When I came in for my 38 week check-up (3 days after my sister-in-law had given birth to her baby girl), Charlotte asked me how I felt, if I was nesting, having any contractions, etc. I told her I had had what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions the Sunday before, but they had only lasted about an hour and I hadn’t experienced them since. We finished up my appointment and she said she would see me that next Tuesday, if I didn’t have the baby before then.
Nick had predicted that I would have Asher within the next week. He had been right about his sister, so I was assuming he would be pretty close with Asher. All the rest of that week I didn’t feel well. I was recovering from a bad sinus infection and was having bad headaches and nose bleeds and I was SO tired of being pregnant. I was miserable and ready to have my baby. I had only had a few Braxton Hick’s contractions but none that gave me any concern.
I focused on finished my pre-baby to do list. I made sure to make my post-birth meal to put in the freezer the weekend after my niece was born so that I could be prepared in case I went into labor within the next week or so. I also put my husband to work transferring boxes from our house to the garage. I checked my birth bag and made a list for whoever ended up keeping Titus that had his favorite meals, snack ideas, and a guideline for nap times and bed time. That took a load of off my mind and made me feel so much more prepared.
That next Monday, September 30th, I woke up feeling amazing. I had tons of energy! Boy! Was I excited! I could get all the work that I had been putting off done! So, I got busy! I scrubbed the bathrooms, scrubbed the kitchen from top to bottom, dusted, vacuumed and mopped the floor, did laundry, and every other thing I could find to keep busy. The house was spotless by the time I was finished and I had supper ready when my honey got home at 6:15. I felt so good about myself and remembered thinking “ok, I can go into labor now.”.
While I was eating supper, I thought I felt some mild contractions but they were so mild that I had to REALLY concentrate on them so, I just dismissed them and decided that I would start timing them when I could be sure when they began and ended. I cleaned up the kitchen, got Titus in bed, made sure my birth kit and bag were by the door (just in case), took a shower, and went to bed. Around 9:30 I felt my first REAL contraction. So, I texted my family and told them that I was having contractions and that I was going to bed. I dozed from 9:30 til around 10 when my hubby came to bed and after that, I didn’t really get much sleep. 🙂
My contractions were coming about 7-12 minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 30-45 seconds. They were pretty strong but still bearable and I was able to rest in between. I labored on my side in the bed until midnight when I told Nick that I thought he should call Charlotte and let her know that I was having contractions. My contractions were still about the same in length but were coming a little stronger and came much faster when I would get up to go to the restroom. I would wait until a contraction had ended before I would sit up to go to the bathroom. After I sat up, I would have a contraction, then I would have a contraction on the toilet and then another before I left the bathroom. I would have THREE contractions in the span of about 6 minutes. Gasp! That was a little scary to me and I knew in my gut that that meant I was in serious labor and needed to go. But, since I was in serious labor, I couldn’t make any decision for myself. So, when Nick was relaying everything to Charlotte, it seemed like I was just in the beginning stages of labor and that I could be doing this for hours longer. She told him to give me some Benadryl to help me sleep and to just come in for my appointment in the morning.
So, we settled back in and tried to get some sleep. Nick got some sleep while I timed my contractions. Advice to all you husbands out there. TIME YOUR WIFE’S CONTRACTIONS FOR HER. I will tell you why: My contractions were much more intense around 2:30 or 3 and still coming stronger and faster when I would get up and gravity would do it’s work. But, they were still coming 7-9 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds. Or, so I thought. Nick woke up at 3 am and asked me how long and fast my contractions were coming, I told him and he decided to check for himself. He asked me to squeeze his hand at the beginning and end of each contraction. He timed a couple, sat up in the bed and said “Babe! You’re contractions are lasting 60 seconds and are 3 minutes apart!” He then hopped out of bed, told me he was gonna call my momma (she was going to drive us to the birth center so he could focus on coaching me during the drive), and go get grandma to stay with Titus. I got ready to go and made it through 3 or more contractions without him, remembering to breathe normally and relax during each. My momma drove up about half an hour later, she was under the impression that we would let them know with plenty of time to spare because we wanted to be sure to make it to the birth center a couple of hours before I delivered, but that was not the situation. So, she had taken a shower before she drove over. 🙂 She ended up arriving at just the perfect time though. Grandma had just made it over and Nick was still gathering up our things. I headed to the van in between contractions, momma got me settled in (on a towel and trash bag just in case my water broke), and then she went to help Nick get the rest of what was needed.
