February 04, 2012

Asher's Birth Story

It's time I recount the story of Asher's arrival. For posterity's sake. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but if it means for my sake so I don't forget, than for posterity's sake.

Asher's arrival was a lot less drama-filled than Micah's, as recounted here and here, but still ever so amazing and awe-inspiring at the miracle of birth. Of his birth.

My due date for Asher was September 7th, 2011. I told people early on in my pregnancy (read: when I was still in my right mind and before I was 478 pounds and engaged in battle with stretch marks and fat deposits) that I hoped he came on September 10th. Hello. 9-10-11. Coolest birthdate ever. And now that I'm no longer battling fat deposits and stretch marks, I wish I were still pregnant then and delivered him on that date. Tough luck.

Matt was scheduled to be in Kentucky for orientation for his FNP program from August 20th-26th. We had debated quite a bit about him going or postponing it because it was so close to my due date, but in the end I was the one who said I thought it would be fine and that he should go. (What do I know anyways?) (Spoiler alert: Asher was born August 27th.)

The week before he left I went in for my weekly check-up to find that I was already dilating and that he was sitting very, very low. As in I was already progressed further than I was with Micah when I went into labor. Emergency meetings amongst the spouses were commenced and ruling was such that Matt needed to reschedule his orientation, effective immediately. Thankfully the program director was very understanding and rescheduled him for November's orientation, thus allowing a girl on the waiting list to be in that class (double yay!).

Once we knew that Matt wasn't going anywhere, Operation Labor 2011 was signed into law by Executive Order. Bouncy ball? Best friends. Walking? I hate you when I'm 38 weeks pregnant. Castor oil? Hi, old friend. From Tuesday to Friday, I bounced and I bounced and I bounced and I bounced (and I also watched a River Runs Through It ((while I bounced)) and could not believe that Brad Pitt was killed by Lololans - crazy!). (Anybody else know that?)

All to no avail. I was so done being pregnant. Missoula's heat index was equivalent to the gates of Hades, and getting up to go to the bathroom 29 times a night just gets really old after a while. So by the time Friday came (which we'd been hoping was the day because it's Matt's birthday), I was willing to take drastic measures. I took the Castor Oil Plunge. (FYI...with Micah it caused no "runs" but labor did start the next day, so I was hoping for the same with Asher.) That night, I had regular contractions from about 4 in the morning to 10 in the morning but by the time we got up and ready to go and hit the Farmer's market to keep them going, they had almost completely stopped. I was so discouraged.

That day at the market we walked and walked but I still only had the occasional contraction. Micah had gotten sick at the market so we ended up going to my parent's apartment, laying him down for a nap, and then Matt and I went to run a couple of errands. At that point I started to feel like I just wanted to at least be checked and see how far along I was. I felt like I was really close but just needed to hear it. (I'd do great at a Motivational Speaker's Conference. I'd be their star student. You are pregnant! You are awesome! You dilate awesomely! Yes, I am pregnant! I am awesome! I dilate awesomely! (If anybody is still reading, I'd like to take a moment of silence to commemorate your incredible loyalty and friendship.)


Let's get back on track here. Matt absolutely did not want to go in (which he later repented of in sackcloth and ashes). He didn't want to go in and "have to just sit there for no reason, only to have them tell us to go home." Well, this was one case where I was going to push my way.

Regardless, I insisted and so we went. I didn't even tell my parents because I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up if it turned out not to be anything after all. Once I was checked in and changed into my gown, the nurse checked me and said I was a 4, almost a 5, completely effaced, and the baby was rightthere with a bulging bag of waters. She tried to get in touch with my doctor to see if he would come in and break my water but wasn't able to reach him. The doctor on call came in to check me, and during the one hour that I was there waiting, I went from an almost 5 to a 6.

Surprisingly the contractions were not that painful. They had become regular at that point, probably about every five minutes or so, and I was having to stop and breathe through them, but nothing unbearable by any means. I feel really tough just writing that. Somebody validate me here, and tell me that I have a really high pain tolerance or something. (Because I really don't think I do.)

So Doctor On Call agreed to break my water, and after that I spent the next little while walking the halls and the next time he checked me I was still at a 6. He informed me that he was going into a cesarean, which meant that the anesthesiologist was going to be unavailable for awhile, and in his opinion I was going to birth very fast, so if I wanted an epidural I should get it now. I hemmed and hawed because I really was not feeling like I needed it, but after further consultation with the hubby (who, after my last experience was definitely Team Epidural), agreed to get one.

After I got it, I rested, watched TV, got to see Micah, rested some more and then out of nowhere the urge to push came on me so strongly I immediately knew things were about to happen. I definitely felt labor during the pushing stage, and felt my body pushing him down and out. Literally 8 minutes passed from the time I said I feel like I need to push to the time when Asher entered the world. He was born completely healthy and whole and screaming at 10:13pm on August 27th, one day after his daddy's birthday. From the moment they put him on my chest I felt such a love and connection with him. I was instantly completely in love with him.

(Now I have to do a disclaimer.) It took me several weeks to develop an attachment with Micah. I don't know why. Maybe a combination of postpartum baby blues, a huge loss of blood that took me weeks to recover from, the shock of adjusting to life with a newborn. I don't know why. But it did. I wrote a little more about it here. Once I did, however, there was no turning back. My heart and affections were completely swept away with him. So for some reason it took time with Micah but it didn't with Asher. Same all-consuming love, just different stories.

We spent less than 24 hours in the hospital, from birth to discharge. We came home and set up camp as a new family of four, and it was honestly the easiest adjustment. Up to that point I had been terrified of life with two kids, wondering how I would do it, but I know I experienced the effects of many people praying for a different postpartum experience than I had with Micah, and lot's of God's sufficient grace. From the beginning Asher has been a very happy, contented baby. He fits into our family like he was always here.

Asher - "blessed, happy"

Matthew - "gift of God"

Asher Matthew - our happy gift from God


  1. Ok I'm crying---that was so so wonderful! And I am here with all of my L&D expertise to validate your feelings of "woman with very high pain tolerance" at 6 cms.. Consider yourself a PAIN TOLERANT SISTER! And that comes from a mother earth who has never had an epidural----not necessarily because it was always offered back in the day--but I was blessed with fast labors!

  2. Mama Linda (I love that name!), thank you for always encouraging me, I love your comments! And thank you, I do feel very validated now. Home birth next? :)