It’s been three weeks since Sophia was born, and it has taken me that long to process her birth and be able to write her story.
Upon reflection, the agony of her birth has lessoned and the despair I felt has turned into utter delight over my lovely baby girl. However the memories of what was, by far, my most difficult birth are still there.
After such a difficult pregnancy that included first trimester morning sickness and vomiting, progesterone shots and the scare of a miscarriage, I was hopeful that my birth would be peaceful. The calm after the storm.
It ended up being the most intense part of the storm.
I shared awhile back that I don’t tell anyone my actual due date. It proved to once again be a wise decision as I ended up going 10 days overdue! I’ve had three of my children on my due date, so those 10 days proved an agonizing wait, but it was easier that I didn’t have everyone calling and texting me every day about being late.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. Before I went into true labor 10 days late, I started labor one week prior, just 3 days over my due date. It was in the evening, I called my midwife and told her I had gotten to the point that I needed Sean to make it through the contractions. She came, we had the birth pool all set up, and two hours later everything totally stopped. I was so frustrated!
When labor finally started a week later I waited a few hours before letting anyone know. I look back and laugh, because I decided to ship a batch of orders for Deborah & Co. during early labor. Once I got to the point I needed Sean’s help through the contractions I called my midwife again. I normally tend to go pretty fast in my labors, so she didn’t want me waiting long to call her. She came around 8:30 PM, and I told her I was hopeful to have the baby by 10:00 PM. Little did I know that we had a long night ahead.
Our children went to spend the night with Sean’s brother (who is married to my sister, who came to be with me). Our oldest daughter had a hard time with leaving and wanted to stay. Anticipating our usual calm birth, we told her as long as she went into her room when we told her to that she could stay. We had not prepared her to be with me during the actual birth, and at 7 years old I didn’t feel she was quite old enough yet. She stayed in the living room, quietly doing a sticker book and looking at books while I labored. Looking back we wish she had not been here, but I think she will be ok.
I started having horrible back labor and needed Sean and the midwife to press on my back when contractions came. We had the birth pool set up and I finally got in it. I’ve had water births with 4 of my 5 previous children and was eagerly looking forward to another water birth. It was yet another plan I had to let go of and surrender. Every time I got into the water my labor would totally stop!
Finally my midwife said she was going to leave and go to a local restaurant that was open late. She knows I hate being watched and sometimes she has to leave so I can labor alone. Sean and I walked our hallway and I walked up and down our steps while she was gone.
At this point it was around midnight, my contractions really hurt and were very intense when they came, but they were only coming every 15 minutes! Not very encouraging. I talked to my midwife on the phone and she encouraged me to just go to bed and rest. She was going to come back, pack up her supplies and leave until things picked up. Having never had a labor that just wouldn’t progress like this, I was so exhausted and discouraged.
By the time she got back I couldn’t stay in bed because the contractions hurt so badly when they came. I got back in the water, and again the labor stopped. My midwife had me go lay in bed on my side, with one leg pulled up high and stay like that for 15 minutes and then turn on the other side. She said sometimes that helps the baby if it’s position is not right. Talk about pain when a contraction hit!
My sister and midwife were camped out with pillows in the hallway, and Sean and I were in our bedroom trying to rest through contractions. I was beginning to despair that this would go on for another 24 hours. This went on during all the wee hours in the morning, until 4 Am finally hit. I was crying out to the Lord for deliverance, just praying that this baby would come. I asked Sean if we were going to have to transport to the hospital, as I knew something wasn’t right. Labor had never went like this for me, where I had hard contractions but spread far apart with little progress.
My midwife had checked to see how dilated I was a few times by now, but she would never give me solid answers, just encouraging me that I was progressing. I know my midwife really well, and knew that meant she didn’t want to discourage me with the truth. I really was not dilating very well at all.
Finally I asked her to check me again. At this point she asked if she could try and help move things along and I wholeheartedly agreed. She ended up needing to move my cervix out of the way. It was the best decision ever. A few minutes later I started pushing a baby out!
I was flat on my back in our bed, in a total hospital position. I have never given birth like this before, and in my head I knew this was a horrible position, but it was needed for this birth. I was so tired and desperate to get her out, and contractions were still not coming frequently.
Feeling the need to get her out, I ended up pushing out a 10 pound baby without the help of contractions. :/ I don’t recommend this, but it worked. My husband said he really didn’t watch her being born, instead he was watching me push with all my might, trying to get this giant (for me) baby out. Our midwife had to help get her out. I am used to pushing a head out and the rest of the body comes. Not Sophia! Everyone started yelling at me to keep pushing after her head was out, she came out ever so slowly and with assistance.
Finally, she was born! In reality, pushing her out only took a few minutes, it just was intense and ever so painful. Sean and my sister were afraid I might burst some blood vessels they said I was pushing so hard!
After she was born the midwife put her on my chest, but I didn’t even look at her. I was so exhausted I couldn’t even support her. I was in an incredible amount of pain, and the look on my face shows it.
My midwife did the basic exam and cleanup, and then left so I could sleep. I was already falling asleep when she came to tell me goodbye, with Sophia tucked in beside me.
The next 24 hours were hard, I was incredibly sore. Actually I’m still sore if I stand awhile. This birth I’ve needed to be down and quiet longer than my other ones. It has taken a good three weeks for me to be up and around again.
In case anyone was curious, I did not have gestational diabetes. I know people commonly think that when large babies are born. She just was a big baby, and was 10 days late!
I can look back now and say I would do it all over again to have Sophia. We love her so much already, and I can’t imagine life without her. However, I really, really hope to not ever repeat a pregnancy like this one.
If you are pregnant or just had a new baby, you might be interested in the Pregnancy & Baby resources found in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle! During my recovery time with Sophia I’ve enjoyed getting an early look into the bundle and I’m so encouraged by all the resources. It’s only available for one week!