This post was written on Tuesday, June 4:
A week ago, I was getting ready to take Cohen and myself to our last midwife appointment.
I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant and to be honest, I was completely shocked that my due date had come and gone with no baby to show for it.
I made jokes with the nurse about how we didn't want to see each other in the office that day and how I pretty much woke up hating the world every morning I woke up and was not in labor.
I was a little disheartened when my midwife, Jonne, announced I was only 1 centimeter dilated and showing no exciting progress. I decided to let her strip my membranes right there in hopes that the procedure would jump start things a bit.
And then we scheduled the induction.
I was induced with Cohen, and I had a very negative birth experience. Labor and delivery with him were rough on my body and scary to me, and I blame most of that on the fact that my body just wasn't ready yet. I had been adamant from the first meeting with Jonne that I wanted to do everything possible to avoid induction this time around. We agreed that the best thing, barring medical necessity, was for me to go into labor on my own.
But as I approached 41 weeks of pregnancy, the dangers of waiting around outweighed the benefits of avoiding an induction. So I was scheduled to be admitted to labor and delivery at 5AM on Thursday, 5/30.
Cohen and I left the office and ran some last minute errands. At the grocery store, I bought the ingredients I'd need to make one last, fancy dinner for just the 3 of us (Travis was going to take us to dinner on Wednesday night). We got home, and I got the kitchen and refrigerator stocked and ready for our return from the hospital. I made dinner. I played with Cohen.
And around 6:30 PM, I felt a contraction that was strong enough to make me time it. 3 minutes later, I felt another one. This went on for an hour. By 7:30, Travis and I had our bags packed. At 8, we put Cohen down for bed and Travis's parents arrived to watch Cohen overnight. At 8:30, I received the go-ahead from Jonne to go to triage so they could see if I really was in labor. She told me she wouldn't admit me unless I was 4 centimeters dilated or my water broke.
We arrived at the hospital at 9, but I refused to go inside until I walked around a bit to get the contractions to pick back up. I was certain the nurse inside would tell me I hadn't progressed at all and would send me back home. I was hooked up to the monitors at 10, and to my disgrace, I did not have a single contraction the entire hour I was monitored. I prepared myself to be sent home. At 11, the triage nurse checked me, and I was dilated to 3 centimeters. She told me to walk the halls for an hour and then return to see if that would progress things.
Travis and I walked the halls of the Maternal/Infant unit for an hour, passing by the nursery to check out the new babies and talking about our own. 20 minutes into our walk, I began having strong contractions, and they began to come closer and closer together. At midnight, I was checked again, and I was 3.5 centimeters dilated, but I was progressing enough for Jonne to decide to admit me to Labor and Delivery. It was baby time!
By 1AM, I was checked in and hooked up to IVs. Contractions were strong and regular, and we just knew we'd have a baby by mid-morning. At 3AM, contractions had slowed down, so I got up to walk another hour. Contractions started again immediately, and by 7AM, I was terrified my water would break or I'd be too far dilated to receive an epidural, so I requested it. I got the epidural and was checked (I was dilated to 5) and put on pitocin by 8AM. Now that I had the epidural, I was able to sleep a little bit, and I don't remember much from there. I know I sent my mom and sister to get lunch. Cohen stopped by, and I tried to put on my most up-beat face for him.
Around 2PM, I was dilated to 7-8 centimeters, and the contractions were strong and right on top of each other. Jonne broke my water, and I began to feel tons and tons of pressure in my lower abdomen with each contraction. Soon after, the pressure began to move to my backside, and I knew we were getting close.
I had read about the practice of "laboring down" which means the mom is given the freedom to push whenever she felt the urge, not right when she reached 10 centimeters. The theory is by not pushing, the body is allowed to push the baby down the birth canal on its own, saving the mom hours of unnecessary pushing. I wanted that, but I had never asked Jonne about it. Turns out, that was her plan all along.
When I started feeling pressure in my backside, my nurse called Jonne and told me she was on her way. Many painful contractions later, Jonne was still not in my room. I began to panic that she wouldn't make it in time for me to start pushing (this is what happened the last time around), and I began to cry. That turned into hysterics. Immediately after I began sobbing, Jonne and all the nurses came into the room, ready for business. I haven't been told this, but I think they were waiting for me to get to this panic-y spot.
I pushed through one contraction, and baby's head was visible. Jonne asked me how I wanted to go about pushing, and I said I wanted minimal tearing. She coached me through 2 more contractions (I actually breathed through the contractions and pushed on my own), and baby Reid was in my arms at 4:14PM.
At first I sobbed, and then I began laughing. I looked up at Travis and told him I could do that again, no problem. Reid was perfect and much smaller than I had anticipated for a past-due baby. He had brown hair and little blisters all over his wrists -- the nurses said they were "suck marks" from where he had been sucking on his arms while in my belly. He immediately began nursing and pretty much nursed for 2 hours non-stop.
Once everything was cleaned up, family was invited in the room, and that's when Cohen got to meet his little brother. It was love at first sight. Cohen knew exactly who that baby was, and he wanted to hold him and rub his head. Seeing my boys together for the first time was a feeling I'll never forget. 6 days later, they continue to be sweet brothers.
I am so very blessed. I was terrified going into this delivery: terrified things would go the way they did last time, terrified something unexpected would go wrong, terrified either Reid or I wouldn't come out on the other side healthy. I prayed through my entire labor; I meditated on the Lord's goodness and reminded myself all the ways He had given me the desires of my heart. I praised Him for whatever outcome would occur. And in the end, I got to experience an easy and, dare I say, fun delivery. I got to bring home a beautiful new son. I got to complete my family.