My son is now seven weeks old. I can’t believe how fast the time is going by. I’ve been working on his birth story the last few weeks, and today I can finally share it with you.
Sunday, March 31, the night before he arrived, I was sitting on the couch watching TV. Charles was at work, so I texted him a few photos of my belly—which was moving in ways it never had before. We texted back and forth about how it looked like the baby was really leaning to one side. At 9 p.m., he texted me:
“What do you think that is?”
I replied, “I’m not sure. Maybe a contraction of my uterus? It’s been happening all night.”
I finished this blog post a little after that and then texted Charles again: “Is this early labor?”
We weren’t sure. I wasn’t in any pain, so I didn’t know what to think. I ended up going to bed and slept for about an hour. When I woke up around midnight, I felt serious cramping, and it was painful. The best way I can describe it was like strong period cramps—not unbearable, but certainly noticeable. I sent Charles another message, telling him I thought this was it. Like we learned in our birthing class, he encouraged me to sleep. But I couldn’t. I stayed in bed, but the pain kept me up. I thought about eating a snack for energy, except I had no appetite and actually felt a bit sick.
Charles told me to call him the second I felt sure this was labor and I wanted him to come home. I held out because I still wasn’t convinced I was in labor yet, and I didn’t want him to drive home for a false alarm.
Time passed by quickly. Then around 3 a.m., I called Charles.
“You need to come home now. This is the real deal.”
He raced home and helped me get comfortable. He took a shower and ate, and he made sure our hospital bags were truly ready to go. I was still lying in bed, but even doing that hurt. Charles began timing my contractions in his notebook.
Around this time, Charles suggested we sit on the couch together and watch The Office. (Another recommendation from our birth class for how husbands can help.)
Well, I couldn’t sit on the couch. I got down on all fours in front of the TV and took deep breaths, as the contractions came like waves. We barely made it through the familiar opening credits as I moaned loudly on the flour—too loud to hear Michael Scott say anything. Charles continued timing my contractions, and we kept checking the guide from our hospital. I still hadn’t hit the point at which they advised I go in.
I decided to get in the shower. The hot water was about the only thing that felt good during this time. Charles continued monitoring my contractions, but I often had to catch my breath and didn’t want to talk to tell him when I was having one. I kept snapping at him—how could he expect me to be chatty at a time like this? Just look at me and figure out when the contractions come!
After the hot water ran out, I got out of the shower. Again, I had to get down on all fours, this time on the bath mat. Charles massaged my back. He then called and left a message for the hospital’s nurse on call.
Time went by in a blur.
Around 7 a.m., I went to the bathroom and saw a gush of blood. Immediately Charles said it’s time to go to the hospital. We got in our car, and thank the Lord, the hospital is only a five-minute drive from where we live. We dealt with a little bit of rush-hour traffic and then struggled to find parking. Charles had the hospital map printed out, along with directions of where to go. He was in the zone, following signs and making sure he took me exactly where we needed to be. But of course, I was giving him a hard time. Sitting in this car makes the contractions feel worse. Just park already! (Sorry, dear.)
Charles told me that right as he parked, I gripped the seat and said, “Dear, Jesus.”
As you can tell, I was a lot of fun during this time.
We quickly walked into the hospital and rode the elevator to triage, stopping along the way as I had contractions and needed to catch my breath. I’m pretty sure a man rode in the elevator along with us. What a sight for him!
Around 7:30 a.m., I checked in at triage, and a nurse immediately brought me into a room to examine me. We told her how the night had progressed, and then she told me I was dilated to 6 centimeters.
I was in full active labor and almost to the transition stage. I had figured I’d be in the hospital with an epidural way before this point. In fact, during pregnancy I feared that I would get to the hospital in pain, and the nurses would tell me to go home until I was further along.
This is my first baby; I simply had no idea what the pain level would really feel like. I was following along with the guide we received at our birthing class. While I might have gone to the hospital earlier had I known, I am super thankful my birth story turned out this way.
My doctor came into the room—a total God thing she was at the hospital and available!—and said, “I’m sticking around until this baby comes. You’re going to deliver your son today!”
I felt so excited and ready to go. Charles, a nurse, and I walked down the hall, again stopping with each contraction, and I went into a room where a team of anesthesiologists promptly met me.
