After a few long weeks of false alarms and on and off contractions, labour with Brielle “began” on Saturday evening. I say “began” because the contractions had been coming for so long I didn’t know what to believe any more. All night Saturday and all day Sunday I was having contractions, but they were not close enough to be active labour; at every 15-20 min they were just enough to keep us guessing. We went ahead with the plans to celebrate my birthday on Sunday and had a lunch with my family and then went to our friends place to skate on the river. Clearly I didn’t skate but watched, all the while having contractions every 15-20 minutes. As a side note, Isaiah got to skate for his first time that day. Having learned to walk on January 1, only ten days later his Uncle Darrell was eager to get him out on the “skates” that he had given Isaiah for Christmas.
I watched people skate as I continued to have contractions. I always tell my clients to keep doing normal things so that they are distracted from labour so I guess I was just living out my recommendations. After skating we opened presents at Mom and Dad’s place, taking breaks whenever a contraction came, which seemed to be more and more frequently. By 7 pm Jon and I decided it was time to go home because things seemed to be picking up. Isaiah was in good hands with his Grandma and Grandpa and lots of Aunts and Uncles around. They tucked him into bed there because we all assumed the baby would be born during the night. What followed was a very long night of minimal sleep and a lot of contractions. We slept from 9- 11:30 but then woke up from the intensity. After trying to tolerate contractions in bed for over an hour Jon and I decided to go for a middle of the night walk. We thought, “if we’re awake, lets do what it takes to get stronger contractions”. Throughout the night they continued to be irregular, coming every 7 minutes, lasting 50 seconds, or every 3-4 minutes, lasting 90 seconds. The intensity was strong. By 4 am I wasn’t sure how much longer I could last like this. My midwife brain kept thinking through how much more could be ahead of me and I wasn’t sure I could make it. We made a decision to take tylenol and gravol and try to get some sleep, and call the midwife when it was a more reasonable hour. The contractions kept coming though and seemed to be getting stronger and stronger. I was in bed but certainly not sleeping; trying to endure each contraction. Somewhere in there I realized that I was fighting every contraction; exactly what I tell all moms not to do. From then on I chose each contraction to consciously let go and allow the contraction to do what it needed to do. At 7:30 am we called my midwife Lindsay. With a plan for her to come over I took a shower and tried to eat some breakfast, all the while feeling completely exhausted and done. Lindsay checked my cervix and said I was 4 cm, stretchy to 6 or 7.
We made a plan for Jon and I to go for a walk while she set up her equipment and Krista and Mom got the birth pool ready. Once those things were in place and a backup midwife was near, she would break my water. We speculated that everything would go pretty quickly once my water broke since Isaiah’s labour was so quick and since my cervix was so stretchy. At 11:30 she broke my water… and then we waited for contractions to pick up.
Contractions did pick up; they became much more intense but they didn’t really get much closer than 6-7 min apart. Eventually I was feeling more pressure and Lindsay suggested we move into the birth pool. Before entering she checked my cervix again and I was 9 cm.
Contractions in the water were so much more bearable— still intense but it definitely took the edge off of them. I think as I entered the water I exclaimed, “waterbirth is the greatest birthing idea ever!” It was still hard… intense and hard. It wasn’t long until I had a pretty strong urge to push and knew I couldn’t avoid it any longer. I remembered well from Isaiah, just how much I hated pushing. Ugh. I hate it! Some women say its a welcomed relief after transition but I disagree. The pressure of the baby coming through the birth canal is something I still don’t like to remember. I can’t really complain too much though. Although it felt like forever it was really only twenty or thirty minutes before my sweet baby girl made her entrance. With that last push the midwives exclaimed “reach down and get your baby!” It’s the craziest moment. Where the pain suddenly abruptly ends and there in your arms is a new life… that has emerged from within you. This baby that God has created inside of you for the past nine months. It really is beyond words. We took a few moments just taking her in, mesmerized by this incredible life, before Jon said to me “is it a boy or a girl”. I checked and found out that she is a girl! I was so incredibly surprised and thrilled. And I fell in love even more. Oh those first moments where you feel like you just keep falling in deeper love with this tiny little being that has entered the scene of your world. When you think your heart can’t expand any further and then it does and this precious baby captures another part of it. Incredible. Those first few hours really are amazing.
“For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” — Psalm 139:13-14
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