After weeks of waiting, hoping and dwelling on when we would meet our little man, it finally happened.
I had been stressing out about the time frame. If I wasn’t already thinking about when the correct due date was, I was worried about both my midwife and my birth photographer leaving on vacation for a week. Both were leaving on the 15th, so I kept telling baby Jedi that he either needed to come before the 15th (which would have been at either 42 weeks or 39 1/2 weeks depending on which due date was correct) or wait until after the 22nd. And believe me, when you’re at the end of your pregnancy, you do NOT want to wait any longer! But I really wanted Amber to be able to deliver him and I wanted my girlfriend Heather to be able to be there.
Anyways, Heather called me on Saturday afternoon and we were talking about how bummed out I was that Jedidiah probably wouldn’t be here before they left and how, as much as I didn’t want to, that I would try and keep him holding out until she got back. I was laying on the bed and all of a sudden I felt a little trickle. I didn’t think much of it but then it kept coming. I sat up and realized that it was getting the bed wet, so I got up and ran to the bathroom where it became very clear that my water was breaking! I was still on the phone with Heather and I told her that I thought my water had just broken and that I’d call her back in a little bit when I was sure. Trent was out on the couch watching some college football. I called to him and told him that I thought my water had broken. I moved to the shower to see what color it was and if it had any sort of smell to it. Water just kept coming. That’s when I knew… we were going to get to meet our little man very soon!
Since I had tested positive for Group B Strep, my midwife wanted to make sure that labor got started within four hours of my water breaking. I texted her shortly after it happened (3:32pm) and she messaged me back that we needed contractions to start by 7:30. I laid low until then, I read my Bible, cooked dinner, and drank lots of pineapple juice (to try to start labor). Trent painted my toenails. 7:30 came and went and contractions hadn’t started yet. Amber messaged back and said that we’d need to start with castor oil. I ate a teaspoonful of it with some ice cream and then Trent and I went out for a walk.
We also took our last bump pictures, knowing that our little Jedi was on his way!
Almost exactly an hour later, contractions started, at 8:30pm. They were lasting for about a minute but were still pretty far apart and inconsistent. At 10 I started to feel pretty nauseous and 20 minutes later I threw up my entire dinner, ice cream and everything else I had eaten since lunch. After that the contractions started to pick up in intensity and frequency. For the next half hour or so, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart and lasting for a minute at a time.
Then they got even closer and more intense. From about 11:40-1:00am, they were anywhere from one and a half to three minutes apart and lasting for a little less than a minute apiece. At this point they were super intense and I barely had any recovery time between them. I was certain we needed to go to the birth center. We had been communicating back and forth for a while and they told me that the castor oil tends to make contractions very intense about 4 hours after it’s taken and that I probably still needed to wait. But for me, not knowing any better, I decided it was time to go!
Zach and Heather had arrived sometime around midnight and hung out with me and in the living room while I labored. Then we headed out to the New Braunfels Family Birth Center around 1am. Trent’s parents had called several times and wanted to know when we’d be going to the birth center. They were on their way over to our house when we decided we were ready to leave. They happened to be close, so we drove in tandem to the birth center. Heather rode with us and timed my contractions while Trent drove, Zach drove their car behind us, and then Debbie and Steve (Trent’s parents) drove behind him. We arrived shortly before 1:30 am. Shelby, the doula who had been our birthing class instructor and is a midwife in training, already had things ready for us. The lights were dim, it smelled nice and there was soft music playing. I was immediately grateful for how comfortable she had made it. The main house was under construction, so we were in the newly renovated birth cottage out back.
The contractions continued close together for a while. Our midwife Amber arrived shortly thereafter. She asked if I wanted to be checked when she got here and I said yes. She kindly told me that we still had some work to do (which I knew was her kind way of telling me that I wasn’t very far dilated yet). Shelby continued to encourage me to not fight the contractions, but to work with them to help baby move down. That was probably the best advice she could have given me.
Not too long after, true to what they had told me, my contractions slowed down a bit more and I had more of a break between them. While I labored, Shelby rubbed my back and Amber massaged me. Only two hours later, I was nearly ready to push. Since I wanted to have a water birth, they began to fill the tub. I moved there around 3:30 am and I started pushing.
