This is a story that will be retold over and over for the rest of my life.  It is a story that will be shared around campfires, in a crowded booth at a favorite restaurant, at a prettily decorated table at church, in chats between fences, around our kitchen table late into the night.   It is a mother’s war story.  The story of meeting her child.  The obstacles she encountered, the feelings she experienced, the battles she fought.  Every mother knows the importance behind these words.

Parts of this story will stay in the recesses of my heart, only to be reflected upon in my own personal thoughts.  Someday, when the timing it right, it will be told with a great emphasis on emotional feelings to my girls.  My friends, on the other hand, will get the  purely physical version.  In the thirty days since bearing witness to it, it has already been told too many times to count.

Though the words to this story are already being formed into the same repetitive lines in my memory, their meaning has not become any less important to me.  Instead, each time they are spoken it only makes me feel more strength, pride, and love for the girl that was the end result.

DSC_0076We fought hard for her, after all.

While I was in the midst of transitional labor, I recalled in vivid detail the birth accounts of friends.  The mantras they chanted, the focal points they used, the descriptive detail they recounted.  Their stories merged with mine and became the deep thoughts that carried me through the next contraction.

With great pride,  but some trepidation, I now share this story with you. My hope is that it will find its way into your heart.  And to a few of you reading, may my story someday, in some way, serve as a help to you.

It is the story of a moment that our lives were changed.

The end chapter on a Divine season of wait.

An Ebenezer stone in our great family history.

A story woven with love for us by our Creator.

It is the story of meeting our Bea.

{You already know that we hired a doula and planned to go naturally on this birth, we changed hospitals and rented a laboring tub in hopes to help relieve the pain of labor without  the use of drugs and we’d had a long wait and delivery for our first daughter, MG.}

{And for more pictures/video of our birth story, watch this}

(you should also know by now that I am not one to mince details.  So this story will be broken up into four more manageable parts)

Part 1: Days, Hours, Minutes until Labor Began

In the weeks leading up to my due date, I spent a lot of time thinking about how and when labor would begin.  During daylight, I felt mostly confident and excited.  At night, I stirred with fear and anxiety.  Starting around 36 weeks, I began to cautiously prepare: packing my bags, making instructions and food for MG, keeping the house in order, taking Evening Primrose Oil and drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea.  All the while, I hoped that labor would wait until we were absolutely ready.  The closer she came to my due date, I reasoned, the better the timing would be for us all.

At 36 weeks, I was disappointed to find out I tested positive for Group Beta Strep (GBS).  It is a common symptom randomly occurring in about 25% of pregnant women.   A positive test can vary from woman to woman, pregnancy to pregnancy, and even week to week.  Those who test positive receive an antibiotic during labor to help protect the baby from acquiring an infection  as they pass through the birth canal.  The reasons why I was disappointed were threefold: 1) most OB’s prefer that you receive two, twenty minute doses of the antibiotic at least 2 hours before you deliver.  This meant that I may have to arrive at the hospital sooner than I wanted in order to receive the proper doses on time  2)  Though antibiotics are a wonderful and preventative drug, I was leery about my newborn baby receiving them if she did not need them.  Of course, I absolutely wanted to protect her, but I also knew that receiving antibiotics at birth could lead to thrush (which could hinder breastfeeding) and other unknown side effects.  The less drugs she could encounter at such a young age, the better, I thought.  3) I had strongly prayed against being positive (due to the above two reasons) so hearing this news made me question God’s provision over me.  If He wasn’t going to answer this prayer the way I wanted, what other prayers about my labor was I going to be disappointed by His response?  It was not something that preoccupied my mind for long, but I did question what God’s plan for me in that was.

Time passed, and the week of my due date was pretty normal and non-eventful.  The regular play dates, grocery shopping, house-cleaning, and all of the labor prep “just in case tomorrow is the day” were somewhat exhausting and I noticed that I while I still hadn’t encountered insomnia, I wasn’t sleeping very well either–averaging about 7 hours a night and then also needing a nap during MG’s afternoon one.

