Our journey to meeting our little one, Connor Lee, came in God’s perfect timing. My husband, Kyle, and I had just made a huge change with jobs where I could pursue a career in my field of public health and he could work closer to home. Little did we know we were expecting so the change came at an opportune time. We knew we were expecting because I had nausea that wouldn’t go away. So for the first 16 weeks of being pregnant I battled nausea pretty much on the couch, which was fine since it was the hot summer months. After that valley, I felt energized and active as I felt little movements coming from within. Kyle and I decided well before we ever got pregnant to not know the gender of our baby. We just wanted the baby to be healthy; God would provide us with just the perfect baby. We never found out the gender, and I’m so blessed by the wonderful surprise.
As my due date was approaching, I was not worried or anxious that the baby would come soon. I was figuring the baby might be after the due date. Kyle’s birthday, March 23rd, was the day before our due date and we enjoyed some time with family. They joked with me that they might have to deliver the baby before we ate but I felt the baby wouldn’t be here for awhile.
Around 4:30 in the morning on March 24th, I got up to use the bathroom like I normally did most nights. I noticed some spotting this time. I didn’t think too much of it just thought the process was beginning but still thought I had a few more days. I went back to bed and noticed some mild contractions, more like mild cramps. Again I just laid in bed not eager or worried just content. I let Kyle sleep till his alarm went off and told him I had spotting and some mild contractions. I told him to go ahead and go to work, I would be fine. He instead told his boss that he would come in some time after lunch. He wanted to make sure I was okay. I’m SO THANKFUL Kyle stayed home. By 10 am I was having some stronger contractions. I was still talking with Kyle and timing them. Andrea came by to check on us and see how I was doing. She checked me and I was at 2 cm. I still thought at this point that it would be a long labor…like it wouldn’t really get interesting for a few days. Why I thought that? I’m not sure. She offered to stay but I thought I would be fine. Kyle made some lunch but I only ate half of it as the contractions seemed to be getting more intense and closer together. I later found Kyle’s paper with all the times and durations on it. They were fairly close and frequent. I was no longer talking and just trying to mentally get from one contraction to the next. Kyle was wonderful with me making sure I got up every hour to use the bathroom and drink.
I’m told that Andrea came back around 3 pm but I was not talking or moving. We had relocated to the bedroom were I just wanted to lay still and hope I could make it through these contractions. Andrea and Kyle encouraged me to breath and relax. It was mentally so challenging because every fiber of my body wanted to resist and fight the contractions. I fought some of them and they became more intense and harder to get through. Some made me cry out in pain but when I focused on breathing through them and relaxing I could better handle them. It was very challenging at times.
At some point we relocated to the living room where I saw Heather, an intern for Jubliee Birth Center, come in. For a brief moment I thought man I must look horrible and sound like a crazy woman.
A short time later it seemed like Toni was there too. At this point I think they realized that it had been over 5 hours since I eaten anything. They brought me a string cheese and some pineapple. Trying to eat between contractions was very challenging. Kyle joked that it took me 4 hours to eat half a string cheese. I’ll take his word for it. It had also been awhile since I had gone to the bathroom so they had us go to the bathroom while they set up the room for us. It felt like every time I moved or changed positions the contractions were harder. Kyle was right there talking me through it. A few times in the bathroom, I just lost it and started crying to Kyle. The crying helped for a brief moment, almost like a release for me. Kyle kept telling me I could do this and I was doing great. I sure didn’t feel that way.
All I wanted to do was lie down. For some reason that just sounded like the best idea. They suggested we go for a walk but the contractions had me halt before we got anywhere. I remember Heather telling me to walk and change position often so I would have less contraction and we would meet the baby sooner. She also said something to the effect that the contractions will get worse. WORSE!! Are you kidding me? was my first thought. How could they possible get any worse? I knew that what she said was rational and very true but I just wanted to lie down and curl up in ball.
