With a surprise pregnancy, I ended up booking two weddings the weekend I passed 37w. I was extremely anxious the entire summer about fulfilling my commitment to these two brides and woke up Friday, August 30th so relieved. I'd made it. I worked my butt off in the gym to make sure my body was physically capable of shooting a double that late into my pregnancy and I felt ready, so ready to knock out those two weddings and no longer be worried about the unexpected.
My midwife and I both thought that I would probably go into labor as soon as I felt like my obligations were completed, so I tried to mentally psyche myself out that I wasn't as relieved as I felt. We all know where this story is going, so clearly I didn't accomplish this!
Friday, I drove up to Duluth, shot a gorgeous wedding and made my way back home by midnight with a few contractions and an extreme concern . . . I was starting to lose my MP. With all three of my other deliveries, losing my MP happened just 1-3 days before labor and delivery, so having it start to happen at 37w1d and with another wedding and 6 scheduled sessions to go, I was mildly freaking out.
There wasn't anything I could do about it and after a short night of sleep, Saturday I paired up with my good friend Abbey and an extra assistant in tow to shoot my 2nd wedding. We had another equally gorgeous wedding, with even more contractions interspersed throughout, but I made it through the 9 hour day and made my way home! I still had sessions scheduled, so again, I tried to tell myself to calm down and not be too excited about finishing the weddings, but I continued to have contractions throughout that night.
Tony and I gameplanned what we all wanted to accomplish on Sunday, with my focus on laying as low as possible. Our neighbors thankfully helped a lot in this regard, as they took both boys over to their house for the majority of the day, while I tried to lay down, while Tony did as much around the house and the nursery as possible. I had an engagement session scheduled for that evening, which went off without a hitch, despite a really unfavorable forecast!
After my session my contractions kicked up a little bit, still, even from the initial ones on Friday, they never became regular, so I wasn't too alarmed. That night though, every single time I woke up, I had a contraction and it became very clear to me upon waking up Labor Day that they had changed. They were regular from 8:00am on and they were growing in intensity.
I again had a session scheduled that evening, so I tried to see what I could do to delay labor as much as possible. I applied lavender EO to my stomach, drank a ton of water to stay hydrated and finally got into the tub after a few hours of them being 9-10 minutes apart.
I prayed a lot while I was in the tub, mainly about Isaac . . . because he was starting Kindergarten the next day and it was becoming very clear my contractions were only going to result in one thing, a baby. I had a little hope around 12:00pm when my contractions spaced out to 45 minutes apart in the tub, but they never stopped. It was while in the tub, I text AJ and confirmed/wanted her to talk me into the importance of Isaac going to school on the first day. I wanted so badly to be there, but I knew that we were suddenly dealing with a lot of other circumstances. Tony being able to attend the birth and then make it back to bring Isaac to school seemed like the best case scenario, so it was all I started to pray about.
After another hour in the tub, with 40 min of contractions 7-10 minutes apart, I decided to get out. I felt like I'd wasted Sunday and unfortunately there were things that needed to be done, like last minute prepping for Kindergarten and grocery shopping, plus my session. Doing things around the house didn't intensify my contractions or bring them closer together, so I decided to still shoot my session, before then going to Target for a few groceries to get us by and a few school things for Isaac. I had to pause a few times in Target due to my contractions, but was able to get home fine.
I finished packing our hospital bags and overnight bag for the kids, while Tony packed Isaac's lunch and made sure all of his forms were in order. My contractions were still between 7-10 minutes apart and steadily more painful, so I started praying that my water would break. I was so worried we wouldn't make the hour drive to the hospital if I labored at home like in the past. I didn't think I'd know the right time to make the call to leave.
I took a shower, took my eye makeup off, grabbed one of Tony's t-shirts and went to bed at about 10:40pm, with Tony getting in the shower right after me. I fell asleep almost immediately, but woke up 20 minutes later to my first contraction since laying down. Tony had gotten in bed and tried to hold my hand as I started the contraction on my timing app, but I do not like to be touched or talked to while contracting and I flipped my wrist to get his hand off of mine. Not 10 seconds later, with what felt like a forceful kick . . . my water broke, in bed.
I jumped up immediately, turning the light on and simply said "Well, my water just broke." Tony looked at my shocked and said "What? Wait, what?" a few times, before hurrying off to scoop up the kids and buckle them into the van. From start to finish, we were out the door within 7 minutes. I'm still impressed by that! Tony grabbed blankets for each kid, while I got a towel for my crotch and somehow managed to leave without even putting shoes or a bra on. Tony obeyed most of the rules of the road, but Isaac did wake up as we were leaving our neighborhood and chastised us with a "Slow down you guys. It's not safe."
I text my Mom and Gina that my water had broke. My Mom was immediately en route to the hospital and Gina, well Gina wasn't going to make the birth, so I basically told her so she could get to praying. I had two backups, as Gina had let me know that Monday and Tuesday weren't options for her. I text Christina on the way to the hospital and told her I'd keep her updated.
I was so anxious that my contractions were going to hit warp speed, as my experience with my water breaking previously was with the boys crowning and ushering in transition with Miri. I anticipated the car ride from hell, but remarkably, the hour passed quickly without a birth on the side of the road or traumatizing our kids. I was quite the sight though walking up to the emergency room, waddling with a towel between my legs, no makeup, no shoes, no bra, wearing a shirt that Tony doesn't even wear stating "My drinking team has a hockey problem."
