Tuesday, May 31st. It started out like any other “normal” day (as normal as it gets for a pregnant mama!). Because of my high blood pressure the last couple weeks, I had been told to take it easy and was basically on bed rest.
On this particular night - a Tuesday, our official “date night” since the start of our marriage - Josh and I decided to see a movie at the local theater. We knew that once baby James had arrived, trips to the theater would be rare for a little while. I had a bit of cramping during the movie but didn’t pay much attention to it. On the way home, the cramps began to come more often; every 10 minutes or so.
Around 12:45 we decided to head for bed. No sooner had we turned off the light and snuggled up in bed than my cramps worsened to the point that I couldn’t sleep.
It was about 1:00 in the morning when I told Josh, “I wonder if I’m in labor.” I texted my midwife Hannah and asked her if the pain I was experiencing was normal. She assured me that it was, told me that it was likely I’d be having the baby within the next 24-48 hours, and encouraged me to get some sleep.
By 1:15, the contractions were so close together - about 5 minutes apart - that I couldn’t get any rest. By 1:30 they were about 4 minutes a part, and we called Hannah. Josh finished setting up the birth pool, as this was to be a water birth.
Hannah arrived at our house around 2:15 to find my poor husband attempting to fill the birth pool with hot waterwithoutusing the hose we had bought for the purpose (the adapter we now realized was necessary to connect the hose to the faucet had sadly gone unpurchased). Boiling water on the stove was not going to cut it given how close together my contractions were becoming, and Hannah decided it was more important to have enough water in the pool than to have perfect-temperature water. Thus began the bucket brigade from bathroom sink to poolside.
When Hannah checked around 2:45 AM, I was 7 cm dilated. Kathy (our other midwife) and Cortnie (“the intern”) showed up around 3:00-3:15. At this point my contractions were every 2-3 minutes apart.
I had been on my hands and knees for most of the duration of the labor. Josh had tried to get me into a more comfortable position or at least on the bed, but for some reason the floor felt most comfortable. All I wanted was for the pain to be over. I held Josh’s hand and squeezed it every time I had a contraction.
Kathy and Hannah told me that I could get into the birth pool if I wanted to, and I did. The water felt really nice, but my contractions started to slow down almost immediately; so back out of the pool I went!
Over the next few hours I took a shower, got back down on my hands and knees, then switched to the birth pool for a bit before repeating the process.
I’m not sure exactly when I was fully dilated, but they told me afterwards that I had pushed for an hour and a half. We tried a few different locations and positions for the pushing, and we could see the top of James’s head before I’d returned to the pool. In fact, we almost finished labor without using the pool! It was my offhand comment “So much for a water birth!” that prompted Kathy to suggest I slip back in.
Josh ventured into the birthing pool with me, and I leaned on him, squeezing the folds of his shirt with every contraction.
Little baby James was born at 10:45 a.m. And I do mean little; he was just an ounce over 6 pounds! At 20 3/4", though, we think he’ll be tall like Daddy. The midwives pushed some air down into his lungs to help him breathe by himself since he had so much fluid.
My mom flew out from Colorado later that day, and my dad followed 24 hours after. Josh took the week off and was able to work from home the second week.
Adjusting to mommy-hood has been a challenge, but it’s been great. Having my parents here to help for the first few days made quite a difference. I’m still struggling with nursing, but we’re getting there little by little; and the sleep deprivation, though hard at first, has grown easier to manage.
James is just about 4 weeks old now; and while we face fresh challenges daily as new parents, by God’s grace we’re getting through them.
I’m thankful for Josh, a fantastic husband and now father who has been very patient with me while I learn how to be a mom and meet the needs of our 4-week-old.
Our little guy brings us so much joy, and we wouldn’t trade him for the world. <3