My Baby’s Natural Labor & Delivery: A Birth Story

birth story
birth story
Photography by Stacie Ricklefs Photo + Design

I love birth stories. I find them fascinating and beautiful. During my second pregnancy I compared everything to my first. After all, it’s only natural to reference what’s known. With my firstborn son, Triple A, I was due July 13th and surprisingly enough Little Girl’s due date was July 14th. I easily tracked my pregnancy and even wondered if the kids would share a birthday. Still every pregnancy and baby are unique so I knew my daughter would have her own story to tell. Here is Little Girl’s birth story.

Carrying my daughter was more physically and emotionally taxing than my first pregnancy. In my third trimester I began to fear, did a difficult pregnancy mean a more difficult birth? I had such a positive birth experience with my son I worried that somehow my daughter’s birth would disappoint. Ridiculous, I know but the pregnant brain often plays emotional tricks on you. With a lot of prayer and positive thinking I began to turn my fears into grateful anticipation. I so wanted to meet my daughter. I so wanted to be done with this pregnancy!

Starting around 38 weeks I began feeling as if my body was gearing up to give birth. I had more frequent and stronger Braxton hicks contractions. Things started to feel directional and very low, like Little Girl was settling into my pelvis. My son was born at 38 weeks and five days so I started getting quite excited. Addmitedly I was disappointed when 38 weeks and five days came and went. I kept reminding myself, this is her story be patient.

On Tuesday, July 7th, one week before my due date, I woke up with contractions at 4:20am. While the timing was intermittent, the contractions weren’t going away. After a very early breakfast I went back to bed. The mild contractions continued but I was able to rest. Around 6:45am my husband woke up with Triple A, while I stayed in bed. I knew this could take awhile because with my first birth I had almost two full days of “warming up before going into active labor.  On the other hand, I also heard second babies typically come faster so I called my mom, who lives two hours away, told her come down just in case things picked up. Best to be prepared, babies come in their time, not ours!

Throughout the day things progressed slowly.  I was tempted to be frustrated, but I knew it was important to surrender to the birth process and accept that a long warm up period was what my body needed. Having a long warm up to labor forces you to be patient and hold things with an open hand. You also learn to be truly thankful for each contraction because each contraction brings you closer to finally meeting your baby.

My contractions slowed down when I was up and about, especially when I was around my son. Surprisingly, when I laid down the contractions picked up and came consistently.

Take a walk during natural labor and delivery
Walking baby into position!

Still, I knew moving would help Little Girl settle into a good position for birth so my husband and I took a walk while parents stayed home with our napping son. Since my contractions were fairly mild we had a lovely time walking, talking, and daydreaming about becoming a family of four. I cherish the time my husband and I shared during both my labors.

