The day I became a mom of two was absolutely nothing like the day I became a mom of one. I looked forward to Jade’s birth with anticipation that only a first-time mom can have. Her birth was everything I hoped it would be and so much more, and then my world was turned upside down. Nothing about being a mom was what I expected. Of course I knew I would be sleep-deprived and pooped on, but it’s so much more than that. Cliche´ or not, it really is like having your heart outside of your body. Worrying about every decision that you make and truly learning how to rely on the Lord when you realize that the worrying does absolutely no good.
But this isn’t Jade’s story. It’s Piper’s. My labor with Piper started quite a bit earlier than I expected it to. This wonderful (please catch the sarcasm) thing called prelabor began at 36 weeks 6 days. The hospital bags were not packed. Chuck’s master’s degree was not done. The baby clothes were still in the attic. Not ready is an understatement. I began to follow my doula’s instructions for what to do to determine if you’re in false labor: drink lots of water, pee a lot, and take a bath. I was at home alone with Jade so I put the TV on to distract her, sat on the couch and tried to relax. But my mind was racing and the contractions didn’t let up. Irregular, but consistent. In a bit of a panic, I called Chuck at work and he came home to watch Jade so that I could shower.
After the shower, when the contractions were still coming, I called Aimee (my doula). She determined that the contractions would not stop until I could get my mind to relax, which meant getting things ready. So Chuck and I ran around like crazy people, washing clothes, packing bags, cleaning the house. And then I got on my knees and prayed. Told Jesus that while I wasn’t ready, if He was, then let’s do this.
I went to sleep that night not knowing if I was going to wake up in full-blown labor or not. I didn’t. However, the contractions kept on coming. And these babies weren’t just a little uncomfortable. They were take my breath away, wrap around my entire uterus, stop talking contractions. Unfortunately, they were also irregular. This went on for several days and I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind. I had nothing like this with Jade and wasn’t prepared for it. Going about my daily life was so difficult, but also necessary because there was nothing else I could do. I went on walks and the contractions would pick up, but then would die down again. I was exhausted because my body was doing so much work, and I was finally really ready for Piper to get here. Thankfully, this only lasted about 3 days. I was mad that it never turned into active labor, but so relieved that they had stopped.
A week and two days later I woke up around 5 in the morning with some cramping. It felt remarkably similar to my labor with Jade- just like constipation. I laid in bed for a minute to see if it let up, and when it didn’t I went downstairs to get something to eat. At this point with Jade, I had about another 10 hours before things got really intense. With Piper, I had about 10 minutes. I was not able to finish eating my bowl of cereal before saying “ok, we’re having this baby today” and going upstairs and waking Chuck up. I jumped in the shower and he started packing the car, calling Aimee to say we were going to the hospital soon and letting the Rogers know we would be bringing Jade over. While in the shower, I started to panic because I realized that things were moving very quickly. I tried to calm down but didn’t feel like I would be able to until Jade was at the Rogers and we were at the hospital. I was unable to stand still through my contractions and I felt like they were getting closer and closer together, something that I knew I was intensifying with my panic.
I got out of the shower and got dressed. Chuck had gotten Jade ready and we were ready to go. I had called the midwife earlier and got a call back just as we were leaving the house. When I told her we were on the way she seemed to hesitate a moment, as in “are you sure you’re at that point?” was about to leave her mouth. But there was no doubt in my mind and as soon as I had a contraction on the phone (in the middle of the driveway on my hands and knees) the midwife said “ok, we’ll start filling up the tub”. I love that they truly can tell how far along you are just by the sound of your voice as you’re working through a contraction.
I sat down in the passenger seat and immediately groaned, realizing how hard it was going to be to sit during the drive. I was still a bit panicked because I knew things were moving very quickly, but was very glad we were on the way. I believe this was around 8 am.
As we were dropping Jade off, I got out of the car to work through a contraction. I vaguely remember Kristi laying hands on me and praying but I have no recollection of whether or not I acknowledged her at all. I did make sure to give Jade and kiss and then we were off- for the drive to the hospital, which felt like an eternity.
I just remember grabbing onto the handle during every contraction and trying to pull myself off the seat because it hurt so badly to sit. I was feeling so much pressure that I felt like if I moved into another position I would have been having the baby in the car. I grabbed Chuck’s hand consistently and kept telling myself to calm down, but not following my own advice. My desire for this labor was “peaceful and calm” and I was NOT getting that and I was a bit mad.
When Chuck exited the interstate, I turned the hazard lights on and told him he better treat every red light like a four-way stop because we needed to get to the flipping hospital. He seemed way too excited about that. Breaking the law when you have an excuse is really a lot of fun, apparently. I told him to go to the ER entrance because it was a Sunday and I didn’t know if that counted for after hours. I started to grab stuff from the backseat and realized that he didn’t give Kristi Jade’s bag of food and got very irritated with him and then realized “they have food at their house, I should probably focus on the baby I’m about to have”. But it was hard. I wanted so badly for Jade to feel completely at home with them and I felt like her lack of little bowls and plates and oatmeal would take away from that.
