Our sweet boy was born on February 4th at 4:45am. He weighed in at 7lb 13oz and was 20 inches long. His birth was everything I had hoped and prayed for and was a far cry from his sister’s birth.
From 24 weeks on I had pretty persistent braxton hicks contractions, like with his sister. As we were getting close to the end of the pregnancy I started to wonder if they were actually doing anything. On January 18th, I was 35w4d pregnant and had my first cervical check, where we found out they had been doing something- I was dilated to 3cm and 50% effaced and my midwife was pretty surprised by that. She said there were no guarantees, but I would probably be having another early baby. Fast forward a week to my next check and I was still at 3cm and 50%. At this point I was being pretty careful to not overdo things so that I would for sure make it to 37 weeks. If I felt like my braxton hicks were getting too strong, I rested, I avoided walking long distances and unnecessary trips up the stairs.
Once I hit 37 weeks I didn’t restrict myself anymore. We went to the zoo that Saturday and walked until it was too uncomfortable. The following Monday I had another check and we found out I was at 4cm and 75% effaced, my midwife said she would be very surprised if she saw me for my next appointment. Tuesday that week there was a huge snowstorm, I went home from work early and drove white-knuckling the steering wheel. I was terrified, knowing that if the air bag were to go off in an accident Noah would be compromised. We ended up sending Amelia home with my mom that night, just in case the baby did come. As the evening progressed I had pretty strong BH contractions and notified my doula, we were definitely thinking our little guy would be born during the storm. But morning came, and no Noah yet. With the snow in the morning Nathan and I were able to work from home and enjoy one last lunch date out just us two. Amelia came home that night and we had a nice last night as a family of three.
Around 2am on February 4th I woke up (one of many times) to pee and had a little trouble falling back to sleep. As I was finally drifting back to sleep my water spontaneously broke at 2:38am. Because I was GBS positive this time we knew it was go time and that we were heading to the hospital. I immediately called my mom and she headed over to stay with Amelia while we finished gathering our things. I called my doula as well, and she said she would be 30-60 minutes behind us and meet us at the hospital. My mom arrived 20 minutes later and I was still in my bathrobe, she kind of freaked out telling us we needed to get going. My midwife had told us we didn’t have to rush, just get to the hospital sooner rather than later. Also, because I hadn’t had a contraction yet I didn’t want to get to the hospital and have them propose pitocin or the like to get things moving. As she’s telling me to hurry and get ready I responded that I hadn’t even had a contraction yet- queue the first painful contraction. We left the house 10-15 minutes later and I started timing my contractions on the way to the hospital and they were around 5 minutes apart.
We arrived at the hospital at 3:45am, and like with Amelia, I opted to walk up to the maternity ward on my own. My contractions were getting pretty intense, but I’m a tough chica and it wasn’t unmanageable. All through the end of my pregnancy I had been praying for 1 of 2 midwives to deliver Noah and attend me- Katie (my midwife) or Kathleen (she delivered Amelia). We were admitted to a room right away and there was Kathleen! She even remembered delivering Amelia! We also had the most amazing nurse ever, Shauna. I worked through my contractions by leaning over the bed and Nathan was a huge support- rubbing my back and giving me water as I asked for it. As I was laboring Kathleen and I were discussing how would things go. She let me know there were orders in for pain meds if I wanted (I didn’t) and that she wasn’t going to bother checking me yet since Katie would be on at 6am and that Katie would likely deliver me. At this point it was around 4:15am/4:30am. My contractions were getting pretty intense and Kathleen asked where I had been at my last check- 4cm, 75%. At that point there was a shifting with Noah and all of a sudden it felt as if his head was moving down and my contractions were intensifying. At that point Kathleen and Shauna decided maybe I should be checked. As I was laboring over the bed they pulled my pants off and helped me onto the bed. Kathleen found I was at 7cm and his head was at a plus one. They helped me flip over as another contraction hit and I labored over the back of the bed on my knees. Things were pretty intense, but I had to pee, so I took a moment to do that. As I was making my way back to the bed Nathan reminded me I had wanted a waterbirth, so Kathleen sent a nurse to start the water in the waterbirth suite, she said it would be 20 min for the tub to fill and then I could move over to the tub. I continued to labor over the back of the bed for a few minutes and things were getting intense. All of a sudden I felt a burning pain and said so, which was followed by the need to push- which I also verbalized. It had been 10 minutes since my last check where Kathleen found me at 7cm. She checked me again, I stayed on my knees- I really didn’t want to roll over- and to her surprise she found me at 10cm. The room exploded into action, they obviously hadn’t been expecting things to go so fast! Before I knew it Shauna and Kathleen were telling me to push. Now if you’ve heard Amelia’s birth story you’ve heard that the first time I started to push at the beginning of that long day, was when things started to go wrong. As Kathleen was encouraging me to push I couldn’t do it, I think a part of me was terrified things would snowball the way they did with Amelia. I broke down and said I couldn’t do it. Shauna was right at my side and encouraging me the whole time, telling me I could do it and helping to know what to do. With one push I felt his head emerge halfway and my contraction ended. I remember asking Shauna how I was supposed to hang out between contractions with a head halfway out of me, when another contraction started and I pushed again and Noah “shot out like a rocket” as Shauna later said. Noah was born in two pushes over 1.5 contractions without any pain medications or medical interventions- everything I had prayed for in his labor and delivery.
His birth was everything I wanted and more, and even though I didn’t get the waterbirth I had hoped for it ended up being a good thing because the cord had been tightly wrapped around Noah’s neck and I had a small tear that also tore an artery which took some effort to get under control. But through it all God’s grace was there and we have our beautiful son to show for it.