Be sure to read part 1 here
I quickly headed back into the house to the master bathroom and passed the hall bathroom where Kevin was working. As I passed I said, “Itstimehoneycomeon.” Then I heard him drop something and say, “What?” But I was already in the other bathroom.
He came to the door and opened it and in my surprise that he so rudely (ha) busted in on me like that, I accidentally slammed his head in the door. He made this grunting sound that made me laugh hysterically and I continued to randomly laugh about it for two days. (Ok, actually I just laughed again.)
But once I emerged, there were no contractions.
Kevin was not even willing to enter a discussion about "waiting to see" so he herded me to the car and asked Seth to get him some towels just in case the baby was born on the way. (My poor husband. I'm laughing again.) My daughter Savannah was excitedly joining us, according to plan.
Now in the car and starting the hour and fifteen minute drive to the birth center, and there were still no contractions. I almost wanted to come back home. What if that wasn’t my water breaking? What if I’m not really in labor? What if this is another false alarm like yesterday? The contractions I had been having all day weren’t hurting that bad and most of them were so short. Maybe this isn’t it.
We decided to pull over half-way there and let me walk around, to see what happened. Wal-Mart was our destination and walk, I did. The contractions reappeared—yahoo!! A few came as close as 2-3 minutes apart, but they were still short, unpredictable and didn’t hurt at all. We browsed awhile in Wal-Mart because I still felt so unsure. In my head I was thinking: I’m in labor. No I’m not. Wait. Yes, I am. Hey, let's buy some Crunch N Munch!
By this time it was 8:15pm, we were halfway to the birth center and I was still hesitant to bother people with a declaration of I-may-or-may-not be in labor. The people coming to the birth, grandparents watching the other kids, the staff at the birth center... were probably all getting ready for bed about now. But we finally decided to be safe rather than sorry, make the calls, and keep driving towards the birth center.
We met our midwife there around 9pm and my mom and sister arrived about 15 minutes after us. I was feeling like a goofball and continually asked the Lord for “just one, good, hurting contraction,” as they were now coming 7-10 minutes apart and still just slightly uncomfortable. My midwife, Kathleen, was in no hurry to do an exam and just let us all leisurely chat together.
My mom, sister, Savannah and I ate Crunch n Munch and
Around 10pm Kathleen did an exam and I was thinking, “Here goes…news that the mom of nine can’t tell when she’s in labor.” But the news was…I was 6cm dialated.
The other news was, Baby was still very high and is in a posterior position (my suspicions confirmed).
I had mixed emotions. I was happy that I was in labor, but concerned about the posterior position of the baby. I knew a posterior baby usually meant a longer labor, especially a long pushing phase and sometimes ended with a cesarean. And this was a VBAC which added a bit of a different dimension to the news. However, I was only mildly concerned. The only explanation I have is that the Lord gave me a calm and peace about what was before me in the next hours.
Kathleen started filling the birth pool. I have never had a waterbirth but so many mamas have said what a different, less painful experience it is, I knew I wanted to try it. Also appealing to me about waterbirth? I sorta thought it would preserve a bit more modesty/dignity. And it did.
Kevin told my mom, sister and Savannah the news (dialated to 6, high, posterior baby), and we were all praying that Baby would turn. Kathleen was hopeful and encouraging me, that the baby could turn during labor. She encouraged me to try some different positions to labor in, that would encourage the baby to move into the anterior (face down) position we wanted her to be in. It was around 10pm now.
I got in the birth pool around 10:15pm, and in between the very do-able contractions of every 5 minutes, I visited with my family. The water did feel amazing and I had so little pain. But in my mind I was thinking, “This is going to take all night because I am just not hurting bad enough.” I stayed in a hands and knees position with my toes pointing in some strange direction, that Kathleen said could help the baby move.
Around 10:30 I had a contraction that was very uncomfortable. The first one I could describe that way. At 10:33, another came. According to my sister’s notes, at 10:42 I said, “They are coming fast.” Transition was suddenly here, with very little warning of a gradual increase in pain and contractions.
What happened next some of you will understand as minutes that felt surreal. Pain is experienced that you can only describe as unbearable and yet you are bearing it. It seems as if time is standing still.
I was still praying, holding onto Kevin and asking the Lord to turn the Baby. Truly, the VBAC element was forgotten at this point. Kathleen was checking fetal heart tones during contractions and I knew Baby was coping great. I think the Lord mercifully took away any fear I had had before. “VBAC” left my mind altogether. I was completely focused.
Then I had a contraction that made me shut my eyes and never open them again. Sorta involuntary like when you’re on a high roller coaster and you want to be fully alert for the amazing ride, but since you’re pretty sure you’re gonna die, you close your eyes anyway. The next contraction, just like it, came quickly and I felt a sudden, immediate sensation that there was a baby coming NOW. At 10:50 (according to the birth notes) I told everyone I needed to push, the baby was coming.
Kathleen had called in another midwife to assist her and neither one of them were in the room. Someone went to get them and then left me, Kevin and the two midwives in the room alone.
My mom listening outside the door, lol!
This all happened in a matter of a few minutes. Kathleen told me to turn over (I was still in the hands and knees position) and told me to calm down and take some deep breaths because it was time to push and the contractions had stopped. “Just rest,” she said. I rested there in the water, in a semi-reclining position for probably 1-2 minutes, and I wondered if I was in for hours of pushing out a posterior baby. But when I started pushing Kathleen told us the baby had turned and was no longer posterior. Praise Him.
There were about three very intense pushes (in other words, I hollered like a crazy woman). Kathleen calmly and matter-of-factly mentioned, "The cord is wrapped around her neck twice." Kevin said she just unwrapped it quickly yet smoothly, without a hint of panic. And that beautiful baby girl was delivered from my body into a warm tub in a dimly lit, quiet room and placed right on my chest in a matter of seconds. They suctioned her mouth and rubbed her back a little and then came that sound I had longed to hear for many months: The sound of her cry.
I stared down into that little face, through an adrenaline-induced haze of love and extreme thankfulness that she was here, soaking in the details of her head: the hair, the nose that is Kevin’s. The pain, so short-lived, was mostly gone. Not forgotten, but no longer my focus.
My mom, sister and Savannah were called right back in. The midwives suctioned Selah's nose and mouth, threw a towel over her back and I held her there in the water as they checked us both. I got out of the tub and handed her off to the others for a few minutes.
Three days old
Selah Hope weighed 9# 14oz. She was big, but she weighed just what the Lord ordained her to. I have had a harder time delivering babies that were smaller than her. God has been so merciful to us! We give Him praise for creating, sustaining and bringing forth this little soul, and entrusting us with her for a short time. She is His.