Soren's Birth

It was an absolutely beautiful spring day on Thursday, April 26. The boys were playing outside most of the day and I got a bit of a sunburn outside watching them. Devin had decided to buy a new grill on his lunch break and ended up taking the afternoon off of work to enjoy the weather and set up and 'season' his new ceramic egg. My sister Molly stopped by as she often does after school and we sat outside chatting. I was no doubt lamenting about how I couldn't believe I was still pregnant. This conversation had been going on for the past two weeks as I was having tons of contractions - or false labor - and so many other signs of impending labor.

I had been 90% effaced and dilated 3cm for a couple weeks now with the line from my midwife of "you could have him tonight or who knows, even make it to your due date". Not helpful when each day felt like a week. Let's just say I did not enjoy the last month of pregnancy, at all.

As Molly was leaving, around 3PM or so, I mentioned I was having a few steady contractions but rolled my eyes about how I'm sure it was nothing. Since Devin was home, Ira and I decided to go for a walk. Ira was really into stroller rides that week so I pushed him around our neighborhood for about a half hour. During our walk the contractions definitely picked up and were actually pretty painful to walk through.

We had invited Devin's parents to come over for burgers on the new grill and I started to wonder if it would be good they were coming in case we needed them to take the boys home overnight. I was so hesitant to call it real labor, because I knew it could stop at any moment, but I also knew these contractions were feeling different than anything I had been having the past couple weeks. And I was only a couple days from my due date, so surely he was coming soon?!

By about 5:30 I declared to Devin I was pretty confident active labor had kicked in and I didn't think he'd be grilling after all. Devin's parents came and picked up the boys around 6:30. The Penguins playoff game was on so we (mostly Devin) watched that while I sat on the exercise ball timing contractions. Devin and I took a walk around 7:30 and at this point contractions were roughly 5 minutes apart and definitely not comfortable.

I called the on-call midwife a little before 9PM to let her know what was happening. She suggested it definitely seemed like the real thing but also didn't sound like we needed to rush to get into the hospital. However, she recommended it was better to be there a bit early than a bit late so I should head in whenever and call her when we left the house (I know my file said "history of rapid birth" from Ira, so this was probably what she had in mind as far as not waiting too long.)

At this point in the evening, I had been up since about 6AM, had a long day with the boys, no nap, and was feeling kind of exhausted. I tried to lay down and rest before what I figured would be a long night of laboring, but the contractions were too painful to sleep through. I drank a smoothie and walked some laps around our house. I was timing contractions and they were really irregular and then backing off. I was frustrated and not sure if we should just go to the hospital or if things were a long way off. However, even though the contractions weren't very close together, they hurt! So we ended up leaving for the hospital around 10:20PM.

By the time we got settled into our room at Dupont, my contractions were only coming about every 10 minutes and I was annoyed and wondering if I wouldn't even be very far along. Maryann, the midwife, checked me and I was about 6cm and she said she thought my water could break any second. I was happy to hear where I was. She suggested breaking my water after we got checked in with registration, etc. I wanted to, because I knew it would speed things up, but also knew it would ramp up the intensity and wasn't looking forward to that.

The delivery nurse came into to monitor me/baby for awhile and do the general intake. Thankfully because of the practice I go to, the nurses know they don't have to follow certain protocol, like IVs because my DR/midwife are flexible and very pro-natural birth so don't follow the L&D status quo. But I could tell the nurse was quizzing me on my past births to assess if she really thought I wouldn't end up getting an epidural and need an IV. She broke my water around 11:40PM. At that point I decided to go across the hall to use a tub. Devin said he thought the nurse's suggestion to just use the shower in the room implied she didn't really want me to get in the tub. In hindsight I think both she and Maryann thought it would all go pretty quickly.

The contractions in the tub were pretty brutal, despite still not being super close together until right at the end. I was kind of emotional and told Devin I knew what had to happen to get this baby out and I just did not want to do it. He prayed with me and though I was generally peaceful there was a heavy cloud hanging over me, I think from the mix of pain and exhaustion.

Probably after 20 min in the tub the nurse came to quick monitor baby and asked if she should check me but I declined, assuming we still had awhile. But just a few minute after she left I had two strong contractions close together and the final one made me cry/yell and I knew transition was happening. I told Devin to pull the cord and get the nurse ASAP. She was in there instantly, followed by the midwife (like I said, I'm pretty sure they were expecting it to be quick). They all walked me back across the hall. I was a bit hysterical from the pain and somehow it still wasn't clicking with me that he was coming out and I was almost done.

When we got back in the room I got on the bed and with a quick check Maryann confirmed I was 9.5 cm and I could start pushing. Maryann is a total boss lady and at this point told me firmly to calm down because I was almost done. As soon as I had a contraction I started to push. Devin had gone to grab me water and our midwife yelled at the nurse "where is dad? get him in here or he's gonna miss this birth!" Devin's disclaimer is that he was just doing what I told him to (get water) and was hurrying because he had picked up on the fact that it was happening fast.

Pushing was terrible, like it was with Ira. Definitely not a relief from the pain. I was having a hard time taking any instruction as I was kind of in my own world. Once again Maryann got firm with me and told me to stop screaming and to listen to what she was telling me to do, which was holding my legs back and lifting my head to push. It was at this point I finally realized I was, in fact, almost done and got serious about pushing him out. I started hearing encouraging things from Maryann, Devin, and the nurses, like about his dark hair and how his head was almost out. That gave me the motivation to get his head out on the next contraction. Then after a small push for his body, there he was at 12:30AM on April 27th.

He was pretty blue and had some gunk in his throat that he was having a hard time clearing. But once he did he had a nice, full cry. As soon as I saw him I thought of Ira. At this point I was still really uncomfortable and having a hard time focusing on my baby. I felt better once the placenta was delivered. And did have some stitching, which is the worst. It took me about an hour or so to feel the joy of having my baby in my arms and the relief that he was finally here. I think I made some sort of half-joking comment to Dev about how I was never doing that again so he was free to go get that vasectomy. :)

Once again I'm in awe of this process that our bodies go through of growing a human, giving birth, and then feeding that human. Seriously, women have some amazing bodies. I'm thankful and do not take for granted that I've been able to have three uncomplicated, natural births!


Linda said...

So interesting to read this play by play! So thankful for this beautiful boy, his brothers and great parents!:) Love you all!!

Betsy said...

So good to read this, Em! Sounds like you were surrounded with helpful, encouraging and smart people and definitely wrapped in the grace of God. Can't wait to meet Soren, and we'd love to let you demonstrate the green egg for us in June!

leah said...

oh man, i wanted to cry out in pain right along with you! it's the worst. but good job mama!!! so glad he's here!

and i love your description of maryann ;) BOSS LADY!

sarah.flyingkites said...

I almost feel like crying. This is all still too fresh for me...haha.

UHG!! Childbirth is the best and the worst.

But, this story made me giggle a couple times. Maryann the boss lady and your joke about the vasectomy.

So thankful it's over for you and you have another sweet boy.

Unknown said...

I am always so behind reading blogs 🙄 thank you for sharing! I love reading birth stories :) so glad hes here, safe and sound! Caitleigh