Ever since Elly’s due date rolled on by, I’ve been waking up thinking I was having contractions and labor was starting. It wasn’t actually true until this past Sunday morning. I had gotten Baby Boy to bed around 10 p.m. and between that and taking a little time to just relax on the couch with our computers (enjoying the whole kid-free thing for a minute haha) we somehow didn’t get to bed until like 11:30 p.m. which felt painfully late. Especially when I sat up in bed just a few hours later wondering if I was having a few small contractions. I decided I must be dreaming and was about to lay back down when I noticed something trickling out of me. I remember thinking, “Bummer! I just peed about a half hour ago and this is just embarrassing!!” I’ll be the first to admit that when you’re pregnant, have a super small bladder, and then sneeze on top of all of it, bad things can happen, but come on! As I was heading in to the bathroom, a larger amount of liquid started coming out and I think it was at that point it dawned on me that my water might be breaking. I’ve never actually had my water break early (once was during pushing and the other time the doctor felt the need to obnoxiously break it for me), so I guess I can claim I didn’t really know what it was supposed to feel like. It’s pretty weird. I tried calling Caleb from the bathroom, but of course once he is asleep he is dead to the world. haha I gave that up quickly and just got back in there and woke him up. I told him I thought my water had maybe broke and he woke up pretty quickly.
We decided we should call my dad and have him start heading out, just because they say after your water breaks things can (sometimes) move pretty quickly, especially with the third baby, and he had about an hour drive to get here. Then we called up the hospital and I asked if my midwife could deliver for me. They said she wasn’t on tonight, but when I mentioned she had given me her cell # and told me she’d come in if she was around, they said they’d let her know. She was actually at some conference out of town from Thursday morning until 12 a.m. Sunday and I am beyond thankful for all the people praying our baby would wait until she got back!! I was so much more comfortable with her delivering and felt that she really respected all of my wishes. In the past, the doctors I had deliver for me really didn’t listen to what I wanted and made things a lot less pleasant. I know there are amazing OB doctors out there, but I wasn’t graced with one of them. This was the main reason I wanted to try a midwife. Specifically, the midwife I had since I had heard really great things about her from other moms in the area.
While Dad was on his way, we used the time to load up the kids’ things into our van (they went to stay at my parents while we had Elly) so Dad wouldn’t have to do that in the morning. I also got some of their things ready for in the morning so it would hopefully go smoothly for him. I mean, our mornings are always really easy and anything but chaotic, so I’m not sure why I expected anything less….. haha As soon as he got here, we headed to the hospital. At this point, I was feeling a few contractions, but nothing too painful. The one positive of leaving so early for the hospital this time around, was that the car trip was actually pleasant. We were able to just talk and relax and I wasn’t begging Cabz to stop the car every 4 minutes so I could get out and walk through a bad contraction.
After we got to the hospital, they checked to see if my water had actually broke (it had). Then we were put in a room to have fun and labor. We both felt like the labor took a really long time. It was about 8 hours total, which was shorter than Abby’s for sure, but longer than Evie’s. My labor with Evie actually went pretty well. My two previous labors were also very predictable. I started slowly and progressed until contractions were every minute or so. This time around, up until the last couple contractions prior to pushing they were really random. Some were 5 or 6 minutes apart, others were just a minute apart, and they were all different levels of pain. Some I hardly felt, while others were pretty rough. It would have been hard to know when to head in if my water hadn’t broke. It was definitely too long to be laboring at the hospital though. It was so tiresome. They had a tub I was allowed to labor in, and I got in there a couple times and used the shower a little, but it was always so hard to step over the tall side and get out which took away some of the benefits. They made me carry around a monitor so they could keep tabs on the baby a lot of the time.
My midwife came in to check on me a few times and gave me this really awesome back rub once. As the morning progressed, she decided to head to her church service ten minutes away. She said they’d call her if I needed her back. They had checked my cervix a couple of times already, but she checked again before she left and I was somewhere around 5 cm. The problem is that I usually get to about 5 – 7 cm and then have to start pushing. I know she didn’t make it through the whole church service when I felt like I had to push. I’m not sure if the nurse had already told her to head back at that point or not, but she got there pretty quickly. I told her I wanted to push and I expected the usual snapback, “Well, you’re not 10 centimeters so you’re just going to need to breathe through those. DON’T push!!” Instead, she said, “Go ahead and push a little bit and tell me if it hurts or feels better. It took a minute to focus enough to figure out pushing, but once I tried my whole body did that convulsing push thing where I couldn’t stop it even if I wanted to. I heard the midwife say, “Alright! Into bed! Baby’s coming!” I was paralyzed in a long pushing contraction though and couldn’t for a while. Finally, I relaxed for a minute and they got me up on the bed. I really didn’t want to do the whole laying down thing again (my original plan was some kind of standing or more upright, but at this point the best I could do was hands and knees so I went that route. Apparently I had climbed on the bed the wrong way though and she wanted me to turn around. Again, it took a few strong push contractions before I relaxed enough to comply. I don’t know what the nurse was doing back there, but she felt the need to be prodding around and I told her to please stop poking at me! My midwife chirped, “Crabby is good! That means baby’s coming!” This was one point I kind of wanted to smack her. We talked about it later and I’m pretty sure Caleb thought it was funny. Unbelievable.
