…leaving me inside the house by myself.
I stayed up way too late writing blog posts and doing other important things like watch Parenthood. I finally went to bed around 1 am and sometime thereafter, kept being woken up by pesky contractions. Now, this had happened back in week 36 and nothing ever came of it. They were just braxton hicks- irritating, sure, but also non productive and therefore not worth getting worked up over. But, then again, this time, I noticed that my low back was hurting as well.
I got up a few different times over the night, getting drinks of water, going to the bathroom, etc. I ate a power bar at 4 am because I was suddenly STARVING and then went back to sleep, tossing and turning as a combo deal of fake and real(albeit extremely mild) contractions kept waking me up.
While I was up, I made this my background on my cell phone so that I could start thinking about positive birth affirmations. (Thanks for sharing this forever ago, Erin! I have had it saved all this time!) My personal favorite is “I am excited to give birth to my baby” and I reflected on that as I tossed and turned.
And possibly also asked Mabel if she could just wait until I had my nail appointment the next morning first.
Jim and A got up early Saturday morning and took the van to get it’s oiled changed while I had a slow and easy morning at home by myself. The contractions completely stopped sometime that morning so I didn’t give it much thought other than my body just prepping and preparing for labor down the road. I had texted both my mom and my two BFF’s about it, just saying that I wasn’t convinced they were doing anything, just getting baby into a good position and priming the pump- as it were.
I headed to my nail appointment(yay!) and got my nails painted and my feet rubbed(glory). I came home around 1 and had absolutely zero appetite(strange) but ate a turkey sandwich anyway. Then I started working on a blog post for Mabel about my feelings on being at the end of her pregnancy and all sorts of sentimental things like that(which I will hopefully still get to finish someday!) Jim came inside from mowing the grass and after he showered we just laid on our bed together and talked and cuddled for a while- which is kind of unusual for us, we’re usually busy doing things in the afternoon while Abigail naps. I remember laying there and thinking how nice it was to just have some bonding one on one time together and I told him that I could be totally wrong but I just had this feeling like I think the baby might be coming soon.
And what do you know, as we laid there together, my back started that familiar hurting again.
So I suggested perhaps he go ahead and pack his hospital bag…just in case. I downloaded a free contraction timer on my phone and started to keep an eye on them.
They were confusing to me because, as you can see, while they were coming very frequently they were also really short. And pretty mild. So, around 3:30 I called my doula and let her know that I was pretty sure I was having contractions but that I also wasn’t convinced that I was actually in labor. She gave me some good advice and told me to keep her posted. I kept sitting on the birthing ball because it felt good and timing then when I realized that they were STILL coming.
So I had Jim start to pack my bags as well(at least I had already packed Mabel’s weeks ago!). He would run around tossing in things I suggested and then race back to me and rub my back on the ball. Then he would race around some more and run back to help me.
I called my Mom to let her know what was happening and she promptly said something like, “I will have your Father get on the computer right this second and change our flights” and then she prayed with me and I had to go.
We made plans to take Abigail to our Pastor’s house(who is conveniently married to my doula!) and then head to the hospital.
But all of a sudden, things changed.
I wasn’t just breathing through the contractions. I was moaning. And groaning. And things were escalating and I thought, oh my goodness. We need to get to the hospital right now.
We woke Abigail up from her nap, tossed everything into the van, and Jim drove like a mad man to get us there(on absolute gas fumes I might add, thanks to the trip to get the oil changed earlier in the day. oops) This was at 4:45pm.
I felt worried about what Abigail might think because I was YELLING, but thankfully we had well prepared her for what it might be like. She also took the opportunity to say, “Mom?” yes, sweetheart? “Miss Lynsey said she didn’t yell or scream when she had Valorie and Charlotte.” Thanks for the info, baby girl!
Our pastor and his girls met us right at the entrance and were able to take Abigail from us as I was wheeled up to labor & delivery.
Things were SO intense and I really seriously thought I was dying(oh yeah, we also forgot my birth ball). They checked me right away and I was a 6/7. Which, hooray but also OMG I’M DYING HERE.
I sat on a stool for a few contractions as they got my GBS+ antibiotics started and hooked me up to the monitors, frantically running around getting things ready.
When suddenly, once again, things changed.
My body was producing contraction after contraction and baby girl was NOT handling it well. They instantly had me get up on the bed, tossed an oxygen mask on my face, rolled me with my head and shoulders pressed into the bed with my behind high in the air.
