I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a birth story. So, before I get back to some home projects here on the ol’ blog, I thought I would share the story of the day that we met our sweet little Lincoln.
For those of you who have been around for some time, you might remember that Ike’s birth story was long, drawn out and full of drama—with a happy ending, of course. I was hoping that Lincoln’s arrival would be much simpler, much faster, and equally as happy, and I am thrilled to report that it was all of that and more!
Back in December of 2010 we delivered Ike in a regional, larger hospital, about an hour from our house. This was due to some minor complications during my pregnancy and our inability to find a local doctor who was a good fit for us. But in the time since Ike was born, we found a wonderful family doctor who is closer to our home. He saw me through this pregnancy, labor and delivery all in our small community hospital, and it was such a different experience. There was no commuting hours for appointments, I saw the same doctor and nurse at each and every pre-natal visit, plus our doctor also treats the rest of my family, so he knows us well.
I was extremely lucky to have an easy pregnancy (with the exception of a random outbreak of PUPPP, which ended up lasting only a month or so). The nine months flew by and before I knew it, January was here and our due date was approaching. There was so little to do to get ready for baby number two since we had every piece of gear known to man and we planned for our new little guy to room with his big brother. It seemed so anticlimactic compared to our first pregnancy!
Despite being relatively comfortable in my last weeks of pregnancy, I was discouraged that by my 39th week I hadn’t experienced a single contraction and was barely dilated. I came to terms with the fact that this baby was going to be late. My doctor and I started talking hypothetically about inductions and we decided that we would wait until week 41 and then plan an induction if nothing happened before then. After my experience being induced with Ike, I was eager to have labor begin and progress on its own, and my doctor agreed that there was no need to rush anything given the solid health status of me and baby.
I continued to work and tried to keep myself busy. Those of you who follow me on Instagram saw that on my due date (January 19) I was passing the time by installing closet shelving. I suppose it could have been nesting.
I wrapped up the last of my work on Tuesday, January 23, said goodbye to my co-workers and headed home with hopes of delivering sometime soon. As it turns out, I didn’t need to wait too long. At 2 a.m. that night I woke up having mild contractions. Although they weren’t very painful, I couldn’t sleep through them, so I got up, made myself some waffles (one of my late-pregnancy cravings) and started timing things (I used this handy contraction app on my iPhone, which I highly recommend!). At that point I was having 4-5 contractions an hour, so I knew nothing was imminent. When Chris got up at 6 a.m. I gave him an update and we decided that he would work from home that day and that Ike would head to daycare.
It was a weird day…so normal, yet so strange. Contractions continued throughout the day, slowing at times to just one per hour, and picking up at other times. I relaxed some, ran some errands with Chris and tried unsuccessfully to take a nap. That afternoon my doctor called me (yes, he personally called me to check on how things were going!) and I let him know that I was having some contractions but that nothing seemed too serious yet. We both were realistic about the fact that this could be very, very early labor and it could be another day or more, if anything progressed at all. I set my expectations low and tried to relax.
Around 5 p.m. things started to pick up a little bit and I was quite certain that my water broke after one particularly rough contraction. I waited until just after 7 p.m. when I had more signs of my water breaking and called the on-call OB nurse. She and I discussed what was happening and based on what I described, neither one of us were truly convinced that my water had broke. And, given that I was having contractions, the nurse said there was no harm in waiting to see if things progressed on their own. She and I agreed that I would call her again later if I thought I needed to come into the hospital.
At 9 p.m. I texted our babysitter and told her that things were still going slow and that I thought there wouldn’t be any action that night. I tucked myself in, hoping to get some sleep, seeing how I had been awake since 2 a.m. Between 9:30 and 11:30 I was in and out of sleep, waking with every contraction. They were so inconsistent that I didn’t know what to do. Some were 6 minutes apart and others were 15 minutes. Some were strong and some were mild. Everything I had read said the contractions would get more consistent, stronger, and closer together, but mine seemed to be all over the map.
Chris was still awake, so I got up and watched some television with him. By 12:30 he convinced me that we should go to the hospital. I was so afraid that they would send me home that I was hesitant to go. But, things did seem to be progressing and I certainly wasn’t getting any sleep. So, we put the wheels in motion. I called the nurse while Chris called our babysitter. We made plans to arrive at the hospital around 1:30 a.m. I hoped this was for real, since we were pulling everyone out of their homes on one of the coldest nights of the year.
I remember counting 5 contractions on our 20-minute drive to the hospital, so I was hopeful that I was quite far along. I told Chris that I would be disappointed with anything less than 4 cm, because I thought for sure I deserved it after my day of contractions! By the time we got checked in, changed and ready, it was about 2:15 a.m. The nurse checked me and reported only 3 cm, but 100% effaced. She was encouraged by that but I felt defeated. I remembered that it took me almost 6 hours to get from 3 to 10 cm with Ike, plus another 2 hours of pushing! I told Chris to get settled in because it was going to be a long night.
The nurse went to call our doctor to give him an update and to get things ready to start my IV. I worked through some contractions and got up to use the restroom. While in the bathroom I had three really, really strong contractions. When I got back to the bed, I was having trouble moving from a sitting to laying position because I was having constant pain/pressure. Upon reporting this to the nurse, she decided to check me again. It was a good thing she did, because I was 8 cm!
Things were a blur from that point on. Our two nurses were rushing to call the doctor and get things ready. My eyes were closed most of the time as I worked through some serious contractions, but all the while I could sense bustling. I remember the nurse having a hard time starting the IV and trying a few different locations. And I remember asking if it was too late for pain medication, though somewhere inside me I already knew the answer. I tried to come to terms with the fact that I would have to do this without medication and attempted to get mentally prepared for what was about to happen. But, I really didn’t have a choice at that point. This baby was coming.
I remember there being a sense of stillness eventually, as the nurses had everything ready and we were all just waiting for the doctor to arrive. Our doctor has a signature knock he does on the door before he comes in to each appointment, and I remember hearing that and feeling at ease, despite the fact that I was working through a pretty serious contraction. As happened with Ike, my transition phase came with a whole lot of shaking and it took a lot of breathing after each contraction to calm myself down. I remember Chris greeting our doctor, but it seemed like forever before I could open my eyes and do the same.
Our doctor assessed the situation and reported that I needed to work through a few more contractions and said he would be back in about 10 minutes. Before I knew it, he was back and it was time to push, at just about 4 a.m.
I won’t detail the 30 minutes of pushing. Any woman who has done that without pain meds knows how it happened, and any woman that hasn’t can certainly imagine. I had moments of doubting that I could go through with it, paired with an intense drive to get it over with. But my doctor was a great coach and the nurses were wonderful. And just like during my last delivery, Chris gave me the exact support I needed—the right amount of encouragement, the right amount of hand holding and always giving me water when I
requested demanded it.
Finally, I remember my doctor telling me that I would want to keep my eyes open for the next push and, sure enough, I saw my son arrive into the world. He let out his little cry and Chris and I got to hold and touch the newest addition to our family.
It was a good ending to a good story.