Birth date: Tuesday, June 13th, 2017
Birth Time: 12:12 AM
Weight: 8lbs. 13oz.
Length: 23 in.
You know those parents that are on their second, third, or tenth pregnancy so they think they know what to expect because they have done this before and know their body so well to predict the outcome? Yeah, I was never going to be that Mom. I know every pregnancy and baby is completely different. I know that even though I’ve had two babies the next is a new baby and you can’t compare. But here I was at almost 39 weeks, being that Mom.
She’ll Definitely Be Here Early
I was so sure this baby would be here early that I basically had her due date all planned out. 39 weeks came and went. Followed by 40 weeks, 41 weeks, and almost 42 weeks.. My sisters and their families drove down to meet Joelle, and had to leave before she made her entrance. By this point I was doing all of the “natural things to induce labor”. I know some people disagree with trying to induce labor in any way, especially with a previous C-section. I know babies will come when they are ready (even more so now that every one has been completely different!).
So, let me explain. I believe these natural methods are more of a way to prepare for labor, when it does come, not so much a way to jump start a labor that isn’t already going to happen. Things like drinking raspberry leaf tea, eating pineapple, chiropractic adjustments, spending the day walking at the zoo, or miles on hilly roads. These are some of the ways I prepared my body for what I was hoping would be a fast and bearable birth.
Nope! Couldn’t Be More Wrong
As I started to approach 42 weeks—I will be honest and say—some days I was filled with anxiety and fear. As much as I have always loved being pregnant and even embraced having “over due” babies, there was still a part of me wondering if my body wasn’t going to go into labor this time. The only thing that truly helped me sleep at night was everyone praying for me, this baby, and this birth. Even though some of those people were losing sleep by staying up late hours into the night praying!
At my 41 week appointment my midwife and I discussed doing an herbal induction soon. She also recommended acupuncture, the only “labor inducing method” I had never previously tried, and I had tried every other one in the book! So, fast forward to Saturday June 10th, Sizzly recommended trying acupuncture first, and if that didn’t work then we would start the process of an herbal induction.
Acupuncture Helps? Sign me up!
Saturday afternoon I had my first appointment. Having no idea what to expect I was just a little nervous. I like to know exactly what’s going on and have everything planned out, and here I was sitting across the table from a sweet Asian man asking to look at my tongue and feel my wrists. For the next 45 minutes or so, I sat in a chair (since lying down wasn’t possible at this point) while he poked a few needles in one side of my body and performed acupressure on the other side, switching half way through.
Still not having much knowledge on what exactly was going on, the culture of it all really intrigued me. If nothing else, the peaceful presence of this man and the fact that I was sitting in quiet for an hour with no kids was enough to bring down my blood pressure! I met with Sizzly right after to check on the baby. She asked if I was having any contractions yet and I said, “not really”, and as I’m saying that and she’s feeling my belly she informs me, “you’re having one right now”.
I feel like a crazy person because I have never considered these contractions real contractions. If I’m not in pain at all then I just brush them off. But she reminded me of my pain tolerance and told me to start timing them. So I did, and to my surprise most of them were averaging 10-15 minutes apart. Which may not seem like much, except for the fact that I was indeed having contractions and they weren’t just here or there.
The acupuncturist said “labor could begin in as little as 8 hours and as long as 48 hours” which would be Monday afternoon, and “if nothing was happening by 48 hours we will have a second session.” Since leaving their office Saturday, those same contractions stayed the rest of the night and through Sunday.
Now onto Monday… If you have read this far, this is where the birth story really begins. And if you haven’t read this far then you can just start reading here..
The Big Day
I woke up Monday morning around 7am. Contractions were still there but feeling a little different, more of what I have always considered real contractions. Still not painful, but more of a cramping feeling rather than just the sensation of everything getting hard and releasing. Stefen had already planned to work from home (aka Mountaineer) for most of the day because I had a day full of appointments scheduled; chiropractor, acupuncture, prenatal.
My contractions were not very consistent, at all. I started to time them on the way to my acupuncture appointment and I had 2 in the 45 minute car ride. Once I got there though and started my second 1 hour session they seemed to pick up, especially when he was pressing certain points on my feet and lower back. He also said that my body seemed relaxed and ready and that the baby would be coming soon. He then went on to say that Sizzly had referred quite a few women to him and of all the women he has treated for labor induction, he has never had one that didn’t go into labor, to which I replied, “I hope I’m not the first!” He looked at me, smiled, saying nothing, pulled out my chart, and stapled all my papers together. Then he said, “when I pull out this stapler and staple a chart together that means it is finished, no more 3rd session”. This was his humorous way of telling me that I wouldn’t be the first one and it would work.
I met with Sizzly again right after, and asked her to check for progress. I was 5cm and baby was at +2 station, so basically as low as she could be without coming out yet, and I could feel it! Sizzly said today would be the day, “she’ll be here today or tonight. I’ll be waiting for you”. She had cleared her schedule for the next two days and along with the rest of us was just waiting on Joelle. Even after the acupuncturist and Sizzly’s confidence that she was coming soon, I still wasn’t completely convinced. I left their office around 4pm Monday afternoon and let my family know what they had said, but even still I couldn’t help but say “hopefully by tomorrow”, thinking that if they thought it would be today then hopefully she would at least come the next day.