By the end of the day things slowed down significantly. As I got ready for bed I made peace with having to wait at least another day to meet our baby girl. Little did I know my body had other plans. Shortly after laying down in bed a strong contraction came and then, pop! My water broke! I got out of bed and more fluid rushed out. Having my water break at home was new territory for me. Should we go to the hospital or do I have time to labor at home? While I showered my hubby threw our sheets in the washer, told my mom that my water broke, and called labor & delivery to ask when we should go to the hospital. They said that if contractions consistently picked up I should go ahead and come, otherwise they wanted me to come within an hour or two from when my water broke.
It didn’t take long for things to get going after my water broke. Contractions started consistently coming 3 to 4 minutes apart and there was certainly no talking through them now. We gathered our things and called the hospital to let them know we were on our way. Riding in a car while in labor is a doozy. Thankfully we live close to the hospital so it was a short drive. I turned on the heated seat, braced myself with the door handle, closed my eyes, and listened to the Mozart symphony playing on our stereo as I breathed through the contractions.
We parked and my husband helped me waddle into labor & delivery, stopping every couple of minutes for me to manage another contraction. We checked in and a nurse helped us settle in the exam room. My active labor definitely started after my water broke and the fetal monitor confirmed my contractions were strong and steady. When my midwife checked me I was only 3cm dilated and still had same effacing to do. With the contractions coming so intensely and quickly I assumed I was further along. I fought the feeling of disappointment and mentally started buckling down for what I thought would be a long haul.
coping during natural and delivery
We had to wait for a delivery room so I labored in the exam room. The nurses giving us some space, which I appreciated because we wanted a natural delivery. I was surprise by how strong and painful my contractions were this early in the game. I so badly wanted some tools, like a birthing ball and squat bar, to help me manage the pain but we had to get creative and make due while we waited for our room. My husband turned off the lights and put on our labor playlist of relaxing music.
With only the glow of the computer screen illuminating the tiny space, I sat on the desk’s rolling stool while my husband held me from behind. When a contraction came he put pressure on my back and I leaned into him as I tried to let each rush come over me and do its work. I tried some other positions. Standing while leaning over the sink was the most intense. I could literally feel myself opening as I bent my legs with each contraction. During my pregnancy I reread the birth stories in Ina May Gaskin’s book, Guide to Child Birth. As things got more and more intense, I imagined myself laboring with the midwives on The Farm. I thought about what they would encourage me to do… Relax my face, let out low moans, surrender to the rushes, and trust in my body and the natural process of birth. I reminded myself that the pain had a purpose, that each contraction brought us closer to meeting our Little Girl.
We labored in the exam room about an hour before being taken to a delivery room. When we got to our room I settled on the bed, laying down on my side. I wanted to mentally and physically preserve my strength because contractions were relentless and I thought I had a long way to go. After getting in bed I had one excruciating contraction. As I tried to collect myself another contraction started. Suddenly I felt a pulse and a lot of pressure between my legs. “Pressure, a lot of pressure!” I panted. “Oh okay, well the midwife is in another delivery but I can check you after this contraction,” the nurse said calmly. I’m sure she read my chart that said I was just 3cm about  little over an  hour before and assumed that I had a ways to go.
Once the contraction lifted I rolled on my back so the nurse could check my dilation. Just as I got onto my back another intense contraction started to pulse. Then with one of the pulses Little Girl started to crown! “Oh, OH, no, no, wait, wait!” The poor nurse pleaded. “I can’t!” I panted. I wasn’t trying to push and Little Girl had other ideas. She was coming NOW! “Oh, stop, don’t push,” the nursed said nervously as she ran to the door. “We’re having a baby here!” she called out into the hallway.
Ready or not here she comes! While our nurse was at the door another strong pulse came and Little Girl plopped out of me and onto the bed. 
Natural labor and delivery
There was no time for someone to catch her! I couldn’t believe it, everything happened so fast. Little Girl waited for no one. I now joke that she and my uterus were in cahoots because I didn’t push at all. Little Girl came rushing into the world all on her own.
Meanwhile in what I think was an unnecessary moment of panic the poor nurse hit the code button. A flood of people rushed into our room. Luckily one of the doctors put Little Girl on the chest so I could finally meet her. As I gazed into her sweet eyes I joyfully laughed in disbelief at what just happened. The other doctors on the code team were anxious to examine our baby so my husband cut her cord and followed as they took Little Girl to the other side of the room for examination. She wasn’t crying as vigorously as the code team wanted so they poked and suctioned her until she started to wail.
natural birth
I delivered my placenta after which another nurse massaged my uterus to help it come down. Wowza is that unpleasant, necessary, but unpleasant! I was bleeding more than what they wanted so they gave me a shot in each leg. One shot was pitocin to help my uterus clamp down, I don’t remember what the other shot was. I had a minor tear where I tore with my first birth. While a resident stitched me up one of the pediatricians placed Little Girl on my chest. It’s easy to tolerate someone poking and prodding you down below when you have a fresh baby to cuddle. My husband held her tiny hand as I studied her precious face and kept saying, “You surprised us sweetie!” I couldn’t believe she was here. Little Girl’s birth was so unexpected. It was powerful, and like her, beautiful.
First Time Mom natural labor and delivery
Photography by Stacie Ricklefs Photo + Design

Children are a gift on loan from God. I’m so grateful for the sweet gift of our family. I pray that by God’s grace my husband and I will love our children in such a way that they will know the depth of Jesus’ love for them. That someday they will grow to know and love Him in return. What are your hopes for your children?

natural labor and delivery
Repin for when you’re pregnant and want a natural birth.

What to expect when you get your first postpartum period

What to expect when you get your first postpartum period

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who is a first-time mom about her first period after baby. I’ve done this pregnancy and breastfeeding thing three times now and I have to admit that I kind of forgot how things have changed (especially since the first time was six years ago). If you’re like me and you breastfeed for a year or more, you may be exempt from a monthly menstrual cycle up until you’re finished breastfeeding. You could also breastfeed for a year only to have your period return to becoming a monthly visitor around the time your baby starts taking in more solids. Every baby is different and every mother is different; that being said, every period is different too!

