Go here to read part 1 of this story!
I called my midwife after we got in the car. I told her about my water breaking and contractions and said we were on our way.
I deliberated for quite some time on hospital choice early in my pregnancy, but when contractions were coming stronger and closer together, I was so glad the hospital was a short drive from our house! I did OK until a big contraction hit right as we were pulling onto the street where the hospital is. I started screaming for Will to pull over at the gas station. He refused to do so since we were literally seconds away from the hospital. He later asked what I would have done if he had pulled over. “Get out in the parking lot on all 4s!” I said. But, it probably is really better that he didn’t pull over!
We arrived at the hospital about 6:50 and checked in through the emergency room. I slumped over the check-in table as another contraction came on. Will waited with me until Gayle got there and then went out and parked the van, as Gayle accompanied me and the nurses to the labor and delivery unit.
I had requested to only have intermittent fetal monitoring, and my nurse and midwife wanted to monitor me and check my dilation soon after reaching the labor room. My nurse installed a hep lock (so I could freely move around but get an IV if I needed one) and administered a dose of antibiotics. I had to have the antibiotics in my system for four hours before delivery since I was strep B positive. My midwife checked me, and I was 4 cm dilated. I was really happy at this as my water had broken before any dilation with my first.
As I was monitored through several contractions, my nurse and midwife instructed me to lie on my side and hold onto the bed rail, rocking back and forth. These contractions were much more intense, and my midwife told me that they would be stronger in this position but that the rocking would help me progress. She also said I would have a longer rest period between these contractions, which I did.
Will said at times it looked like I was having a seizure as I rocked back and forth as hard as I could and tried to breathe through the contractions. I would also start shivering and shaking all over before each contraction.
I spent most of the rest of the labor back and forth between the shower and side-lying on the bed for the intermittent monitoring. There were also a few times I got on all 4s in the bathroom floor if the shower wasn’t started yet and I was on my way back from the bed when a contraction hit.
The shower was my favorite place to be while in labor. The hot, hot water really did help me get through each wave . In the shower, I sat and rocked back and forth on my exercise ball and leaned over a chair. Gayle and Will took turns spraying me down.
My friend Leanna, who is a certified massage therapist, arrived sometime around 8:00 a.m. She offered me water while I was in the shower, and she, Will, and Gayle all massaged me and put hot rice packs and the heated wrap on me while I was in the bed. They also took turns giving me sips of water (which Gayle had added Vitamin C powder to), popsicles, and jello.
Each time my midwife checked me, I had progressed a little more. I couldn’t quite pinpoint it, but Leanna, who has studied birth extensively and hopes to be a doula herself one day, told me she thinks I hit transition when I began to moan as I rocked back and forth on the bed.
Gayle had told me deep moans would help, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it until this point on the bed when the contractions were so strong that I just involuntarily started moaning through them. It didn’t last very long, but then—and really throughout most of the laboring at the hospital—there were times when I just wanted to give up. I thought, “What am I doing? I want to give up. This hurts too bad. I don’t know if I can ever have more kids after all this!”
But, I never voiced it, and I was determined to persevere.
There were times when the pain was so intense that I envisioned Jesus on the cross and called out His name. This pain was nothing compared to what He endured! I also envisioned my body opening up like a flower. This is what God had designed my body to do.
Surprisingly to me—retrospectively—with all the many emotions I felt throughout the whole labor and delivery, one thing I did not feel once was fear. God gave me a supernatural peace through it all.
After my midwife heard me moaning in the hallway, she came back into the delivery room to check me. I was at 8 cm, and she instructed me that, if I felt the urge, to start gently pushing. She said pushing like this should quickly get me to a 10. I asked her if I had hit transition yet, and she said, “Oh, yes!” I started pushing, and it seemed I was at a 10 in no time. However, it still took an hour and a half before I delivered!
The contractions during the pushing stage were not nearly as painful as labor. Really, only my back hurt, and I found it true that once I got through transition the pain was less, but the pressure was still intense. Many women say they prefer the pushing stage, but I found it the hardest and most strength zapping.
I had read that second babies are usually much easier to push out, but myself even joked during pushing that my baby needed a spanking because she was acting like a firstborn! My face swelled up because of all the pushing, and afterward I felt extremely sore in my arms, legs, neck, and jaw. It was like the marathon of my life!
Once my baby crowned, my midwife had me reach down and touch her head. She did this at least one other time to encourage me that the baby and I were making progress. When my baby girl finally came out (sunny-side up, hence, the back pain), my midwife stopped short of pulling her body out and told me to reach down and put my arms around her torso. With her help, I literally pulled my baby out of me! I thought this was strange when she asked me to do this, but it is now one of my favorite memories of the whole birthing experience!
The nurses and midwife were extremely respectful during the whole experience, and I felt the birth was everything I wanted. They let my baby rest on my chest for what seemed like quite some time before weighing her or anything.
I started crying and saying, “Mama is here! I love you!” Will cut the cord. I nursed her very soon after delivery. At Gayle’s suggestion, I let her try out the “breast crawl.” Without even guiding her, she lifted her little head and scooted to where she found her “food,” latched on, and began nursing. It was really so natural…the way God made it to be!
Beginning with my water breaking, the whole labor lasted around 8 hours—less than half the time of my first labor.
I praise God for a wonderful birthing experience and for providing a great support team to make it possible.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” ~Psalm 139:13
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