head. Not yet.
Okay, now I do! And I pushed, and I felt that tingle of excitement mix with the pain and contractions, and I knew I’d meet this baby in just a moment’s time. I don’t know how many pushes it took to deliver him, but I do know that Joy expertly handed this brand new baby to his daddy, who was once more in awe. I wish I had a voice recorded of how he announced that we had a boy.
The surprise in his voice tickled me. He was so sure this baby was a girl, so confident – didn’t even know why we had a boy name picked out. And lo & behold, he was holding a squishy little boy.
Just like my previous two deliveries, I was on all fours, so Joy & Jessi kindly helped me get rolled over and then Jimmy handed me our son. Our perfect, chunky little boy. He nursed like a champ, and the next hour was completely peaceful. Chelsey arrived a little bit after the baby, and got some fantastic pictures of his daddy weighing him (9 lbs, 9 oz!!). I nursed him for a while, got in a quick shower, and got settled into bed.
Poppa got to meet the new boy, then, we woke up the two bigger boys that were home and they got to meet him and say hello to our birth team. Then, everyone climbed back into bed and settled in for a nap before the sun even came up.
(And he’s been here for 5 1/2 weeks now, and we are all adjusting beautifully, and I can do it. I can take care of him and all of my other jobs.)