This could have been my shortest blog post ever, seeing as our precious son was born in a matter of 3 1/2 hours from the start of labor. I know, I know. It’s insane. And my 23 year-old pregnant self is rolling her eyes at my 27 year-old –second time around– self. Although it was a short labor and delivery, there are still so many details I want to document. This is gonna be long. And it’s mostly for my family and me to have, just like Lydia’s birth story here. Feel free to skip over this post, or read on for some fast-paced details of J. Oliver’s birth! Let’s just cut to the chase, eh?
It was December 1, 2015. Pretty chilly outside. Mitch had left for work already. Lydia was tiptoeing into our room and crawled into bed with me. She was such a sweetheart and so patient. She knew in those last days leading up to my due date that I was an exhausted mama. We cuddled for a bit like we usually do and then I started to feel a bit crampy. It was about 8 am. Seeing as this was my second baby, I was fully prepared to have some false labor. I went ahead and made a call to my midwife telling her I was definitely feeling some small contractions and felt a little “different” but nothing was overwhelmingly pointing to labor anytime soon. I wanted to let them know, though, since I had tested positive for GBS and would need an IV before I delivered him. She said to just try and get as much rest as possible, that it didn’t sound like active labor, and to call back when things began progressing more. I sent a nonchalant text to my husband as well as my best friend (who lived down the road a bit and was planning to be right there the moment I began labor, what are best friends for?!) and said something like, “today could be the day! keep your phone near you!”.
Well, contractions then began to pick up almost immediately. Bekah came over at about 8:45 am. She turned on Netflix and played FRIENDS for a distraction, instructions per my husband. Lydia played quietly in the living room, working on her 25-piece puzzle. She came and sat on the bed with me at one point and I remember feeling a little emotional that my one baby was about to have a sibling. That the past 4 very cherished years were about to change and a new chapter was about to begin. That’s the last thing I remember noticing as I laid there in the bed and looked out into the living room at my sweet girl before my labor picked up. And man, did it progress fast. Bekah was right there with me on the bed, supporting me verbally through each contraction and rubbing my back as I rested in between. One moment my contractions were lasting 20 seconds at about 8 minutes apart and then before we knew it they were 45 seconds long, and 2-3 minutes apart. We were almost in shock as to how fast it was going and didn’t quite realize where I was in the labor process! I was very focused during each contraction and was not talking during the rest periods. By this point, it was about 10:45 am. Bekah called my husband’s work, he left right away and got home within 20 minutes or so. By the time he got home, it was time to leave and head to the birth center. At this point, I am completely confident that I was in a bit of shock as to how fast this labor had progressed. I was already feeling like “I can’t do this”. And I remember thinking, wait, that’s a sign of transition stage…
Mitch and Bekah were figuring out the car situation. I went to the bathroom and my mucus plug had most definitely broken. I remember sitting on my birthing ball in the living room while they got Lydia in the car and feeling like I couldn’t get up and walk to the car. My body was bearing down. I remember feeling a bit panicky. Contractions were consistently coming every 2-3 minutes and were almost a minute long. It was getting intense. As Mitch was helping me in the car, I looked at him and said “I can’t do this”. I stood at the car door and couldn’t move for a second. I was sweating even though it was cold outside. Bekah told me later that it was in that moment she looked at Mitch and told him, “your dream of delivering your baby in the car might come true!”. I finally managed to get in the car. Josiah was already in the birth canal at this point. I could feel it. I was bearing down even more. I blasted the AC. We buckled up. I couldn’t even sit down completely in the seat because I could feel his head and was irrationally scared that I was going to smash his head. I held myself up using the armrests during the entire 25 minute car ride. And Mitch high-tailed it down the interstate. He is my hero. Bekah followed behind us in her car.
