I woke up at roughly 3:30am on March 10th 2019 with a familiar sensation coursing through my body.
The sensations and signs that indicated that my baby was coming soon.
Today was “the day”. The day that had been predicted by my birth team that my baby was scheduled to arrived. March 10th.
Only 3-5% of babies are born exactly on their due date and I got giddy with excitement with the possibility of that happening to me! All of my boys have been born within 4 days of their due date, but never “right on time.”
Naturally, I laid in bed waiting for the next surge to take hold, and once I determined that my contractions were 20-30 minutes apart, I decided to put my mind to rest and try to get as much sleep now as I could.
I have learned the hard way of staying up at night during early labor and what kind of impact that can have on you, especially when you opt for no medications.
With my first baby, I was too excited to rest at night, and 21 hurts later, I barely had enough energy eft to finish.
I would not make that mistake again.
So I took advantage of the sleep (even though it was daylight savings and essentially had already lost an hour already) and rested my body until later in the morning.
Upon waking, I noticed that I had partially lost my mucus plug during the night which was also accompanied by some bloody show.
This was it! I thought to myself.
All of my babies had been born within 21 hours of losing my plug, so I knew that TODAY would be the day that I would be holding my baby in my arms.
Or so I thought.
Hours passed without progression. I kept busy, but rested, and kept my mind on other things than letting myself become anxious. Slowly, the contractions became closer together and I was certain that things would speed up either around bedtime or during the night, so we sent the older boys to my parents.
With them being gone, it allowed me to relax and not have to worry about the logistics of getting them taken care of in the middle of the night.
Bedtime rolled around and I will admit that I wasn’t too thrilled.
Instead of working harder towards a progressing labor, things seemed to die down and almost dwindle.
So I had a good meal, and quiet bath, and sent myself to bed knowing that I would need any extra rest I could get.
I slept through Sunday night and woke up on March 11th without much change. Contractions were still 20-30 minutes apart without any other signs of progression.
Talk about a bummer.
By the afternoon, I was emotionally beside myself. Why wasn’t my body getting the memo? What could I do to speed this along? Did I make a huge mistake sending my kids away too early? (My youngest had never been away from us at night before and I was extra concerned how he would manage the change).
So many emotions coursed through my mind, but I tried to not let them take hold of me. I knew the baby would be here soon, but I just needed to wait and trust the process.
I had enough. I was anxious and ready to meet my baby. So I prayed.
I prayed for a healthy baby, a happy delivery, and all the strength I would need to sustain the hard parts of labor.
Another evening came around with still not a huge sign of change, but the contractions were getting longer and stronger, so I dialed my midwife.
Her response sent me into an emotional slump – her belief was that I was still in early labor and just needed to rest and wait.
Talk about a soul-crushing moment.
Being a 4th-time Mom, I had never experienced a labor like this – a labor so long and drawn-out. By this point, I was certain I would have already birthed my baby, but clearly I was wrong.
So I did what any frustrated Mother in labor would do: I had a good cry, ate a delicious dinner (courtesy of my hubby running out and grabbing Mexican) and got in the bath to relax myself & prepare for another slow night at home.
It was roughly 9pm when my hubby and myself turned in for the night.
I remember looking over at him with pleading eyes – like he could do anything about my lack of progression – and then turned over to try to catch some z’s.
Nice try. A pregnant women’s bladder at the beginning of sleep is enough to keep anyone awake.
As I was getting up roughly every 10-15 minutes to relieve myself, something shifted. The contractions were getting even closer together and much more intense. Trying to relax through them laying in bed was not preferred any longer – I HAD to get out of bed to stand and sway my body through the surges.
Another potty break….and more contractions.
Every time I went to sit down on the toilet brought on an intense contraction, which led me to be more strategic about going pee. I didn’t want to get caught in the middle of one of these while sitting down, so I had to hurry up so I could stand and sway & work my way through the discomfort.
This was it. This is what I had prayed for. So I called my midwife again a little after 10pm.
Even though my contractions were much stronger, I was still able to hold a phone conversation, which I believe led my midwife to thinking I wasn’t quite ready to leave home. But, I told her that I was ready & to meet me there.
So we gathered our things and went downstairs to get ready to head out.
We only live about 5 minutes from the birth center, so not in a huge rush to move along since our midwife was 30 minutes out, but my tune changed after things progressed even more.
Another contraction. Then another. And another.
Within 10-15 minutes of packing up our last minutes things and loading the car, I had 5 contractions. Good thing I called my midwife when I did.
2 contractions in the car was enough as sitting was the absolute worst.
Thankful for our short commute to the birth center, we got out and headed inside, which led to be a laboring Mom’s nightmare.
First we had to check-in with the ER staff. Then on to the L&D wing whilst being escorted by a staff member to get through all their security measures. Then onto registration which seemed to last forever (in which they insisted on filling out every type of document known to man as I was working through some intense contractions).
Not over yet.
On to triage. My midwife had instructed the nursing staff to check my cervix and hook me up to the monitors to see just how far I was in labor & if this was it.
I could have told them that.
5cm, 90% effaced, bulging bag of waters. If you don’t know what that means, just know that I was nearly fully effaced (meaning my cervix was nearly completely thinned out) and it was opening up for my baby to descend. The bulging bag of waters was my amniotic sac starting to bulge at the cervix opening.
After what seemed like hours, we finally made our way back to the birthing suite (yes, a suite. Complete with mini kitchen, sitting area, a real bed, and a birth tub all in one open space – a few added perks of delivering without pain meds).
I quickly undressed and got into the tub as soon as it was ready for me – I couldn’t wait any longer.
