Two days before my due date.
I took the boys to play trains at Barnes and Noble in an attempt to enjoy a rainy day. I thought I would get a coffee and relax my aching pregnant body while they were entertained for hours.
Of course not.
They began to fight over trains and my sweet Theo’s anger escalated quickly. What began as a lovely trip ended with a kid following me out of the store trying to kick me in the shins yelling “I WANT THOSE BOOKS”. Yep, I was that mom.
It was a rough morning and when we got home I was stressed out and tired. I began making lunch and realized that I felt off. I was nauseous and having some stronger braxton hicks. I didn’t think much of it because I had been having contractions for weeks.
Things quickly seemed to get worse and I just felt terrible. I texted Brad and he came home despite having a meeting scheduled.
I thought that maybe, just maybe this was the real deal. We spent the afternoon relaxing with movies and timing contractions.
The intensity increased ever so slightly and we discussed what our evening might look like. I knew we wouldn’t be going to the hospital super soon but we made a quick call to the grandparents and decided it would be better to leave the kids with them before bedtime than to have exchange them in the middle of the night.
We treated the rest of the evening like a date night/attempt to increase contractions. We went to a meeting Brad already had set, ate dinner at Whole Foods and walked around Target and Half Price books.
I began to feel very anxious because my contractions were still not really increasing in intensity. I felt like we had prematurely given the kids to the grandparents and caused a lot of fuss over nothing.
We went home and eventually I fell asleep at 3 a.m. I woke up two hours later feeling super bummed because I wasn’t in labor. I used the restroom and realized I was bleeding a bit.
My excitement ramped up again, bleeding means labor is imminent! I wasn’t crazy!
I called the midwife and she said to come in to get checked out because I was bleeding.
We got to triage at OSU around 7 a.m. I was only 3 centimeters dilated so we were instructed to walk the hospital for two hours.
Two hours later I was at 3 centimeters. Go home, they said. Come back in if anything changes.
We picked up things for breakfast and went to get the kids. I missed them and wanted to give my in-laws a break.
My contractions continued throughout the day, the same somewhat uncomfortable but very manageable feeling I had been having for a full 24 hours. I tried to rest.
We took the kids back to my in-laws for the night because we were still pretty sure that labor was happening, albeit very slowly.
We ate dinner with them and put the kids to bed there. Once home we opened a bottle of wine to calm my anxiety over the slowness of this labor. I brought a glass with me to bed, Brad fell asleep and I laid down in slow and quiet prayer. I contemplated how my body was feeling with every contraction.
I decided to time them again for an hour and then reevaluate.
That hour was the first time I had truly relaxed in 36 hours. By the end of it I was moaning through the contractions. This woke Brad and we both realized it was time to return to OSU.
At midnight I was 5 centimeters dilated and quickly moved to a room. My contractions were getting much stronger as they filled up the labor tub. My midwife, Cassandra, offered to break my water just to speed things up even more.
I immersed myself in the warmth of the tub, Brad put on Bon Iver (the same thing I labored to with Ira) and the pain increased quickly.
I entered into the birthing zone. I no longer conversed between contractions but just lay my head down to rest. I wasn’t quite present in my surroundings found myself in another place of both dread and anticipation of each contraction that would draw me nearer to my baby.
OSU no longer allows women to actually birth in the tubs so Cassandra told me that as soon as I felt a desire to push I needed to get out of the water.
I could feel that time getting nearer with every contraction. Nausea was present with every pain and Brad faithfully held the blue barf bag next to me just in case.
The slight urge to push filled me with the next contraction. I told Cassandra and she helped my dripping self out of the tub. They surrounded me with warmed blankets on the bed but I could not stop shaking. The contractions were overwhelming at this point.
At this point I imagine every woman feels they cannot continue. That their body will simply give up from the pain it is enduring.
The many times I said I couldn’t do it, Cassandra simply told me that I could.
Thankfully I knew that I could. I knew that I did this with Ira’s birth and that I would do it again.
I felt much more confident and less overwhelmed by the entire process this time. I knew how to breathe with the contractions, I knew how bad it was going to feel before and during pushing. I knew I would probably throw up (I did, right before starting to push). Knowledge is power and I knew it would soon be over. That soon my baby’s tiny little body would exit my womb and immediately I would be flooded with relief and great joy.
I began to push and scream. I could feel my baby’s body moving down. Cassandra told me to focus and moved me into a better position to push. She told me the baby would be out soon if I could focus all of my strength into one push.
She was right. His perfect little body slid out of mine at 3:10 a.m. on his due date and I heard Brad gasp from the beauty and rawness of it all. Cassandra quickly unwrapped the cord from his neck and the nurses brought him to my chest as I declared that it was a boy.
As I sat shaking from the adrenaline while I was being attended to, I looked back and forth between Brad and our third son. Perfect excitement and joy filled my soul as I surveyed his tiny body.
I looked at Brad and asked him the name. Solomon Daniel, he said, I feel like that’s right. Me too, I said with a smile.
We rested like that for many minutes until the nurses came back in to measure and clean him.