On Sunday (the 12th) at 39 weeks, I thought I noticed my first pre-labor symptom.  If I really concentrated I discerned a few noticeable contractions here and there during the day.  Maybe about 20 minutes apart?  That same night N and I watched a movie and throughout the entire two hours, I counted mild contractions averaging about 10 minutes apart.  It probably didn’t help that we were watching one of the most intense movies I’d seen in a while, “Zero Dark Thirty”, but nonetheless, it was an exciting and scary change.  As we headed to bed, we both wondered if I would go into labor that night and it gave us the courage to put the finishing touches on all loose ends.

Throughout that Sunday night, I slept lightly with contractions coming and going in between dreams.  Finally around 4am, I decided to make use of my little contraction app–the one I’d been so excited to use last time–and started to monitor them.  They were irregular and inconsistent and not too long after I started timing them, they died down and I fell back asleep.  Secretly,  I was glad because in my heart, I didn’t really want a 13th baby anyway (you know of my little preoccupation with numbers, right? :))

The next morning, N was a little disappointed to see my still enlarged belly, but we consoled ourselves that we “still had time” and realized if only we could make it two more days (until Wednesday) we would be within our “ideal window” and could relax a bit more.  This time frame  being somewhere between the 15th-22nd with our due date weekend being the most ideal.

On Tuesday night before bed, I felt a few more contractions but they didn’t last throughout my sleep.  During the days, N anxiously carried with and checked his phone for messages from me.  Each night, we had little pep talks to ease my fears that labor would begin on its own, that we wouldn’t have to wait forever, and that God was in control.

On Wednesday (the 15th), I went in to see my doctor and we were both relieved to find that I was 3cm dilated, 50% effaced.  I knew it wasn’t an indicator of when I would go into labor, but I thought, “the more I can do now, the less I will have to do later.”  N, the ever positive, was elated and was sure that labor was just around the corner.  My doctor said she was “hopeful” that I wouldn’t make it to our induction date just a little over 2 weeks away.  And I remained cautiously hopeful that we’d still fall within our perfect timeframe.

After that good news, my hopes took a downward spiral as I had my weekly (at that point) prenatal chiropractic appointment. After my adjustment she asked if she could touch my belly and after feeling around for a bit, told me the baby was curled into a c-shape with her spine facing my left-hand side.  She recommended I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees in order to reposition her back to turn outward towards my bellybutton.  Finally, after I admitted we had a perfect due date picked out for that weekend, she told me that in her opinion, I was not ‘on the verge’.  “You still have a few days by my estimation” she essentially said.  I asked her why she thought this and she said my body had not significantly changed since my last appointment and to her that is always an indicator that labor is impending.

I texted my doula (Julie) to see what she thought of this news.  “Patience.” she texted back.  I steadied myself for another long wait.  It felt as if the closer we grew to our due date, the further away the reality of labor seemed.

Thursday and eventually Friday came without further excitement.  N did pressure points and I tried a few other labor inducing techniques.  While I had a few contractions here and there, I was disappointed that they never sent us into anything close to full blown labor.  I watched for other signs.

On Thursday, I woke up with a ton of energy and felt great.  I cleaned the house and ran a few other errands “just in case” it happened that weekend.  Friday, I woke up feeling back to blah and maybe even a little worse.  I had MOPS that day, so thankfully I didn’t spend the morning running around and on my feet but nonetheless, I couldn’t shake the nauseated feeling in my stomach.  If I really concentrated, I noticed contractions about every 20 minutes again.  If nothing else, I hoped it would push me into the 4cm range.

That afternoon, I had an ultrasound scheduled for 4:30pm.  Since I was technically overdue on Sunday, I had a doctor’s appointment and Non-Stress-Test scheduled for Monday morning to make sure the baby was not distressed in any way.  They couldn’t fit the ultrasound in as well, so they put me down for Friday afternoon instead.  I looked at it as a little consolation prize: if I couldn’t meet my baby on her due date, at least I could catch a glimpse of her.  N was very excited to go too, so we made it a family date.  MG was so excited, she skipped her nap to attend as well.

Suffice it to say, the ultrasound was a little disappointing, especially considering my high expectations.  I should have known it would be a downer when the very first thing the tech greeted me with was, “Someone‘s had too much sun” as she gave a meaningful glance towards my shoulders.

