I have now delivered a precious little baby six times. You would think: “Six times! She’s got it down!” Nope. It’s never easy. In fact, it seems almost worse because I had five other times to remember how hard it was…and next time, Lord willing, I will have six memories 🙂
At about 30 weeks pregnant I started swelling. That was a new “pregnancy symptom” for me. Honestly, when women used to talk about swelling in pregnancy I didn’t think it sounded like a big deal. It does now. Mine was so bad my feet started to crack and I felt like my calves were going to burst open! Miserable. The only solution was to lay around (which I hate) and elevate my feet. On the days that I wouldn’t do this my swelling was like a bajillion times worse.
A couple weeks after the swelling started my blood pressure began increasing and so of course the scary word: preeclampsia started to be tossed around. The annoying thing was that this increased my anxiety which increased my blood pressure. It also increased at bedtime. Parents know what I am talking about! One night after a frustrating bedtime adventure my blood pressure was 154/100! I eventually handed bedtime every night off to my husband and took an epsom salt bath while he dealt with our dehydrated philosophers that needed a hug.
At 39 weeks pregnant my anxiety increased. As most of you know, my last two births were home births. You can read about them here and here. My health/blood pressure was not an issue with those pregnancies so my anxiety was not as high at the thought of a home birth. I was in contact with another midwife that did hospital deliveries and just talked back and forth with my midwife (who exclusively does home births) and this other one. I decided to go in for a non-stress test for baby Noah and have them check out my blood, urine, and blood pressure. They advised that I get induced since my body was “headed toward preeclampsia”. That’s tough y’all! Who doesn’t want a rough pregnancy to be over?! I went home and told them I would think about it….that was on a Wednesday and my due date was that Friday. By Sunday morning I was done. I had a couple miserable nights of sickness and my blood pressure (in particular the bottom number) started to go up more. I called the midwife at the hospital and my home birth midwife and said I wanted to be induced in the hospital. So, on Sunday, after church, (you gotta plan it that way when your husband is a pastor 🙂 we loaded up the car with the carseat, my big/must have pillow, some snacks, clothes and drove down I-5 toward the hospital…not what I had planned…
Scott dropped me off and went to park the car. I walked in saying short prayers to the Lord and reminding myself of His sovereignty in my life. As I signed myself in I felt really relieved. Sometimes it just feels good to make a decision and move forward. I got checked into my room and started visiting with my midwife and nurse while they checked my blood pressure…well, whattayaknow, my blood pressure went down. At one point it was even 122/77. I was embarrassed. I texted some of my family saying: “What am I even doing here?!” My midwife explained that I was probably relieved to have made a decision and it directly affected my blood pressure. She also told me some crazy stories about women who went into labor naturally when they felt ready. She told me that if a woman was in the jungle in the middle of labor and a tiger came it would stop her labor and that if the “tigers” are taken out of our life we can go into labor. I tried not to roll my eyes, but you’re not going to believe this: s I am sitting there on my hospital bed I guess all the tigers went away because my body started contracting on its own! I couldn’t believe it…well…I didn’t believe it! I thought, “Hmmmm, these feel stronger, but maybe they’re not? Probably not.” And then my water broke. People! I have been doing crazy squats, jumping up and down, bouncing up the stairs, all sorts of things to make it happen and there I am, SITTING and it breaks! I was amazed.
I called my nurse and said: “Um, I think my water just broke.” She looked at me doubtingly and said: “Ok, let me check… that doesn’t look like it… but we’ll run a lab to see.” Sure enough, it was my water! I went in to be induced and induced myself with no intervention 🙂 Well, I should tell you this, I was cleaning my bathroom Sunday morning, (literally scrubbing the toilet) and talking to the Lord, “Lord, I believe you can break my water if you want. You created the universe surely breaking my water isn’t hard for You.” When my water broke, it was one of those moments in my walk with God that I won’t forget. He doesn’t always answer prayer this way, He is faithful regardless, but it sure blessed my heart and felt like He was putting His arm around me in that moment.
My labor began progressing as expected…slowly and painfully…and then at the peek of one of my contractions I felt a big pop and lots of fluid. When my water broke at first it was a very little amount, this was not a little amount and it was GREEN! Yikes. I knew that meant meconium. It was a lot too. The midwife was surprised. I was worried that they would want to do a c-section because of meconium aspiration, but this hospital was a lot different than the hospitals in CA! My midwife calmly said: “It’s fine, we’ll just have the NICU nurses in here when he comes out and they will check on him.” I also got to keep my baby by my side the ENTIRE time, another new hospital experience for me.
Now the labor started to really pick up. I started getting the shakes all over and I knew that lovely epidural was available. Honestly, it wasn’t tempting so much for the labor part but more for the pushing part. I knew I was going to have a big boy 🙂 I went back-and-forth in my mind and in conversation with my midwife. Plus I had about six hours of sleep total combined from the past two nights and it was 9 p.m. at this point and I was dilated to a 6…I wasn’t sure how much energy I would have to push my big boy out after hours of laboring and after days of no sleep. So I signed the paper and got the epidural. About half way into him inserting the massive needle in my back it seemed like things weren’t working out. I said: “Um, we don’t have to do this!” (I am officially the most indecisive person I know! I even annoyed myself!) But he said: “No, it’s ok.” It was finally in and I tried to rest.
About 2 hours later I was a 9. My midwife said: “I think you’re going to meet your baby very soon!” She was right. An hour after that (and just 6 minutes of pushing) they plopped my sweet, squishy Noah on my chest and I got choked up saying over and over: “My baby! My baby!” Is there really ANYTHING better than that moment?!!! Scott was looking lovingly at his little boy and covered his face with his hand as he started to cry. After being married to this wonderful man for 10 years I can truly say this is one of my favorite things about him: his love for our children. It was like I could read his mind and I know he was thanking the Lord for another gift from Him.
I had no tearing and minimal bleeding! It really was about as good as it could be. They let him lay on me for an hour and then took him and weighed him. 9 lbs 11 oz! The EXACT same as his brother Johnny! After that I remembered why I don’t like hospital births 🙂 It was 5 a.m. before they left me alone and then woke me again at 7:30 a.m.. So after not sleeping the two previous nights I didn’t sleep another night. Makes for a rough recovery. I was thinking: “Would you people just go away?!” But they don’t. That’s what you get when you sign up for hospital births. Why can’t they do epidurals at home?!
That brings me to my last point. Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who can see both sides to the arguments people present:
- Vaccines vs. no Vaccines
- Hospital birth vs. home birth
- Scheduling babies vs. attachment parenting
I can see both sides to these and I can say: “Yes, I understand why each group says what they do to support their argument.” When it comes to hospital births, I see pros and cons just as I do to home births. If the Lord blesses us again with a baby which one will I choose? I don’t know. That’s my final (at least at this moment) answer :).
P.S. Noah is our third reversal baby! Praise God that we reversed that decision. So sad to imagine a world without Charis, Chloe, Noah, and any others the Lord blesses us with. Read our story here.