We went in the ER doors and the next thing I know, I’m in a wheelchair. I was NOT HAPPY about this. I had just been sitting down for 20 minutes, I didn’t want to sit down anymore. With each contraction I pushed myself off the chair and the nurse kept stopping and telling me to sit down. I told her to keep pushing that thing no matter what I did and I promised I wouldn’t fall out of the chair. When we got upstairs, she tried to take me to labor and delivery and I said “No, the midwifery center” and she got very confused. I think I might have been rude to her at this point, but I’m not sure. Either way, Chuck or I convinced her I did not have to check in at L&D and she took me to the midwifery center, where Nell (the midwife) was waiting.
I put on a hospital gown and got on my hands and knees in the bed (LOVE that they let me do this for monitoring) and they hooked me up to the fetal monitors and checked my cervix. I was 9 cms. When they told me that with Jade, I was shocked, but this time I could have told them. I knew I was progressing quickly. I remember looking over and seeing Aimee at this point, but I really don’t remember when she got there. Nell told the nurse not to bother hooking me up to the antibiotics for my group beta strep because I would probably be pushing in 10 minutes. I told them that I wanted to get in the hot tub but they said I had to be monitored for a little while longer. I’m sure it wasn’t long, but it felt like an eternity before they told me I could get in.
The hot tub was one of the main reasons I wanted a midwifery center birth instead of a hospital birth this time. My hospital birth with Jade was amazing, but I had heard how awesome hot tubs are for labor and I really wanted to try it out. The second I sank into that thing, I knew it was worth the extra drive. It’s like my pain melted away. Finally, I could really relax and work through the contractions like I wanted to and focus on how labor was a good thing and that my baby would be here soon.
I think I was in the tub for about an hour. I honestly don’t know, but it felt like a while. Chuck got in with me and it was so nice to share that with him. I was able to focus on moving my baby down into my cervix and really visualize things. I was able to talk and joke and enjoy myself. At my 2-week follow-up appointment, Aimee told me that she kept thinking “if I could just get her to shut up, she’d have this baby” but I’m SO glad she didn’t do that, because that time of laughter and talking is what I needed.
After a while, I started to have the urge to push with each contraction. Just like I remembered from Jade’s labor, my body just began to push and then I followed through. After a couple of these contractions, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to push effectively in the tub. I couldn’t get into a position where I really felt like she was moving down when I pushed without simultaneously drowning myself. My water broke at some point while I was pushing in the tub, and I felt more pressure but still didn’t feel like the baby was moving down. Nell said she wanted to check me again to make sure there wasn’t a lip over the head since I kept saying that she wasn’t moving.
At that point, 3 people helped me to get out of the tub and onto the bed. The contractions were so close together that I just fell into the bed on my side and couldn’t move because I was already pushing again. Nell checked and said everything was good. I wanted to move into another position but really couldn’t. The difference in the amount of pain from the tub to the bed really caught me off guard and I felt stuck there on my side. Nell had me hold my leg back, I held Chuck’s hand and screamed my way through the rest of the contractions.
Aimee continuously had to remind me to bear down and not raise my head. I kept telling her that I didn’t remember it hurting this badly and that God plays mean jokes on women and that I was having a home birth next time because I didn’t want to have to drive anywhere again. I remember saying “this sucks” quite a bit. I truly hated pushing. I felt like I was ripping in half but I knew that I had to keep going. I kept saying “she’s not coming out!” and they kept assuring me that she was. I prayed to God for strength and then said “I’m not doing this again”. Pushing is all a blur- all I really remember is the pain. I know that Piper was moving back up in-between some of the contractions and that was really frustrating me so Nell told me just to “go!” and I did. Everyone had told me that pushing with your subsequent babies is so much faster than pushing with your first, so I really thought I would have had her out in two or three pushes and that was not the case. I’m not sure why- if I’m a “bad” pusher or if that’s just the way my body works, but I remember being so frustrated that I had to keep pushing.
Of course, at that point, what else are you going to do? You can’t just stop. So I kept going and after what felt like an eternity, she was out and they were laying her on my stomach. It’s amazing that in that moment, it all becomes worth it. The first thing I thought was “she’s so tiny” because I truly had expected her to be a big baby and then I thought “wow, she looks nothing like Jade”. I kept trying to pull her up more into my arms but the cord was too short so I couldn’t.
After I delivered the placenta, Nell started stitching me up because I tore (again). I knew it was my fault this time- I got impatient with the pushing and didn’t wait for the opening to really stretch out. While I was being stitched up, they were checking Miss Piper out and everything was great. They gave her back to me and we were able to have a wonderful start to breastfeeding. Baby girl latched right on and stayed there for 45 minutes. Chuck went and got me some food (Jade’s oatmeal that we had forgotten to give to the Rogers, actually!), and Aimee stayed and we talked until he got back.
I didn’t get the nice, peaceful birth that I wanted and I felt like a big baby because I was so panicked for most of it, but it was so beyond worth it. I think I will definitely look into a home birth for any future babies because I do progress so quickly and I know that if I didn’t have to go anywhere I wouldn’t be so panicked, but I wouldn’t change a thing about this birth because it brought me my Piper Lorelai and that’s the whole point. C-section or home birth, the outcome is the same and I would do whatever it took to hold my baby in my arms. So yes, maybe God does play jokes on mamas by making the memories of the pain fade, but I suppose I forgive Him ;)