How does one even respond to that?

The ultrasound itself was less than 10 minutes long and we could barely see anything. “Well that is one of the worst facial shots I’ve ever taken, but here ya go.” she said as she handed us our one blurry picture.  I asked her to go back and confirm it was still a girl, so she obliged and just like that, we were finished. I also asked her if the baby’s back was facing out correctly and she said the same thing the chiropractor had: that her face was turned to the right and she was curled around in a C-shape.  This to me was good news that she wasn’t completely posterior (as MG had been), but it also meant that she wasn’t yet engaged and ready to begin.  I breathed the word patience to myself.

 The last shred of good news was that the tech cleared us on her fluid levels which meant that we had bought the appropriate time before induction.  “Do some squats and take the stairs on your way out of here.” she joked.

Very funny.  If one more non-friend gave me advice on how to start labor, I was going to lose it.

Outside it was rainy and we decided to go to Jason’s Deli for dinner and let rush hour traffic subside before making our way home.

Dinner at Jason’s was fitting because the last time we’d eaten there as a family was right after our gender ultrasound when we were giddy with our pink news.  This time we were reserved and our morale was beginning to sink.  MG was in high spirits, however, and we rallied to make the most of our little family date for her sake, complete with unlimited ice cream.  “Is Bea enjoying that?” N asked as I rubbed my moving belly.  “A little too much” I responded.  “She needs to come out.”

By the time we got home (after MG fell asleep in the car of course),

IMG_0245

the rain had mostly cleared and we decided to go for a walk before bed.

The entire walk was pretty much a whine-fest.  I related an article I had read the night before about “Natural ways to induce labor.”  It had pretty much said you can attempt these things but they under no circumstance  will put you into labor.   Walking was on the list.  We bemoaned a foreseeable long wait and pessimistically, how she would probably pick the worst possible day to come.

Between the walk and MG, I was wearing out quickly and wanted to return home sooner than normal.  As we turned onto our street, we took turns lamenting the things we would HAVE to do the following day since we wouldn’t be in the hospital on our due date.  We were mostly being sarcastic and N said, “Well I guess we’ll HAVE to watch “Anna Karenina” (the movie to the book we’d both just finished) tomorrow night.” just as we were stepping onto our driveway.

The words had just barely escaped his lips as wide-eyed I looked at him and said, “Either I just peed my pants or my water just broke.”

He looked at me skeptically as I was lightly laughing.

“I’m being dead serious” I said in between laughter and walking really fast now to make it to the bathroom and assess the situation.

Sure enough, there was no doubt in my mind my water was at least leaking.  I looked at my watch, it was 7:30pm.

{part II: labor…to be continued on Friday}

8 Comments on Bea’s Birth Part 1: Days, Hours, and Minutes until Labor Began

  1. Amy
    June 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm (4 years ago)

    Ugh! You always leave us hanging, don’t you! 😉 I can’t wait to read the rest! But I’m guessing it will take us through next week???Hahahaha!

    Reply
    • Sweet Mama K
      June 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm (4 years ago)

      Mmhmmm…you know me too well 🙂

      Reply
  2. Amy
    June 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm (4 years ago)

    Ugh! You always leave us hanging, don’t you! 😉 I can’t wait to read the rest! But I’m guessing it will take us through next week???Hahahaha!

    Reply
    • Sweet Mama K
      June 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm (4 years ago)

      Mmhmmm…you know me too well 🙂

      Reply
  3. Kerry
    June 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Love this! I was induced with Hank and hope I get the excitement of my water breaking and going into labor on my own next time!

    Reply
    • Sweet Mama K
      June 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm (4 years ago)

      Speaking from experience—it so much more *fun* to do it this way! Hope you do too!

      Reply
  4. Kerry
    June 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Love this! I was induced with Hank and hope I get the excitement of my water breaking and going into labor on my own next time!

    Reply
    • Sweet Mama K
      June 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm (4 years ago)

      Speaking from experience—it so much more *fun* to do it this way! Hope you do too!

      Reply

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