The Breastfeeding Mother

I exclusively breastfed both of my daughters a little past a year. During that time I never had my period. I’m not going to lie it was glorious! During Kendall’s first year my husband and I did take precautionary measures to ensure that we would not conceive while I was nursing. The absence of your period (otherwise known as Lactation Amenorrhea Method or LAM) does not always equal the absence of ovulating to proceed with caution unless you want Irish twins!

For the breastfeeding mother, menstruation after pregnancy can begin as soon as 11 weeks and as late as 24 months. You’ll hear this lot when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and certainly breastfeeding, but it’s all a hormones thing. Changes in frequency of breastfeeding, the introduction of solid food, using a bottle more often, and sleeping through the night all have an effect on milk production. The more your baby nurses the more milk is produced and for some, like myself, this means that menstruation takes a backseat. In most cases, six feedings a day will equal enough milk production to keep Auntie Flo at bay! (Do you like how I made that rhyme? I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it!)

What is your first period like after you've had a baby?

The Exclusively Pumping Mother

Exclusively pumping is similar to breastfeeding so most moms have the same experience of their menstrual cycle returning when the frequency of pumping is decreased. Again, this isn’t the case for everyone, and some mothers will welcome dear old Aunt Flo only 11 weeks after baby is born, but some women will find that their period doesn’t return until their pumping frequency has changed.

The Formula Mother

Because the body is not creating breast milk when a baby is formula-fed, the hormone Prolactin, which is the hormone that suppresses ovulation, is not released. Menstruation can return between three to ten weeks after baby’s birth day for mama.

What to expect? How will my period be different?

Some people notice a big difference with their period before pregnancy and after pregnancy. My own personal experience is that the length of my cycle was significantly shortened once I had my first child and finished breastfeeding him. When I first got my period I had a very short cycle (we’re talking two weeks – it was miserable) and because of that I was put on birth control pills to help establish longer time in-between cycles. After my son (he’s my first born, remember?) was weaned my cycle went from being extremely regular and predictable (28 days on the dot) to becoming short and unpredictable. Some cycles would be 23 days, some would be 25 days, it felt like my period was like Monica in FRIENDS when she says to Richard, “I’m breezy,” indicating that she’s relaxed and cool with it all. The one thing that was consistent about the length in-between cycles for me after the baby was that they were never 28 days; it was always less than 28 days. *Sigh.*

First Period after Baby

The reason this happens again is….you guessed it! Everyone say it with me – HORMONES!! Hey, your body has just grown and supported the beginning of another human being’s life for nine months. If you’re breastfeeding or pumping then your body is sustaining that same human being by providing nourishment. It’s a lot for your body to do but you know what? It was made to do this and it’s fascinating how intricately the female body is designed.

Some periods come back onto the scene like Miley Cyrus swinging on that wrecking ball – full throttle and taking no prisoners. Sometimes periods come back and it’s like nothing has changed at all. “What? We were pregnant? Oh I just thought I was sleeping for a bit,” Aunt Flo says. And sometimes the return of dear Aunt Flo is a kinder and happier period; one with less cramping (because the uterus is a little stretched now) and shorter lengths. The bottom line (and I wish there was more to this than what I’m about to write) is that hormones dictate everything and it certainly is the case when it comes to menstruating after baby.

Take Laura and me for example, I didn’t get my periods until I had been finished breastfeeding or had significantly dropped in the frequency of breastfeeding. Laura nursed her son, Triple A, well past a year yet her period returned once he started eating solids. We’re from the same gene pool, however, our menstrual cycles are completely different. You just never know and like I have been reiterating to you in this post-hormones a the key players in this game. Everyone is…wait for it….DIFFERENT!

When should you become concerned?

Like with most menstruation concerns, it’s usually related to the amount of blood that is being lost as well as the severity of cramping. If the camping is so painful that you cannot resume your normal activity it may be wise to enlist the counsel of your general practitioner.

Bottom Line?

