Contractions started around 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 6th. A week previously I had 16 1/2 hours of false labor, so I wasn’t thinking that this was the real thing. For me, early labor feels almost exactly like “practice contractions”. Generally the only way I can distinguish between false labor and early real labor is that the real deal doesn’t stop and continues overnight. False labor at least weakens when I lay down. That and my level of crabbiness increases with the real deal. My tolerance for chaos and noise goes waaaaay down.
So, when all of the sudden I couldn’t take the noise of children in the house and had to go outside on the deck, I started to wonder. Unlike the false alarm the week before, the contractions that started at 5 p.m. started out strong. All of the sudden, I was like “Oh my gosh! I HAVE to scrub my kitchen floor NOW.” And I did. Kevin and I cleaned the house just in case. Then we settled down and watched a movie. The contractions weakened, so I thought “Oh well. At least we have a clean house.” After the movie and some “special spouse time”, we went to bed.
At 1 a.m. I was blasted away by stronger contractions. Woah! I thought. This could be it! They kept me awake until I managed to get a little light rest in between contractions from around 5 a.m. – 6 a.m. Although they were getting stronger, they were mostly the heavy pressure contractions and I knew they weren’t strong enough. They continued, so I texted my midwife to see if I could just come in to her office and have her check me to just see.
The noise of the children was really bothering me, so I sent them to my friend across the street. My other friend Rene who came in town for the birth went to drop her daughter off at her brothers, so Joel watched me blow up the birth pool “just in case” while he waited for the bus. He kept saying “Baby swim! Baby swim! Mommy swim?”
The rest of the children go across the street.
Joel waits for his bus.
The birth pool is blown up. (No water yet though).
The diffuser is on and the scent of lavender is released throughout the room. (Maternity pictures are a nice choice for the digital picture frame.)
Joel went off to school. Rene came to pick me off and we were off to the midwife.
We got there and she checked my pulse and blood pressure (which I think was 116 over something – high for me!) Then she asked me if I wanted her to strip my membranes if I was dilated enough. I said yes, but when she checked me I was only 2 cm dilated. However, I was 50% effaced and my cervix was soft, so she figured the contractions were doing something and she stripped my membranes anyway.
She told me to go home and rest and then go walking somewhere indoors (’cause baby it was hot outside!) That past Thursday I did something to my hip walking around the block and I was getting shooting pains from it making that whole walking idea near impossible. So, I called and made an appointment with the chiropractor at noon. I went home to rest and got almost an hour nap in! (I didn’t know then how much I was going to need that!)
Rene and I went to the chiropractor, out to lunch and then we went walking around the mall. The window ac unit in the baby’s room broke the day before and the repair man was coming at 3 p.m. that day, so we had to come home for that. (Good thing it was still early labor or that might have really freaked the repair guy out!) The midwife texted to ask how I was doing and I answered “About the same. I think I’m making very slow progress, maybe?”
My dear husband came home about then…
and I told him to start filling the birth pool up with water (since it takes a long time to fill) while Rene and I went walking again at K-mart and Hobby Lobby.
The contractions were coming more intense, but they were still more pressure than the crampy kind. As we walked (very slowly) I felt like my body was going to explode with the pressure. They weren’t painful, though, except for on my back. Baby had been posterior the previous prenatal appointment, so I figured that was why. She must have been hitting a nerve.
I was in good spirits until the car ride back where the back pain got a lot worse and the contractions were on top of each other. As soon as we got home I said “I don’t care what she says. I’m getting in that pool!” I then told Kevin to call the midwife and say that maybe she should come check me now. Instead of saying that he just said “She’s getting in the birth pool now” to which the midwife answered that she’d be right over.
That birth pool is AMAZING!!!!!
It completely took all of the back pain away!
I had a bootlegged (not really) version of “I Lift My Eyes” from Bizzy that I wanted to listen to over and over and over and over again. It reminded me that this was bigger than me.
“I bend low and I put my head down
Under the weight of promises to end this drought…
He is good. He will come. Salvation is on it’s way.”
The midwives arrived and checked on me.
And on baby.
Then I asked her to check my dilated. I braced myself as I was afraid I hadn’t made progress and called them too soon for nothing.
She said I was definitely more effaced and baby was super, super low BUT my dilation hadn’t changed much. I was only 3 c.m.
Yeah. Slightly discouraging.
I tried to rest a little but couldn’t.
