A few weeks ago, I shared Lydia’s birth story on this blog. But I wanted to share it with you guys, too, since I have had a few requests for it.
Okay, this is going to be a long one. I apologize for those who like a short and quick story. It’s just very difficult summing up a natural labor/delivery experience!
So I’m breaking the story into a few different parts.
Part One: here we go…
It all started on a hot August evening. My hardworking husband had just walked in the door after a long day at work. Before he took his muddy boots off, before he stopped for a glass of cold water, and before he headed to take a shower and wash the day away, he walked over to me. I was standing in the kitchen preparing to prepare dinner in an old t-shirt and jeans with holes in the knees. He took me in his strong (and sweaty!) arms, planted a tender kiss on my forehead and I heard him say, “We are ready. I know that it’s time. I want to have a baby.”
And we cried. Together in the kitchen, tears of excitement and joy flowed. With holes in our jeans and a hard-day’s work covering our clothes, in what could have been considered a not-so-ideal or romantic moment, I fell more in love with my husband than the moment before. We were going to start a family.
Fast forward 3 weeks and 2 short, heart-breaking words later; not pregnant.
This began what seemed like an eternity of confusion and pain as we tried for another 5 months to get pregnant. It brought my husband and I closer together as we relied on God’s strength to get us through a tough time. Looking back now, we know that realistically, trying to conceive for 6 months isn’t an outrageous amount of time. Though in those moments it felt like forever. Questions would run through my mind: “Is something wrong with me?” “Am I infertile?” “Will we ever be able to have biological children?” “Why is everyone else getting pregnant but me?”
And finally, on the lovely morning of February 3, 2011 at 5:30 am, I woke my husband from his deep slumber in tears because I saw this:
I had a great pregnancy. No complaints, really. Although the morning sickness was a challenge. But it was all so completely worth it in my opinion!
Now onto the labor and natural birth story!
The beginning of my labor started around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, October 12, 2011. I was 8 days overdue.
I woke up with an upset stomach. At that point, I didn’t really think anything different was happening. In general, near the end of pregnancy your stomach can feel funny and it’s completely normal. So I went to the bathroom, got back in bed and was able to fall back asleep until 5 a.m.
It was then that I began feeling active labor contractions. I was pretty confident they were the real thing at this point because everything just felt different. If I had to describe the feeling I would say it felt like heavy menstrual cramps at this point. I laid there for a bit and calmly breathed through each contraction. In between, I would look over at my sweet, sleeping husband. I wanted him to rest as much as possible. He still didn’t know that I was in the beginning stages of labor yet.
I finally decided to wake Mitch up about 30 minutes later to tell him that I suspected active labor and that we might want to start timing the contractions. They were starting to come on a little more strongly and more frequently and I really needed my husband’s support! He was awake almost immediately! We pulled up contractionmaster.com (a great website for timing those consistent contractions!) and Mitch began timing. I labored in bed for the next 2 hours, breathing deeply through each contraction just like Mitch and I had practiced months prior. He would coach me through each one, rubbing my head and telling me how great I was doing. The contractions were now anywhere between 10-20 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds. We continued like this from 5:00 a.m. until 7:30 a.m.
Around 7:30 a.m. we decided to call our midwife, Jackie, and let her know what was going on. She told us she was heading to the birth center shortly. She knew we wanted to labor at home as long as possible so we decided that we would head to the birth center at 11:00 a.m., which was the time for our already-scheduled 41 week appointment to have my membranes stripped to help along the labor process since I was 1 week overdue. (Thank goodness that never had to happen!)
She suggested, in the meantime, that I take a nice warm bath to help with the contractions. So that’s what I did. Mitch drew me a wonderful bath, helped me in, and sat next to the tub with the computer to continue timing those contractions! One of the greatest things about laboring in the water was when Mitch would pour water over my belly during a contraction. It felt as good as good can feel when you’re in the middle of a contraction!
My husband was so great! Not only did he pour water over my belly, but he made sure the water stayed warm, he played a few episodes of “Whose Line is it Anyway” on the laptop for comedic relief in between contractions, called family to let them know we were for sure in labor and sent texts out to the friends on our “Labor” group list, vacuumed the rug in the living room, picked up what little clutter was in the living room (he wanted me to be able to come home to a clean house and did such a great job making sure that happened!), recorded a few videos documenting what was happening for our Lydia to see in the future, and packed the car with all our bags…all the while coming back in the bathroom to be there with me through each contraction as I hummed through them. Making a humming noise seemed to help me get through these contractions. Our sweet cocker spaniel, Duke, also came in the bathroom and laid down right beside the tub.
The look on his face was full of worry. He knew something was going on. It was strangely comforting for me to know that my dog was picking up on the fact that I was experiencing something uncomfortable and that he was concerned. He didn’t leave the side of the tub the entire time.
I stayed in the tub for most of my labor at home because it was the most comfortable since I was experiencing a good bit of back labor. At one point I got out of the tub to try laboring in the bed or on the birthing ball but I quickly decided those methods weren’t working for me! I could not get comfortable at all so I got back in the tub. My labor in the tub was from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
At 10:30 a.m., Mitch told me it was time to get ready to leave for the birthing center. He helped me out of the tub, got me dressed, and held me as I would lean on him every time I had a contraction, which were now at this point anywhere between 3-5 minutes apart lasting almost 45 seconds to a minute long.
It took me a little longer to get out the door because I was having contractions so quickly. At one point, I remember making my way to the garage but having to stop to lean on the kitchen counter through a contraction and I look up and see a man standing at our front door. I told Mitch, “Uh, there’s some man at the front door”…
Go here for part two!