To celebrate C’s half birthday, I decided to finally write out his birth story! It truly was a source of healing for me. I’m so thankful for his labor and the gift that he is to our family- from the very first moment we met him!
We decided from the beginning that we wanted, or I should say I wanted, for the gender to be a surprise. Knowing this would be our last biological baby, we wanted to be in suspense until the end. At the 20 week ultrasound, we found out that I had a condition called velamentus cord insertion. This means that instead of the cord being inserted in the center of the placenta, it inserts itself into the fetal membranes and then travels within the membranes to the placenta. Because of this we had to have more ultrasounds than usual to ensure that he was growing and receiving enough nutrients. At week 38, they gave me the clear and told me he was growing ok, but that he would just be a small baby. We would do no more ultrasounds after that because he was now full term.
And therefore the waiting began! I did the worst thing I could do mentally and prepared for him to come early. With my last two labors I went four and three days early, so I fully anticipated this to be the same for him…until week 40 rolled around. Oh man, the waiting game those last few weeks is so tough. It’s an emotional rollercoaster as you go to bed thinking “tonight could be the night!” and wake up with still no signs of baby. I tried all the things. Spicy foods, bumpy roads, messaging pressure points, and PF Chang’s. Lots of PF Chang’s! With each of our labors, we knew baby was coming and so we’d go to PF Chang’s for dinner and walk around the mall to get contractions rolling. We tried to eat there three or four times in the last few weeks, desperate for something to start! The waiters knew us very well. 😊 But, baby still did not want to come. We knew because of the cord placement, that he would be small, so we also knew that it was probably a good thing for him to keep on growing in my womb.
At my 40 week appointment, not much had changed, and so while fighting discouragement, I chose to find joy in those last days- even as 41 weeks rolled around. They gave me the option for induction, but I wanted to continue to let my body decide when it was time. I knew that sleep would not happen once baby came, so I took extra naps and tried to be thankful for uninterrupted sleep. I also tried to soak up special moments with just my girls. And as silly as it sounds, I bought a new Pumpkin Spice salt scrub at the farmers market and would rub it on every morning as I prayed over baby and claimed God’s goodness in His timing over when labor would start. The song “Great are You Lord” by All Sons and Daughters was on repeat as I worked to praise Him in the waiting.
Well, at nine days overdue, I felt my first real contraction in the middle of the night. I knew baby was coming soon! This was when the anxiety started. I waited and waited for labor to start, but as soon as it did, the reminder of the pain to come hit pretty hard. H’s labor was VERY challenging. It was painful and long and full of back labor and mentally exhausting. So, when the contractions began to become regular, there was a freak out moment of “oh! Do I really want to endure this?” I wanted to meet our baby so I knew the answer was yes. I called Dan home and we walked the neighborhood to keep the contractions going. When we got home, I decided I wanted to take a nap in case we were up all night. We snuggled with the girls, then called up his parents to see if we could drop them off while we went to walk the mall (tradition!). As Dan took the girls in to drop them off, I leaned over in the front seat to grab something and felt a gush of water. My water had broke! This normally did not happen for me – my water had to be broken in my last two labors- so I was in shock! We knew then that it was go time.
We arrived at the hospital where they confirmed in triage that it was indeed my water that had broken. It had broken over two hours ago by that point and my contractions were not timeable or very strong. The resident that met with me told me that I would be given Cytotec or Pitocen and when I asked if I could try walking the halls first, she replied with, “no. Your water has broken, you will have to stay in bed.” I immediately started freaking out. I had heard horror stories of labor with Pitocen and I heard mixed reviews on the safety of Cytotec. I was convinced this would be the worst labor ever. We asked if we could at least get dinner before we got admitted because we had not eaten and I knew I would not be allowed to as soon as I was admitted. She called my midwife and she gave us the go ahead, so we fueled up at the restaurant in the hospital. I was an internal mess at dinner. Poor D. He tried so hard to be upbeat and positive and “we are about to meet our baby!” But I was so anxious about what this labor was going to be like, especially sitting there without feeling any contractions, that I could barely talk. I was convinced it was going to be a long, horrible labor because I would need intervention. We finished our meal and went to check on our room, but it was not ready yet, so we told her we were going to walk for awhile and we would be back. Walk, we did. We walked all over that hospital- up and down the parking garage, up and down flights of steps, down many different hallways, in hopes that if what the resident was saying was true, we had given walking our best shot.
An awesome point of encouragement during all of this was that our favorite midwife was on call! She had delivered all three of our girls, but she was on vacation over my due date, so we were somewhat disappointed because we love her! BUT because I was overdue, she happened to be on call when I went into labor. A huge gift from God.
