It had been years since I had given birth. Isaac's birth was amazing to me. I was 37 weeks. He was born at Cascade Birth Center in Everett by an amazing midwife named Charlotte Geddis. I labored for 5 hours and 47 minutes (pushed for 17 minutes.) I had no drugs, and even though most will think I am strange, I loved every moment of it.
The women in my family have a history of delivering early and delivering fast. That being said, 9 years later - we really didn't know what to expect.
By popular demand (and I kind of love telling it...) here is the story of the day Gabriel was born.
At 35 weeks I went off the medication I was taking to prevent the contractions. Not much changed. Maybe a few more contractions, but nothing major. This was the week that I also had my first vaginal exam. I was hoping for some progress, but didn't want to be disappointed either. Boy was I surprised to find out I was 3 cm and 100% effaced! Holy Cow.
Now any woman who has been pregnant knows - once you make information like that public, the onslaught of phone calls and ridiculous questions from anxious grandmas-to-be, begin. We all spent that entire week on edge. Poor Chad didn't sleep well, he checked on me every hour or so. "Are you in labor?" Seriously Chad? If I was in labor - don't you think I would mention it? Wow. As the week continued, I got increasingly frustrated with everyones anxiousness and finally had to point out that in reality - my due date was still a whole month away. Women can hang out at 3cm and 100% for WEEKS. We all just needed to calm down and wait. That seemed to help. A little.
As the weekend approached, Chad and I were excited to have one final date night. My parents had the kids overnight and we went and hung out with my BFF and her new boyfriend. It was such a great night! We had finally kind of let go of the idea of me going into labor anytime soon, and we really just enjoyed ourselves. The guys had a cigar and a couple of drinks and my BFF and I got some much needed time together. Chad and I had a great chat on the drive home and we got home and crawled into bed around 12:30am.
At 2:25am I woke up and needed to go potty. When I was going potty, I had this burning sensation across the bottom of my belly. My first thought was "oh great! I have food poisoning. Dang fajitas!" I crawled back in bed and tried to go back to sleep. 3 minutes later, more burning. Dang fajitas! Then 3 minutes later...wait a minute!!!! Food poisoning doesn't usually happen in 3 minute intervals...OMG!!! I tried to wake Chad. He was dead to the world. I finally just had to full on hit him. "We need to time these." You would think I was speaking German. Poor guy was so out of it. He couldn't figure out how to use his contraction app that he had been so excited to use. I got frustrated, and told him to just call my sister and my BFF. He couldn't figure out how to use his phone. Seriously?? I called Deana - but by then I was having another contraction and could barely speak. At some point, I told Chad we just needed to leave. These contractions were too close together. We had planned to head to the hospital when they were 4 minutes apart; these were closer than that. So, we got in the car and started the 40 minute drive to the hospital.
I remember pretty random things about that morning - but the stuff I think you want to know is: we arrived in triage at 3:17am. Chad had finally been able to use the contraction app on his phone and was able to show the nurses that my contractions were about 1 minute apart. They got me to a room pretty quickly after that. Once in my room, I spent the majority of time standing, leaning on my bed. I had horrific back labor, which really surprised me, and made it so I was very limited in the positions I was willing to try. At some point, my team convinced me to get into the tub. That was short lived though because two contractions later, my water broke at 5:15 am. Deana,who had been at Isaac's birth had told the nurse that once my water broke she thought Gabriel would come pretty fast. Fortunately, the nurse believed her and they quickly got me out of the tub. As soon as I stood up, I had to push. As they were escorting me back to my bed, I pushed once as I was walking across the room. I got on the bed as fast I could. I remember Dr. Burdick saying "let me just make sure you are really ready to push..." it was obvious, so she turned to prep, and as she turned back, I pushed a second time and Gabriel was born at 5:17am!
I was so startled at how quickly everything happened, and my first words were "what just happened?" Someone said "you had a baby" and they handed me my sweet baby boy. He was gorgeous and tiny (6lbs 12oz) and was covered in vernix. He nursed right away and I just stared at him in disbelief.
Years of heartache (infertility) coupled with months of fear, had all been resolved in that moment. Any doubt I had about God, about Gabriel, about myself, dissolved when that little boy looked at me and stuck his lower lip out in a pout that would change my life. 2 hours and 52 minutes of incredibly hard work - to heal over a decade of devastation. Gabe's labor was a million times harder than Isaac's - but it was a victory in the most profound sense.