So I'm finally sitting down to write out my birth story. It's been such a busy two weeks since Mila has been born, I just haven't had the time to sit down and think. (Naps generally take precedence). So where do I begin...
Friday, April 19th, (the day before my due date), we had plans in the evening with friends. Jacob went to have "man time" with our friend Darren, while his wife, Rebecca, came to hang with me for a girls night. I had a chiropractor appointment that evening because I had been having some headaches, so Rebecca came along to help with Malachi. While at my appointment, my chiropractor informed me that it was a good thing I had come in because my hips were locked. (I didn't know that was even a thing.) She said often this prevented or stalled labor, and that she wouldn't be surprised if I would go into labor that night or the next day. This did send a tingle of excitement through me, but I just couldn't believe that I would be giving birth anytime soon. I hadn't been feeling that tale tale crabby-ness or any other pre-labor signs. In fact, I had spend the day grocery shopping, cleaning the house and cooking dinner for our "girls night". I felt totally normal. Well we came home from the chiropractor, ate dinner, put Malachi to bed and hung out and talked for hours. At some point my back began to ache a little, but it hurt when she adjusted me, so I figured that was probably why. I didn't think much of it. We stayed up talking till 1:30 am. (Not to wisest idea to do the night before your due date)! Finally the boys showed up and we said goodnight to our dear friends. We joked about possibly seeing them the next day if I went into labor. I really was joking, I never thought I would have another baby on my due date!
We went to bed that night and I kept waking up all night with a very uncomfortable back ache. I had to put a pillow under my lower back to keep pressure on it, or it would really hurt. I didn't really get much sleep. At this point I was wondering about labor, but I still thought my back was probably aching from the adjustment. Jacob got up for work at 6 am. I told him my back was hurting and he suggested I take some Tylenol. I said "what if I'm in labor? I can't take anything!" We'll I got out of bed at 7, and as soon as my feet hit the floor my back ache wasn't nearly as intense, but it started coming and going and I was having cramps at the same time. I knew these were contractions, but I thought it must be false labor because it didn't hurt too much and my contractions were anywhere from 6 minutes to 20 minutes apart. I felt like it would be stupid to call someone, so I stuck it out. Around 10 am my mom called to check on me. I told her what was happening and she immediately was convinced I was in labor and insisted I call my sister to come check on me, or she would. She was stuck at work, so she wouldn't come herself. I agreed to call my sister and let her know what was going on, although I thought this was entirely unnecessary, and was worried about ruining their Saturday. I called my sister, and she was very calm and simply asked me to tell her exactly what I was feeling. She is in the process of becoming a birth educator, so she's my go-to person for labor. She told me she felt sure I was in labor and that she would be over to help me get ready. She suggested I call my midwife to see what she had to say. My midwife didn't seem too concerned and said to just call back if the contractions got worse and closer together. This confirmed I my mind that I must not really be in labor. I just couldn't believe that I was. I didn't experience enough true labor with Malachi to remember what it felt like. So my sister and brother in law showed up and put my mind to rest. My brother in law was on "Malachi duty" and took over watching him, playing with him, and changing diapers. This was amazing. And Liz hung with me.
She told me they were going to take me out for lunch because I needed to have a good meal in me. We went out to TJ Maxx to get the gifts for Mila and Malachi to give each other. (Hello procrastination). And then we headed to O'Charlies. Walking in, Liz mentioned to the hostess that I was in labor and her eyes got huge. She said "like you're having an induction?" I said no, I was just in early labor. She was clearly freaked out and thought I should be in the hospital. But the rest of the staff were offering lots of best wishes and went above and beyond to take care of me. (I did feel a little like I was being watched like a hawk though.) Lol My sister was keeping a close eye on me and she noticed that during one of my contractions I had to stop talking. I looked down at my plate and sat quietly till it was over. She said, "okay, it's time to go home. I can see you're having to concentrate on your contractions a little more now." It was getting a little more serious.
We got home and I put Malachi down for a nap. Then I tried to take one myself. But I couldn't sleep because I was having contractions now about every 5 to 8 minutes. They were starting to get a little painful and I had to focus on them. It was about 1 pm at this point. I laid there for about an hour timing contractions. I texted Jacob to tell him how I was feeling. I started to think it was definitely gonna happen, but I thought it would be hours no hours still. By 2 pm, I was getting really uncomfortable, but it was manageable. I just had to stop what I was doing and hold on to something when a contraction hit. I took a shower while my sister called my midwife. The midwife asked her to have me call her when I got out the shower. I called her a few minutes later and she asked me a few questions. She asked me if the contractions went away when I got up and moved around. I told her they actually got a lot worse when I moved around. She said it sounded like early labor, and told me I could come in to get checked if I wanted to, and to just bring my bags in case. I felt sure I would be coming home again to labor for hours, but I gathered my things and headed out the door. I got all emotional as I was leaving. I thought what if I didn't come home till after the baby was born. It was the last time if would just be me and Malachi. I hugged him tight and told him I would be home soon. I missed him so bad when I pulled out of the driveway. Everything was suddenly changing and I just couldn't believe it was finally happening! No matter how prepared you are, it just seems to catch you be surprise.