The bottom line is that yes, your first menstrual cycle after you’ve had a baby will be different than the ones you had prior to pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum recovery and breastfeeding/exclusively pumping (if you make those choices). Think about all that your body has gone through and be kind. Things will get back to “normal” or they may change a little bit. Those first few periods may be heavier and longer, particularly if you’ve been breastfeeding exclusively (six times or more a day) for the past six months to a year. Then again maybe your period will change and become lighter than it was before. We’re in the season of our life where change is inevitable and the same goes for your body. As always contact your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns but for the most part sit back and relax.

What to expect when you get your first postpartum period. Pin now so I'm prepared later.

 

 

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You Don’t Have to Choose Between Your Partner and Your Doula

Doula and Partner feature

Choosing a doula

When I first became a Prenatal Yoga Instructor, I began hearing about and learning about what a Doula was. I learned that a Doula is a woman who guides a birthing mother through labor. How nice! I was intrigued as I had always been very interested in pregnancy and birth. Becoming a Doula seemed like the logical next step for me. It just felt right, so when I had the opportunity to train, I jumped at it. During my training and throughout my years working with pregnant women in various capacities, I continued to see and hear just how important a Doula can be. In fact, there are several studies that show labor goes more smoothly when there is a Doula present.

E1_189 - photo credit Katsoulis Photography
Courtesy of Katsoulis Photography

But then I would hear concerns like “well, I want my partner (husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend) to be my labor support” or “my partner and I just want it to be the two of us”. You may not know this, but…You don’t have to choose between having your Partner as your main support and having a Doula present. You can have both! In fact, choosing to have your Partner as your primary support person during labor is one of the best reasons TO hire a Doula. Let her make your Partner more successful and feel supported.

One of the most common concerns I hear from expecting moms when faced with the decision of having a Doula is this: she wants her Partner to be her primary support. Perfect! Your Doula wants that too! She wants to be there to help your Partner look good.

Your Doula wants labor to be an intimate and connecting time for the two of you – that’s why she’ll do her best to work as a complement to your Partner, rather than stealing the show. At many points throughout labor, it will be incredibly helpful to have your Partner next to you, massaging your shoulders, holding your hand, looking you in the eye, giving you kisses, being present with you AND to have your Doula massaging your low back, providing counter pressure on your sacrum, squeezing your hips, and rubbing your feet. It will be helpful to have your Doula run out to the car, refill your water, get more ice, grab more towels, track down more pillows…still leaving you with the familiar and loving support of your Partner.

A doula provides valuable insight, advice, and support throughout each step of labor. I often find that, at times, the Partner is more thankful for the presence of a Doula than the birthing mother! It is a LOT of pressure on the Partner to be the only one there to support Mom, especially if they are also feeling the intense feelings that accompany the anticipated arrival of a child! The pressure of becoming a parent, the pressure of remembering what you learned in childbirth ed class, the pressure of not knowing what to do when seeing the one you love the most in such pain and discomfort.

If your Partner is worried about trying to figure out what he/she can do to help you, they can’t really be present with you in this experience. They can’t fully enjoy these hours before the birth of your child. Ask yourself this: Is it fair to put so much pressure on your Partner in such an already heightened time? Does your Partner really feel comfortable with that?

Prenatal Yoga-45 - photo credit to Mel Madden Photography
Courtesy of Mel Madden Photography

But isn’t that what my nurse is for?

Well, your nurse hasn’t been getting to know you during the months prior to your labor. Your nurse has other patients she also needs to help and monitor, other responsibilities she needs to complete. Your nurse will leave when her shift ends.

When a mom comes to me expressing her concerns about having a Doula, I gently explain some of the benefits, especially in response to concerns about a Doula impeding potential support by the Partner. I don’t force the issue because I totally respect her decision for her birth. The purpose of having a Doula is to empower a couple and make them feel supported and safe. How can I contradict that by trying to force an opinion on them? No matter the decision, I wish them well and hope that they have the birth experience that they are hoping for. Unfortunately, it’s only after the fact that I hear how the couple “didn’t realize our nurse wouldn’t be completely dedicated to us,” “didn’t like the nurse who was on shift,” “had no idea that all of these things would happen,” “thought we’d be able to have a peaceful environment, but there were interruptions and monitoring every few minutes and it was anything but peaceful,” “medical staff just did things and I had no idea what was happening.” Or worse, after the fact hearing about interventions that sound like they could easily have been avoided. But who knows – I wasn’t there and there is no way to really tell. The one thing I do know, is that I’d rather have a mom hire a Doula and have that invaluable support from the start, rather than have her go through a tough, or even traumatic, birth experience and THEN realize that she wants a Doula the next time around.

