During my second pregnancy, I did a LOT of mental preparation. I prayed for a positive birth experience. If you care about me enough to be reading this blog, then you already know that I did have an amazing, peaceful experience giving birth to Sophie. And although I'm sure some think I am crazy, I was SO relieved that she was born at home even though it wasn't the plan. Giving birth to her with virtually no help from anyone at all and in such a peaceful way was the most amazing confidence booster of all time. I am not foolish enough to believe that it was because I am amazing, but rather because it was a gift from a loving God who knew my heart and blessed me with an experience far greater than I could have even fathomed!
This last pregnancy I was preoccupied, overwhelmed, busy, exhausted, worried, and did I mention BUSY!? I kept trying to slow down near the end, but it just seemed impossible. I barely even thought about the impending labor and birth, and when I did it made me extremely nervous...mostly because going to the hospital was an unknown for me. The thought of laboring in an unfamiliar, sterile room with a bunch of electronic equipment everywhere and complete strangers coming in to check my cervix and strap things around my belly every hour just sounded awful. Plus, I kept wondering if it were possible to have two great births in a row. Was I pressing my luck? Logic told me that of course I could have another great experience, but I still felt anxious.
Jason was convinced that the baby was going to come earlier this time, and earlier by a few days would land the big day over Thanksgiving weekend which I thought would have been perfect! My mom would be leaving again right after Thanksgiving for Arizona where she had (and is still) receiving chemo and radiation at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I just couldn't imagine having the baby without my mom around to come and see her newest grandchild right after his arrival! I also really wanted the kids to be able to stay with her while I was in the hospital because I knew it would be the most comfortable place for them to be. Both my mom and I cried when Thanksgiving weekend ended and I still hadn't gone into labor. I just had to accept the fact that she wouldn't be there when I had the baby! I don't know why, but that was very difficult for me.
I kept having this nagging thought in the back of my head that the baby would be born sooner if I would just slow down and rest because I never go into labor until I am truly relaxed. Well, that just didn't happen...until my due date came. I had sort of cleared my schedule from that point forward, knowing that I would be unavailable for awhile. Jason and I kept trying to think of reasons that the baby hadn't come yet (he said it was because I hadn't yet edited his final paper for a class he was finishing up...I said it was because he was sick and God was protecting the baby from his illness). But really, we both were starting to feel a little discouraged as the days passed.
The baby was due on Wednesday, November 28. That Sunday, December 2, my friend Amy came over after church to rub clary sage oil on my feet. She said it was supposed to help you go into labor, and we both thought it was worth a try...you know you have a good friend when she is willing to come to your house just to rub your feet! Well, almost right after she left I started having labor pains. They were subtle, but they were definitely not braxton hicks - they were the real deal! I started rushing around the house trying to get every last minute thing organized that I could think of, because I was certain that the labor would progress. It turned out that Jason's dad was off work so we had him come over since we figured we'd be heading to the hospital at some point that night. Well, instead of escalating into real labor, I increasingly began to feel nauseated! I felt like I had the flu, and I thought for sure I would throw up. It was terrible - and terrifying. I prayed that Heavenly Father would bless me not to go into real labor until I felt better. The next morning I felt physically better, but was discouraged.
Actually, Jason and I both were both discouraged. But then I just decided to make as good use of my time as possible, since the chances of that baby being born went up with each passing day! I got to the point that I almost didn't want to go places where I would see people who knew me though, because they would inevitably ask me how many days late the baby was...and I don't blame them, because that is what you talk about with ladies that are 9 months pregnant! But, I was just getting tired of that conversation...probably because I had had it so many times in my own head already.
The worst part was when I was 7 days overdue and went to the doctor. He told me that although everything seemed good, I needed to have a no-stress test on the baby to make sure he was ok, and that if I didn't have the baby by the 12th, I would have to be induced! Being induced is definitely NOT what I wanted...for many, many reasons. The only upside to being induced, I kept telling myself, is that 12/12/12 would be a cool birthday! Cool birth date aside, I prayed fervently that the baby would come on his own before then.
On Friday, December 7th, we went to Trader Joe's. I'm pretty sure Trader Joe's brings me good luck. I am not superstitious, but I love that place! Plus, we were out of a lot of things, so off we went. Like I said, I think the place puts me in a good mood, and maybe that is what brings the good "luck." Whatever it is, I was feeling really great that night. Despite my continual exhaustion and physical pains, I was vacuuming the house until 10:00! I painted Sophie's nails and I thought, "what the heck," and painted my own! At 10:10 I finished everything, sat down next to Jason to watch an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond," and literally had my first contraction within 10 seconds of sitting down.
I didn't say anything because I didn't want to jinx myself (maybe I am superstitious after all)! My contractions were 10 minutes apart for about an hour when I mentioned something to Jason. The contractions continued to be 10 minutes apart, hour after hour. Needless to say, I didn't sleep. I tried to relax in between contractions, but my mind was racing! I have never had a baby in the hospital before, so I kept wondering at what point we should be heading over there. Plus, although my mom had come home for the weekend (just in case I had my baby), she had been telling me just a few hours earlier how nauseated and awful she felt! I was struggling with whether to call her, or whether to have my friend Katie (who had previously volunteered) come over and crash on our couch for a few hours until morning...what to do, what to do!? I just didn't want to bother my mom in her fragile state...at least not in the middle of the night! So, I kept staring at the clock and hoping my labor would drag on at a reasonably slow pace at least until morning.
