I continued with my swaying through contractions tactic mainly using the birthing ball on the bed as pictured. This ball had stuff in it so it wouldn't roll around which was nice. I tried to sit on it but didn't like that during contractions, it felt best to be standing. Laying down through a contraction was the WORST so I definitely wasn't doing that at all.
I didn't use a certain method or anything, but had done a good amount of reading about birth without medication and had taken the "Birth Out of Hospital" classes at the birth center. I knew that to let my body do what it needed to do, I needed to go with the flow and not fight the contractions. One thing I had learned was the cycle of fear/stress --> tension --> increased pain --> more fear --> more tension --> more pain, etc. It was truly the Lord who lessened my feelings of fear through Scripture, Jordan's encouragement, and a supernatural sense of peace. Whenever I felt myself tensing up through a contraction, I would keep swaying, control my breathing, and whisper "relax" over and over as I relaxed my muscles as much as I could.
When the tub was ready I was eager to get in and see if it helped with my back labor. It felt fantastic. The water temperature was just right (I was afraid they wouldn't let it be hot enough for my liking) and I was able to relax more and sip on Gatorade. Jordan pulled up my Spotify playlist of all Coldplay only Coldplay (my favorite band ever). I still swayed and moved through the contractions, but let the water hold my weight. It was cool how they could still monitor Judah's heartbeat regularly under the water with the doppler.
Many people had been asking if I was going to do a water birth. My response was usually, "We'll just have to see!" because I really didn't know. I didn't know how the tub would feel to me but kept an open mind without ruling it out. I knew that if being in the water helped and the baby started coming, I probably wouldn't want to hop outta the tub and dry off while fighting an urge to push. And it really helped us to see videos of water births at our classes. So I just kept it as an option and wanted to see how it would play out. I loved being in the water, but it seemed to be slowing my progress down as the contractions became a little further apart.
They suggested that I get out and walk for a while to really get things going. We walked around the birth center and went to talk to the family out front. They were so happy to see us and couldn't believe how cheerful I was to be that far along. Yeah, the contractions weren't fun or anything, but I was just so happy to be there and excited. The environment and Jordan were really keeping me calm and peaceful, and everything was still so manageable at this point.
Remember how Jordan was still fighting a stomach bug? And how he also has two herniated discs in his back and hasn't even been able to walk normally for months? The Lord totally answered our prayers with a yes and gave him the strength he needed. He took one of my Zofran pills (the last person to take one wasn't me! ha!) and was able to eat some food. I'm sure some of it was him being strong for my sake but I wouldn't have even noticed at the birth center that he felt badly or that his back hurt. He was SO positive and encouraging in just the right way, helping me in any way possible.
It seemed like time was going by so quickly. It's hard to remember what all we did during this time -- mainly just walking around, talking, and listening to Coldplay. I do remember that when she checked me again, I was 9cm and we were talking about how it probably wasn't possible for him to have a Pi Day birthday (3/14) anymore because it was getting close to midnight. But we thought it'd be REALLY soon.
And then 5.5 hours later he was born. The end.
........just kidding. :) This is the not as pleasant part that Jordan doesn't like to revisit in his mind. (I've been getting him to help me remember stuff.) And I can't come close to remembering it all because it's such a blur. But I'll try.
After that last time before midnight I never looked at the clock again. I had no sense of time at all. I didn't want to know how long it was taking. But at this point my body was completely ready -- fully dilated, cervix thinned, all systems go -- but little Judah was not. He was cozy right where he was and didn't want to budge.
That whole posterior, head tilted and not down thing was still fully in effect. My water wasn't breaking and I had no urge to push whatsoever. So this was a weird time for me. The whole time I had a goal to reach -- get to 10 cm! And now that I was at 10 cm, what was I supposed to do? Keep having contractions that were continuing to increase in intensity and were one on top of another forever? I remember thinking to myself, "This could never end. He may just stay in there. How long could he stay in there?" and then also thinking, "What actually IS an urge to push? Am I having them and not knowing it? That seems ridiculous...an URGE is something that you definitely feel. What if I don't want to feel it? I'm really scared to push. I'm REALLY scared to tear. Maybe I should just not do this."