This post isn’t even about trying to sell my services. To be honest, I only take on a few births a year. I wish I had the bandwidth for more because I am blessed with such a great network of people and have several moms coming to me to request my services. Unfortunately, I can’t support many of them BUT I always recommend that they hire a Doula and always gather some names to send them.

I also don’t want to sound totally biased, here. I’ve definitely heard from moms who have had just their Partner present and have had fine hospital births. Keep in mind that your choice of location for your birth (hospital – and which one, birthing center, home birth) makes a huge difference in the outcome as well. I talk about this a bit in my Birth Plan Design online program, which helps expecting moms create a birth plan with step-by-step guidance.

Prenatal Yoga-7 - photo credit to Mel Madden Photography
Courtesy of Mel Madden Photography

On that note, another important reason to hire a Doula is for the planning that takes place in preparation of your labor and the birth of your baby. A few years ago, I had a Prenatal Yoga student whose husband was scheduled for a week of business travel during her last few weeks of pregnancy. She had been coming to my class every week and, although she had planned to just have her husband at the birth of their baby, she asked if I would consider being on-call as her Doula in case she went into labor before his return. I agreed and we worked out the details. We had an abbreviated “prenatal visit” after one of our classes and did some other communication by email to figure out what her birth goals were: what things were important to her, what did she need to know or consider, what did I need to know so that we could be on the same page allowing me to support her better? It just so happened that she went into labor the day he returned, so I was not present at her birth, but she did come back to a few Prenatal Yoga classes postpartum (something I always welcome my Mamas to do). She told me how thankful she was that we had done the planning that we did (creating a Birth Plan, practicing helpful positions, etc.) Without our preparation she wouldn’t have known what to expect, what was important to her when presented with decisions during labor.

I certainly respect an expecting mom’s choice to decline Doula services, but strongly believe that at least some thought and preparation should go into her labor experience.

But, I don’t necessarily plan on trying for a natural childbirth. Do I really need a Doula? Would a Doula even work with me?

No matter what your birth goals are, or aren’t, the right Doula for you will be someone who respects those goals and is there to support you and your Partner and to help you work towards them. Doulas are not only for women who want to experience natural childbirth. A Doula’s role is to support a birthing mom and her Partner before, during, and after their labor. Period.

Finding the right doula, though, makes all the difference. Interviewing a few of them and really choosing the one that you feel most comfortable with will be important. Check out this super helpful Doula Guide that my friend and colleague, Michelle Cohen of Savor It Studios in DC, created to help mamas navigate this important task.

 

Emily - photo credit Katsoulis Photography
Courtesy of Katsoulis Photography
About the Author:
Emily Masnoon is a Prenatal Yoga Teacher, Reiki Healer, and Doula in the Boston, MA Area. She has been working with pregnant women since 2011 and enjoys connecting with expecting moms in her weekly Prenatal Yoga classes and in her Partner Prenatal Yoga Workshops, and with new moms in her TummyTime Workshops. She loves helping pregnant women take care themselves during pregnancy through Yoga, Reiki, and Aromatherarpy, and preparing for labor through private one-on-one sessions and via her online Birth Plan Design program.
Learn more about Emily on her website and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram!

 

 

 

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A Push Present: What do you think?

Push-Presents

I’m over at the Twin Cities Moms Blog talking about push presents. Did you get them? If you didn’t, would you have wanted to have a push present? I just thought it was something every couple did and apparently that’s not the case! It can definitely be a hot spot for some people and some may find it offensive because your baby should be “gift” enough. I beg to differ.

Push-Presents

When I was younger, my mom would tell me the story of my birth as most parents do. Part of the story was how my father bought her a Beach Boys cassette tape to celebrate my birth. She wasn’t happy as I’m sure you can imagine. Because of that story, the present that my father gave to my mother to celebrate my birth, I assumed that everyone received a gift from their baby daddy after baby was born. It’s the same way I assumed that everyone used cloth napkins because my parents did in our own home. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I realized that the vast majority of the population used paper napkins and cloth napkins were used during fancy occasions. Apparently, my dad despises paper napkins for their inability to perform their task efficiently. (He is a retired Air Force officer after all; efficiency is everything.) I grew up with the notion that giving birth meant receiving a gift, and more than one in the form of a sweet baby in my arms. Isn’t this what everyone thinks?