When I got to my room and the nurse was getting me hooked up to the monitors, I’m pretty sure my midwife could visibly see that I was freaked out as they began explaining Pitocen to me. She calmly explained to me that because my water had broken about five hours previously and my contractions had not begun yet, that they would give me the smallest dose possible to remind my body what it needed to do. If it still was not working, they would up it slowly, and if it became too intense they could shut it off. When I said, “But I can’t get up and walk, how can I help it to progress?” She responded with, “Who told you you can’t walk? Of course you can. Get up and walk the halls when you are ready.” After talking with her, I felt more at peace and like I could do this no matter what happened. Until she checked me and told me I was at a 4. I started crying and said “That’s IT?” It made it seem like there would be a long road ahead. So much of this labor was mental- fearing the extreme pain as I had experienced in my last.
When the nurse was done attaching the portable monitor to me, we began walking the halls. D is always such a patient supporter in labor, doing whatever I need and following my lead. This labor I just needed to be quiet. To focus on my breathing and cheer myself on mentally. Therefore, we walked mostly in silence, stopping to breathe as contractions intensified. They were beginning to get stronger which was encouraging. About halfway through walking, the nurse called us in and said “I’m really sorry, but I have to put this on you.” We immediately started cracking up. About two weeks earlier, I had tripped over a branch while hiking and landed directly on my belly so I had to be monitored at the hospital for three hours before getting the clear that baby was okay. So, she had to put a “fall risk” bracelet on me and I had one on my door postpartum, too. We thought this was so hilarious. (Our nurse was a rockstar by the way. We really enjoyed this journey with her!)
After being done with walking, we came back in the room for me to labor on the birth ball. I did this for quite awhile, just breathing and focusing and not talking. The contractions really started to pick up and I began to feel like I was really progressing. Again, a mental game because then I would tell myself, “Don’t get your hopes up. You are probably not as far along as you think.” Fighting discouragement, I asked to get in the tub.
The tub helped SO much with the pain. Being able to push against the back of the tub to form counter-pressure was such a relief. I began to feel very hot and shaky though which is common for the transition phase. I could not believe I was there already, but I also began to feel like I needed to push. Finally, out of a sheer need to know where I was at, I asked my midwife if she would check me. With a look of joy on her face she said, “You are fully dilated! You are ready to push! Do you want to stay in the tub?” I said yes and was so relieved the end was near. There’s a huge mental shift when you know pushing is coming because the whole room gets ready for it! Nurses start to enter, my midwife gets her gloves on, the warmer gets turned on. You know now that so soon you will be holding your baby! With every labor as soon as my midwife would start putting her gloves on, I would be so encouraged because I knew that baby was finally coming.
I asked D to turn up my worship music and began to just focus on the words knowing God gives joy and the strength to do hard things. I started to freak out a little bit as my body started to feel pain, but my midwife calmly encouraged me and said “you can do this.” And I did! Two pushes later and our baby came out into the water. As she pulled him out of the water, I saw clearly that it was a boy and cried a sigh of joy as I squealed “it’s a boy!” This was hilarious because all through the pregnancy I told D I was so excited for him to announce what it was. I just couldn’t contain myself!! We all admired our little man, noticing how much he looked like baby H. There was deep joy and relief that our baby was finally here.
It was the most beautiful birth. D is in agreement with this. He thought the water birth was such a beautiful experience. Truly, God used it to heal so much in me. He taught me to take things moment by moment. That yes, pain could lie ahead, but it’s not what’s in front of me NOW, so focus on one moment at a time, relying on Him, speaking positive thoughts to myself, not ones full of anxiety.
Colton’s demeanor as a whole has been healing in real, deep ways. From the moment he was born, he has been a dream baby. He was a little “too chill” in the beginning, raising concerns with the pediatrician as he did not cry or fuss at all as she performed his first exam. (He made up for it the next day!) He did not cry for his first bath. He barely cried ever. To this day, he is a content, chill little dude. God knew what I needed when I did not even know to ask for it. He is a giver of good gifts- giving peace to my heart in ways I did not even know I craved.
Another piece of God’s hand that we didn’t quite grasp until afterwards was the seriousness of the cord being in the membranes. We knew we were being monitored and were given the clear, but there can potentially be a lot of unknowns with that and we just immediately thanked Him for protecting C in the womb and on his way out.
Those next two days postpartum were so special. Because C was overdue, they were concerned with his birth weight being so low. We knew it was because of the issues with my cord, but they had to do blood sugar tests by pricking his little foot several times to make sure it was not too low. Besides this, everything was checking out great and day two in the hospital was our anniversary! We asked for no visitors that day, ordered our favorite food from the Blue Door Bakery, took turns snuggling our little C and napping, watched movies, and basked in the quiet. I sang “Great Are You, Lord” over C with tears streaming down my face, basking in the gift that he was. A gift very much worth the wait!!
And here we are six months later. Time flies. Colton is a perfect addition to our family. Everyone adores him. I am so thankful he is ours.