The lead doctor thoroughly explained all of my pain management options to me. I told her I’d like an epidural, so I signed the paperwork and was hooked up to an IV. I remember having to sit up straight on the edge of the bed, staying as still as I could, as my nurse helped steady me and the team of, I think, four administered the epidural. I never saw what they did because it all happened quickly and in my back out of sight. I found the whole procedure to be very smooth and fast.
Afterward, the anesthesiologist checked my legs and my numbness, as well as my pain level. I had an additional button for pain medicine that would come through my IV and that I could administer myself up to every 10 minutes.
The relief of the epidural was almost instant. And let me tell you: I felt like a new woman. I was relaxed, at ease, and even more excited. I was able to hold a conversation again, and despite only sleeping 1 hour that night, I was energized.
My doctor came in to see me around 8 a.m. (yes, this all happened very fast!), and she told me I was dilated to 8 centimeters. The transition phase. Labor was progressing quickly, and now we’d just wait until the time came to push.
Charles and I talked, and we both tried to rest. He was running on zero sleep whatsoever, poor guy. At this point, we took out the Scripture cards that I had packed and read through them. I focused especially on this one:
Charles ate a few of the snacks we brought, while I enjoyed the provided apple juice, popsicles, and plenty of ice water. That’s all I was allowed to eat, and I figured doing so would help me gain some energy, especially because I hadn’t eaten anything in about 12 hours.
Unfortunately, I think the popsicles and my chugging water came back to get me. Over the next two hours or so, I ended up vomiting three times—once quite violently where Charles had to hold onto me. It was uncomfortable and frustrating, but thankfully each incident started and ended very quickly. If you know me, you know I’ve had an irrational fear of throwing up for a few years now. I get overly nervous when I hear anyone I know has a stomach bug. During pregnancy, I would cry when I felt like throwing up and also when I did, and I’d been extremely fearful of labor for the past few months simply because of the potential I’d vomit.
God really showed up for me during labor, and He gave me the strength to push through the vomiting. My nurse and doctor were not thrown off by what happened. They actually told me my throwing up helped move the baby farther down, and it was my body’s way of getting everything out of me so it could focus solely on delivery. Since this has happened I feel much more relaxed about throwing up now. While I don’t like it, I wouldn’t say it’s an irrational fear anymore. I could write a whole post on this and how it’s rooted in my desire for control, but I’ll save that for another day. If this sounds like you, though, please reach out to me! I know at least six women who share (or used to share) this same fear.
Between the vomiting and a heavy dose of acid reflux, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable. Both of those symptoms bothered me more than any pain. My nurse put medicine in my IV to help treat both, and after that, I felt significantly better.
At 1 p.m., it was time to push. Yay! Let’s do this, I thought.
I asked my doctor how long the pushing phase usually lasts. She said it could take 30 minutes or 3 hours, but she doubted I’d push for too long given how quickly everything else had progressed.
I did, in fact, push for 3 hours. And it was my favorite part of delivery. I wasn’t in pain; the best way I can describe pushing was that I felt pressure. I knew our son would be arriving any minute, and I was beyond ready to meet him. The more I pushed, the sooner labor would be over, and Charles would be in my arms.
Some time during those three hours, more nurses came into the room, which made us worry something was wrong. Everything was okay, though, and I just kept focusing on what my doctor and nurse told me to do. They gave me an oxygen mask to wear between contractions, and that really helped me catch my breath and regain my strength for each push. I felt like I was at the end of a marathon, pushing toward a personal record. This was the moment!
At 3:57 p.m., my doctor told me to stop pushing, and suddenly our baby was here! She immediately brought Charles up to me and put him on my chest, where he was quickly cleaned off and began to nurse. I’d never felt emotion like that before. I cried uncontrollably—the most natural happy tears—as my husband and I snuggled this precious little one. After nine long months, here he was in our arms. We spent the next hour just the three of us in that room. Our golden hour to bond without any interruption. It was the greatest moment of my life.
The love we feel for our son is unlike anything else. I really can’t describe it. Becoming parents has been the greatest joy of our lives. Motherhood is overwhelming, exhausting, and hard. Yet even with sleep deprivation and raging hormones, I am so full of love and joy. I’m learning sacrifice and selflessness; I now see a small snippet of the way the Father loves us.
There was a time where I didn’t know if I’d become a mother. I didn’t know if I’d get married, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to conceive given my health history. Through this pregnancy and now motherhood, The Lord has shown me that when it seems there is no way, He makes a way. He knows what is best, and He is always working for our good and His glory. He loves us unconditionally, and He delights to give us the kingdom.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Father.