We lived about 30 minutes from the birth center. It was 11:30. Thankfully, there wasn’t too much traffic on the interstate. Mitch was weaving in and out of traffic very strategically and I was fighting the urge to push. With every contraction I was feeling the baby move further down. This is something I didn’t feel with Lydia. But I could feel him. I had about 30-45 seconds in between contractions before I had to once again fight the natural urge to push. Even though I wasn’t actively pushing, I could feel him moving further and further down. Without any pushing effort on my part, my body was beginning to deliver him on it’s own! All I could think about was I did not want to have this baby in the car! Moments later, my water broke; or perhaps it had already broken way sooner and this was just some sort of other fluid since he was already beginning to crown. Whatever it was, I felt a warm gush. I told Mitch, “I think he’s coming right now!”. Mitch had seen an ambulance we had passed on the interstate. He called Bekah, who was driving behind us, to see if she thought we should stop the ambulance. I think she called to find out if that was a possibility. Turns out if we did that, I would have to go straight to the hospital as opposed to the birth center. I motioned him to keep going and to “just get there”. He called my mom to let her know that baby J was on his way. Thankfully we had bluetooth in the car making that phone call much easier while navigating traffic. Lydia was in the backseat just as calm as ever. I was somewhat screaming during each contraction at this point, not because of pain, but because of the intense mental effort it took to not give into my body’s natural instinct to bear down. I didn’t want to have this baby in the car for many reasons but the main reason was because of GBS. We were about 5-10 minutes away. Mitch kept asking if he needed to pull over. In between my wailing, I would motion him to keep going. I just wanted to get to my midwife.
And then Josiah began crowning. I remember telling Mitch over and over that “he’s coming now! Oh my gosh, he’s coming!” Poor Mitch. He was fully prepared to pull over and deliver this baby himself. But I kept telling him to get to the birth center. He made a (bluetooth, handsfree) call to my midwife telling her we were almost there. We flew into their parking lot at about 12 pm and were met with 6 nurse midwives waiting for us, 100% prepared holding towels and other things that I was too distracted to notice in detail. They opened my door, two of them put my arms around their necks, a few of them ran ahead to open the door to the building, the other followed behind me with her hands near my rear, for what I can only assume was precaution in case Josiah decided to pop out right then and there. A sweet midwife said “Lianne, whatever you need let us know. If you need to lay down in the parking lot, we can do that. If you can walk, let’s do that. We need to get your pants off.” I remember feeling relieved and thankful we were there. Mitch was getting Lydia out of the car. We stepped into the building, they asked if I thought I could make it to the birthing suite which was about 15 steps away. I nodded yes. My midwife stripped my pants off while I was walking. I literally walked right out of my pants, all the while holding on to these ladies who I barely knew but felt like I had known for years. It seemed as though I had been holding this baby in forever. This whole time, almost since we had left the house, all I had done was hold him in. I was ready to push.
He was majorly crowning. I walked into the birth suite, stood against the bed, bent over and leaned my elbows down on the bed, hung my head in an attempt to relax and focus all at the same time. I heard the midwife say something like, “I can see the baby’s head” and something about “the birth sac”. Mitch and Lydia had just made it in behind me and he was getting her situated on the bed in front of me. He didn’t know just how quickly things had progressed and was sort of thinking we would have to time labor together like we did with Lydia. But as I stood there leaning over the bed, I remember him holding my arm and I gave one push. Josiah literally slid out. My midwife caught him. Just like that, he was here. Our little Moose. I asked if he was okay. I was so worried because I didn’t have my antibiotics for the GBS. I had also looked down as he was being born and saw him get covered in my remaining waters. In a split second they had him on a table behind me checking vitals and all those important things The moment I heard that first cry, which I think every mother so desperately longs to hear, I breathed a sigh of relief. They went ahead and cut the cord just because of how quickly everything had happened. We had planned for Mitch to do that a bit later, just like he had with Lydia, but we understood why they did it. Bekah had just made it into the room after being a few minutes behind (Mitch had really picked up speed as we got closer to the birth center and she hadn’t been able to keep up!). She also had not realized just how close I was to having the baby in the car. I remember looking up at her, she was running to the side of the bed Mitch and Lydia were on, directly across from me, she looked around surprisingly and said, “What?! He’s here?!”. And I distinctly remember making eye contact with her and saying, “holy shit!”. That’s all I could get out at the moment. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. From start to finish, it had been 3 hours and 25 minutes. He was born at 12:10 pm. He weighed 8 lb 6 oz and was 21 inches long.