We left our house around 4:15 and she drove as fast as she safely could. I began going through transition after about 30-45 minutes on the road (for those of you who don’t know what transition is, it’s the part of labor where the woman will go from about a 5 or 6 to a 10-fully dilated-in about an hour or two. It’s the stage right before the pushing stage). Nick hadn’t even bothered to call Charlotte until after we were on our way. He called her as soon as he had service and told her to head to a the hospital in between us and her because he didn’t think I was going to make it to the birth center because I was going through transition and my contractions were 60-90 seconds long with only 30 seconds in between. When I heard him say that, as soon as I was able to, I told him that I DID NOT want to have this baby in the hospital and I wanted to make it to the birth center. He told me OK and he said that after that my contractions settled down a little bit. He said they were about 60 seconds long with a 60 second break. He called Charlotte back, gave her an update and just told her to keep on heading our direction but to be prepared to turn around if we made it past the hospital without having a baby. 🙂 He was coaching me through contractions, whispering to me that I could do it and would tell me to relax when he felt me tense up. I know some of you women who have gone through labor are probably thinking “How in the world are you supposed to RELAX during a CONTRACTION?!”. I can tell you now, that it is very possible because I did it. Your mind is stronger than you think it is. If I started to tense up during a contraction, it would get 3-4 times more painful and I would have to force myself to relax so that the contraction was more bearable. I was PRAYING that God would keep this baby inside of me until I made it to the birth center. I prayed the whole way there. I could feel Asher progressing down my birth canal the longer we were on the road.
When we finally got to the exit for Marshall, TX I felt my first pushing contraction. Those, my dear friends, are powerful! There was nothing I could do to prevent it. It’s scary how powerful they are. Your body just takes over. I had 3 more pushing contractions before making it to the birth center, one of them in the parking lot. I was able to waddle into the center, remove my clothes, and get into the water birthing tub before another contraction hit me. It was much more powerful than the last one I had experienced. I leaned against the side of the tub and let my body do what it was made to do. Nick asked me if I wanted him in there with me to help hold me up, I told him yes, and he was able to get in and support me through my next contraction. My momma was there telling me I was doing SO well and the midwife in training was there getting everything set out while Charlotte arrived, checked to see how far Asher had progressed, said he was RIGHT there, and started rubbing on my back and giving me gentle instruction during my contractions. My water broke the next contraction (here came the ring of fire!) and the next one I was able to get his head out and then he was born! She told me to reach down and pick up my baby. I sat back, with Asher in my arms and held him against my chest. He didn’t cry, he just laid on my chest, opened his eyes, and looked around. They checked his nose and mouth and made sure they were clear, covered him in a towel, waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing, clamped it and then Nick was able to cut it. Charlotte then reached and felt my belly to see where my placenta was, coached me through delivering it, and then helped me out of the water. I was able to hold Asher until I got out of the water, which was just amazing. It was totally opposite of what I had experienced with Titus. Just so y’all know, I delivered 12 minutes after walking through the doors of the birth center. NOT at all what I was planning but, hey, at least I made it right? 🙂 He was born around 6:16 am October 1st.
After getting settled into the bed, Miranda checked my blood pressure and went to get me something to drink and to help with the uterine contractions I was having. While she was doing that, Charlotte was drying Asher off on the bed next to me and getting him wrapped up and weighed before handing him back to me to nurse. He latched right on and nursed for 45 minutes! I was amazed! Still, totally opposite from my experience with Titus. After he nursed, I gave him to momma, she changed his diaper, and handed him to Charlotte so that she could get his measurements. I had a little bit of free time to try and eat, drink, and get some rest. I had some problems with low blood pressure and dizziness for a little while and had have some fluids but I was able to go home around 2 that afternoon. Asher was doing great! He did awesome on the way home and just fussed a little. He hadn’t nursed since that first session of 45 minutes but, Charlotte told us that she wasn’t concerned about it as long as he nursed for me that evening. He spit up some fluid that evening when we got home and I was able to nurse him that night. He nursed about every 30 minutes to every hour actually. So, I didn’t get much rest 🙂 Oh well, the life of a mom.
It took me a couple of weeks before I was strong enough to walk farther than from the bed to the kitchen because of the strong, quick labor being such a shock to my system but, I healed up just fine and Asher and I both had a check up about 2 weeks later. He was doing great and so was I. He had gained a couple of pounds since birth and was nursing like a champ. He’s still a champion nurser 10 months later and doing great. He’s super smart, healthy, and has such a deep bond with me. I’m so happy that I chose to go the route that I did and that his birth turned out to be as calm and peaceful as it was, even though it was a bit rushed. 🙂
When I think back on my labor, my memory is a little foggy because I was so focused on relaxing. But, I do remember that it was SO peaceful. It was the most amazing birth experience. Even though I had had an epidural with Titus, Asher’s birth was so much less painful. I hope to have birth experiences as amazing as Asher’s with the rest of my children. Now that I’ve gone through a natural birth so awesome, I don’t fear labor and delivery anymore. I know that I can do it! I know that I can handle the pain and that it will be forgotten once I have my bundle of joy in my arms. Birth is such a beautiful thing, a true blessing from God.