It was two days before my due date. My belly swollen, feet tired, and that anxiety that only the last few days of pregnancy can bring, I was ready for Elijah, our second born child, to arrive. I had prayed earnestly that he would come early or, at the very latest, on his due date, since my daughter was a week late and my labor and delivery with her was less than ideal. When you have previous experience to draw from that wasn’t pleasant, you tend to worry that it will happen again! So I begged and pleaded with God that my water would break, I would labor at home, and that my son would arrive easier than the slightly traumatic birth of his rambunctious older sister.
It was a Wednesday and I was home with our daughter, trying to rest as much as possible, when I started having contractions at about 4:30pm. At first I didn’t think anything of them since I had experienced an extreme amount of Braxton Hicks contractions this time. They were coming very far apart, about 15 minutes apart, but they were regular. So I started timing them even though I doubted that this was the real thing. As I think back, I am so thankful for the perfect timing of all the events to follow. It truly was amazing.
My husband had decided that day that he would come home early. He got home a little before 5:00, where I told him with a smirk that I was having time-able contractions. He smiled really big and said, “REALLY?!??” The nerves were starting to really get to me along with the increasing discomfort of the contractions, so I didn’t eat dinner. I’m so glad I didn’t because of the you-know-what that could happen during delivery. 🙂
It wasn’t until about 5:30pm that we started considering the fact that we should call family – that this was “it.” I hadn’t experienced going into labor on my own with my daughter, so I wasn’t sure what it would be like. Although, I still was in denial…this couldn’t really be it, could it? At about 6:00pm, my contractions were coming 3-5 minutes apart, but weren’t super painful. We decided to head to the hospital, called family to meet us there to get our daughter, and check-in. We got all buckled in the car and my contractions stopped. Like a dead stop. I didn’t have one for 8 straight minutes and the one that finally came was weak and barely even worth calling a contraction. So we decided that we would go back inside, I would lie down, and my family would come to our house.
I laid on our bed in the dark, my husband took care of our daughter, getting her ready for bed and trying to keep her occupied. I labored in our room on my own for 15-20 minutes, which was kind of scary, and then my mom arrived. Shortly after, my mother and father-in-law arrived to stay with our daughter when we decided to leave. My moms sat with me in my room as contraction after contraction came. I kept focus and was determined to labor as much as I could at home. They were starting to get to the point where I had to concentrate at their peak, so we started talking about when we would leave. Honestly, I was terrified! I don’t know really why, since I had done it all before and survived, but I was like a little girl. Tears at the brim wanting my mommy to hold me. What a vulnerable time that was!
At 7:40pm, I had a contraction and my belly shifted forcefully downward, I felt our son’s head slam into my pelvis, and my water broke! My wish came true! The couple contractions after that were actually not as painful as I changed my clothes, but the pressure of standing brought on some pretty heavy duty ones. We said bye to our daughter, got in the car, my mom said she’d meet us there, and we sped off down the freeway.
When we arrived at the hospital, I was in so much pain I couldn’t speak during the contractions. My mom arrived at the same time as my sister, who had been having dinner right down the road. When we got up to L&D, they had me sit and sign a million forms. Why do they do that? The nurse actually had the nerve to get an attitude with me when I had to pause mid-signature because my contractions were coming so quickly and painfully.
At 8:00pm, they took me to a delivery room where I changed into a gown. After I was done changing I basically threw myself into the hospital bed. I had lost focus, my contractions were one on top of the other, and I was in pain. Luckily, my mom was there as well as my husband. Anyone ever feel like a weepy 4 year old who wants their mommy when they are in pain? Well, I do. Since I had lost my concentration, I was groaning and sobbing through my contractions. I was on my side, the position I had landed in when I threw myself on the bed and the only comfortable position I could bear at the time. My nurse was trying to get an I.V. into my arm so I had my arm bent back behind me, and I was gripping the side rail of my bed for dear life. I have to admit, during one extremely painful contraction, I let out a small shriek. I didn’t scream like a mad woman, but I just felt out of control. I kept begging my mom, “I need an epidural…I neeeeeed it, mom…” The nurses just calmly said, “We need to check you and get this I.V. in first.”
When the nurse checked me, she announced, “Okay, you’re dilated to an 8.” Seriously, I don’t remember much of what anyone did while I was in that room in labor, but I do remember I heard a unanimous “GASP!” from everyone. My mom later told me that she looked at my sister and shook her head, both of them knowing an epidural was not an option. Boy am I SO THANKFUL that no one told me that. They let me go on believing that I would get one. And I honestly did think that! I swear to you that I believed with all my heart that ANY SECOND I would feel the cold swipe of an alcohol pad on my back. Believing that truly is one of the things that helped me get through the end.
Suddenly, I felt like I had to pass gas. Like a LOT of gas. Up until this point, aside from contraction pain, I felt like a sharp gas pain in my lower stomach. It wouldn’t move because the baby was in the way!! But suddenly, I [sorry, this is gross!] let out a TON of gas and then felt the urge to push. My muscles did it for me, and involuntarily, my body decided to bear down. With one huge hard push, my son’s head came out. None of my family knew this happened until the nurses hollered at me, “STOP PUSHING!!! You’re going to tear!!!” while also trying to help me roll onto my back…with a baby’s head sticking out of me…during another contraction. It was agony and by the time I got onto my back, my leg muscles all the way down to my toes froze up. I seriously couldn’t move from the waist down. The nurses kept telling me not to push, so I did all I knew how to do to keep from pushing. I “hoo hoo hoo”ed until they told me I could relax. When they tell you to stop pushing, its almost impossible. Next, they said I could push but since my muscles were all locked up, I gave a half hearted grunt — a half-push. 😉 The nurse then encouraged me to relax as best I could and get this baby out. With one more push, at 8:32pm, my sweet boy slid out and began wailing. Only 30 minutes after arriving to the hospital!
At 8 lbs 7 oz and 21.5 inches long, he was bigger than his sister and had a full head of hair! We didn’t have the name then, but after a day of thought, we ended up naming him Elijah Joseph. Looking back on my 4 hour labor, I am shocked and amazed. Never did I think I would have that fast of a labor or be able to endure a med-less delivery. While it hurt, it wasn’t the kind of pain you’ll think you’ll die from. It was super intense but definitely bearable. I felt like super woman after!! 🙂
Elijah is the cuddliest baby and has been in the 99th percentile for height and weight since his birth. He currently [at only 16 weeks] weighs 17 pounds and fits only in 6 months+!!! He is my boy for sure!