We recently celebrated our daughter’s birthday, and I thought maybe you all would enjoy reading the story of her birth…this was written almost 2 years ago….just before the birth of our second:
Ever since my daughter was born, I’ve wanted to write down her birth story, both for myself and for her to read someday. Now that “little brother” will be making his appearance any time, I figured I really should get her story written before having another birth to get it mixed up with. So here goes….
Our baby was due June 26, which meant that I really wasn’t expecting to have a baby until the end of June, or maybe even the beginning of July. After seeing many first-time mama’s get so disappointed over not hitting their “due date”, and proceeding to go at least a week overdue, I was determined that I wouldn’t set such expectations. This was one area where I really didn’t have an expectation…the week before she came, I was busily painting several rooms in our house (“nesting instinct” for sure!), and then Joel’s family hosted a surprise baby shower for us on June 18. While the shower really was a surprise, he had talked with me about dates for something, and I assured him that I would still be doing quite fine by Father’s Day weekend, with probably another couple of weeks to go yet. Shows you how much I knew, after all! During the last 6-7 weeks of my pregnancy, I had continued to get very swollen, and my blood pressure was creeping higher, so I wonder in retrospect if my body just realized that it was time to get the baby out.
I still vividly remember getting up Sunday morning and noticing some bloody show, and signs that my water had possibly broken. I wasn’t totally sure (and wouldn’t you know, that was the one weekend that another midwife was using my kit, so I didn’t even have the test strips to check it out!), but I started crying as I told Joel about it, which made me wonder if maybe I really was going to start labor soon. Since my mother had several labors where she experienced prolonged rupture of membranes, once again I didn’t want to count on anything happening very quickly. I figured it could be a good while yet before we saw any “action”, so I still got ready for church…I didn’t really want anyone asking any questions, and since our home is right off the road, I knew that EVERYONE would know that there was the possibility of something going on if I wasn’t at church and yet our vehicle was in the drive. During the service I was a bit uncomfortable, experiencing some cramps and things, but still nothing regular. After church I had a humorous conversation with two moms about how I shouldn’t get my hopes up in going anytime soon…and inwardly I was smiling as I figured I probably only had days or hours left, and not weeks!
With it being Father’s Day, we had planned to eat lunch with his family down the road (they only live a mile from us, so it wasn’t far). Joel wondered if I still wanted to go, and once again I wanted to show up just to keep people from knowing what was going on. I still felt pretty good, though I could tell that the cramps were getting stronger, and I was beginning to lose a bit more fluid. Everything went fine until right at the end of lunch, when all of a sudden I just wanted to be home…and I was afraid that the pad I was wearing might not be catching all of the fluid! Joel caught the message that I wanted to go, so he made some remark about the pregnant mama needing a nap, and whisked me out…with my swollen feet and hands, no one objected to my not helping with dishes, or wondered anything about us leaving so quickly!
We came home and laid down, and right around 3 or 3:30pm, I experienced my first REAL contraction. Not one of those low-crampy kind of aches, but the actual thing. It woke me right up, and after that my adrenaline kept me from sleeping anymore. However, things still picked up slowly, with the contractions only coming every 10-15 minutes or so, and were fairly easy to relax through. At this point, we called our folks to let them know that it looked like I really was in labor, which of course made them all excited. I still was figuring on hours and hours yet to go, so I took care of some things around the house, and Joel had a friend over for an early supper (they sat out on the porch to talk). At about 6:30, the contractions got more intense, and started coming more frequently. Joel thought it would be a good idea to call the midwives and let them know, especially since one was coming up from Lancaster and had a two hour trip ahead of her. I told him that I was fine with letting them know what was going on, but that I probably had another 24 hours at least to go, so there wasn’t any hurry. He didn’t agree with me, which was a good thing!
By 8:00, we went ahead and had Rose come over, as Joel thought I should have someone here. He also called Debby and told her that he thought she should go ahead and come…and meanwhile the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, lasting around a minute. I changed into more comfortable clothing, and tried to get comfortable, though I wasn’t finding it easy. I finally got in the shower, which gave some relief. Rose wondered if I wanted to be checked, but I didn’t-I was afraid at this point that I was probably only at 2-3cm, and wasn’t sure I could handle that news with how intense the contractions were. Joel started filling up the tub, as I always thought that I would like to labor in water…though our tub faucet wasn’t working well, and it took an hour to fill up! By 9:55, Rose suggested that she check me, and Joel encouraged me to…and I was a stretchy 6-7. That was encouraging, though the contractions by now were coming so close and so hard that I was finding it difficult to stay on top of them. The most comfortable thing I could do was sit on the birth ball, lean my head on the bed, and squeeze onto Joel’s hand…and there was NO way I could think about making the effort to get into the tub at this point!
That next hour was intense, with the contractions coming every 2-4 minutes, and lasting a good long time, and I was beginning to wonder how I could ever get through a whole night of this. I still remember thinking “they always say that when you think you can’t do it anymore, you’re almost through”, but then dismissing the thought as wishful thinking. By this time, we were beginning to wonder where Debby was…Rose called her, and found out that she also figured she had a good amount of time to get there with this being my first baby and all, and she hadn’t left right away. I couldn’t blame her, as I would have done the exact same thing! Rose told her she should hurry…it was 10:40pm by that time, and I was close to 9cm. That surprised all of us! Just before 11:00, I started feeling pushy, and Rose said I was complete. Right about that time Debby walked in, so I felt like I could relax to begin pushing.
By this time I moved to the bed in a semi-sitting position, as it seemed to be the most comfortable for pushing. The pushing part was not at all what I was expecting…I guess I had heard enough moms say that they enjoyed that part of it as it felt like they were doing something, but I felt like I wasn’t making any progress, and there was a constant sharp pain near my pubic bone. It took only 35 minutes of pushing, and she was born with a nuchal hand…which I think attributed to the pain during pushing AND to the tear coming out!
Having that squalling little baby put on my chest was amazing…I kept looking down at her and thinking, “she’s mine to keep!”. Although we hadn’t had a sonogram during the pregnancy, Joel and I both felt like the baby was going to be a girl, so it almost felt like it was no surprise to see our little daughter. She pinked up and cried right away-just about as perfect as it can get. I was in for another surprise, though…I felt so sore that I could hardly move afterwards! The placenta came about 10 minutes after her birth, and I was so relieved to have everything all over, and thankful for how well everything had gone. Postpartum continued without incident, though it almost made me laugh to think of how difficult it was to get out of bed just to go to the bathroom, and how incredibly sore and tender everything was-and this was a small baby! I decided then that I did not believe the nonsense that is talked about in regards to a mom not needing pain relief if she is sutured right after birth, as she is still numb and on a high from the birth…that certainly was not the case!
Rose was ready to go within two hours after the birth, and since Debby had been up the night before at a birth, she stayed the rest of the night to catch some sleep before heading back. We were so grateful for how the Lord took care of every detail, and gave us a wonderful first birth experience, and a beautiful, precious daughter!