That said, we were quickly brought into our room by our awesome L&D nurse. I was checked out and admitted at a 4.With my water breaking, I knew we were staying, but I was really glad to hear I was at a 4 at least!
I was sad to hear that my beloved midwife wasn't on call, but since I was already giving birth at 37w4d and the eve of Kindergarten, nothing was exactly ideal. My nurse Sheila asked me a few questions and inquired several times if there was anything she could do or to help, but there wasn't much to do other than for me to get labor going.
I just wasn't ready though.
I sat in the hospital bed, with my contractions 4-6 minutes apart and thought about how much I didn't want to go through birth again. How I wasn't ready.
It was my pervasive thought.
And so even though I knew I needed to stand up, to labor how my body likes, with gravity as an ally, I laid in that bed.
Around 1:30am, Tony asked if it'd be okay if he laid down. He wasn't really doing anything, because I wasn't really doing anything and I saw no reason for him not to.
It was somewhere after Tony laying down that I finally bit the bullet and got up. There was no denying the fact that I was having a baby, no matter how unprepared I felt. Or how much I didn't want to endure the pain, again.
Right away, with standing, my contractions intensified. I walked a little loop in the room, raising my hands in praise as I listened to the Third Day station on pandora. I was in my own little world for the better part of an hour, until around 2:40am, when I realized that my contractions were now 2-3 minutes apart and I had neither a nurse or my husband readily available. That's when I woke Tony up, nap time was over!
I was starting to lose it here. I was so tired. Just so tired. And I really didn't want to face the pain that was coming. I know that seems so stupid, but with three med-free births behind me, the last one entirely too recent for my memory to have faded, I just didn't want the pain. Without a doubt, if there were a fictional baby #5 I would get an epidural. The mental anxiety and pain from dreading what was coming absolutely hurt worse than delivery. And that's just stupid. As a side note though, I find it so interesting how different Ezra's delivery was in comparison to my other three. I question why, a lot.
I told Tony I didn't want the pain and he in turn, like a fabulous husband said he'd do anything to take it away. I then asked him if we could make the vasectomy just a little painful, just to keep things fair. ;)
I changed positions a few times here, between kneeling on the bed, with my arms over the top and standing, holding tight to Tony's hands. Everything felt like it was progressing exactly like Miri's birth, with a somewhat irregular contraction pattern (one strong one, followed by a weaker one), so I figured I'd stick to the positions that finally helped move Miri down.
At 2:45am, I told Tony to call Christina, as she was about 20 minutes away, but he suggested waiting until the nurse had checked me, as she'd mentioned she'd be back in at 3:00am. It made sense, so I agreed, unfortunately, we should have called her right that second. When I was checked at 3:00am, I mentally was just done and I was so frustrated to hear that I was only at a 6. That said, I really felt like I was in control of my body and knew that I was still resisting the fact that I was going to have a baby. I hadn't even met the on call OB yet (which I know is normal, but so different than midwifery care), but my nurse said she was going to call her down. So she called for the OB, while Tony called Christina and I tried to relax as much as possible.
Not 20 minutes later when the OB popped her head in to say "Hi." I had progressed to an 8 and was definitely feeling pushy. Unfortunately, the OB and nurse didn't have any of my history of quick deliveries and I was so defeated when the OB nonchalantly announced that she was just going to dip out and hang out outside of the room.
I looked at both my nurse and Tony and told them that I was holding back. No one was ready for this baby, not the nurse, not the OB, not me. I needed someone to be ready! Thankfully my nurse read between the lines and asked the OB to come back into the room. That was all I needed to hear and I finally was ready to embrace what was to come. I remember thinking to myself something like "Screw it, let's do this." And we did. I started moving her down with contractions, as I heard the room start to fill and was told that I was complete.
Then, I started screaming, with Tony leaning over my upper torso and my having a death grip on both of his hands. From the sounds of it, my nurse told everyone I pushed once, but I felt like I was pushing for 5 minutes or more and felt continual pain. There was no relief once her head was free, there actually wasn't any when she was born, it was only once the placenta was also out. Because of the difference in pain, I had to be told a few times that she was out and to look at my baby! I couldn't believe she was there! Tony was able to cut the cord, which he'd only been able to do with Isaac.
Within a few minutes Christina was in the room, but she'd unfortunately missed the birth, which is another thing Nomi shares with Isaac: the birth photographer missing the birth.
We took a little while to name her. I think both Tony and Christina wanted the confirmation right away, but I loved the fact that there was no one in the waiting room for the first time. We could just enjoy our new daughter and I wasn't in a huge rush to decide.
I'd been preparing myself for a full term bigger baby and I think if she would have stayed until her due date, today, that she would have topped 8 lbs and been closer to Ezra. That said, I didn't tear again and I'm super thankful she was just the little 7lb 1oz nugget that she was.
I can't believe that this sweet girl has been with us for 2 1/2 weeks now! It hasn't been a cakewalk, especially since her timing was so unexpected. It seems like no one has had time to pause for a second since she's been born, but she's such an undeserved blessing. I shared my heart a little more on instagram the day she was born, while this girl may have been a surprise, she was never an accident.
She's our bonus baby and I'm loving the opportunity to enjoy my last baby, again, with even more intention.
after birth photos by Christina of Electric Lime Photography