Friday, March 21, 2014

Canaan's Birth Story

At exactly 36 weeks I woke up on a Sunday morning feeling labor-ish. I felt like Canaan had dropped, Jeff said my belly looked lower, my pelvic bones felt like they were splitting in half, I felt emotional, and major nesting instincts kicked in. This put us on edge feeling like the baby was going to come at any moment as I hadn’t gone through this with either of our other babies.

A couple weeks went by and it was a few days after the 38 week mark for me and I woke up having contractions. They were sporadic, but I was consistently having them. I also lost my mucous plug which happened very close to when Gracie’s labor started. We figured this was probably a slow start to labor so Jeff stayed home for a little while and I decided I was fine to be home with the kids while he went to work to finish things up. My contractions started, stopped, then started again and at about 11:30am I called to have Jeff come home. As soon as he came home, they stopped once again. A little while after that we asked my mom to come over and be here in case anything changed right away. As soon as she got here, we got the kids down for a nap and we went for a long walk, but still no contractions. I rested for a while, but couldn’t sleep. Finally, around dinner time I decided I wanted to go to Costco to stock up on some things for after the baby came. As soon as we left I started having a few contractions again, mostly 7-8 minutes apart and nothing too intense. When we got there, I started to have some contractions and wasn’t feeling in the mood for browsing anymore. As we were walking to the car I started having painful contractions 3 ½ minutes apart. Of course, we came home and they stopped…for 2 more weeks!

To everyone’s surprise I hit my due date…plus five. On the eve of the fourth night passed my due date, my midwife this time, Ramona, sent me a text that she was heading out of town. I knew about this trip months in advance but was certain I wouldn’t go late and I was putting a lot of hope in my birth for her to be there. For most of this pregnancy I was struggling to trust God that He would get me through this labor and delivery. I had high hopes of how it would go, and was holding on to every other tangible thing to get that, except for Him. In the last few months of my pregnancy I was praying hard that He would give me strength to surrender while also meditating on his words that He would be sufficient. When I got the text from Ramona that night, I immediately started to cry. In part, because I was sad that we wouldn’t get to share that moment with her, but also in part because it was so very clear to me that God was saying, “I am enough. Trust in me.” He had slowly been taking away the tangible things I was putting my hope in, and Ramona was the last thing there was to take, 5 days beyond my due date. In that moment, I got it and I was ready to surrender. Jeff and I went to bed that night and I felt at peace about the labor we were going to have, however it would go.

The next morning was a Friday and Jeff got up and ready for work as usual. When Gracie woke up at 7:30 I got up to get her and I realized I was having contractions already. This wasn’t shocking as I had been having them for weeks. The contractions were fairly weak and about 7-10 minutes apart, but consistent. Jeff waited around with me for about 15 minutes and was going to head out for the day, but I asked him to wait another 15 minutes to see if they kept coming. Sure enough, they kept coming. I think I was somewhat in denial that this was REALLY labor since we had played the start and stop game before. Jeff made a few phone calls and we started to prepare for the day. Things were pretty slow for a while, but it was nice. It gave me time to wrap my head around what was happening. At about 9:30 my mother-in-law came over to get Noah and Gracie and as soon as she left I got in the tub. Jeff called Sherry, who was our doula, and she was set to come over. I labored in the tub for about an hour with contractions 2-3 minutes apart. It must have helped because I kept asking if they were slowing down. I was fighting fear that labor would stop and I would do all of this work for nothing…and be pregnant forever. They assured me, contractions were close, it was not slowing down, and I would have this baby today.

I decided to get out and move around a bit. We moved from couch, to floor, to a different couch and had a nice little snack. A little after 11:00am, Jeff and Sherry encouraged me to get ready to go. We had a long drive with the freeway closed that day and my transition from home to hospital was pretty stressful with Gracie’s birth. They gave me a little while to say, “No”, but then started moving me along. I got a change of clothes and we left. The whole way there Jeff had his hand on my leg and we listened to “How great thou art” on replay. This was a song I had been listening to and picturing myself giving birth to months prior to this day. It was so encouraging!
We pulled up to the hospital and I felt like walking in. We slowly walked down a long hall with lots of staring people. As we walked into the ER to check in, the lady at the desk asked if I was in labor and how far along I was. When I replied, “five days late”, she quickly moved paperwork and acknowledged I was definitely in labor. I sat in a wheel chair and was trying not to cry. We were there. This is where it was going to happen. It was REALLY happening. I was nervous for the transition to triage, but was also feeling like we had gotten one part of the whole process done. They quickly wheeled me up to triage and debated whether or not to take me to a room, but none were ready so we got started in triage.

They checked me and I was 6cm. I quickly remembered that this is where things went down-hill with Gracie and it made me nervous again. They made Sherry go to the waiting room and Jeff and I got “settled” into triage. When the nurse left my contractions started feeling more intense and I was getting really uncomfortable. As she walked in again I asked if our doula, could come back and she very kindly went and brought Sherry back to us. As Sherry walked in I remember having two or three contractions that were much more intense. At this point, my eyes were closed and I was just going with it. I had another contraction, pushed a little, and according to Jeff, my water “exploded”. In that moment, I was having a baby, but still didn’t realize how far along in the process I was. Jeff yelled, “WHOA!” and Sherry said,”Jeff, why don’t you go get one of the nurses and let her know what’s going on”. I started feeling really, really hot. Pretty soon, our nurse was back and at Sherry’s advice she checked me. All I remember was, she lifted the sheet and I heard, “Oh my goodness, we are having this baby right now!!” Pretty soon Sherry was dabbing my head with water and the space we had in triage was filling with other staff. My midwife, Kim, walked in and I heard the nurse ask, “Should we wheel her to a room?” to which Kim replied, “We don’t have time!”  And just like that I was pushing, for real. I was completely coherent, surrendered, but it was happening so fast I didn’t have time to process what I should do; I was just doing what my body needed to do. It was 3 or 4 contractions and our big, blue baby boy was out. It was surreal. It was the greatest moment of my life. I felt like I trained for a marathon, was nervous about it, and conquered it…and came out with the perfect addition to our family. I think one of the first things I said was “Is it really over? I did it?” Jeff put his head on my shoulder and sobbed for a quick minute as we took in what just happened and adored our sweet baby. One of the nurses exclaimed, “You just had a baby in triage!!!”
Soon after, they wheeled us down to the delivery room… with our baby in hand. I was on cloud 9 holding our baby as they moved us down the hallway. It felt like a victory lap. It was a dream come true birth and beautiful moment for Jeff and I, as well as our family. I’m forever grateful for the lessons God taught me through this time in my life, for the birth He gave me, and for the beautiful son, Canaan, that He blessed us with.