I woke and stood up to go to the bathroom when I felt some water leaking. Joy filled me. Finally, at 41 weeks and 4 days pregnant labor was imminent!
It was 6 am so I crept downstairs in the silence to read and pray.
Amongst the excitement the day brought, I also worried over the fact that my water had broken before I had any contractions. The same thing happened with Theo and I didn’t want to end up in the hospital with Pitocin and an epidural.
With a homebirth we were unlikely to have to abide by the same ridiculous standards that hospitals do, but I still had a lot of “what if’s” running through my head. “What if my contractions don’t start?” “What if I go too long before giving birth and get an infection?” “What if we end up at the hospital anyways?”
I woke Brad and we spent some time together downstairs.
The boys soon joined us with excitement. We ate breakfast together and enjoyed their presence, knowing our family would be changing before long. I had mild contractions throughout the morning and before lunch we sent the boys off to Papaw’s house. I tidied our rooms and we went for a walk down the hill to get things moving.
Slowly but surely my contractions started to pick up. It felt slow and frustrating, but we spent a good portion of the afternoon resting in between pains.
After checking in, Patty decided it was time to come and arrived in the early evening.
Almost immediately my contractions stopped. Throughout the night they picked up and then slowed down again. Finally, in the wee morning hours I felt they were strong enough to get into the birth pool. The water was warm and wonderful and Brad read to me from a Henri Nouwen book. It was beautiful and relaxing and exactly what I wanted…except that I had only one or two contractions while I was in there. Out I went back to the bed.
Dawn broke on Wednesday morning and my anxiety was at a high. How could I still not have a baby in my hands after 24 hours of labor? Friends and family were concerned by our lack of baby. “Go to the hospital”, some warned. (Not helpful advice, by the way).
The progression of the morning is fuzzy to me. I was so tired and so sad that this birth wasn’t going like I thought it would (does it ever?).
After a while Patty checked me and tried to maneuver the baby so she would be in a better position to stimulate contractions. She had me push even though I felt no urge to do so nor had I thrown up in transition yet. It was tiring but at least I was doing something. She covered me in oils and had me swallow some herbs to increase contractions. Her presence was calming and peaceful and not once did she worry or make me feel like this wasn’t going to work out okay in the end. I am so thankful for her help.
Soon it all changed. Unbearable pain set in and I vomited. As much as I hate both pain and vomiting, praise Jesus I knew the end was in sight!
I was a mess by now and too tired to try and control my pain reaction so I yelled and screamed and the whole bit. I was hot so the windows were open with a beautiful spring breeze rolling in. I hoped the neighbors weren’t outside to hear me.
On hands and knees 31 hours after my water broke, I finally birthed our first baby girl. Weary with exhaustion and filled with elation over our meeting, I collapsed on our bed.
Winifred Marie weighed in at a tiny 6 pounds and 2 ounces, our smallest and most overdue baby. She was born after a year of change, bringing light into the pain and difficulty that life has brought our way. Praise Jesus for another beautiful gift.