At some point the midwife told me that she thought it was in my best interest to either try and speed this labor up or try to slow it down. I was getting tired and I couldn’t rest. I didn’t know what to do. I cried and asked Kevin and Rene what I should do. My choices were castor oil and a breast pump or Tylenol p.m. with the hopes that it would stop my contractions and let me sleep.
I felt like a total idiot. I mean, this was my 6th labor and I felt like I still couldn’t “get it right”. The midwives told me, however, that a really long early labor was extremely common with women who had 3 or more babies. Their reassurance that I was, in fact, normal really helped me. I chose the speed it up method and downed a castor oil shake. Yum!
Baby was doing great and very happy.
I needed to eat something to maintain energy. That’s one great thing about homebirths! You don’t have to starve yourself.
Rene and I then went walking down the street. It had just rained and the air was cool. Lightening still hung in the sky. It was such a beautiful night.
I labored some more.
My mom used a tennis ball for the back pain.
Baby was still happy.
But at 3:30 a.m. they checked me again and I was only at 4 c.m. (That’s Kevin sound asleep beside me. He had gone to bed around 11 and
The castor oil hadn’t taken effect. I had also done a couple rounds of the breast pump, but it didn’t seem to help either. The decision was made that I should take benedryl and try to get some rest. They didn’t say this to me, but told Rene they guessed it would be Thursday. I went to bed. The midwives went home.
I got a good 2 hours of sleep when the contractions BLASTED me out of bed. Because Kevin and I have SUCH great communication, he went to work thinking that my labor had stopped. In fact, not only was it still going, but it had picked up a bunch on notches.
At this point, no one knew this as Rene and my mom were asleep upstairs, the midwives were gone and Kevin was at work.
I had gotten it into my head that I was waiting for the PAIN to set in because that would mean that we were getting somewhere. Well, here was the pain. So, since I figured this is what a NORMAL labor was like, I should act like a NORMAL woman in labor and vocalize during contractions.
I don’t know why I got this into my head. I normally labor very quietly, which is quite misunderstood by the birth attendants. They think I’m not having strong contractions when I am because I’m so quiet. But at this point, I was going on a long labor with very little sleep and wasn’t thinking clearly. Alone in my kitchen, I moaned and groaned and said “I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay” through the contractions.
It was getting close to the time for Joel’s bus to arrive and I hadn’t called to let them know he wouldn’t be at school that day. I shouted up the stairs “Will somebody get up!” and my mom came downstairs. She watched for the bus and told them Joel wouldn’t be there. I timed the contractions and they were 2-3 minutes apart lasting around 45 seconds a piece, pretty darn consistent. My mom convinced me to text the midwife and tell her to come back. I also texted Kevin and told him to come home.
This time when the midwife came, I was 6 c.m.
More laboring. More vocalizing…
And then I realized something.
I HAD NOTHING TO PROVE TO ANYONE. I did not have to moan and groan to prove to anyone that I was making progress. When I did that, I noticed that I tensed up all over and then IT HURT! (Go figure!) Of course, I would have realized this earlier if I had been thinking clearly, but the lack of sleep was doing a number on my thought process.
So I went out on the deck and found my place and my peace. I began to rebuke the pain with each contraction.
“Pain, go away. I DON’T NEED YOU.” And as I relaxed, everything got so much easier.
It was so peaceful.
It was delightful.
I really wanted to get back into the pool, so I had her check me again to see if I was far enough along. I was 7 1/2 cm, so she agreed that I could labor in the birthpool for awhile. If it slowed down my labor, she would tell me to get out.
Have I mentioned that the birth pool is AMAZING?
While I was in the pool, Rene blew up blue and pink balloons, getting ready to announce the gender.
The contractions were strong. I rebuked the pain with each one. Once again, I listened to Bizzy’s song “I Lift My Eyes” over and over and over again.
“He is good. He will come. Salvation is on it’s way.”
The contractions did not slow down, but at some point I realized that I probably needed more pressure on my cervix, so I got out.
She checked me and then told me “The good news is that your bag is more bulgy so I can break your water now. But actually your cervix seems to have tightened up. You’re more like a 6 now.”
WHAT?!?! YOU CAN GO BACKWARDS?!?!?
I can not TELL you how this made me feel.
But I agreed to have her break my water.
I then sat on the toilet for a few minutes as the rest of my water drained out. Within 10 minutes I felt the urge to push, but I restrained myself. I was not thinking clearly. I was thinking “You’re only 6 c.m. It’s not time. You’re going backwards, not forwards.”