The pushing stage didn’t take too long, but was long enough that I definitely felt like I couldn’t do it. The worst was just like my other two births – along with Elly’s head came a rip. It honestly just feels like your most sensitive area is on fire and then you have to shove something humongous through it when all you want to do is stop. Although it really feels like the entire baby came out after the head, it’s always disappointing when they say, “Okay, now get the rest of it out!” Happens every time… This time around I kind of knew there was still more coming. Things felt much more stressful this time though, because I heard the strain in my midwife’s voice when she said, “You need to get your baby out now. Do it for your baby.” I knew something was wrong and that is never fun. It did help me pull whatever strength I had left though to get the rest out. I know lots of people have cute first things they say when they see their babies for the first time, but mine is always the same stressed out, “Is she okay?? Is she okay? Is she breathing?” I worry too much. It’s a fact. She was okay, but after things were calming down a tad my midwife told us she had the cord wrapped around her neck and one of her legs. There was also a knot in the cord and all of those things were potentially very dangerous. The good news is that nothing was too tight and it turned out okay! Apparently there was something wacky going on with my placenta as well and the cord wasn’t attached the normal way or some such thing, which could have also turned into a disaster for baby. I honestly was trying not to listen to this part so I didn’t catch it. She asked to take a picture of it to show her class and I kind of wanted to barf. I said, “Sure!” because I really just wanted to move on and stop hearing about it. Then she wanted me and Cabz to look at it and I turned that down fast. Why would I want to see that?!? I also had to shut down Caleb cutting the cord again. He was going to do it when she put the scissors in his hand, but I made her take them back. haha Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.
It was kind of hard to get over onto my back after the birth because I was so tensed up and my hands were so numb from pushing myself up for so long, but I eventually got flopped over. I barely got to hold Elly and they started in with the stomach pummeling and stitching up fun. It always hurts so much! This time was really weird, because although I was honestly not trying to, my hands kept jerking out and grabbing their hands to stop them. Reflexes out of control! haha Caleb let me squeeze his poor fingers though to keep me from doing that and I don’t know how he has any fingers left. They eventually got done with all that and had me sit up on the bed to move to the recovery room. I was sitting for just a few minutes before I started getting faint and blacking out. Back down I went and more stomach pummeling to get out the blood clots. Ugh. After a lot more stomach pounding sessions, they had me get up quickly and sit in a wheelchair. From there I went into the tub and got a hose down. haha I was only in there a minute before getting light headed yet again. They helped lower me to the bottom of the tub and after it stopped they had me move quickly back to the wheelchair and into bed. Eventually, we got into the other room. Although I was able to naturally deliver the placenta, they wanted to give me pitocin to help get out all the blood clots and I agreed since it wasn’t fun to keep blacking out and getting hammered. That and some kind of pain pill seemed to help with the future stomach checks.
I was definitely grateful to have my midwife and appreciated how much she let me do on my own and how little she bothered me during the process. I am forever grateful that she let me start pushing as soon as I wanted to. I have ripped every time and when I’m ready to push, I would so much rather start than wait for it to overtake my body and become a terrifying out of control experience. There were times things felt out of my control and that wasn’t fun, especially with the pushing, but it went a lot better than the times the doctors forced me to keep waiting and waiting through excruciating contractions! I am not proud of myself for making it through another completely natural birth, but I am grateful we survived it for a third time. And very, very thankful to the Lord for helping us get through with our newest little girl!!
Cabz, as usual, was super sweet and stayed with me through the whole process. He walked around the room with me for hours as I was in labor, let me lean on him when I couldn’t walk, and held the monitor thing over his shoulder so I didn’t have to. He read the Bible verses I brought when I couldn’t read them myself any longer. He was praying for me the whole time. He let me about squeeze his fingers off when they were pummeling my stomach and stitching me up afterwards. He is always the best. I know I couldn’t have done this without him. ❤ And of course our sweet little girl was worth every ounce of trauma and pain.