rich; brave, powerful leader
They say that delivering a baby is the most difficult thing a woman will ever do. They say it’s the most empowering. They say it’s the most adrenaline filled activity. They say it’s the most awful. They say it’s the most exhilarating. They say it’s just plain hard. And they say you quickly forget how miserable birthing a child is once you’re holding your little one.
And they’re right. At least, I found all those things to be true.
Our baby was born on the first real wintry night of the year. I’ll always remember this because I woke Sunday morning in my little brother’s room and although it was cold, the world was still green. Fast forward many, many hours later and I was being told to get up off the couch because we needed to get to the hospital. And there we were, part of a long line of cars, following a snow plow who was moving at a snail’s pace. And Monday morning? It was a white, white world.
So yes, I was at my childhood home when I first started to suspect that something was going on. We were enjoying Thanksgiving weekend with family and although the plan was to return home on Sunday, which happened to be my due date, I had absolutely no expectations that labor would start while we were visiting.
Saturday evening found me going from the couch to the floor and back to the couch at my sister’s house. My stomach felt quite sick and I assumed I had eaten too much of our Thanksgiving leftovers dinner. My sister suspected otherwise but didn’t say anything.
All through the night I randomly woke from those annoying cramps I had become my constant companions. Annoying Braxton Hicks, I would think and then roll over and fall back to sleep. By 6am I was awake and by 6:40 I had started paying attention to how often these “annoying Braxton Hicks” were coming. Every ten minutes precisely.
I told The Husband that I was suspicious of labor but didn’t say much to anyone else. Breakfast was eaten, a shower taken, and I dressed for church. What else are you going to do even if you are in early labor? Seemed like a good way to pass the time to me. I lasted for about an hour sitting in the front row while massaging my legs through each contraction. It seemed like maybe it was time to make the two hour drive home where we would be closer to my hospital.
My sister’s midwife (she just happened to be around since my sister was also in labor at my parent’s home) asked if I would let her check me before we made the trip. She said, “You’re 3.5 centimeters dilated so you’re good to go. I would be amazed if you were ready to push before 2 hours from now.”
The drive was… uncomfortable but so special. The Husband and I together — our last moments alone before our child entered the world — and we talked, listened to favorite music, and he continued massaging my legs through the contractions. And by the time we pulled into our driveway I was so thankful to be done with the car.
The rest of the afternoon seems like a blur as I found various places to relax (or try to). Two sisters and a baby arrived to be with me during the process and a mother-in-law and sister-in-law stopped by for a bit. I really, really liked having people around me.
You’re told that contractions aren’t legit until they’re so bad you can’t talk through them. Eventually, while I was lying at home on my couch, the contractions became long and close together and the only thing I could utter was, “It hurts,” and “Relax. I can relax.” They seemed like they were starting to be legit. At 7pm my oldest sister and The Husband decided it was time to drive to the hospital.
Perhaps I really hadn’t progressed much from noon to when we arrived at the hospital at 7:45pm or maybe I retracted, but when my doctor checked and said, “Okay, you’re at 3 or 4 centimeters so now’s the time to keep moving and be active,” I wanted to burst into tears and say, “I give up.” I had the best people with me who wouldn’t allow discouragement. The Husband and my older sister encouraged, prayed for me, and somehow got me to do the most pitiful five minute walk in the halls ever. The pain in my legs was too much and I needed to get off them.
The next four hours were spent on the birthing ball with The Husband applying so much pressure to my lower back that I was bruised the next day and my sister rubbing my legs. He told me of his love for me over and over and she reminded me that my body was made to do this, that each contraction was making room for my baby, that the Lord was with me every step of the way.
I found that with each exhale through contractions, the way for me to stay focused was talking to Jesus. I don’t even know how many times I thanked Him for His goodness, that He was with me, for this child that He was giving me, for His love for this baby. And it brought the peace I needed and calm to my soul as the pain grew to new heights and seemed to never end.
Somehow the hours flew by (is that even possible in labor?) and my doctor was wondering if I would like her to break my waters. I asked what she would recommend. She said it would most likely speed things along and make everything much more intense. The idea of anything being more intense seemed too much to bear just then but I agreed. She laughed when she went to do the deed as I was more than 9 centimeters dilated and the baby’s head was rather in the way. She then did something that caused much activity in the room and nurses coming in and out as they prepared for the delivery. I ignored it all.
Things did speed up and I don’t remember them being too much more intense. But minutes after her breaking my waters I do remember feeling like I wanted to push. And I also remember being more scared to push than I had been about the rest of labor. I started to cry and my sister stepped in to hush me and reassure me. (Have I mentioned that she was amazing?!)
Things sped along and I guess I figured out the method for pushing because somewhere between 15-20 minutes later I heard my doctor announce, “IT’S A BOY!” I’m sorry, my baby boy, but the first thing I said in response was, “It’s over?! I did it?! I got him out?!”
You surprised the world, Adrian. Everyone thought you were a girl. And what child decides it’s ready to come out on their due date? You arrived at midnight, one minute past the day they said you would be ready to arrive. Incredible.
He’s the sweetest. And the cutest. And has the saddest cry. And the skinniest legs. And the biggest hands. And the best faces. And just like that, he’s made us a family. And we love it.
My world revolves around my two men now. And I couldn’t be happier.