Well, folks the time has come to tell a little bit about the birth of our sweet son. Before I get to that, I wanted to finish the Week 38 chapter of my pregnancy!
Week 38 Thoughts:
- Week 38 brought on my LAST bout of nausea! On Wednesday night, I ate a bagel with cream cheese and pesto on it. Sounds harmless, right? WRONG. Dairy products have really affected me this pregnancy. I was able to eat cheese cooked in meals, but that was about it! I guess eating cream cheese was too much for my body and I just started throwing up. I was famished afterwards and ate again only to throw up again. Not fun.
- From Tuesday to Friday, I literally felt my belly get bigger! I know it sound crazy, but not only did my belly FEEL bigger, but when I looked at my belly in the mirror on Friday, I noticed that it had grown bigger too!
- At my week 38 appointment, my fundal height (height of the uterus) had grown 3 cm (up to 42 cm) from the week before. When the doctor measured, she said “oh.” I said, “I don’t want to know, do I?” Ominous sign. Generally, your uterus grows about 1 cm per week. The baby had gotten big! His heart rate was normal at 140+ bpm.
Little Harrison’s Birth Story
Before telling this story, one must understand a few details about the previous labors/deliveries in my family. Both of my sisters were overdue (by at least a week) with their first children. Both of them had to have their water broken as a process of their labor and delivery. Both of them had extended, hours-long labors at the hospital. Knowing all of this, I had mentally prepared for labors similar to them. Let it be said that my labor was NOTHING like my sisters’.
It all began on a cloudy Sunday morning. Evan and I lazily got up out of bed, made homemade whole wheat waffles with fresh raspberry compote, and prepared to play a rousing round of Settlers of Catan. Evan won. Maybe my anger at him winning started my labor!
Glancing at the clock, I decided it was time to get ready for our 1 o’clock church. Seeing I had enough time, I hoped I would have time to visit my sister’s kids before church. Boy, was I wrong!
As I prepared to get into the shower, I went to the bathroom. As I sat down on the toilet, I felt a weird popping sensation in my stomach followed by a small gush of water. I was pretty sure I didn’t just pee that much liquid but I also wasn’t sure what just happened. I yelled for Evan to come into the bathroom and check out the situation. We both weren’t quite sure if that was my water breaking or what it was supposed to look like. We started texting and calling family to ask their thoughts. Realizing that at least part of the amniotic fluid had come out, I suddenly became VERY emotional. I started crying and telling Evan I wasn’t ready and hadn’t adequately practiced (let’s be real- hadn’t practiced at all!) any breathing techniques or positions to labor in. I didn’t think that I would go into labor 9 days BEFORE my due date, nor did I think my labor would start with my water breaking on its own!
Thankfully, Evan is awesome and knew what to say to comfort me. I talked with my sister who texted my doctor for me and called her midwife (who delivered 4 of her children at home) to ask about getting an amnio test strip just to make sure that my water had indeed broken. I wasn’t having any contractions so I decided to get into the shower. As I walked into the other bathroom to shower, more fluid started trickling down my legs. What a weird sensation! Knowing you’re not peeing your pants, but also that warm liquid is… well, you get the picture. I quickly sat down on the toilet and another ½ cup or more of water gushed out!
I jumped in the shower. When I started shaving my legs, I started having contractions. I called out to Evan to have him write down contraction times because it was recommended to us by several sources to go to the hospital only after having contractions 5 minutes apart for at least 1 hour. Ha! By the time I got out of the shower, my contractions were 2 minutes apart. Within about 40 minutes of my contractions starting, they were 1 minute apart. After that, I pretty much had a constant contraction for about 1 ½ hours straight up until when I needed to push! But I’m getting ahead of myself…
While I was in the shower (shaving my legs no less!), I started realizing that I was progressing really fast. I could tell that I was calling out the contractions faster and faster. It was so comforting to be in the shower dealing with those contractions. Because I felt like my labor was progressing fast, I didn’t even take the time to get dressed. I was too hot anyway! I came downstairs in my birthday suit to find out from Evan that they were 2 minutes apart and getting stronger and stronger. I called my sister to let her know my progress. Mid-contraction, I couldn’t finish my conversation with her because it was so painful and I had to hang up. I started feeling SUPER nauseous at this point.