After a while, they told me that his head was close and let me reach down to feel his fuzzy little head. I continued pushing but had a hard time getting the traction that I needed (I was all greased up from the massage). Baby boy’s head started to show but we decided to move to a different pushing position.
We tried the bed for a while and he started to crown but we didn’t seem to be making enough headway so we moved again, this time to the birthing stool. I thought for sure the gravity would work him right out of me, but I had a hard time pushing here too. I was still too slippery and couldn’t get enough of a grip on the stool to really get good leverage to bear down. I was starting to get discouraged now, it had been an hour and a half and I felt like he should be coming. Everyone kept telling me how close I was getting every time, but until Shelby went to get a mirror to show me, I didn’t believe it. I saw his little head… he was so close!
After a while, we moved back to the bed and continued pushing. We stayed here for what felt like an eternity. I pushed for 3 and a half hours total, moving between locations with my baby’s head half-way out between my legs. He was crowning for over 2 of those hours. Towards the end I was so discouraged. I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore; I wasn’t doing it right, we weren’t making enough progress. Bless their hearts, everyone was so patient and encouraging, telling me with every push that he was coming closer and closer. Even though they really were telling me the truth, it just didn’t seem close enough. Heather had to leave soon and I kept thinking that we just needed to get him a little bit further and he’d come out. Unfortunately, Heather had to leave before he was born, even though she pushed it as far as she possibly could. I pushed, and pushed, and pushed, but I just couldn’t stretch enough to get him out. After each set of contractions, I had to keep pressure there so he wouldn’t slide back in. Amber kept trying to stretch me out using essential oils so that I could either tear or stretch enough to let him through. They used massage and constant pressure to try to get me past this spot. I was about to give up. I prayed for strength but I was finished. I remember crying and saying, “I can’t do this. I’m trying as hard as I can. I can’t push any harder.” Trent was such a trooper through all of this. He kept me going.
Amber mentioned cutting me open, which is something she didn’t want to do and has only had to do three times in all the births she’s done. She gave me the option- she could cut me on the next contraction, or I could try one more round of pushing. I was so tempted to just do the cut, but somehow in my delirium, I decided to keep pushing. Every time I would push as hard as I could, and every time everyone would say how close he was. Shelby showed me again with the mirror- his head was so close! I tried again through two more sets of contractions. I was going to give up again but they just kept saying, “Ang, you gotta get him outta there! Keep pushing!” So I kept pushing, even when I wasn’t having a contraction. Finally we all heard an audible “POP” and his head was out. I have never been so relieved in all my life! I still had to push out his little body out, but two minutes later, we had a baby! His little head came out at 8:00am and the rest of him at 8:02, his official time of birth. Trent helped lift him out and place him on my belly. We talked to Jedidiah and told him how happy we were that he was here, and what a trooper he’d been hanging in there for so long. I only wish that Heather would have been able to stay for that moment! She wanted to be there for his birth SO BAD! We waited until the umbilical cord stopped pulsing and Trent cut it.
At this point, Amber had to leave for her flight. One of the other midwives, Galyn, came to finish up and take over.
They got me a bath ready while Trent took the baby and had some skin-to-skin time with him. Mom and Dad got to see him and then headed out to get us some breakfast.
After I got out of the tub, Galyn and Shelby did all the measurements and tests. Jedidiah weighed 8 pounds, and was 22 and a half inches long. His head circumference was 14 1/2 centimeters (the average is 13cm). As she did his measurements, she said that the official diagnosis of time in the womb was 39 weeks- she based this on the vernix still on his skin, the amount of cartilage in his ears, his nipple protrusion (or lack thereof), the lines on his testicles and the creases on his feet. So we weren’t overdue after all! But little guy must have known that if his head got any bigger I wouldn’t have been able to deliver him any later that I did.
Then we tried breastfeeding for the first time. He did a good job! He had a good latch and fed for nearly 40 minutes! By then, everyone had left and Trent and I finally got to rest!
We chose not to have any other visitors that day and boy, are we glad that we didn’t. We had been up for over 24 hours and we were absolutely exhausted! We slept most of the day at the birth center and decided to head home at around 6pm. Trent and I got Jedidiah in his car seat for the first time and drove our baby boy home!
After 11 1/2 hours of labor, we are so thankful that our little Jedi is here! We are so thankful to God for our sweet, healthy baby boy and the strength he provided for us to deliver him!