I could feel the fear coming on and I didn't want it to. Not one bit. So I asked if I could get back in the water. They suggested a shower, and the shower had a separate sprayer thing that Jordan could point at the exact spot on my back where all the pressure was. I thought this sounded excellent. It was a walk in shower area next to the where the toilet was. (Let me just mention that the toilet seat was heated. Heavenly.)
Jordan put on his bathing suit and helped me into the shower. Those two bars that you see in the picture were perfect for me to lean on and let Jordan spray my back. Ohhh man my back. The pressure in my lower back was so intense and concentrated, it covered an area about the size of a softball. Not at all what I imagined labor to be like. I think we were in there quite a while. I was SO SLEEPY. Couldn't hold my eyes open. I was trying to stay fueled with food and hydrated with water and Gatorade, but then I threw up. I knew this was a good sign that things were still happening, but here's what was going on.
- Judah still wasn't moving down at all.
- My water wasn't breaking.
- I was still having no urge to push.
- It was starting to take too long, especially since I was already completely dilated.
- My blood pressure was getting too high.
- With two nights of no sleep I was extremely tired.
- Since I had mainly been up and at 'em the whole time we were there and was throwing up, I had no energy. They tried to get me to do some squats in the shower while holding onto the bar, but I could NOT do it.
They left the room after a few minutes of time with Judah so Luanne could stitch me up. Remember my huge fear of tearing? It happened, and I still don't know how many stitches I got, but I didn't even feel the actual tearing. People had told me that it could be like that, and I didn't believe them (I'm talking about you, Sydney!) but they were right. Maybe if I would have had an easier time leading up to the pushing it would have been worse, but the end happened so fast and there was so much going on with my body that I didn't even feel it.
I did feel the stitching up part though. Ouch. One of my least favorite parts for sure.
They helped me into a wonderfully warm shower and Jordan spent some time with Judah. I think after I got out was when they weighed and measured him. 6 lbs. 10 oz., 20.5 inches long. The cutest little guy ever.
We were both ravenous and Jordan was feeling like he could actually eat some food and keep it down, so my parents went and got us some McDonald's sausage and egg biscuits and orange juice. YUM. One amazing thing about the birth was that when Judah and placenta left my body, my hyperemesis also left immediately! I felt a huge difference right away and didn't have to think twice about eating that biscuit. Even though my sickness was much worse through the first half of pregnancy, I hadn't realized how badly I had still been feeling until it was gone. Praise the Lord!
Jordan's side of the family went back to our house to get some sleep. We said our goodbyes and thank yous to Luanne and Tracy as a new nurse Kara came in to take care of us. My parents stayed at the birth center for a while which was nice because my mom held Judah while Jordan and I took an amazing nap. I don't know if I've ever been so confused when I woke up. Where am I....what's going on....I'm still so tired....there's a baby....it's my baby. Woah.
After I woke up I fed him again and my parents headed back to their house. Jordan's mom came back to the birth center and helped get Judah cleaned up and dressed for the first time. We started the discharge process as Kara made sure I was good to go, checking up on my body and answering all my questions, giving lots of instructions. She was amazing, too. We really had the most wonderful team throughout this whole time.
Jordan put him in his car seat and we went home sometime around 11:45am. It was a beautiful day for a birthday. I had been a little apprehensive about leaving the birth center so soon, but it was really great. I felt like I had just the right amount of time there. We got to rest at home with lots of help from both sides of our family. They made a huge, delicious meal and we had a birthday party for Judah out on our deck. That evening I kept thinking how weird it was that I had birthed a baby earlier that morning.
What a weekend. It is still so surreal to think that it all actually happened. It was SO not my strength, but the Lord's strength in me. That's the only way I can explain it. I cried out to Him for help, and He absolutely helped me.
"Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free."
-- Psalm 118:5
All glory, honor, and praise be to the Lord. Most of all for redeeming us through His Son Jesus and for giving us new life. The name Judah means "praise", and our prayer is that his life will be a sacrifice of praise to Him.