Somehow, I made it up the stairs to my bathroom. I couldn’t hardly speak. I felt so sick to my stomach that I ended up throwing up. I found a spot to lean on my window sill. I leaned, swaying my hips breathing deeply just praying and trying to stay focused on dealing with the intense pain in my back. (The pain of my contractions was more like an uncomfortable tightening in my lower abdomen with pain in my lower back.)
At this point, Evan started realizing that we better get to the hospital STAT because my contractions were constant and had progressed so fast. He tried to help me get dressed and out our bedroom door. I didn’t care if I had to walk naked out the front door, I was so hot! I tried to put on a beach dress, but ended up stripping it off within a minute. Evan kept trying to get me to leave our room. I barely got to our bedroom door before I turned around and headed back to the windowsill in our bathroom. Evan was trying to get me out of there and to the hospital… with or without clothes on!
As I sat there praying and focusing on dealing with the pain, I thought back to the previous weeks of praying every day to know what to do when I went into labor. For days I had been praying that I would be guided throughout my labor and delivery so that I could have a natural, safe birth. Swaying in that windowsill, I felt peace come over me as I realized that I would not be able to make it to the hospital and that I would have my baby at home. If you had told me that even hours before, I would have LAUGHED IN YOUR FACE! There is no way I would have considered a home birth. But, in the moment, I felt right about it and knew that is what was going to happen. I asked Evan to say a prayer to help me deal with the pain and he gave me a blessing. In the blessing he mentioned that "special spirits" would be there during my labor to help me. I know that those special spirits were my parents there with me helping me to have that peace and comfort knowing that what I was doing was right.
The crazy thing is, I also knew in my mind that my sister’s midwife would be able to deliver our baby. I hadn’t seen Ann (the midwife) in 17 months, ever since she delivered my sister’s 5th child. She had no clue I was even pregnant! But in my mind, I KNEW she would come.
Through the pain, I told Evan, “Call Nicole (my sister). Tell her to call Ann. Ann will come.” I know everyone thought I was crazy at that point, but Evan called my sister and she called Ann. Ann was here 20 minutes later.
God works in mysterious ways. Ann was supposed to be at an appointment in Tacoma that day. She had been delaying leaving the house, not knowing why. Her husband and daughter kept asking her why she wasn’t leaving and she couldn’t give a reason. And then my sister called.
After Ann got here and checked my cervix, she said I was dilated to a 9.5. There was a little lip on my cervix that wasn’t quite ready. (Later, when he was born, he had his left hand up to his head… thus the reason my cervix wasn’t quite dilated all the way! Thank goodness he had that hand there, otherwise he would have been born before Ann even got there.) I knew I had progressed far! I knew there was a reason I couldn’t leave my bathroom windowsill!
Ann helped position me so that I could dilate the rest of the way. Within probably 45 minutes of her arrival at the house, our beautiful son, Harrison, was born after only 15-20 minutes of pushing. He was born with his little left hand up to his head and the umbilical cord over his shoulder. Thank goodness Ann was here because she had to help guide his shoulders and hips out. She also gave me oxygen (in spite of a crazy nose bleed that came on while I was pushing) and helped him take his first breath. He was born 9 lbs. and 3 oz. Who knew I could grow such a big baby!
All in all, even though it wasn’t planned, I am so grateful for the way everything worked out. Evan and my sister were so supportive of me during my short (2.5 hour) labor. In fact, Ann said that Evan was the best dad in birth coaching she’s seen. (This is coming from someone who has been at over 1,400 births.) Evan is already such a good dad to our son. We both love our little Harrison so much, even in spite of the sleepiness. I feel so blessed to have him come to our family. Love that boy!
Pictures of him on his birthday
First Hair Wash!
First time dad held him! :)
Do I look exhausted or what?!
Father and son
Look at that hair!
First shirt, courtesy of Grandma Erin