I know that many people have been curious as to how our labor went when Reynen was born so I thought I’d share the tale. Be warned though…it’s lengthy.
It was a dark and stormy morning….no really…it was. It was dark and pouring down/flash flooding and 6:15 when I heard a thud of some sort that sounded really strange. I thought it may have been our upstairs neighbor or maybe it was Reynen and he’d hit a bone or something. Then I started to feel some fluid coming out of me uncontrollably. I had to pee anyways and had been putting it off because I was tired and wanted to sleep. So I got up quickly thinking I wasn’t really able to hold it any longer. But when I went to the restroom fluid came gushed out. So I went over to Andrew and told him I thought my water broke. As I was sitting there talking to him, it gushed again and I ran to the restroom. Yep! I’m pretty sure that’s what it is! After the initial shock of, “Ok, he’s coming today. Oh my gosh, this is happening,” we sat down and prayed together. I was really hoping labor would start naturally so as not to be put on Pitocin.
I didn’t know what contractions were going to be like. I had expected my entire abdomen and stomach to be hurting and instead I felt menstrual cramps. So Andrew & I took our time and didn’t rush to the hospital. We packed our bags, changed the sheets, did the dishes, etc. When we called my father at around 8 he said that my “menstrual cramps WERE contractions and when he heard we weren’t at the hospital yet, he said, “you need to go to the hospital.” So we went….but we stopped at Starbucks first. I got a bagel and cream cheese and then we headed to St. Joseph Hospital. We sat in the car, timing contractions, with me finishing up my bagel. I wanted to eat something before I got in there and they wouldn’t let me eat.
So we got settled in around 9:30/10 and she checked my dilation – 5cmm and 95% effaced! I was so encouraged. I was half way there and hadn’t been suffering overly with contractions. I mean they felt more like menstrual cramps to me, and I had had severe ones in high school. My doctor came in around 10:30/11 and confirmed the same thing and told me she’d be back in 2 hours and that I needed to progress during that time.
Our nurse Tawyna was really sweet and left Andrew & I alone for the most part to labor, since she knew we were trying for an unmedicated birth. My labor definitely intensified. It was painful. It was hurting in my lower abdomen, spreading all around to my back. I was trying to give Andrew instructions on what I needed. But trying to tell someone where you’re hurting and what to do to make it help WHILE you are IN intense pain isn’t easy. It sounded like this, “both hands, harder, less, up, down, everywhere, harder, harder!, ooooohhhh, owwwww, hold.” I moaned through every contraction. Vocalizing really helped me. I also did the mental relaxation technique where you try to picture an object of each color of the rainbow in sequence. So I was attempting to get my mind distracted some what by thinking “Apple, orange, banana, grass, sky, grape, etc.” It worked okay. I was doing it really fast in my mind though because of the pain.
Funny thing during labor was that the ONE position that probably hurt the worst for me was the side laying position, which was the #1 position that we practiced in our Bradley class as the core to our relaxation techniques. I labored on the toilet with Andrew rubbing my head hard; that really helped be good counter pressure for me. I also did a few hip swings while leaning over the bed, and labored by sitting up right in the bed with my arms sitting me up. After the 2 hours, Dr. Appleton came in to check me again. When I got up to get onto the bed, I had one of my hardest contractions yet. It felt like it would last forever. I was whimpering and hurting bad.
When she checked me again closer to 1 she said I was fully dilated and that I could start pushing! I was surprised to hear that, because I hadn’t had an overwhelming sensation to push, which is what we were told to wait for. But Dr. Appleton suggested that I try to push with 2 of the contractions, and OH MAN! That felt the best. I was finally able to push against the pain and it helped relieve it for the time I was holding my breath to push. After only those 2 pushes she said she could see the top of his hair. WOAH! I didn’t believe it. I had expected to feel this sensation of him coming down as I pushed but I didn’t feel any different and yet he was making his way out. So the nurse says that I pushed for an hour, but it really felt like 20 minutes. She did have to give me a small episotomy and then I tore a little on my own, but nothing major. As I was giving my last big pushes and his head was out, I gave one more big push to get his shoulders out and then I felt him wriggle out.
Up until this point my eyes had been closed for the majority of the time trying to focus on relaxing through the pain, but now my eyes were opened again and I saw this big, bright, light with a doctor wearing a mask and holding up a tiny little person! It was Reynen! It was really over and he was out! Born at 2:20PM, weighing 7 lbs. 3 oz.! I was somewhat emotional and had a few tears. It is such a sereal experience when they place your child on you for the first time. After 9 months of wondering what he/she will look like, they are finally right in front of you and you can touch them.
I was super shaky after delivery…adrenaline, all the hype and blood loss I’m sure. It was odd, but they wouldn’t allow me to drink orange juice because of the acidity. My Bradley class instructor had suggested we all have orange juice right after to replenish our sugars and nutrients. Funny they wouldn’t let me have any. I got Gatorade and apple juice instead.
Andrew was so great during the labor. He sacrificed food and was by my side trying to help as best he could. He watched Reynen make his way out on an empty stomach too! And also had to go lay down once due to him feeling a little light headed.During the pushing stage, he constantly told me how good I was doing. And after it was over, he reminded me how proud he was of me multiple times and again on what a great job I did.
It felt awesome. I was so thankful and praised God. It was awesome that it was raining on Reynen’s birthday, awesome that I had an 8 hour labor/delivery, awesome that I was able to do it! I am so thankful to the Lord for the gift of giving birth to Reynen; it was a great experience. We are all three doing well. I’m recovering really well and Reynen is feeding well and gaining weight. All things to be eternally grateful for. It is a gracious gift that I don’t deserve.
People have told me that next time I CANNOT wait to go to the hospital when my water breaks, because your second child supposedly comes faster than the first. Maybe I’ll have all my babies quickly, which would be great!