I was watching my 17 month old girl play on the jungle gym while talking to my friend, Chris.
“So you can keep Areli for me while I am in the hospital?” I asked.
“Sure, we are looking forward to it. We go to Mexico next week, but we will be back before your due date. You don’t think you will go early, do you?” Chris asked.
“Oh, no,” I said. “My midwife says she thinks I will go to my due date or maybe after. I think so too.”
When I found out that I was pregnant for the second time, I had returned to the same OBGYN. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he now employed a midwife who he also happened to be married to. They worked well together, even though she seemed much more naturally minded.
I was excited to have another baby, and I felt peaceful about waiting a few more weeks before I met the precious bundle and learned who was kicking in my belly.
Later that week, I began having Braxton Hicks contractions in the afternoon. It couldn’t be labor yet, but that got me thinking. I hadn’t even packed my bag for the hospital yet! I waddled around the house to gather all the necessary supplies, up the stairs and down the stairs and then up the stairs again. Every twenty minutes I was having a contraction. I called my midwife to let her know. She told me that it probably wasn’t labor and that I should sit down, prop my feet up and drink a big glass of water. As I was doing that, my husband, Chris, returned home from working at the Olive Garden. We sat on the futon together as I gulped down water, and my contractions actually started coming faster! We had to come up with a plan B babysitter for Areli since our friends were still in Mexico!
In a few short hours my midwife met us at the hospital and checked my progress.
“You are 5 cm already! Looks like you ARE going to have a baby today, two weeks early!” she announced.
I was overjoyed! I looked at the clock and it said 7:30pm.
I prayed, “Please Lord, let me have this baby before midnight!”
The contractions were beginning to feel more intense, so Chris helped me get set up in the shower stall with a birthing ball and a hand-held shower head. I sat and pelvic tilted slowly on the ball. I held the warm water right on my gigantic belly. The intensity of the pain almost seemed to melt away and run down the shower drain. I was so comfortable and so happy that Chris left the bathroom to continue watching the football game that he had started at home. I was glad he could keep busy doing something he enjoyed. Chris and men in general are usually a bit impatient. I firmly believe that a woman midwife will be a much better support at a birth than a man doctor. I know that there are some amazing exceptions to that rule, but… men like to control and protect. They like to take action and be proactive. Labor is all about waiting, trusting, and letting your body and your baby do what they were created to do.
After an hour or so, Chris popped his head into the bathroom and asked how I was doing.
“Good,” I responded rather sleepily. I was so relaxed! “How is the game?”
“It’s a good game, but I can’t believe you are asking me about football while you are in labor!”
Probably another hour went by and Chris was back.
“The midwife wants to check you.”
“OK, after the next contraction, I’ll come out. I am just so comfortable here.”
I wanted to stay there forever, but I dried off and made my way to the hospital bed. The midwife checked me and I was at 10 cm! All of us were a bit shocked! I had totally missed the fact that I was in transition because I was so incredibly happy in the shower!
I gave one good push. Intensity!
“Jesus, help me! Jesus Help me!” I called out.
I gave one more push and HE was born, our little Nobleman and Victory of the People, Cole Patric!
I looked at the clock and it was 10:35pm. God sure answered my prayer with time to spare. I was blissful!
My midwife kissed me on the check and said, “That was a beautiful birth. You have babies so easily, you should have a dozen!”
“Well, we think we want at least six.”
Looking back years later, that was one of my easiest birth experiences. My emotional state during each pregnancy has a lot to do with how labor goes. This time I was very peaceful and relaxed. When labor came early, it was a surprise gift I was more than happy to receive. My mind and body were ready to let that oxytocin flow!
Cole was almost two when I was three weeks away from my due date with baby number three. This time we knew he was a boy. I was feeling very uncomfortable, and I thought the baby was sitting very low. Since Cole was two weeks early, I thought that this baby would be early as well. Maybe even three weeks early since he was so low already. I started a bad habit that all extremely pregnant women should avoid. Every morning I woke up thinking that this was THE day! I would think every Braxton Hicks contraction was the beginning of labor and start timing. I would hope and pray for labor to start, RIGHT NOW! Chris would talk to my belly and tell the baby to come out NOW. Every night that I would go to bed still pregnant, I was sad and disappointed. I was becoming more uncomfortable and impatient with each passing day. I didn’t realize it, but my body was becoming rather stressed and tense.
This went on for two weeks until I woke up at 4am with a strong contraction. I couldn’t go back to sleep because they kept coming every 20 minutes.
“This really could be the day!” I thought excitedly. Still, I didn’t want to wake Chris up and cause a fuss for no reason. When he got up to get ready for work, he noticed that I was timing contractions. As soon as he realized what was happening, he called his mom to come get Areli and Cole.
When Chris’ mom arrived, Areli and Cole were ready, but my contractions had completely stopped. I felt awful for having Corrine take a day off of work and drive all the way to our house for a false alarm. Corrine decided to take them home with her anyway. Chris decided to go to work. I was home alone with nothing to do but read and wish that labor would start again.
The entire day passed with no more contractions. Chris got home from work and announced that we should go out on a date since we didn’t have the children. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, and wouldn’t you know it…contractions! By the end of the meal, I was leaning over the table and breathing through them!
We got to the hospital at 10pm. I got into the shower straight away and expected that same comfort I had received last time. Only this time there was something wrong with the hospital’s hot water. There was none, or only a trickle in between bursts of cold. I was shivering uncontrollably, and miserable, yet I didn’t want to give up!
“You need to get out of there!” Chris told me as he gently forced me to dry off. I got dressed again and sat down on the rocker. This was definitely not as soothing as a warm shower, and I wasn’t happy about it. The painful hours ticked by. I noticed that Chris was dozing off in a chair on the other side of the room.
“Don’t go to sleep! Don’t leave me!” I said, pitifully.
“I am just so tired, I can’t stay awake.”
“Yeah, but I have to push a baby out before I can go to sleep!”
It was the middle of the night. My wished I could just forget all of this giving birth nonsense and just go to sleep! Yet my body had other ideas, continuing the work of bringing the baby down into position. I had to stand up and lean over the bed to get some relief.
All of a sudden an incredibly urge overpowered me.
“I need to push!” I said to the midwife on call, who happened to be standing right next to me at the moment.
“That’s alright. You can start pushing standing up.”
I pushed and groaned and felt the head crowning!
“I feel his head!” I said even though I could barely talk through the intensity of the moment.
Chris was very afraid of our son smacking his tiny skull on the hospital floor and the midwife must not have wanted to lie down to deliver. In a split second, the two of them flipped me up on the bed and I was pushing again.
“Wait, I’m not ready.” I heard the midwife say. But it didn’t matter. Cadin Christopher, our confident Follower of Christ, was born. He burst into this world like a firecracker at 3:20 am on the Fourth of July!