To read more of the article click here!

What no one tells you about prodomal/false labor

pregnancy bump prodomal labor. first time mom

Laboring with prodromal labor. First Time MomWell I had a first the other day. I got to experience going to the L&D ward, sitting in triage for a good four hours, being moved to another waiting room to see if I would progress more and then being moved to an actual labor and delivery room with the intention of having my water broken at 1:00am. All to wake up the next morning with contractions having stopped and being sent home exhausted, overwhelmed and extremely disappointed with my baby still in my womb.

Monday morning started out the same way any morning would: get up, make the kids breakfast, get the kids dressed, get myself dressed and head out to my weekly OB appointment. The days leading up to my appointment had been rough; I was feeling exhausted, experiencing a lot of lower pressure, contractions on and off and loose stools. All symptoms that I’ve experienced meaning that labor was starting…at some point…

At my appointment my doctor checked my cervix and I was dilated two to three centimeters. Not really effaced yet but she noticed that it smelled like I may be leaking amniotic fluid. She did a ferning test (it’s a test to see if the fluid coming from the vagina is amniotic or not). The test was negative so I was sent home and that’s when the fun started. Checking my cervix seemed to agitate it and I started contracting regularly every three minutes and 30 seconds for an hour. I called my clinic and they sent me into labor and delivery to be monitored.

pregnancy prodomal labor. first time mom

1:30pm. That’s when I was admitted to a triage room at Labor and Delivery ward. Ben was on his way from work. I was just hanging out by myself chatting it up with the nurse who had been assigned to care for me. The longer we talked the more I realized that even though I was a day short of 36 weeks this was probably not the best time for my #3 to be born. When Ben got to the hospital she informed us that because of the baby’s age he or she would need to be automatically admitted to the special care nursery because of the age.

Sitting and waiting. That’s what we did for quite a few hours in triage. I was monitored, baby’s heartbeat was monitored and I was drinking lots of water and apple juice (which is my number one pregnancy craving). My doctor made it in to check on me. We were both on the same page that sending me home wasn’t the best idea. You see, I’m a super duper special person and am what they call a colonizer for Group B Strep (GBS). It’s that test that they give you after 36 weeks to see if you have GBS present in your body. If you are positive, the second your water breaks you have to go into the hospital so that you can be hooked up antibiotics for four hours otherwise there is a chance that the infection will be transferred to the baby during delivery. Because I’m a colonizer it means I always have GBS. I was 30 minutes short of the full four hours when I was pregnant with Kendall and she struggled for the first few days of her life. She was in the special care nursery because she had high CR-P levels, which meant her little body was either having a hard time handling the delivery and she was stressed or she was fighting off an infection.

Needless to say, I was adamant that I was not going to be sent home only to go into labor and then risk not getting the full four hours of antibiotics that my baby needed. My doctor (whom I love) agreed. The longer I stayed in the hospital the higher my blood pressure became which then brought up concerns about me getting toxic (and becoming preeclampsic). More tests were run to rule that out and they did rule it out. The decision then was for me to stay overnight for observation.

Switching rooms. I switched rooms to an overflow recovery room and Ben went home to put the kids to bed. While he was away contractions became more intense and frequent. The nurse came back to check on me and I had finally progressed from three centimeters to four! Finally, some progress!! After consulting with my doctor the new plan was to let me get my four hours of antibiotics and then she would come in at 1:00am to break my water since labor was progressing. And of course with that decision I was moved into a labor and delivery room. We also learned from my nurse that if the baby was born after midnight he/she would not be automatically admitted to the special care nursery. That decision would be based on how the baby was responding to life on the outside of the womb.

Relief or so I thought. A plan had been made and since we were nearing midnight the mommy guilt that had been plaguing my thoughts was dissipating. This wasn’t my fault and hopefully the baby would end up being okay.

Isn’t it ridiculous though? I mean I spent the better part of the day on Monday sitting in the hospital trying to wrap my mind around the thought that I was having this baby at 35 weeks and 5 days. Along with that came the worries that this child wouldn’t be with me full time because he/she would need to be monitored in the special care nursery, hooked up to machines with IVs in his/her arms. Envisioning that scene made me frustrated with my own body. Why was it trying to evict this baby now? Did it not understand that it was too early? Was it wussing out on the one job its meant to do well?