I got back out into the prayer tent area and clung to my husband for a few contractions in which I tried not to push.
My mind was going all irrational. I was thinking “I know. I’ll tell them I want a hospital transport and then I’ll go get an epidural. I can’t do this anymore.” That didn’t come out of my mouth just yet.
Instead I told the midwife “I’m trying not to push, but I feel like I need to.” She told me to try having Kevin sit in a chair and then use him to squat. There was no way I was going to squat. My body just wouldn’t do it. “If you still feel the need to push after that, we’ll take a look and see what’s going on.”
In other words, she didn’t think it was time to push either.
Then everything happened so fast.
Kevin sat down in the chair and I went over to lean on him. I yelled “I want an epidural! I can’t do this anymore!” Kevin whispered that I was doing a great job. Then I yelled “I WANT THIS BABY OUT!” Then I yelled “I’M PUSHING THIS BABY OUT!”
And I did! One push and the head was out.
One more push and the rest was out.
It was so FAST and so unlike previous labors. Pushing has always been my least favorite part. I had to summon up all this energy to do it. This time it was so easy. No ring of fire. No great effort. It just happened.
My mom yelled “It’s a girl!” But I didn’t believe her. I asked the midwives and they confirmed. They asked me if I wanted to hold her and then passed her up to me. Then they put chucks pads on the couch and backed me up so I could hold her.
My mom prayed over baby girl Hananiah.
Kevin cut the cord.
Daddy held his new princess while I delivered the placenta.
Then I asked to take a shower.
Well, that didn’t go over very well. I started to lose a lot of blood in the shower. I heard the midwife yell out that she needed something to stop the blood loss. I started getting dizzy. She asked if I wanted pitocin or herbal. I said herbal. Then I passed out.
They got me back to the room and made me eat and drink like crazy. My blood pressure had gone from 116 over something to 85 over something. But with some food I was ready to see my baby again.
She was weighed. 7 lbs 6 oz – our smallest baby!
She was measured. 20 ” long.
We took our announcement picture with the pink balloons. The original idea was to throw the balloons in the pool and take a picture, but I never made it back into the pool.
Some baby snuggles after she got her outfit on.
So 45 hours of labor. Sounds completely grueling, but really of that 45 hours, only the last 45 minutes was horrible. And that only because I was trying not to push when I was supposed to be pushing! Once I came to terms with the fact that I didn’t need the pain to make progress (remembering that I had a nearly painless labor with Humility and we made it through just fine, thank you very much!) we were good. I had way more energy than I did with Hunter’s labor. Hunter’s labor was long and hard. Hananiah’s labor was longer but easier.
I am now reflecting on the fact that I didn’t give birth in the prayer tent. The last two babies were born under that prayer canopy and it was my every intention that this baby be the same. But she was born in the living room. I’m thinking there’s something significant about that. I labored in the prayer tent, but birthed in the living room. Laboring in prayer for that nameless, faceless generation but coming out into where I LIVE to birth something there. I need more time to ponder this, but I have a feeling it’s just how it was meant to be.
Hananiah Mishael Azariah was born on 7/8/14. I was wanting 7/11. I was praying for and claiming that day. Hosanna was due on 7/4/08 but I agreed to be induced with her. I choose the date 7/7 for her birth. I chose. Not God. I took matters into my own hands and I have regretted it ever since. I thought that maybe if I would have waited, she would have been born on 7/11 which is the first number God ever used to speak to me. It was one of the first times I heard His voice in that way. It is a VERY significant number to me. I regretted not letting God do His thing with Hosanna’s birth, thinking I could do it better than Him. So I wondered if this was my second chance.
7/7/14 is a very cool due date. My ultrasound due date was 4 days later – 7/11/14.
But Hananiah was born on 7/8.
8 is the number of new beginnings.
Somehow it’s all perfect. New beginnings. Yes, He’s spoken to me through the # 7/11 in the past and He gave me that ultrasound due date to confirm it… but He’s doing a new thing.
He is still speaking.
Hananiah Mishael Azariah… Our little girl is named after 3 men in the Bible. Those were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s Hebrew names.
God will raise up a generation who will not bow to the
spirit of the age. He will raise up a glorious, spotless, sold
out, consecrated bride. They will STAND and, even through
fiery trials, will emerge MORE than victorious (with clothes
that don’t even smell of fire). Jesus will walk in their midst.