They sent anesthesia in to talk to me about the high chance of me having an emergency c-section at that point because her heart rate was down in the 90’s. He explained what would happen and that I would be put completely out because they wouldn’t have time to do the epidural and what the risks were and when had I eaten last? and meanwhile I was thinking two things:
One: Yes please just knock me out right now and take her because oh my word have I mentioned that I am dying.
Two: If I feel like I am dying, that is because I am so close to being done and I can get her out myself.
So I just started praying to myself, “your will be done. your will be done. your will be done.”
The Dr.(not my Dr. B. she was off the entire weekend) made the plan to put a fetal monitor in Mabel’s head to better track her heart rate, give me an injection to make my body slow DOWN to give Mabel time to rest, recover, and breathe, and to break my water.
They did all of these things and they all worked exactly how they should. They had me laying on my side with my legs up around this big birth ball type thing called a peanut, and told me that I was complete and could start to push whenever I felt the urge.
Except, I felt no urge.
And I kept thinking, this is so horrible, I’m going to keep having these contractions that make me want to die and not want to push this baby out.
When all of a sudden, there she was and she was coming RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND RIGHT NOW.
They rolled me over and got me set up and I was doing a lot of growling and shouting and yelling and other unglamorous things and at 6:35pm I started pushing.
Let us take note of Jim’s bicep being absolutely crushed by me and him just taking it like a total champ.
Also, let me just add, I share these pictures because I think that sometimes people in the natural birth community have a tendency to make birth seem just like this glowing and perfect and ethereal experience. And, while, sure, it is. It also hurts. Like, a lot. And you have to work really dang freaking hard to get to the “glow” at the end. And also, sometimes, you aren’t Gisele Bundchen riding the waves of bliss bringing your baby to you. Sometimes you’re Courtney Spena and you unintentionally yell at your Dr. and cry in pain and writhe on the bed like a primal beast.
And holy cow yeouch?
Holy cow so worth it.
Miss Mabel tried to come into this world so fast and furiously, with a cord wrapped around her neck, AND both of her hands up by her face, that her little body was just stressed to the max. But the second we got her out? Absolute perfection.
I don’t know if y’all remember my labor and delivery plans, but the biggest things that were important to me this time around were the things that happened AFTER I delivered Mabel.
And y’all, every. single. one. happened exactly as I wished.
Delayed cord clamping.
Delayed weighing and measuring.
Immediate skin to skin.
No eye ointment, deferred Hep B, Vit K while I was holding her.
Even with a somewhat scary and intense and FAST birth, everything that I wanted happened. What. A. Gift.
I just held my girl close to me as they rubbed her and checked her out and she cried and she grunted and she was perfect and it was all 100% surreal and I was absolutely in shock because how was she inside me 3 hours ago and now she is here in my arms?
The birth partner who rubbed my back, held my legs, told me I could do it, and didn’t bat an eye or flinch at anything for even a second.
As I was putting this post together I realized that I never got a picture of myself and my doula- what a shame! I promise you, I absolutely 100% would not have had the birth that I had if she had not been there. She made me breathe, she had me moan and hum the correct way, she helped me open up, she advocated for me. She told me I could do it for five more minutes. She told me I was doing it. She held my hands and kept eye contact with me and she was an absolute rock.
I swear to you, if I hadn’t had my doula, the epi would have been in place from the time we got to the hospital and things might have ended up looking quite differently than they did. I am so incredibly thankful for her. So, so thankful.
I have absolutely zero pictures of Abigail’s first nursing session. The fact that my doula captured a bunch for me just makes me so, so thankful. I will treasure them forever.
Our surprise early girl weighed right at 7 lbs even, was 19 3/4 long, and scored an 8/9 on her Apgar. Her GBS cultures came back perfectly, she passed her hearing test in both ears, and has turned out to be an absolute sweetie.
Then they did all of the usual baby stuff with her, gave her back to us, and we spent the rest of the night just staring at her perfect little face. And a perfectly round head! Thanks two minutes in the birth canal!
No but seriously, I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and high on adrenaline for hours and hours and hours after she was born. It was 4 am and I was still cheerfully just staring at her face and holding her and refusing to put her down.
Haha! Oh yes! And of course, I can’t fail to mention that on the night she was born we got to spend some time in our hospital’s “safe” interior room because of tornado sirens and a tornado warning. That’s what she gets for having a May birthday in Southwest Missouri.
And that is Mabel’s birth story! Words fail me to express how thankful we are for her, that she is here, that she is ours, and everything that goes with it.
I have so many more pictures and stories to share. Our first pictures as our family of four, Abigail meeting her for the first time, all of our hospital visitors, our time in the hospital, and other things like that. I can’t wait to share them with you!