I think we did go lay down. And then we were up again to use the bathroom. At one point they suggested I get in the shower but for some reason that didn’t sound appealing, and I thought I would be wet and cold after. Coming back to the bedroom I have a sign my dad thought was perfect for me and it states “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it!” I think it was Heather that commented on that and said put your big girl panties on…I thought well I don’t have any on right now. 🙂
Kyle and I labored standing, sitting in a rocking chair, in the bathroom on toilet, on the bed… I felt like I was all over the place and just an emotional mess. The birthing team and Kyle were amazing and the positive encouragement was just what I needed as I mentally struggled with the contractions.
Back on the bed as the contractions grew more intense (have no idea duration or frequency), all of a sudden my body on it’s own pushed. I yelled out that I pushed. Toni checked me but was concerned that I was pushing too soon since a lip of the cervix was still in the way. At this point my body just took over and was pushing, it was the oddest feeling because I couldn’t control it if I tried. There were just a handful of those contractions were my body pushed all on its own.
I vaguely remember Kyle and Toni discussing to go ahead and break my water to get the pushing going. She explained that we were far progressed and it would be beneficial for the baby and me. Apparently my bag of water was pretty tough so Toni could not break it with her finger. I never saw what came out but it was a flood of water on the bed and some slight pressure release. They later told me that the fluid was full of meconium which was a concern for Toni. She later told me that that was the most she’s ever seen but the baby was completely fine.
Once the water was broken, the fun began. As the contractions came, instead of unbearable pain I was able to push which wasn’t painful. It was very tiring though. I know Kyle said at this point he was concerned for me because he saw it was getting dark and that I hadn’t really had anything to eat in hours. Andrea brought me an Emergen C water and encouraged me to drink it between contractions.
The pushing continued on the bed for awhile. Toni suggested we try the birthing stool. We moved to that with Kyle behind me and tried that for a few contractions but I felt less progress than when on the bed. On the bed I could really push while holding onto my legs. On the stool I felt I didn’t have enough resistance. Toni also felt I did better on the bed. So back to the bed we went. Andrea held one leg and Kyle the other as we pushed through the contractions. Between contractions they checked the baby. A few times the baby’s heart rate dipped a little low so they put me on oxygen. At a few points my body shook uncontrollably like I was deathly cold but they said it was all the hormones.
As the pushing continued, Toni encouraged me with the progress and prayed for me. I silently prayed for God’s help and strength. He equipped me for this moment. It was hard to continue to breath normally between each contraction because I was giving it all I had so I would become winded but Kyle was there to tell me to breath in and breath out. During the contraction when the head crowned was by far the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. It burned and stung so bad and felt like I was being ripped open. I screamed on this. For a moment I lost the contractions because I was so focused on the pain. I knew I needed to pull it together to get this baby out. They asked if I wanted to feel the head, but I just wanted to push this baby out. I remember Kyle asking Toni if the head came out first and then with another contraction the rest of the body. She was explaining that that’s how it normally goes. I had a contraction before she could finish talking and the head came out as well as the rest of the body. Instead relief. No more pain, no contractions. I looked at Kyle and he looked at me and said it’s a boy! I looked down to see our son but Toni had already put him on my chest. Our boy. We had a baby boy and he was so beautiful.
What happened next was a bit of a blur. I kissed my husband and told him we had a boy and then I looked at our son, all-squirming on my chest with a head full of hair. No wonder I had heartburn. They told me to breastfeed to get the placenta out. He rooted around and latched on. Toni said on the next contraction to push the placenta out. It was a little difficult to tell a contraction at this point because they weren’t really intense or anything but out came the placenta though.
While they checked Connor, Kyle made me breakfast and brought me orange juice. I had to eat, pee, and shower before I was good to go and the birthing team could go home. While eating, I asked what time it was. I was thinking it was early evening or something. When they told me 11 pm. I was so shocked that I had been in labor for 16 hours. Where did the time go?
Once the birthing team went home, Kyle and I were on an adrenaline high and talked about different parts of the labor. Kyle said he was so amazed by what I did and that I did such a wonderful job. We stayed up till 2 am just talking and looking at our precious son, a son that was given to us by God for such a time as this.