Finally, FINALLY I got around to writing this. Thanks to our midwives' copious notes, I was able to recall most everything that transpired the evening of December 17th. So here's our second birth story, written to our beautiful daughter.
Your birth story starts at the beginning of December, when I began having contractions on and off without pain or rhythm. I suspected you might arrive early with all the pre-labor I was experiencing, but you weren’t ready to make your appearance yet. So we waited.
Your due date was December 16th, which was a Sunday. I went in for a midwife appointment on Wednesday the 12th and my blood pressure had started to creep up a little. I had some blood tests done and was encouraged to come back on Friday to see how things were progressing. When we went in on Friday the 14th, we discovered that I was at 4+ centimeters dilated that day and we got really excited – those contractions were actually doing something! And they weren’t even painful! The midwife swept my membranes to encourage labor to start (my blood pressure was still higher than they wanted it to be and they wanted to get things moving) and we went home, thinking it wouldn’t be for long. Your Daddy and I thought for sure that you would arrive either that day or over the weekend.
We waited all weekend and nothing of measure happened. I was still having contractions here and there and I was beginning to get anxious – I was really ready to meet you! We went in to the birth center again on Monday morning and we dropped your brother off at Mooma’s house so we both could have our full attention on you at the appointment. My blood pressure was still threatening my hope for a natural labor and when my midwife checked me again, I had progressed to 6 centimeters! She told us that she really didn’t think it wise to wait any longer and asked if we’d be willing to come back that evening for them to break my water and usher you into this world. Your Daddy and I had absolutely no problem with that and were really excited – you were on your way, whether you knew it or not!
After the appointment we went back to your Mooma’s house and told her and Poobah the news. They graciously offered to keep Owen while Daddy and I took the afternoon to go on our last date before you arrived! We went to Bellevue Square and walked around, not saying much – probably out of nervousness and excitement. We weren’t there for that long until I couldn’t take it any longer and we went back to enjoy dinner and snuggle your brother before heading to the birth center.
At 6:15 PM we exchanged lots of hugs and kisses and drove to the birth center. When we arrived, Room #3 was all prepped and ready to go. Daddy put some Gatorade in the fridge, I took in some deep breaths of the lavender aromatherapy candles that were burning and we settled in for the evening. Melissa and Mckenzie arrived while we were waiting for things to get started and they got cozied up with snacks and movies in the waiting area.
Before breaking my water, Sarah checked me again and I had progressed even further, to 7 centimeters! We all agreed that it was a very good decision to be there that evening to help my body kick-start your arrival. They broke my water at 7:20 and when we saw meconium in the fluid, our thoughts were confirmed – tonight needed to be the night.
After my water was broken, I went to the waiting area and spent some time chatting with Mel and Mac. I was giddy, antsy and a little shaky, knowing that there was really no going back now. I started feeling consistent contractions and as we talked, they became more and more painful. Eventually I noticed that during contractions I needed to be in certain positions to help get through them so I went back to the room and labored there.
From 8:30 to 9:30 PM I labored on the bed, the contractions getting steadily stronger. The most comfortable position for me was on my side and your Daddy held my hand and spoke softly to me throughout each one. During that time he let me know that Kristina and Mooma had arrived and there was a nice little group of ladies praying for you and I and supporting us as we worked together to bring you into the world. I breathed and shifted positions and stroked my belly and worked through each wave of pain. “Progress”, I kept thinking; “I know we’re making progress”.
By about 9:40, the contractions were taking my breath away and I was feeling really ready to be done. Then suddenly, at 9:50, my contractions changed; I was being pulled downward. My body was taking over and I couldn’t just breathe anymore – it felt like you were being pulled out of me. I told the midwives, “I think she’s coming.” I was shocked because I knew it couldn’t have been that long that I had been lying there, but this feeling wasn’t about to let go of me. So the next contraction came and I pushed.
Three contractions of pushing and your head was out! Your Daddy said, “She has dark hair, honey! Just like you thought!” I looked down with an expression of what I’m sure was confusion and shock – I didn’t know it was possible to only push a head out and not the whole baby. So we waited a few seconds and when that last contraction came, I gave it all I had. And then, at 10:00 PM on December 17th, there you were! Crying as soon as your feet were out! You were immediately plopped on me and your face was buried in my chest. You were warm and sticky and tiny and I knew instantly that you were much smaller than your brother. I hugged you tight as a warm blanket was tucked over us both and kissed your Daddy with delight – we did it! You were here!
Then a whirlwind of things happened – your cord was cut, my midwives worked the placenta out, Daddy took you in his arms and I got settled while we all got cleaned up. You fed a half hour after you were born and spent 45 minutes on the first side. Eventually my midwife recommended I detach you before I got a blister! Once you were fed and sleepy, we felt ready to introduce you to your fan club! Mooma came in first, then Mel, Mckenzie and Kristina. Everyone took turns holding you and I think the first consensus was that you looked like me. We weighed you and you came out to be 6lbs 9oz – on the small side, like I suspected!
At 1:30 AM we snuggled you into your car seat and packed our things. We were ready to go home and sleep in our own beds and prepare for our first day with you. We hugged and waved goodbye to Val, the midwife, Sarah, the student midwife and Mickey, the birth assistant at 1:45 AM and drove home. I snacked on the drive and bathed in the incredible grace that we experienced that evening – what a beautiful night.
We arrived home at 2:15 AM and got settled. We swaddled you and snuggled you into your bassinet and I was going to feed you before we slept, but there was no waking you up. You were dead to the world and your exhausted mama was definitely okay with that! I laid on my stomach on our bed, relishing in a little luxury I had been deprived of for months, waiting for your Daddy to be ready for bed. I was starting to doze off when he came in and woke me, saying I needed to come into the living room. When I did and looked out our window, thick, fat snowflakes were filling the sky and the ground was sparkling white. It seems that the moment we brought you home, snow started to fall! It covered all that we could see and it was the most beautiful gift I could have received alongside your birth. What a sweet reminder from the Lord that He loves to bless us in the little moments.
Your daddy and I walked back to our room, snuggled in, thanked Jesus for the incredibly special day that it was and fell asleep listening to your soft breathing next to us. Our little Elizabeth was here and our lives would never be the same!