Preface: Evelyn’s cesarean birth taught me a lot. So my prayer for this baby’s arrival was that God would bless the birth with a safe delivery for a healthy baby and a healthy moma. How the story came to play out exceeded my hopes and desires but I know that that is not always real life. So if your story doesn’t play out how you were hoping, if you hate cesareans and have to have them, if you love cesareans and get to have them, etc, and you want some support, call me. I’ll tell you that you are amazing and we can pray and be thankful for a healthy, beautiful baby.
Also, it’s to be noted that all bodies are different. (shock). One reason I dreaded a repeat cesarean was the recovery time for me. But then again, I’m kinda weak sauce. I once had a manicure, looked down and saw a few drops of blood on my hand and blacked out. Slightly embarrassing. My friend was grocery shopping with her newborn and toddler two weeks after her cesarean. I was still trying to figure out how to get out of bed. Basically, what I’m trying to say is all stories are different. And I don’t want you to think yours needs to be mine. And no matter how you deliver, you’re amazing and lets rejoice over your bundle. So without further ado…here’s the story.
I’ll try to keep this PG. Going through the whole labor and delivery thing kinda skews your sense of PG.
So. One day after my due date, I woke up at four in the morning with my first ever contraction. It was kind of like when there is an earthquake and you pause and try to figure out what just happened. It slowly dawned on me what was going on and I grinned and practiced breathing until Wesley’s alarm went off at six. I then cheerfully told him he should probably reset his alarm clock and get another hour of sleep as you ‘never know what a day will bring forth!’.
It was kinda weird. I had been fairly confident that the whole ‘have the baby on Friday night with my favorite doctor’ would work out and as I laid in bed I contemplated when I would go to the hospital and when I would have the baby so that I would be sure to have this doctor. I timed my contractions and they were 8-10 minutes apart.
I got up with Ev around nine and we had our normal routine. I decided I’d better get a jump start on my pilates to get a jump start on this whole labor business. I asked Ev if she wanted to join me and she said, ‘yeah.’ So she sat between my legs and stretched hers out while I stretched behind her.
We had a break outside and enjoyed the scenery and waved toast around and then went on a mile plus walk. I had heard stories of people being in early labor for days before moving on and since I’d been up and at em I’d kind of lost track of my contractions and was nervous that this might be happening to me.
Things must have progressed some because I called Wes around three and told him I might be ready for him to come home.
Wesley made me laugh inwardly several times this day. I don’t think I was giving off very many ‘this is happening signals!’, so he was very leisure about everything he did. When I called him, he told me, ‘ok, well I’d like to get this certain job to a good stopping point.’. lol. Never mind the whole labor thing going on.
I texted him at four and told him it was now time. And home he came.
Evelyn had taken a very long nap and woke up as soon as Wes came home. I hit the road to do some more walking and breathing and would occasionally come in for a breather and would find Wes and Ev cheerfully splashing bubbles around in the tub. They looked at me like they wondered if I was having as much fun as they were. I inwardly shook my head and went back outside.
I called my Dr at 6:23 to let him know what was going on. Contractions were five ish minutes apart when I walked but slowed way down when I rested. He told me to text him in an hour as it sounded like I had time.
Wes put Ev in the stroller and the two accompanied me for the next hour as we walked up and down the road. I put quite a few miles in that day. I carried a rice sock on my back and occasionally would have Wes pound my back during contractions.
At 7:23 I texted my Dr, told him I’d been walking for the past hour and that contractions were 2-5 minutes apart. I wanted to add that my legs were about to fall off but I didn’t want to sound like I still had a sense of humor. He told me my labor sounded ‘disorganized’ and that I was maybe still in early labor but to use my best judgement and to come in if I was at all anxious.
I decided to hang out inside on the birthing ball to see what would happen. At this point, Ev and Wes were cheerfully putting together a vacuum cleaner that had arrived on the front porch. Another head shake.
Fifteen minutes later I told Wes, ‘Ok. Ev either needs to go to bed or go to her grandparents.’ So off they went. I was planning on him returning in a quick ten minutes but he was gone a good twenty. I rolled around on the ball, pounded the floor, tried to pound my back, did some gasping, fell on the couch, fell off the couch, ran around the house and was at the door by the time Wes got back.
‘I about gave up on you,’ I dryly told him. He mentioned something about his parents being in the garden. I told him he’d better eat something before we left and he told me Chik-fil-A sounded really good and he thought he’d just go through the drive-thru on the way to the hospital. I inwardly shook my head and we hopped in the car.