Being submerged in the warm water was somewhat a relief, although my contractions didn’t die down at all. It was nice being able to turn my body in the water without much effort to work though the continually changing contractions.
Working, working, working. That’s why they call it labor.
After much work, my doula arrived right around 12:30am, about an hour after I settled myself in the tub. And that’s when things really got cooking – at this point I knew this was the final lap.
Her arrival couldn’t have been more perfect as I was nearing the end of my composure and self-assurance that I could keep going.
I always seem to hit a wall during transition (when the baby is descending down the birth canal) when I want to give up. I fantasize about my team just cutting me open or knocking me out so I don’t have to suffer through it any longer. With the contractions being right on top of one another and the most intense pressure a person could ever feel, it’s enough to send you into some dark, lonely places inside your mind.
”Talk to me”, I pleaded as a new surge started. I didn’t want silence, because I knew that silence meant I was alone & I couldn’t be left alone now.
”Oh, God!” Was my prayer as I moaned through each new wave.
I felt completely helpless, but also so in tune with my body and what it was doing; I could feel my baby descend lower and lower to make way for his arrival.
But even with my intuitiveness, I still needed assurance that this was going to be over soon. I asked my doula and my husband if the baby was coming soon, and their response was always: “soon.”
I was desperate to know when. I needed to know when this pain would end so I could have a break – I was tired and I didn’t want to do this anymore.
”This is your gift to the baby” I heard being whispered into my ear as I continued to work through contractions that were never-ceasing.
My gift to the baby. THAT is exactly what I needed to hear.
I was doing this all for my baby so he could have the most peaceful and safe arrival into my arms. So he could be honored as the precious child of God that he was created as. This pain was my gift and I was bearing it all for his sake.
One intense surge later and I felt my bag of waters explode in the water; neither a comfort or discomfort, but a way for things to cook even faster.
This was it. I was getting my break. The contractions seemed to pause and I took advantage of this short break to lay in the water completely silent as I prepared my body and mind for the arrival of my baby.
I knew what was coming next and that it wouldn’t be long until this child would meet me in my arms.
As my body tried it’s best to recoil with each surge that sent my pelvis into a rythmatic push, I bellowed through each wave to release the pressure that now seemed unbearable and unceasing.
”Can you see the head?!” I asked my midwife and she shook her head no. “Dammit”, I thought – I knew it was close, I could feel it.
After another long push and bellow, I asked again. Another “not yet.”
Then my doula suggested that I reach down and see if I can feel the baby’s head. YES! I could feel a slick head coated with hair and that gave me all the motivation I needed to continue and press on.
Another push and I was asking again,”can you see the head now?!”
Negative. My midwife and the nurse both shook their heads. But, I knew it was close. I reached down again and it felt closer – thank the good Lord, because I was ready to be done.
A strong contraction compelled my body to push with all it’s might and that’s when it happened, the baby was crowning. The urge didn’t let up so I continued to work through this powerful surge and immediately felt the fruit of my labor; the head was out.
”That’s a relief!” I bluntly shouted out – and it was a relief.
All that pressure was soon to be completely relieved, hallelujah!
I knew I just needed to give it one last push and I would be meeting my baby. It seemed like an eternity waiting for that one last contraction – an hour ago I would have given anything to stop the pain, but now I would give anything to have it come once more.
My birth team was geared and ready to help catch my baby in the water; gloves on, hands submerged, and eyes on me.
I had never felt more powerful than when I gave my baby thst one last push, and with that, he came rushing out into the water and in my arms guided by my team.
Before he made his way to the surface, I excitedly cried out that we had another BOY. 40 weeks of waiting and not knowing, but finally I was able to announce it to the room!
4 boys. I couldn’t help grinning from ear to ear & the pain that had just succumbed me minutes before was long gone; a distant memory as I held my baby boy and gazed upon his perfect face.
Marcellus Audric. I had no hesitation stating his name.
What came next was a blur of events that seemed to happen so quickly as I bonded and snuggled my new baby.
My placenta was born as I was climbing out the the tub, along with a rapid gush of blood, making it the perfect scene in some kind of horror flick. And even though losing a lot of blood has been coined my “birth norm”, my midwife didn’t hesitate to administer a shot of pitocin quickly into my leg to speed up more contractions so the bleeding would die down.
As soon as I was checked, my belly pushed on several times to stop the bleeding, and ensured no tears were made, I was able to sit up in bed to snuggle and nurse my baby some more.
This was it – the moment I had been waiting 9 months for.
I did it, again.
My body and my baby worked together to bring him into my arms and I haven’t put him down since.
Marcellus, your whole being is a true testament of patience, hard work, sacrifice, and unconditional love and I couldn’t feel more blessed to be your Momma.
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I have been blessed to have given birth 4 times without medical intervention or assistance with drugs. Our bodies were perfectly created for this task of bringing new life into the world.
This time, however, I owe all of my gratitude to Mary Haseltine, the author of “Made for this“, for opening my eyes and my heart to a more spiritual birth that God has created for his daughters.
Although this birth was intense, I never felt alone.
With the tools I have taken with me into labor, along with the testament of this book, I felt a such a strong connection to our Lord while bringing my baby, a precious child of God, into the world without fear.
While labor and birth can be hard, it can also be empowering. My birth experiences have helped define me as a woman and a mother and have led me to a higher respect of the womanly body and how our good Lord has created us for such a purpose.
And even though I had already accomplished birth 3 times before, this birth has changed me in ways I never imagined & helped me understand a deeper meaning for self-sacrifice, unconditional love, and what it truly means to be a Mother to God’s most precious gifts he can bestow on us.
I will never forget this experience and I feel extremely blessed to have witnessed it’s entirely from my point of view, pain and all.