At around 4:30, Jason finally got stern with me and told me I really just needed to call my mom, and that we needed to go to the hospital. I explained my hesitations, and he responded with, "yeah, I've heard that before...and I already know how this story ends!" Despite the dramatic experience last time wherein the entire world thought Jason was a superstar for delivering Sophie (aka holding out his hands to catch her), I guess he wasn't interested in a repeat! When I called my mom, she was all bright eyed and bushy tailed! She was feeling better, and up at that early hour because she had gone to bed so early...and I don't think I have ever heard anyone SO excited at 4:30 am in my entire life! She and Curtis rushed over and we headed to the hospital. For some reason Weston was sleeping on the couch and right before we left woke up because he was laughing so hard in a dream! I must say that I have never had a dream so funny that I woke myself up with laughter. What a funny kid!
Thank goodness I had a birth plan because when we arrived to check in, you would have thought I was Hester from the Scarlett Letter by the way the lady at the front desk glared at me! The offense? I had a cup of water in my hand! She immediately scolded me and surprisingly, I had to show my birth plan to get approval to drink water. That struck me as rather odd, but everyone beyond that point was awesome to deal with! Here are some of things that I think I will remember about our time at the hospital:
1. We were in triage for FOUR hours! That's right. They wanted to check me in immediately, but they were waiting to clean a room so that it was ready for me (apparently it was a pretty busy day for having a baby at Centennial Hills hospital). Well, after 2 hours the room was finally ready, but a hysterical lady came in about that same time who was begging for an epidural. She was also 5 cm dilated and 80% effaced, but since she obviously needed a room more desperately that did I, they gave it to her. I felt badly for her because her husband (or baby daddy?) that was with her was downright obnoxious. I would have needed medication just to deal with HIM! I didn't mind that they got the room instead of us, but I was very surprised that it took 2 more hours for us to get a room!
2. Our fantastic nurse, Laura. She was seriously perfect. She immediately made copies of my birth plan to distribute to anyone and everyone that would be interacting with me during my hospital stay. She was so supportive and helpful and fun to talk to! I am so grateful that she was my nurse.
3. The relaxed labor! My contractions remained about 10 minutes apart for 13 hours - from 10:10 or so in the evening until around 11:15 in the morning. They were increasingly intense, but I was prepared to breathe through them...and the long breaks in between contractions just made for a semi-lazy Saturday morning with Jason! It was so weird being alone in that room with him, no kids asking questions, yelling or jumping. It was so calm we decided to work on our list of stocking stuffers for the kids. I almost used the white board in the labor room to write it out because I couldn't find a piece of paper!
4. Jason was again GREAT! He really wasn't a part of the last labor (through no fault of his own), so it had been a long time and I think he was concerned about fulfilling my expectations. I told him that all I wanted was encouragement and support, and that is exactly what he gave me...perfectly. He was (and is) amazing!
5. Texting. My mom texted me throughout the entire labor, wanting to know how it was going, how far dilated I was, etc. I texted other family and friends as well, mostly to tell them that I was in labor, but most of the texting was with my mom. The last text I sent her before Brighton was born was at 11:52. She had asked about my status and I responded: "Between a 7 and an 8! Contractions very strong!" Her response: "Ok...love you! It's happening!!"
6. Guessing the time of birth. At 12:15, while it appeared that I was in transition, where there is no break whatsoever from the maddening pain, Jason asked me to guess how long it would be. I said I thought the baby would be born in 20 minutes. At the exact same time, he said, "I guess 12:35," which was 20 minutes. We were both right on the money! My mom was pretty close, too. She thought he'd be born close to noon.
7. My awesome doctor, Dr. Harter. I love that man! He had been at the hospital in the very early morning delivering twins, and when he heard that I had checked in he decided to just stay there...he said he wasn't going to risk missing the birth (especially after what happened last time, which of course was no fault of his)! So he waited at the hospital for almost 5 hours just to make sure he was there for me. He was super calm, and gave me almost no instructions...he just said to push when I felt the urge, and asked me to wait a moment when the head came out so he could break the sac (which was still in tact) and get the cord off from around the baby's neck. He also calmly informed me that the reason my limbs get tingly (which happens at the end of each labor) is because I am hyper-ventilating at that time. Who knew? It helped me to become aware of how I was breathing there at the end.
8. Pain! The only aspect of this birth that wasn't as easy as last time was the pushing. HOLY COW! Brighton's head was much bigger than Sophie's! And the nurses all commented that he had a "c-section head" because it didn't even look like it had been squeezed. (Does that mean I had to stretch MORE!? Because it sure felt like it!!)
Overall I felt so very blessed because I didn't need to be induced, I didn't tear, I was able to have a peaceful, natural delivery at the hospital, and because Brighton is a perfect, healthy little man! I was also thankful beyond belief that my mom was able to be home all day Saturday and half the day on Sunday. The timing could not have been more perfect. They brought the kids and came to the hospital a very short while after the birth, and I was just thrilled! The kids had such a great time while we were in the hospital, and fortunately we were able to come home on Sunday afternoon. My mom told me later that the entire time I was in labor, Weston kept asking "is mommy pushing yet?" He had asked me on several occasions previously why I couldn't just push the baby out if I was so tired of being pregnant? Plus, the kids were pretty darn excited to meet their baby brother. Here are some pictures from the blessed day:
Brighton Mitchell Glass
December 8, 2012
born at 12:35 pm
8 lbs, 3 oz.
Getting dressed in real clothes:
Tired, happy daddy!
Here is Brighton arriving home for the first time!
Welcome to our family sweet Brighton!