In the five minute drive to the main highway, I had two contractions and was already squeezing the tar out of Wesley’s hand. Car rides and contractions aren’t the most fun and it was a forty minute drive ahead of us. Wes called the parents and told them what was up. All I could think about was that massive tub waiting for me at Martha Jeff.
I had my eyes closed 95 percent of the time, uttered maybe ten words when Wes was on the phone with my parents, and was doing some serious breathing. By the time we reached Chik-fil-A, Wes told me, ‘Kels, I think we should just skip Chik-fil-A and go straight to the hospital. I inwardly shook my head again and thought, ‘hmm. great decision Wes.’. Oh it makes me laugh.
We pulled up to the hospital at 9:00, I got out of the car, leaned against the pillar and had a contraction. We left the car where it was and hurriedly walked to the check in spot where I had another contraction. They asked me how far about they were and Wes told them about five to six minutes apart. I inwardly shook my head again. We made it through the doors and I had another. The nurse looked at me and said, ‘Hmm, those look like they’re more like two minutes apart. ‘Thank you for noticing,’ I thought to myself.
They got me situated in my room and because we were trying for a VBAC, hooked me up to the monitor to hear baby’s heart rate and began trying to get an IV in me in case of emergency. They asked me what I was planning on doing for pain and it took me a minute to get, ‘a bath?’ out. Someone called the Dr to tell him to come in and Wes was planning on running out to move the car. He never had time. I think sometime in the car he had realized that this was happening and was really jumping into the roll of support partner.
It’s funny, I had this picture in my head of how laboring would go. I wanted to look back on the time and remember Wes. I envisioned him holding me, helping me relax and just looking at him to refocus. In reality, I barely saw him and would just kinda gasp, ‘Wes. Back! Harder!’. And away he would pound.
By the time they got the IV in me (took them a few tries), I was like, ‘um, I’m pretty sure I need to push.’
‘Can someone call Dr. Arnold and see where he’s at?’, was what I heard next. Thankfully, he showed up minutes later. I was contemplating how I was going to stay alive if I had to endure this the whole night. He checked me and said, ‘She’s ready to go,’ and the heavens opened and the angels sang.
Dr. Arnold walked over to the bed and with a straight face and a twinkle in his eye and a smirk on his face said, ‘Well. I guess you were in labor. That’ll be the last time you ever listen to a Dr.’. I chuckled inside.
And then the fun began. Pushing is really not my jam. Someone came in during this process to draw my blood and we had to take a break. I was like, ‘really. is this really the time?’. They explained it to me later and I was like, ‘ok. fine.’.
I was the only one in labor and delivery that evening and so this might be why I had my own personal cheer squad. Seriously, the nurses were awesome. My personal nurse was in my ear, calmly but very firmly telling me what to do, Dr. Arnold was saying ‘good girl’, and I heard all the others saying my name and encouraging me.
And Wes. He had his arm around me and I could feel him pushing right along with me and doing all the breathing I was doing. I told him later how great he was and he said, ‘well, I didn’t want you to hear me breathing easy like I was taking a walk in the park.’.
And then, miraculously, finally, wonderfully, Dr. Arnold asked me if I wanted to pull the baby out. I looked down and was like, ‘hmm. A little garden gnome.’ And up he went to my stomach. It was very important to me that Wes tell me the gender of the baby and I could vaguely hear Dr. Arnold telling Wes to check it out. And vaguely I heard Wes tell me it was a boy. I just laid there and went pat, pat, pat, pat on his back and rejoiced that he was out.
So yeah. The whole thing was crazy. That’s all I could say when I revived. ‘That was crazy.’ Over and over. I couldn’t believe how fast it went and really, it was not as terrible as I’d imagined. It was just crazy. And I was up on my feet within the hour. That was crazy. And I had my little Earl. That was crazy. (My brother, dad, grandfather and great grandfather all carry the name Earl. I’m sure I could find a Jackson somewhere in the family tree as well if I looked hard enough).
I told my nurse the next day how the whole thing had gone down and she was like, ‘Wow, that sounds incredibly smooth for a VBAC.’ And this wave of realization came over me as I thought of how many people had been praying for me. It kind of made me catch my breath. To think of the many prayers that went up on behalf of myself and the bebe and see how beautifully they’d been answered.
And so. All glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. [Ephesians 3:20-21]