I can’t believe that two years ago I was breathing through contractions in my living room, less than three hours away from holding my precious girl! Since Addi turns two today, I thought I would revisit her birth. She is my spunky little sunshine and I am so thankful for her!
I woke up at 5:00 am, wide awake and hungry (not uncommon during my pregnancy). Got something to eat (I believe something Italian) and sat on the couch in the living room. I realized I had sort of an aching sensation in my abdominal area. “Hm,” I thought, “I wonder if that’s a contraction. I decided to go back to bed. I’d heard false labor was very common, also even if it was the real thing it would be a while before anything really major happened, so I knew I’d need some rest. I slept, but it was kind of like sleeping Christmas Eve when you’re a kid.
When we finally got up, I debated telling Josh- I didn’t want it to be a false alarm. I ended up telling him and we again decided to go about the normal routine of things. We had planned on going to the store to finish getting things needed for Addison’s birth, so to Sam’s club we went. On the way, I called my mom to give her a heads up, just in case this was the real thing.
Walking through Sam’s club was strange. Everyone else was going about their Sunday shopping, and I was waddling through contractions. It was like I had a secret that I wanted everyone else to know, but of course I didn’t tell our check-out boy that I was possibly in labor- that would’ve been weird.
The contractions gradually got closer together and lasted a little longer. Somewhere in the day I called the midwife. She told me to let her know when a) I needed her or b) when the contractions got definitely more intense.
So from 10:00 am to about 7:00 pm, we counted seconds and I tried to rest. We also inflated the birthing tub we’d rented and went on a walk. A little before dinner time I was seriously craving cream soda (the kind in the glass bottle) and spinach pizza. So Josh’s mom picked some up for us and brought it over.
At that time, my mom was already on her way down from Palm Bay, and the midwife was on her way too. We had sent out a text to our “point prayer people” who were supposed to spread the word that I was in labor and wanted all the prayer I could get. We asked them to pray for a speedy delivery.
Filling up the birth tub was an event (more like a circus, less like a ballet), but Josh bore my sharp remarks and blunt commands well (he’s the best!). By the time the midwife got there, the contractions were certainly more intense, but bearable and I had been waddling around with bowls of water to fill the tub. Needless to say, my blood pressure was not at its best. She told me to relax a little and she’d take it again later. She checked me, and I was 6 centimeters dilated. I groaned, all this time and only 6? But then that was at least halfway. It would have to do, it’s not like I had a choice anyway.
For a while, I was in the tub. The contractions continued- a little less bearable, but still manageable. For a while they seemed to have fallen into a rut. They weren’t regressing but weren’t really getting more intense either. And then they changed.
I was in the tub and out of the tub. I tried different positions (see sitting on the “birth ball”, on all fours, laying on my side, leaning against Josh) but I always ended up leaning against the wall, feet spread apart, with my head resting on my crossed arms. At this point, which Jyl told me was transition, none of the “comfort measures” we had learned in class worked. I can’t really describe contractions. I have nothing with which to compare them. They hurt, yes. But it’s…well…more than that somehow.
I remember during one contraction feeling almost panicked. Because this intense pain was in my body, I couldn’t escape it. It’s not like slamming your finger in the door where you can simply open the door and the pain will diminish. Another time I wanted nothing more than to lay down on the bed and sleep, just to take a break for a while. I also had a moment where Matthew 24:22 flashed through my mind, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” And one where the phrase “This too shall pass,” somehow brought a little relief.
Now all this seemed like forever, but I believe it was only a matter of 3 or 4 hours between the midwife arriving (6 cm dilated) and being ready to push. I knew I was ready to push when, at the end of a contraction, I gave an involuntary grunt. At that point I was out of water and Jyl asked if I would be disappointed if I didn’t have my baby in the water. I realized she was expecting the baby to be here soon- that helped me to focus and to keep going.
So I got back into the tub, and got on my knees, leaning over the side and crushing Josh’s fingers with my hands. With each contraction I pushed. This crazy guttural noise came out from somewhere inside me. I pushed and pushed. Finally after what seemed like forever, she crowned. Then Jyl told me to wait so the baby could turn. Ha! It felt like stopping a train, but I did my best to wait. At this point, my legs were shaking, and I was e-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d, but i knew it must be close to an end, so I just wanted my baby out.
A few more pushes (and roars on my part) and she came sliding out; Jyl helped me bring her up through the water and into my arms. I was a mess of exhilarated joy, exhaustion, and tears. Addison felt so small, I was almost afraid I would break her. She was covered in white stuff (vernix) and seemed irritated at her undignified entrance, but she was so beautiful!
There was, of course, a lot that happened after that, but I think this is good for now. I wanted to write out the story of Addi’s birth, so here it is. One thing I must mention is the timing of her birth. Addison’s due date was April 18th, but Josh kept saying she would be born a day early. A week or two before, he had noticed a publisher on a book was Addison-Wesley. The next day, Kelley called and told him Wesley’s birthday was April 17th. I know that sounds strange, but God speaks to Josh through things like movie titles and repeated phrases, so he was certain the 17th was the day. And Addison was born at 11:48 on Sunday, April 17th.
I loved having a home birth. Wouldn’t have changed the location for anything. If I did it all over, I would do it the same way again. I was able to move around as much as I wanted and I was in my own space, the same space Addison would be living in, growing up in. It just felt right.
That was then-
This is now!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADDISON GRACE!