Then I started reflecting on myself. Was this my fault? Had I been complaining so much about how uncomfortable I was that I unknowingly willed myself into labor? Had I broken the cardinal motherhood rule and put myself above my own child because I seriously disliked being pregnant? I don’t think that my mind has that much control over the biology of my own body but what if it did? Could I live with myself if this baby was born with problems because he/she was born too soon? The answer remains unknown in large part because I got a second chance.

Second chances. The night moved on, I tried to get some rest and with the new found hope that my nurse had given me that my baby may actually be okay I started to get my game face on. Time to do the work needed to bring this child into the outside world. And then the nurse came into check my progression…

Praying during the wee small hours of the morning. While we were at the hospital my prayers (which are always pretty frank since I figure the Lord already knows my heart so why try to hide it) went like this, “Okay, what do I have to learn from this whole thing?” Pause to wait for any kind of answer. “Fine. I’m not in control. Is that what You want to hear? There. I’m not in control You are. Yes, You’re the one Who will make this happen not me. No, I promise I’ll let it all go and yes, I know that life would be easier if I could just do that but….” Pause. Deep in my heart this is what I heard from the Lord, “Why do you want to do it the hard way? Knowing all isn’t necessarily the best or easiest way to live. Let Me be the all knowing One in Your life so you can relax a bit. And by the way, it’s not your fault dear child, don’t go there.” It was refreshing, difficult to actually do since it goes against my human nature but He had a point. Letting go would make life more enjoyable.

pregnancy bump prodomal labor. first time mom

It stopped. Everything slowed down and I hadn’t progressed any more since 8:00pm. My nurse, who did not want me to deliver the baby because of his/her gestational age, called my doctor and they decided that I needed to sleep. My doctor was not going to come in to break my water after all. I would sleep and my progress would be checked in the morning. If nothing had changed they would send me home.

Confused and leaving with my baby still in my womb. I awoke the next morning to find that I was barely having contractions. Whatever my body was doing the day before had come to a standstill and everything had remained the same since 8:00pm the night before. I knew what was coming…I was going home with a baby still in my womb. My doctor drove in to see me and check on me that morning. She confirmed what I had secretly thought: nothing had changed. It was time to pack up and go home. We had an ultrasound to confirm that everything with the baby was okay; that he/she was reactive, taking practice breaths, etc. Everything was good and baby looked perfect.

My feelings that morning were very mixed. I was exhausted because I had barely slept; after all sleeping in a delivery bed is less than ideal. My hormones were raging from the previous day’s events and all the work my body had done to progress me to four centimeters dilation. My head knew that this was the absolute best thing for the baby but my heart longed to finally meet this little wild card growing inside of me. I call him/her a wild card because so far this child has broken the mold. Why? I got pregnant the first try with this child, it took the second month of trying to get pregnant with my other two. The other two had been born on Thursdays the day after a full moon; the full moon isn’t for another two weeks with this little one. Labor started with my other two because my water had broken on its own. I was experiencing prodromal labor with this baby; my water was still intact and labor has completely stopped with minimal progression towards dilation.

We packed up our room, signed off on everything and Ben and I drove home with our baby still inside of me. He’s better at processing the kind of stage of limbo we had been in the day before than I am. I was just angry. I hated not being in control of the situation (stupid human thought, that I’m really in control of anything). I hated the thought of having to repeat the whole ordeal over again: getting the kids situated with someone to watch them, making sure we had everything that we needed for when baby came home, getting myself to the hospital and Ben getting there if he was at work again. Then I thought about sitting in triage for hours on end, waiting to progress, the pushing and hoping and praying that everything would be alright with this child once it had to survive in the outside world.

Coming home after a day of prodromal labor. First Time Mom

You know what though? It’s all going to be okay. It’ll be better than okay because this really is the best for my baby. It was really disappointing coming home after an entire day in the hospital. It was difficult to get my heart to catch up with my head in processing everything that happened. I’ve had time to process everything and even though it feels like I’ll forever be pregnant I understand that this isn’t true. This baby will eventually make his/her appearance all in God’s perfect timing.