In case you missed it, part 1 of Benaiah’s birth story can be found here.
Last we left off, Landon, Hannah (my doula/sister-in- law), and I had just left for the hospital. On the way there, I had some pretty uncomfortable contractions, but I noticed they had more time in between than the usual seven minutes. Of course, this left me feeling anxious. I didn’t want to get to the hospital and not be in labor or be kept there if I wasn’t dilated much.
Thankfully, Landon encouraged me and reminded me that if all else fails, we could come back home and labor longer there. (He was amazing folks.)
Once we got to the hospital, we filled out the necessary paperwork, waited for a little while in the waiting room, and shortly, we were whisked into a triage room. By this point, (around 12:30 pm) I was beginning to wonder if my contractions were slowing down and really how far I was dilated. I knew I had a high pain tolerance (thank goodness) but I had no idea what to expect labor to feel like and I could just imagine I would be checked and only be 1 centimeter dilated and be sent home.
After getting my super attractive hospital gown (I joke), a nurse came in and checked to see how far I was dilated and to check my cervix. Like music to my ears, she informed Landon, Hannah, and I that I was 90% effaced, 5 centimeters dilated, and a 0 station. (Zero station means baby’s head is nice and engaged in your pelvis.)
I couldn’t believe that I was already half way there! By this point, we knew we were staying at the hospital (I was glad I grabbed all my stuff!) and we texted out family members to let them know my progress.
Shortly after getting checked, the nurses sent me to labor and delivery and we made ourselves at home in a large, spacious room. Landon, Hannah, and I got comfortable and braced ourselves for the next couple hours that we would be there. A little while later, a nurse came in, introduced herself to us, and monitored Benaiah’s heartbeat through two contractions. Around this time, my contractions started picking back up, happening about every 6-7 minutes again, 1 minute or so long and the pain seemed to intensify with each contraction. After two contractions our nurse said his heartbeat looked really strong and she would come back to check on me in a little bit.
Through the next few hours, family came and said hello, I snacked on some nuts and dried fruit for energy, drank lots of water, and focused through each contraction. Even though the pain was gradually increasing, the time between contractions wasn’t changing much and I began to wonder how long this would take. Thankfully, my midwife, Colleen reminded me that even though the time wasn’t dropping between contractions my uterus was doing it’s job by dilating.
From five to six pm, Landon, Hannah, and I walked up and down the halls, bounced on a birthing ball (it was shaped like a peanut-most hilarious thing ever) and I worked my way through each contraction. Earlier, throughout the day, I could chat my way through a contraction and even laugh at Hannah and Landon’s jokes. By six pm, I noticed that the joking was increasingly less hilarious and I had to stop and breath through every contraction with my eyes closed and focus on deep breathing.
This is where running helped. Through many of the painful contractions, I pictured myself running. Running is where I feel free and that sense of freedom helped me cope.
The seven o’clock hour came and I was increasingly uncomfortable and wondering when this would end. I tried to reserve the shower to the end of labor and around 7:30 pm, Landon and I got in the shower. It was in those moments, with the two of us looking into each other’s eyes, while Landon gave me back massages, that I started to feel overwhelmed. Since the beginning of labor, I had taken each contraction one and a time and I tried not to think of how far I had to go. But, in those moments of really painful contractions (to the point where I was sounding like a cow moaning through each one) I started to feel overwhelmed, thinking that I still had to push this baby out. I could tell Landon sensed my thoughts and he encouraged me saying how proud he was of me and reminded me of our honeymoon. While I thought of our honeymoon, I was able to visually escape from the pain and that helped me refocus my thoughts to my ‘one contraction at a time’ mentality.
I didn’t know it at the time, but during those really hard contractions, I had dilated 7-8 1/2 centimeters. Once my midwife saw how far I was progressed, we decided to break my bag of waters. After breaking my bag, they monitored Benaiah’s heartbeat through two contractions (those contractions were some of the worst, since I was on my back in bed through them!). Thankfully, his heart looked strong and I was able to turn over to labor through each amazingly painful contraction on my hands and knees. Hannah and Landon set the ball on the bed so I could let me arms and upper body hang on the ball through the contractions.
Those contractions were some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt before, but my support was amazing. Landon and Hannah massaged my back and best of all, talked me through each one. Twenty minutes after they broke my bag, I felt a huge urge to push and my midwife, Colleen asked if I wanted to. I said yes (still is disbelief that I was pushing him out!) and pushed. Oddly, pushing felt ‘good’ in a bad sort of way. It still was painful, but it felt good to be able to actually work with my body and not be only accepting the pain. After a couple of pushes, I remember hearing Landon and Hannah (who were at my feet) say to each other, “I think we may catch this baby!” They informed my midwife that I looked really close and she had me turn over to and get into an assisted squat on the bed. I think I surprised her by how close he was, because she started to talk about changing positions and then she said, “Oh, or we could just take the baby out right now.” That = music to my ears! She told me to give her one massive push and I did with everything I had in me. I heard Landon tell me he could see his head and that he had dark hair, which made my heart leap with joy. After that big push, they checked on his heart beat and had a little bit of a hard time finding it, (later, come to find out, he was just turned a little bit.) Because they wanted to make sure he had enough oxygen, they had me not push through one contraction (that was super hard!) and they gave me a couple breaths of oxygen. After one minute, they heard what they were looking for, took me off the oxygen, and told me to give another big push. With that, his head came out, and I was told just two more little pushes and I would have my baby. And they were right.
We all shed a few tears and marveled at this beautiful life that God had given us. With a huge rush of emotions and hormones, Landon and I gazed at little Benaiah and stared in awe that he was our son. Benaiah ended up being 6lbs and 1 oz, 19 1/2 inches of perfection.
Life is a beautiful thing.