The miraculous thing was that I had actually gone into early labor at 23 weeks. I had been in labor & delivery twice during that 23rd week of this, my second pregnancy; I had gotten steroid shots, been on bed rest and the whole shebang. Still yet, there we were at almost 41 weeks and everyone else, although trying to remain quiet, were all trying to figure out how long they were going to have to wait, while I was really trying to buy time. I was afraid.
My first birth had been one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through in my life. I probably should have had a c-section, but because of God’s grace and a doctor who believed in me and worked with me, my first son was born naturally. This would be my first birth in the U.S.A. and honestly, I was battling so much fear, I think I helped keep the baby in that extra week! I had contractions all night for days, but I would listen to praise music and relax and pray and by morning I would get a nap and start the day with my 2 year old and my parents, everyone waiting.
By Monday the 29th, the contractions were hard to ignore. I began having back labor and my Dad practically sat on my back for almost an hour until the pain subsided some and we decided to go see the doctor. Of course, when we arrived at her office, the contractions had stopped. She said, “Anytime now,” and suggested I work with the early labor. In my hormone induced, sleep deprived mind, I kept thinking I wanted a good night’s sleep so I would have energy for labor, especially if it was long labor like my first. I was uncomfortable and grouchy the rest of the day while trying to enjoy each moment that would be our last as a family of 3.
We went to bed early and sure enough, between 8 and 9pm the contractions started up again. My husband passed out after being up all night with contractions the night before. I relaxed until probably 11pm when I couldn’t stand it and decided to get in the shower. I remember having this come to Jesus moment in that shower, realizing I probably wasn’t going to get a good night’s sleep and should let that go. I’d had as restful an afternoon and evening as possible and prayed “okay God, if you want this baby to come today, let’s do this.” I began to work with the contractions for the first time, after trying to hold this baby in for the last 28 weeks or so, and boy did things change quickly.
I got out of the shower so I wouldn’t get too dehydrated and contracted on the ball and tried to rest in the bed too, but before long I was back in the shower and thinking to myself, “The doctor said I am about a 3 and this hurts, I am so getting an epidural, I must be a weeny.” Then I would catch myself and think positively again, “No, I’m going to take this a breath at a time, this is one day, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
About this time, it gets funny, at least to me, cuz my husband wakes up and pokes his head in. “Babe, you ok? I can help you, you shoulda told me you were in the shower, what do you need?” He was wonderful and so cute being so exhausted and having no idea this was my second shower and I’d been contracting now for, I don’t know, 5ish hours. I told him thank you and I would get him if I needed him to try and get some sleep cuz who knows, maybe tonight. I still was in labor denial.
I ran out of hot water and moved to the ball next to our bed, while my husband was asleep. The contractions started getting intense and I tried to lay in the bed and that was a no sir! Back on the ball I was feeling nauseous and awful and I had a pretty good contraction to which I pushed the ball out of the way and threw up in a bowl I’d had there just in case. As I threw up my water broke, which was a new sensation as that is not how it went with my first. My husband hears me hurling and scoots over, still lying down and half asleep and asks, “How can I help?” “Hold my hair please!” I had just washed it and didn’t want it dirty for Tammy’s pictures lol and was NOT going to spend energy washing it again haha. In between hurls I said, “My water just broke.” He goes “What, your water broke, are you sure?” “Yes, I’m sure and I need a towel, it’s everywhere.” “On the floor?” He asked, which I now think is a hilarious question.
We woke my parents up and told them we were headed to the hospital. On the way to the car I grabbed my son’s army bucket just in case I got woozy in the car. We called our Doula and Tammy on the way. It was about 3 in the morning. I remember having a contraction on the phone with Tammy and saying sorry Tammy and handing the phone to Jeremy. She told him that was all she needed to hear and she would be at the hospital shortly. We got to the ER at 3:30ish and went in and got asked the same questions again, “yes, my water broke…yes, I’m sure.” It seemed like a long time (though in reality it was only a few minutes) for someone to come and escort us to labor & delivery. I was very glad I had that army bucket because I needed it.
Once we were in our room, they hooked me up to everything and checked me, I was at a 4. My nurse Jesse was awesome and so sweet! Anywho, Jeremy, Tammy, our Doula Holly and I just hung out and laughed in between contractions. It was quiet and peaceful and reminded me of a little birth party all our own. I loved it.
By about 7am, I moved to a 6 and they let me in the tub. Every time I got sick they wanted to check me, so after an episode, I had to get out of the tub, but we were at an 8. That is when things changed. The labor became like lightning pain in my back and I could not go through a contraction without someone doing the counter pressure on my hips. Joshua’s head was turned wrong and sunny side up, not to mention he was significantly bigger than my first baby, so we hit a standstill in progression for about 4 hrs. It was rough. I think at one point, as my husband was occupied and Holly was across the room, a contraction hit and I cried for Tammy to please help me and she hurried to help me by taking a turn at counter pressure, camera and all.
Finally, sweet Jesse came in and said, “If I let you get back in the tub, you have to promise to tell me if you think you need to push.” (They do not allow tub births.) I promised lol. When I got into that tub, I felt so much relief. I was able to relax and work my hips with the contractions. After about twenty minutes, I started to give myself my prepared pep talk. It was about that time that everyone slowly backed out of that room…I think they thought I lost it haha. I was saying, “This baby is coming out, I’m gonna get to meet him, no one can do this but me, I have to find a way, it’s just one day and saying all my scriptures that I clung to through the pain. Also, about that time, at the end of a contraction, I felt my body push and told Jeremy it was time to get out.
Before my first son was born, I heard someone describe their pushing as just relaxing and letting their body do it, kind of like a big poop. If you strain, you get hemorrhoids, if you relax it works better. That gross bit of information made sense to me, so I’ve never really pushed just tried to relax and hang on as my body did the work. I got to the bed pretty quickly as another contraction hit, I was on all fours and the doctor walked in, ready to break my remaining water sack, but as she came in it broke on its own praise God! About 3 more contractions and Joshua Gabriel was out. Quite the healthy boy at 9 lbs and 22 inches long, 2:10pm Tuesday afternoon.
Tammy was amazing. She has such patience and kindness and our pictures are wonderful! She captured these beautiful moments of this amazing time in our lives and I am blessed and thankful!