(All photos by the very talented Meghan of MDK Photography.)
The week before I delivered Luke, at my last appointment, my doctor had said that he would feel comfortable breaking my water if I was dilated to at least a 4 and was having some contractions. (Luke had been sitting extremely low for weeks.) That was on a Tuesday and that Thursday I went into Labor and Delivery because I had been having irregular contractions and was hoping against hope that I had progressed to a 4 (I had been at a 3 for two weeks).
I went in hopeful only to find I was still a 3. (And let me just say it's completely disheartening to go in and then be sent home. That has never happened to me before.)
That Saturday my good friend, Marissa, who was due two days ahead of me texted me to say she was in labor at the hospital and asked if I could come by. While I was there I talked with the doctor on call and told him what my doctor had said about breaking my water if I was dilated to a 4. He agreed with that and I asked him if he thought it was worth it to be checked again while I was there. He said probably not since I had just been in but that he would be on call until Tuesday and let's pray my water would break by then. (He really said that, which I thought was awesome.)
|Marissa, just hours away from meeting her fourth little guy!|
I knew my doctor wasn't going to be at the hospital until the following week and I really liked this doctor so I thought if my doctor couldn't deliver him, then I wanted him to. So that day and Sunday I did lots of physical activity. Hiking, running, jumping, jumping jacks, tennis, stairs. Everything I could to "encourage" my body to dilate one teensy, tiny centimeter.
On Monday morning (which was Memorial Day), I told Matt that I thought I wanted to go in and be checked again. I had been having cramping since Sunday night and I was super hopeful that I had progressed. So Matt dropped me off at the hospital and took the boys to play at a park while I waited (and hoped against hope) to see if I had progressed.
To make a long story short, I was still at a 3 but the doctor said he remembered our conversation from Saturday and he was willing to break my water. Yay!!! Praise the Lord!!!
I hurriedly called Matt and we went into Operation Preparation. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. We called only people who needed to know: Marissa (a different Marissa than the one above), who was going to watch the boys. My mom. Courtney. Meghan, my friend and birth photographer. A few family members. I had this pressing desire to keep the news very, very quiet. I didn't want a lot of people to know; I didn't want to spend the time distracted with keeping in touch and keeping everyone updated. I wanted to treasure the experience and the time. I felt like Mary after she received the news from the angel about Jesus and his life when it says, "But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). I wanted to just treasure it all - the anticipation, the experience, the fellowship with those there, the continued healing of a heartbreaking season, seeing him for the first time, all of it.
The funny thing is that when the doctor came in to break my water and checked me first, I had progressed to a 4! Of course I did.
He broke my water at 4:15pm and I immediately felt the contractions kick in with intensity and frequency. For a few hours all of us just hung out and visited. I would have to stop and breathe through the contractions but in between I was so peaceful, so happy. I had thoughts of a natural labor and both my nurses were very encouraging of it, but after one particular contraction, I immediately said, I want the epidural now.
|This guy. I just love him. Such a steadfast, calming presence in my life.|
By the time the anesthesiologist got there and began (it took him several tries) I was having extremely painful contractions. And before he was even done while I could still feel everything, I said, I feel like I need to push now. The nurse quickly checked me and said, You're at an 8! 20 minutes after the anesthesiologist finished I said again, I need to push. Everyone came in quickly and within minutes, at 9:09pm, he was born!
The doctor had me reach down and pull him to my chest and I cannot describe that moment. It was stark beauty. It was healing. It was peace. It was joy and a hurt-your-heart kind of love. I couldn't even speak or make a sound. I just cried silently and held him to my chest.
The entire experience is one of my most treasured memories. His name means "light" and those moments, that night, of meeting him on this side of my belly was light to my darkened soul. Light to a heart steeped in grief. Light in a dark year. And he continues to be. Sometimes I just stare at his face and laugh because I can't quite take him all in. He's too much. Even now as I write this I keep stopping to look over at him and I can't help but smile.
If you want to read Micah's birth story, click here and here.
If you want to read Asher's birth story, click here.
And my sweet Grace's birth story is treasured in my heart. :)