After fully waking up at 2am and realizing I had been tossing and turning through painful contractions all night, I decided to go downstairs and make some tea. I turned on the television to distract myself and started timing the contractions. They were a consistent 20 minutes apart and every single one of them made me scrunch up my face and hold my breath. I tried to sleep, but as soon as I dozed off, another painful contraction woke me right back up.
By 6:30am, my house was awake and we were starting our day. It was a Saturday, so my husband was home and making the girls’ breakfast. I decided to call whoever was on-call at my doctor’s office just to see what they thought. The doctor suggested I head to the hospital and get checked—just so we had some answers.
Well, that wasn’t going to happen.
I still wasn’t convinced that these were “the” contractions. I had a false alarm a few weeks earlier and as soon as I notified our key people, everything STOPPED. So I was really hesitant about making phone calls to set up babysitting and hospital plans if this wasn’t labor.
So instead of heading to the hospital, I did the next most rational things—clean my bedroom and do some laundry. Because nothing says, “Fold those towels!” like contractions that make you grab the doorframe in agony, am I right?
I’m not quite sure what this pregnancy did to my brain, but it definitely altered my mind. I am not usually a “deep clean the house every possible moment” kinda of girl, but for the last few months I have been. (I’m happy to report that I am currently staring at a pile of dirty laundry at the bottom of my stairs and an abandoned wet diaper on the table. She’s back, folks. She is back.)
At 9:30am, I came to grips with the fact that this was it. In addition to scrunching up my face and holding my breath, the contractions now had me leaning over the closest piece of furniture I could find. Again, in my rational state of mind, I sent my husband out to the grocery store to pick up a few things that the girls would need while we were in the hospital. He called me when he got to the grocery store to check on me and I told him to pick up Chick-Fil-A on the way home. I was in pain, but not beyond the taste of Chick-Fil-A. C’mon. Can I get a woot woot??
Within the next 30 minutes, my contractions went from 20 minutes apart…to 10…to 5. Like, woah. My husband called me after he checked out and I told him something along the lines of, “Code go-baby-go! *heavy breathing* We are a code go-baby-go! Grab the groceries! *hee hee hoo hoo* Abandon Chick-Fil-A! I repeat, forget the chicken! Head! Home! Now!” (Or something like that.) My husband later informed me that he was really disappointed he didn’t get the opportunity to use the classic line, “Get out of my way! My wife is having a baby!” as he drove home. I’m kind of bummed for him.
As soon as my husband walked through the door, his presence brought me so much peace and calm. Probably too much peace and calm—because I began second guessing myself on whether or not we should go to the hospital. “Do you think we should wait a little longer? Just to be sure?” (I r e a l l y didn’t want to be sent back home.) His expression was priceless. And in a cautious, but informative voice, he replied, “Well, I understand you don’t want to be sent back home. But the contractions are very quickly getting closer together. And if you still wanted an epidural, we need to head to the hospital.” My response was, “Grab the hospital bag! I’ll be in the car!” He’s a convincing guy, what can I say.
I called my mom and she began her 8 hour drive. No matter how old I get, there’s nothing like knowing my mom is on her way to me. I then called our precious friend who has been on-call day and night for weeks and weeks—ready to come to my house at a moment’s notice. What a gift she’s been!
When our friend got here, I knew the best thing to do was for me to quietly slip out. But as I started to walk out the door, I paused and took a second to look around. I began crying as I watched our beautiful daughters. I knew their lives were about to change—all of our lives were. The change was in a wonderful way—but a change nonetheless. This was the last time I’d see them until after I had my son. This was the last time I’d see them as a duo. They would soon be a trio. Such a surreal feeling.
We made it to the hospital and my midwife was already there for another birth. After she checked me, she said, “Yep, you’re 7cm. You’re a keeper. Let’s have a baby.”
Now a little fun fact (totally not fun at all), I did not pre-register for my labor at the hospital. Since there was no online option to do so, I decided to wait. What was I thinking? For the first 25 minutes of being in the hospital, I was in a temporary “room” where a young fella came in to register me on the computer. He asked for every detail of my life. I had to stop half way through every answer because I felt like my insides were being torn apart. Then I’d pick up where I left off. I’ve never wanted to smack someone more in my life. Poor guy. It was my fault he was confined to a tiny room with a woman in labor, not his. But every time I had a contraction, I wanted to smack him nonetheless. I knew he was the only thing standing between me and a real room where I could lay down, so I endured.
As soon as I got to my room, a nurse came in with paperwork for the epidural. She began reading the form out loud with all the possible negative things that could happen with an epidural. It started with “could cause a headache.” Then after 15 other possibilities, she ended with “or a broken needle and possibly death.” I asked her if I could borrow her pen to sign.
My husband and I were laughing so hard. I think there wasn’t anything else to do but laugh. He suggested to the nurse that next time she read the form to a patient, maybe she should start with death and then work her way to the headache—just to end on a lighter note. My husband and I were having way too good of a time. I think since we had been anticipating labor for so many weeks, both of us finally were able to relax. We were there. It was time. So we laughed…at everything. It was so good for me. His sense of humor has been my saving factor many times before. It’s also gotten him into trouble. But today, it went in his favor.
I received the epidural, then my midwife broke my water. I immediately went from 7cm to 8cm. And everything after that feels like a blur because it happened so quickly. About an hour and a half later, I wanted to push, so my midwife checked me again. I was ready to go! Baby was ready to go! We were all ready to go!
My midwife asked my husband, “Do you want to catch the baby, dad?” And after about 10 minutes of pushing, my husband was holding our son. He was placed on my chest and my whole world changed. My son.
We named him Elijah which means “my God is YAHWEH.” I stayed in the hospital for 2 days—bonding with my son, letting my body heal, savoring each moment. I had wonderful nurses and a circle of support. It was a really precious gift to be able to focus on just myself and new handsome guy. I’ve been staring at him ever since.
The day after he was born, my daughters came to meet him. They giggled at his erratic facial expressions and intently watched his every move. They touched his little fingers and kissed all over his soft cheeks. My 3 year old asked, “Momma, do we get to bring him home and keep him lots and lots?” I told her, “Yes, sweet girl. We get to keep him forever. He’s ours.”
Each time I’ve had the beautiful blessing of being able to physically hold my newborn babies, there is a double celebration in my heart. I celebrate the life that I get to hold in my arms and I celebrate the lives of my heaven babies that I hold in my heart. I’m thankful for the time that each of my babies spent in my body—even though 2 of them were far too short. I also grieve each time. I grieve not knowing what my heaven babies would have looked like or even what gender they were. I grieve the emptiness that their absence has left me with. But oh, I do also celebrate and remember them. For I have total confidence that one day this momma will be reunited with her 2 heaven babies and hold them in her arms as well.
We are now a household of 5, but a family of 7. And I am so thankful for each little puzzle piece that completes our family.