On the way in to the birthing center my contractions got much worse. I was totally fine between contractions, but I was starting to have to vocalize with them. It took about 25 minutes to get there. Liz called Jake and told him to go ahead and come. I knew I wouldn't be going home again! We got to the birthing center about 3:45 or so. my midwife checked me and informed me that I was at 6 centimeters! Music to my ears! I couldn't believe I was that far in. I thought if I was already at a 6, that maybe it would be as bad as I thought. I was handling my contractions just fine. They set me up on a birthing ball and told me to rock my hips back and forth. Jacob got there around 4, and it was such a relief to see his face! My contractions really started picking up at this point. Jacob started applying pressure to my lower back since I was still having back labor. That was the worst part. I labored for two hours, but I seriously thought it was about 45 minutes. It was flying by. I found out later I was having almost 2 minute long contractions every 2 minutes for those two ours. But the contractions would come in waves and peak in intensity, so the worst part of the contraction wasn't that long. My mom arrived shortly after Jacob, and My sister, mom, and hubby were offering encouraging words and loving support. I had some sweet moment with my husband as he hugged me and spoke sweet words in my ear.
At some point I felt like I might need to push, so my sister called for the midwife. She made me lay on the bed to check me. This hurt! Jacob couldn't keep the pressure on my lower back while I was lying down, so I was really feeling it. She said there was just a tiny lip of the cervix left, but I could go ahead and get in the tub! She started filling it while I made my way to the bathroom. Getting in the water was amazing. The water felt so great, and I thought I might be ok with out the pressure on my back. Just in case I asked Jacob to go ahead and get his swim trunks on so he could get in with me. The first contraction hit in the water and it was really painful. Jacob hadn't gotten set up to apply pressure yet. I felt like I couldn't lie back. It hurt much worse that way. I wanted to stay on my hands and knees. Another contraction passed and I asked the midwife if I could push yet. She told me to lie back so she could check me. This was pretty bad. But I never reached a point in my labor, like I've heard other women say, that I felt like I was going to die. I always knew I would get through it and that I would be fine. It just really hurt. The midwife told me to push when I wanted. So I started pushing with the next contraction, even though I didn't feel the urge to push like I was expecting. With my first push I felt her move into the birth canal. It was a totally different sensation than any I had felt up to that point. I could feel her head moving down. I asked the midwife if she was moving, because I couldn't tell how much she had moved. Jake later told me this was the only part that made him nervous. He thought surely she didn't move with one push and he was just waiting for me to be disappointed. But sure enough, she was moving, and very quickly! I gave one more push and it started to burn! I definitely felt the "ring of fire", and there was some yelling involved! But with that second push, out came her little head! Two pushes! She was out in three minutes. I couldn't believe it. I thought last time was a quick pushing time with Malachi, and that was 15 minutes. I was shocked when she came flying out! She was born at 6:08 pm.They immediately placed her on my chest, and I couldn't believe how tiny she was. She felt like the smallest thing I'd ever held. She weighed 6lbs, 14 oz and was 19.5 inches long. I looked at her tiny head covered in dark hair and I was just in amazement. She laid on me till her cord stopped pulsing. Then Jake cut the cord. I held her a little longer then they brought a warm towel over and laid it on her. I handed her to Jacob to go get weighed and measured. The placenta was out in a couple minutes and I got in the bed and nursed her for the very first time. She did such a great job!
She's my little team mate, and together we concurred a mountain. I did have one moment where I thought to myself in the heat of it, "why did I choose to do this?" But that moment is long gone. I chose to do what I believed was best for me and my baby, and looking back, I couldn't be happier. I feel like a hero. Not because you have to have a natural birth to be a hero. Any woman that gives birth is. But because I faced my fear and did what I believed was the best way to give my daughter the very best start she could have. Within an hour we were all just sitting on the king size bed chatting like any other day. I didn't feel tired, I felt happy. That rush of hormones is amazing. All my visitors were surprised to see me sitting on the bed, Indian style, yacking away about my adventure. God has abundantly blessed me. He gave me the delivery I prayed for. And now I have this perfect little human being that totally depends on me. What a privilege to be a mommy to my beautiful children. How blessed I am to have the support team that helped me get through my labor. They were amazing! I couldn't have made it alone.
And here we are, two weeks later. In some ways it feels much longer. In others, I can't believe the time has flown by. It's not been all easy by any means, but Its been good. And I've had an amazing support team for after the birth as well. Meals have been brought in, cleaning has been done, and I've gotten some much needed hang out time with family. Liz makes sure I'm not all alone when Jake is at the station over night. We're still adjusting to the changes as a family, but we're doing just fine!