Stefen and I stopped for food, and then headed home, where Tiffany and Amber were watching the boys for us. By this point some of the contractions were stronger, similar to the beginning stages of labor with Houston, but still most of them were about 10 minutes apart. I wasn’t too uncomfortable yet and was just going about our night as usual. Fast forward a few hours, around 10pm, and the pain started to get more intense. With the time in between contractions though I felt like I still had a ways to go.
Real Contractions are Painful, Right?
My family kept asking for updates, but I hadn’t even notified Sizzly yet because they didn’t seem close enough for active labor. After making jokes for weeks about this baby just coming out on her own, I think I scared Stefen a little because with every contraction he would ask me to let Sizzly know. So finally at 11pm I sent her a text saying, “just a heads up.. nothing consistent but they are a little painful”. We texted back and forth a little and she asked if I wanted her to come. I really wasn’t sure but finally decided, “yeah I think so”.
As it was getting late I told my family if any of them wanted to just come and stay the night at our house they were welcome to. I said it probably wouldn’t be till the next morning, but instead of trying to stay up and wait for updates they could just relax here. Once I told them Sizzly was on her way they decided to come. Tiffany was already at Amber’s house which is just a few minutes away so they arrived pretty quickly. When they arrived I could hear them quietly downstairs, while Stefen and I were upstairs. The boys were also upstairs, fast asleep.
Blake had fallen asleep pretty early and being the deep sleeper he is I knew he’d be out for the night. Houston stayed up late watching movies and then fell asleep around 10:30, while I held him on my exercise ball through contractions. Houston has to be close to me to fall asleep and all throughout the night. He purposely lies on my arm at night so if I get up he will wake up. I had told Stefen earlier that hopefully the later he stayed up the better he’d sleep in case “tonight is the night” sure enough it worked! He slept in our bed, through every noise and contraction, while Blake was fast asleep at the end of our bed.
Right after I had said for Sizzly to come and Tiffany and Amber arrived, things seemed to pick up instantly. Contractions were all of a sudden averaging 2-4 minutes apart, and I was already having to make noises to work through them while Stefen pushed my lower back / hips together through every one. I was once again determined to have a water birth. Sizzly was probably tired of me asking if she’d have the pool with her. Stefen was hooking up the hose in our shower to fill the pool when she got here. The adapter didn’t work so he was duct taping it on, having to take a break every couple minutes to hold me through contractions.
Things Are Getting Serious Now, Why Was I in Denial?!
At 11:40, I was leaning over the futon at the end of our bed where Blake was asleep, and I had two contractions back to back, with a slight urge to push. I yelled for Stefen to help, said something like “not again!” And then reached for my phone and sent sizzly a text saying, “hurry”. She called right away and Stefen answered. I could hear them talking back and forth. She let him know she was 20 minutes away and that if anything else happened or I felt like I needed to push again that she would walk him through it.
I told Stefen to go ahead and take the hose off the shower, realizing there wouldn’t be time to set up the pool and I just wanted some kind of water for relief. So once he removed the hose I went in and just stood in the shower with cold water on my back. It felt amazing, but once in the shower I was feeling the need to push with almost every contraction. I started to freak out a little. I had joked so much about wanting to have this baby with just me and Stefen, “it’d be great if she just came out so fast. You can catch her.”. And now here I was, standing in the shower praying, and telling Stefen, “I can’t do this by myself”, while he stood right outside holding my hand, kissing me, rubbing my giant belly, all while telling me, “you can do it” “don’t hold it in if you need to push”.
My mom arrived and Sizzly arrived shortly after (around midnight) and came straight upstairs to me still in the shower. She said the same as Stefen, to push if I needed, and then asked to check me. As soon as she started to my water broke and she again said to just push when I felt like I needed to. “How dilated am I?” I asked her, guess I was still somewhat in denial if it was really happening this fast and I was ready to push. “You’re fully dilated. She’s right there, all you need to do is push!” “Feel her head” She said. I quickly replied, “no”. Still standing in the shower I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do, I just knew the water on my back felt too good and I wasn’t ready to get out. She said to Stefen, “why don’t you get in there with her”, so he got right in and stood in front of me.
Our Shower Will Never Be The Same
I was now holding onto Stefen with one arm and the shower door with my other. With the next contraction I knew I needed to change positions, so I just got on my hands and knees. I really wanted to lie down since that’s what I did with Houston and I knew it was more comfortable than the position I was in now. Sizzly kept encouraging me to do whatever I wanted, lie in the shower, get out and go on the floor, etc. But with the next contraction I just decided the best way to get comfortable would be to push her out, so I did that. In just a few pushes and under 4 minutes she was out and crying like a pro.
I don’t remember when but at some point Stefen had moved behind me, Sizzly standing right outside the shower, my mom as close by as she could get, and Tiffany and Amber right outside the bathroom door. When her head came out Stefen held it while Sizzly caught her body. I then sat down in the shower, Stefen by my side, and held our baby girl. This was not the water birth I was expecting, but it was far better than any birth I could have imagined. All of the worry and stress leading up to this night was gone and over with. Everything worked out so perfectly, down to the fact that Blake and Houston slept through the entire birth right in our room, where I had hoped they could be but wasn’t sure how it would work out.
God is so good and even in all the doubt He is still constantly showing me new ways that He cares, in every little and big detail, in the desires I have. Unfortunately for Stefen this birth went so well that by the next day I was already missing it and wanting to do it again.