Elijah Joseph ~ Birth Story

{{Warning :: this post contains possible TMI and as with any birth story, this is my story and in no way do I look down upon other ways of labor and delivery. If you and your baby are safe, your birthing decisions are uniquely yours, as are mine. :) }}


I was originally due Friday, April 13th. Looking to this date, I made preparations. Bag was packed, bassinet was set up, diapers purchased, take-home outfit selected, plans were made…and when the doctor told me I was beginning to efface at 35 weeks, I was hopeful.

With my first child {my daughter, Jael}, I hadn’t progressed really at all up to my due date. I was discouraged and tired. Her arrival happened in ways I wouldn’t have expected and so this time around I was determined to avoid some of the situations and decisions I encountered with her birth. It was hard, emotional, and the recovery was not fun. Her delivery was one that, for me, I wanted to avoid repeating.

So this time, I praaaaayed that I would go into labor on my own. If this happened, I had decided to labor as much as I could at home, hoped that my water would break on its own {it did during my first delivery}, and that my labor and delivery would be shorter than the lengthy one I had with my daughter. I wasn’t ready to say that I wanted an all natural home birth, but I wanted to try and go as long as I could and do as much as I could to avoid as many interventions as before.

My 39 week appointment came, I was a fingertip dilated {as I had been for four weeks} and 40% effaced. Not what I had hoped. My doctor could see the disappointment on my face because he said, “Your body decides when its time. It could happen tonight. Tomorrow. You don’t know and neither do I. Please don’t be discouraged!” Kind of encouraging, but I was still ready for this baby to come. I was done with this pregnancy. This pregnancy that, while exciting and wonderful, was by far much harder than my first and exponentially more uncomfortable.

He then said something that caught me off guard. “You’re 39 weeks 5 days.” I thought I was 39 weeks on the dot. He then informed me that they had changed my due date when I had my first appointment with them at 35 weeks. It was bumped up a week to April 8th. What could have been exciting was kind of a bummer for me. I felt like I had lost a week! I wasn’t progressing so I felt that this time that I lost was time I could have used to progress. Irrational, yes. But I just was getting anxious that I would have to make some tough decisions instead of going into labor on my own.

So I told my doctor that I wanted to wait to make any decisions. I had an appointment scheduled for 40 weeks 5 days {which would have been my original due date} and at that time, we could start talking.

April 8th came and went.

I was getting anxious, but had a couple wonderful and encouraging conversations with a few Twitter friends. Seriously, these ladies lifted me up. They may not have known it, but they really helped to save my sanity in those last days. {Thank you, Nicole, Sarah, and Heather! xoxoxo} One piece of advice was to use Evening Primrose Oil to get things going. It is a supplement that can help to soften and dilate the cervix when either directly applied or taken orally. I won’t go into more detail than that. ;) If you’re curious, you can email or Tweet me ;)

I used three capsules — two Tuesday night, one Wednesday morning. I went about my day on Wednesday, took a shower, played with my daughter. The usual. Come mid-afternoon, I started to feel weird. Anxious but just weird. My sweet hubby text messaged me that he was coming home early at 4:30 and that we should have an early dinner, go get some ice cream, and walk this baby out. It sounded great to me!

But come about 4:00, I started getting contractions. I thought nothing of it but they felt slightly different than the good ol’ Braxton Hicks ones I’d had all throughout my pregnancy. My husband got home at around 4:30, and I smiled saying, “I think we’re having time-able contractions,” not really believing it myself. His eyebrows  raised, “Really?!” It was at about 4:30 pm that they were truly ten minutes apart and started to hurt. We went ahead and served dinner, which I suddenly had no appetite for, and decided to not go for ice cream. I didn’t want to risk it in case something happened.

Still, this whole time, I really was in denial. I was scared so I didn’t want to believe that this was finally it. I kept praying that God would give me peace, but I also kept worrying and dwelling on the things that would scare me and let myself get all anxious! Don’t you hate that??

Over the next three hours, my contractions started getting more painful and closer together. I stayed home for this part, wanting to do as much “work” at home as I could before going to the hospital. My mom came over as well as my mother-in-law. They rubbed my face and stayed with me as my contractions really got hard. I used my breathing technique I used with my daughter and tried to stay focused through the pain. Then at 7:40 pm I felt something slam into my pelvis and my water broke. Later I realized that this was probably my little guy’s head engaging that caused my water to break.

I instantly started crying and shaking. I suddenly realized that this was REAL and that I was having a baby!! I think that the Lord allowed for my water to break at home because otherwise, I would have never gone into the hospital!! lol ;) The fear I had been holding in spilled out as I sobbed to my husband that I was scared. We started to the car to go to the hospital, and at this point, my contractions were starting to get to the point where the peak was almost too much. I was really struggling to work through them but when we got in the car, the sitting position somehow helped the pain because I was able to post to Facebook that we were on our way to the hospital. {wink} ;)

When we got there, my contractions kicked up even harder. After we signed in {why do they make you sign a bunch of papers when you’re almost crying out in pain??}, I changed into my gown with the nurse. I was able to smile and joke between the contractions up to this point, but as soon as I stepped out of the bathroom in my gown, I felt out of control with pain. I literally threw myself onto the bed and clutched the side rail for dear life. I was on my side and the contractions were now one on top of the other and not relenting. The pain was excruciating, and I had lost my focus. I was going through transition and when people tell you at this point you feel out of control, they are NOT lying! With my daughter, I felt none of this process; I only felt during the pushing. This time, I was feeling everything! The nurse checked me and to all of our surprise, I was at 8cm!!!!! I was amazed.

I begged for an epidural, which they never denied me but I am thankful that they never told me no. Even though every person in that delivery room knew I would never get one, they never said a word to me. Kind of a false hope, I guess. Allowing me to think it was coming all knowing that I would have the baby before the anesthesiologist could even prep me. Thank you Jesus for that!! I think I would have gone crazy if they had told me no.

I started to panic. Losing my focus in the midst of all those contractions was awful. I had nothing to help get me through them and was begging my mom to help me. I’m sure it broke her heart to look down at me and just blow on my hot, glistening face and tell me it was going to be okay. My husband just held my hand and tried to be encouraging. Suddenly, I felt a burning sensation and a MAJOR urge to push. Almost involuntarily, I pushed a really hard first push and out came his head. I mean his WHOLE head. I was still on my side, so the nurses started bustling around trying to get me to turn over.

Let me tell you, turning from my side to my back with NO assistance {why didn’t they grab a hand or leg and help me turn over??}, during contractions, with an entire baby head sticking out of me was beyond uncomfortable and difficult!! Mid-turn, I felt the urge to push again and the nurses all said, “No no no!!! Don’t push!! You’ll tear!!” Yeah, right. So I “hoo-hoo-hoo”ed while holding back my extreme urge to just shoot this kid out of me, lol ;) It was then that they told me that I could push again, but I felt all cramped up and my second push was really half-effort because all my muscles were screaming. My last push was my suck-it-up-and-be-Wonder-Woman push and he came right out.

That is such an amazing feeling. Feeling that warm little body slide out and the instant relief it brings.

Then, I just lay there in disbelief that this all happened. Then the nurses call out, “Eight pounds 9 ounces!!” and everyone gasped and congratulated me on the great job I did with such a large baby. He was born at 8:32 pm, only 40 or so minutes after arriving at the hospital. Probably only after 30 minutes in my actual delivery room. I seriously couldn’t believe it. I even said, “This better not have been a dream.” ;)

No meds. No interventions whatsoever. Two second degree tears. And a short four hour labor from the first time-able contraction to his actual delivery.

Oh, and my doctor?? He never made it. ;)