Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Reed's Birth Story

3am my contractions begin on november 18th. they're light but unquestionable. i begin timing them. 20 minutes apart. then 15 minutes apart. then back to 20. this goes on for 2 hours. then they get closer. i tell my Lovely husband that it might be time. i call the midwife and she tells me to call her when they're 5 minutes apart for an hour. PJ prepares his things and mine. he calls his brother and asks him if he can come pick up the kids. our brother picks up the kids so we're free to speed away to the birthing center at any moment. but my contractions subside to 30 minutes apart. hmmm. our midwife calls me at 9am. i tell her my predicament. this is very different from my four other births--once i begin contracting it quickly progresses. my midwife tells me to come in at 11am to see whats going on. my contractions get a little stronger but still erratic. we go in and she observes my lack of dilation and renders that i could have the baby tonight, tomorrow or in a week. my due date is november 30th, it's very possible this is false labor. we leave baffled.

we head over to my brothers to fetch our kids. on our way my Lovely picks up ramen noodles for me. as we head home we deliver the bad news to the kids that Reed hasn't decided what she wants to do. 

once we're home i'm tired and i want to rest. its 5pm and i'm getting inconsistent pains. by 7pm these pains become bothersome. at around 7:45pm the kids start their bedtime routine. still inconsistent but by 8:21pm i can't talk because the pain is becoming unbearable and they're 7 minutes apart. I'm contracting in our bedroom-- the birthing ball is at the edge our bed while i stand over it. other times PJ's pushing my hips inward to relieve some pressure.  PJ calls the kids to watch me while i contract, he uses it as a teaching moment. i wave them off because i'm trying to focus. the pain makes you do and say crazy things. pj calls our midwife and lets her know i'm having 7 minute apart contractions. she tells pj to monitor them and call her back in an hour. pj hangs up. he calls our couple friend, who will spend the night, to please come. 4 minutes later i begin to have them 4 minutes apart! the midwife calls back just as pj was about to call her. PJ tells her they are now 4 minutes apart. she was actually calling back to tell us to leave now. PJ calls our friend and lets them know to please come asap. As i contract i know we need to leave before our friends get here, if not PJ's delivering Reed in the car! which is what he has always dreamed of--delivering one of his children...noooooo!  i summon him to go get our neighbor friends. he frantically runs out to their home but they aren't there! he runs to our church building to see if they're there but instead finds their adult children who inform him they are out of town. PJ asks if they can come to our house and wait for our friends who are in transit. they happily oblige. as they walk back to our house our friends arrive. 

i walk down the stairs slowly. our kind friends try not to stare but are interested in the process. i try to muster up a smile and a short hand wave. they replicate the gesture. as we load our stuff in the car our friends are extremely helpful and make sure i'm as comfortable as i can be considering my uterus is opening up enough to shoot out a watermelon! i reluctantly get in the car because i'm getting close contractions. i'm trying so hard to remember the techniques i learned from the stupid hypnobirth lesson. but who's kidding, i did the fast track lesson and i'm not sure if anything will work at this point. relax frances. relax your face. relax your body. i can't! we drive off but as soon as we do i tell PJ to pull over while i bear another horrific contraction. it's done. we drive off towards the freeway. i'm anticipating this taking too long. the drive is a 15-20 min drive but at this rate maybe 45 minutes! PJ kindly informs me he can't keep pulling over because we won't get there in time. deep down i know he's right. dang it. ok lets do this. we drive. thankully i have a heat wrap on my back relieving some stress. by this time i think im humming. yes humming. we finally get to the birthing center and i get out quickly but walk extremely slow. mentally i wanna run but physically i just cant. we get into the vacant building, go into the elevator and enter the office as the staff worker welcomes me in and tells me to head to the exam room. our midwife informs me what to do. she lays me down, which is extremely uncomfortable and checks me. she immediately gets me down and says "your ready" and beckons the staff helper to prepare the hot tub with water. I waddle over to the birth room and just as we rehearsed they help me into the tub that has running hot water. i lean back and begin to hum again. i'm trying to recall what the australian hypnobirth lady repeated in my ears those countless nights over and over as I gently fell asleep to her voice. the humming relaxes me. in between contractions i'm falling asleep. the hot water feels good on my back since i'm getting what they call back labor. i had that with all kids. she tells me to push when i get contractions and to grab my thighs. PJ is outside the tub but right near me. he doesn't say much but watches intently. i get about 4 big contractions. she checks me and lets me know Reed is coming. in my head i'm skeptical. how can i be ready? i just got here. i push but i don't think Reed is coming down, at least not yet. i push 3 times. and when i mean push i mean grunting like a mad women ready for battle. it's my battle cry. i feel burning and stretching that i've never felt! to say it hurt is an understatement. in those 3 pushes i want to give up. but i can't she's almost out. the mid wife says "just one more push frances and she's out." really? i had to believe now. what else could i do. i muster up one final push as if my life depended on it. 


my midwife grabs Reed out of the water and places her on my chest. im exhausted. no words just whimpering. all im thinking is "holy cow! i did it. it's over. she's out. she's out." i hold Reed but have no words. i can't. 

the feeling of relief is indescribable. at 10:31pm our little Reed entered our world.

they take Reed and put her on her abba. PJ's sitting on a rocking chair having skin to skin with his newest treasure. they get me out of the tub and onto the exam table to deliver the placenta and to assess if i need stitches. she warns me everything is super sensitive. she's not lying, i squirm and fidget but allow her to finish. PJ's right above me with our new littlest. he places her on my chest. i'm taken back to the birthing room and changed. i get into bed and begin nursing Reed. the three of us lay there exhausted and excited. the helpers bring me food to replenish. we chat with the staff helper. we rest. it's soon time to gather our things and head home. wow. that was fast. they explain lots of paper work, i nod. PJ takes our belongings to the car. I hold my baby girl as i'm wheelchaired to our car. she's snug in her car seat. we did it Reed. we did it.

We head home in disbelief that we just had a baby and now on our way home. we drive up to our home. it's quiet. it's gonna be a nice treat to wake up to the kids peering over their newest sibling. our friend comes down to greet us and ask us if we got sent home. he's a bit confused. we tell him nope we just had a baby! he's in disbelief as much as we are. his wife joins us as we chat. i'm full of energy. it's 3am but we're excited to tell our story. we say good night and all head back to bed. 

the next morning the kids awake. they hear crying and are asking questions outside our door. they're so cute. PJ gets up and prepares them to meet our newest clique member. they are bursting with excitement. they see her, touch her, kiss her and talk about her. they instantly love her. till this day nothing has changed. 

our friends are amazing. our sister in christ stays the whole day and watches over the kids. she feeds them, plays with them and takes them to the park. i don't know what i would have done without her and her husband. they are a blessing to our church family.  how kind of God.

it took me a month to finally write our birth story. the memories had to simmer and i had to heal emotionally from all those fresh memories of labor. as i would tell people, it's too soon. now as i hold baby Reed in my arms those hard moments disappear in light of her face. she's precious. she's a gift from the Lord and to our family. 

Thank you Lord.


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