Mitch and Lydia went over to see Josiah while the nurse midwives cleaned him up and I got situated on the bed. And oh my gosh, can I just say what a big girl my Lydia is?! She was there through the entire thing; every moment. It was what we had hoped to happen but weren’t sure what the plan would be considering we didn’t know the time I would go into labor. She stayed so calm throughout the whole morning and she thought the entire experience was amazing. Within a minute or so of Josiah being born, he was on my chest. So much emotion was going on at this point! I was so happy, so relieved, so thankful to be done! I was in shock of how quickly it had all happened. How close we were to delivering on the side of the interstate. But that all quickly disappeared as I looked at our sweet baby boy safely swaddled in my arms. One of life’s greatest joys. My husband and daughter cuddled up right next to me on the comfy, queen size bed. It was a perfect moment. Josiah nursed quickly and very well. Lydia was in awe of her little brother. I felt so much love for this little stranger. The deepest kind of love; the most unexpected kind of love. Love at first sight.
I got a shot in my leg of pitocin to aid in the post-birth process. (Lydia was very concerned that I had to get a shot.) Not too long after, my midwife wanted to deliver the placenta. Right after that, she gave me a few stitches since I had a very small tear from Josiah’s hand being right at his face during delivery. She stitched me up while Josiah laid on my chest, Mitch and Lydia laid next to me braiding my hair, my best friend stood by just soaking it all in. It was perfect. Once the midwives and nurses did everything they needed to on their end, we finally had the room to ourselves. The birth center’s protocol was to have us stay for at least 8 hours post birth since I was GBS positive. They monitored both him and me during this time, especially since I wasn’t able to get the antibiotics in time. Everything turned out just fine.
We hung out in the room, Bekah went and got us food, we took advantage of all the amenities of the birth suite that we didn’t get to enjoy during labor since I literally walked in and moments later, delivered. We turned out the lights, played Christmas music, and turned on the star projector they have there for women to use during labor as a point of concentration. It was really cool to sit there in the quiet with the music and under the “green stars”. Lydia loved it. And she definitely played in the birth swing they had hanging from the ceiling. Josiah slept in my arms. Mitch and I would catch one another’s gaze and just smile. It is a wonderful memory engrained in my mind forever. My sister had made it up by this point and we got to enjoy that time with her as well. It truly was magical. It’s so neat how quickly the pain of labor disappears the second baby is born. It is empowering. It’s the wildest ride I’ve ever been on, both my deliveries, and so incredibly worth it.
Once we were given the all clear, we packed up and headed home. We settled into our place with our new addition. Lydia had been such an amazing trooper all day long. She went to bed, so excited but so ready for rest. And just like that, we were a family of four. I healed rather quickly; much quicker than with Lydia. I chalk it up to not having to push during labor. But I’m not sure. My midwife came to the house the next day, which was wonderful. They would call every day for the first week just to check in and then once a week until my 6 week checkup. We transitioned into life with 2 kids rather easily. I didn’t feel too overwhelmed and I was really surprised, but thankful. We went to the Christmas parade about 2 or 3 days after he was born and I was shocked at how well I could get around considering I had just had a baby! We were, and still are, incredibly thankful for such a smooth, albeit quick, labor and delivery and a healthy baby boy. We thank God for blessing us with these sweet babes. We thank Him for the healthy pregnancies and the safe deliveries of both our children. We are grateful.
At my 6 week checkup, I was given the all-clear. And we’ve been cruisin’ along ever since!