My due date, August 1st, came and went. I packed bags for the girls on Wednesday night, July 31st so that we would be ready to go. We have a babysitter who usually comes on Thursday night, but since it was my due date, I told her I'll call her if we needed her. I called her that afternoon! Stephen and I walked the Walnut Street bridge, hoping to start labor.
Friday I woke up, again hoping labor would start any time. We went through a normal- and by normal, I mean challenging- morning, and after sluggishly getting the girls their breakfast, I started sobbing. Baby, please come out! I can't do this! I felt wrapped up in worry, but countered my fears with notes of faith. Maybe they got the due date wrong, I wondered.... but I'm measuring 40 cm and at 20 weeks ultrasound, the baby was measuring to be due August 1st! God will bring him in his perfect time... I prayed over and over again for peace. And trust.
We went to run errands- a pretty normal, albeit somewhat busy Friday. Then while the girls were playing at the play area in the Mall, I started having some pain. Painful contractions, I thought. My mind whirred into action.... what needs to be done, where the girls need to go, what I need to pack, etc. We got home and I spun into action. And then it stopped. My Mom had called that morning to offer to take the girls to the playground. We ended up meeting her there in the afternoon and she took the girls home to have popsicles while I did some walking. We came home and had a normal Friday night.
Saturday, the same story. I woke up hoping I could induce labor by staying on my feet. I did laundry, put it away, cleaned up, and vacuumed. Still, no signs of labor. Headaches seem to be the only indicator of pre-labor symptoms. I listened to my Labor Playlist and relaxed. I lit candles. I paced. I fiddled and did more laundry. That night I prayed over the Daily Readings and asked Stephen to pray for me- for protection, and that I would go into labor! Whenever concerned friends would call or text, I would ask them to pray that I would go into labor.
Sunday was a very restful day. I was able to sleep in until about 9am, while Stephen watched the girls. My parents took the girls to church with them at the Little Brown Church. I did some light chores and Stephen and I went to the 11:30 Mass as usual. I walked on the way there, again, trying to bring on labor. We then met my parents and brother and the girls for lunch.
We came home and watched 101 Dalmatians as a family, and rested. I took a nap, then we headed out to pick up some dinner. It was nice to stop cleaning so frantically, and just rest. At about 6pm, after dinner, I started having some painful contractions. I was in denial that it was actual labor, because I had been having pre-labor symptoms all
At 9pm we called my parents. My contractions were coming about every 10 minutes, but I had just had two that were 7 minutes apart. Some were bad and others were very mild. I wasn't sure what to do- should they wait until the contractions were closer together? Both of my parents and I ended up agreeing that I shouldn't wait- after all, that's what we did last time when Madeleine was born.... contractions had come every 7 minutes, every 10, every 5, every 10.....and then we told the Midwife that, and she didn't make it to our house in time!
We checked into the hospital at 10pm. My contractions had slowed down, but they checked me and I was 4-5 cm dilated. I answered a litany of questions from a nurse in triage, another series from the OB doctor whom I had never met, and another set of questions from another nurse. They checked me into a nice, big Labor and Delivery and started me on an IV and monitor, for the baby and for me. I had to lay down for about an hour of monitoring.
I had a birth plan of sorts written up, recommended by the doula we met with prior to his birth. She recommended writing your three top things that are most important to you, at the top, and then anything else desired below that. This proved invaluable, and all of the people on staff when we checked in were respectful of my desire for "freedom of movement," and my disinterest in having my water broken, or other serious interventions that felt unnatural. The doctor on call was a young guy whose wife had recently had a natural birth herself! (Praise God!)
Thankfully labor progressed naturally and rather quickly. By midnight, they had taken me off the regular monitoring and were letting me and Stephen walk the halls. I only had two big contractions out in the hallway, but boy, when we came back and sat down in bed, they picked up. We could watch them on the screen and around 1:30am, I had twelve to fifteen contractions back to back- within 3 minutes of each other. It was interesting being able to watch them rise and fall, since last time we were at home without all the technology! You could see some were short and sharp, and some were long and intense. Stephen could watch them along with me, which I liked.
Stephen was amazing. He kept encouraging me and saying (sincerely) "You are so close. Keep going. The contractions are helping him to come. He'll be here soon." The nurses were good, and did not interrupt us much. They brought ice chips and asked how things were going occasionally. The room felt very sacred. It was dim and quiet.
The second time they took me off the monitor, I could tell that any little bit of movement would bring on a strong, painful contraction. I had probably just started transition at that point. I asked for a birthing ball, and a bit later a nurse brought one in. That was just what I needed to cope with the pain. I sat on it for a few contractions and they offered me a popsicle and I said YES to that! Eating the orange popsicle around 2am was the last thing I did before I pushed that boy out into the world! I think it helped my sanity, and my blood sugar!
We walked to the bathroom, then walked out to the sink in my room. I stood with Stephen, leaning against him for two painful contractions, then I started panting. I could tell my body was building up to something! I gained a bunch of oxygen from panting and used it all to let out a huge scream and push with all my might! I could feel the head about to crown. Stephen paged the nurse and said, "Um, I think my wife needs to get CHECKED!" :) They heard my scream. Several nurses and two doctors came rushing in - right in time for the birth.
I let out two more huge screams and gave two pushes- the first one to get the head out, and the second one to get the body out! A nurse caught the baby, while I leaned on Stephen for support. We were standing right at the foot of the bed. My bag of waters had stayed in tact until he was born.
I laid down, and kept thinking, "Oh wow, that hurt. That really, really hurt." I think I mumbled, "He was big."Stephen cut the cord. I laid down on the bed, dreading delivering the placenta. The doctors and nurses did a quick clean-up and laid him on my chest for skin-to-skin time. I could tell he was going to be a very sweet baby. I delivered the placenta and was informed I didn't need any stitches and hadn't torn at all. I was shocked! After some time holding him they weighed him- 7 lbs 7 oz. Again, I was shocked. I was not surprised by how quickly he came once labor started progressing and picking up. It was much like Madeleine's birth in that way. I could tell my body was ready to push and so I pushed!
All in all, I think it was the perfect birth. It was slow and steady, but all in all only about 8 hours of labor. The thing I am most surprised by was how ready I was so far in advance this time. I really had to lean on God in faith to wait for him to come. (Although the castor oil is something I would recommend to other moms out there who are overdue and ready!) I was also imagining him coming during the day, so a 2:30AM birth wasn't on my radar! Thankfully, I was not very tired during labor. I felt relaxed.
Compared to the home birth, being in the hospital was a relaxing experience in so many ways. We enjoyed the support, the time away from home, the meals, and the time to just spend time with baby before bringing him home. I'm very thankful for how God orchestrated and perfectly timed Anders Eliot's arrival. We are so proud and so happy!
Anders means Strong and Brave.
Eliot means The Lord is my God.
Welcome to the world, baby boy!!!! :)