On the night of Saturday, November 22nd I was having pretty strong, constant contractions for four hours. Paul was happily tracking my contractions on his phone, hoping today would be the day I would go into labor. I decided to rest while the contractions were easy to get through. I fell asleep around midnight and woke up the next morning still very much pregnant.
Paul got up and ready for church, since he was still playing music that morning. I could tell he was a little nervous about leaving Caleb and I at home. When Caleb woke up I decided to stay home and rest. Caleb was also getting over a cold, so he was a bit lazy, which was helpful. He didn’t mind watching TV, laying around, and reading books with me. In between practice and the service, Paul called to check on me. Unfortunately, I had no signs of labor.
In all honesty, Sunday was a hard day for me during the late afternoon. I was so tired, swollen, and just felt ready to have the baby. I think the fact that it was my due date and I had no signs of labor got to my head, in a negative way. Paul could tell how tired I was and told me to lay down. I slept for a few hours, which is very unlike me. I woke up to Caleb throwing another tantrum (it was not a good day for him either) in the living room. All I could do was sit on the couch and cry right along with him.
I decided we all needed to get out of the house and do something fun! So we packed up and went to Barnes and Noble to play with the trains. Caleb’s favorite! While Caleb played, Paul went to Tropical Smoothie for a yummy after dinner treat. Once we got home, we were all in a much better mood.
At around 10 pm, as I laid in bed reading natural ways to induce labor, trolling around on Pinterest, and scanning Instagram, I heard a “pop!” I jumped out of bed and water was dripping down my leg. As I ran to the bathroom I yelled to Paul ,”Babe, my water broke!” All the while laughing hysterically, because the scene felt like something out of a movie.
I called the on-call nurse to say I was pretty sure my water broke. Later, I felt like an idiot, because I was positive my water broke. The on-call doctor called me a few minuets later. He told me not to feel rushed, but to get to the hospital soon. Even though I wasn’t having any contractions there were a few factors for me to need to be in the hospital. I live almost 45 minutes away from the hospital, I was 3cm dilated at my last check up, I had contractions the night before, it was my second baby, and my past blood pressure issues. Once I got off the phone with the doctor, I called my mom and sister Lindsey to head over. My Nonnie was staying with them, so my sister Chelsea and her boyfriend C.J. stayed the night with her, so my mom and Lindsey could be with Caleb at my house.
Paul and I both ate a bowl of cereal. While we ate, we laughed with my family about how my water broke, what time I wanted my mom to come in, and Caleb’s needs.
On the way to the hospital I asked Paul to stop at Wawa for some water and snacks. It was another rainy cold drive to the hospital, just like our delivery with Caleb.
When we arrived at the hospital, the lady at the front desk laughed because I was the 10th woman to arrive that night in active labor. So, needless to say, I came in on a busy night.
They sent me to the triage room to make sure my water really broke. I was in there for about 5 minutes before they moved me to our delivery room. There was no going home – tonight was the night.
I was worried that I might have come in too early, because I had zero pain. I mean literally, nothing! The nurse checked me to see how far along I was. The contractions I had the night before must have really done some work, because I was 4.5 cm dilated. I told her that I really wanted to have a natural delivery and to be free to do whatever I needed to stay comfortable.
The nurse told me I could walk around if I wanted to for an hour, but to be back in my room in time for the doctor to come and check me. We walked the halls for about 15 minutes and then I told Paul I wanted to sleep since I wasn’t in any pain. But, hyperactive me couldn’t shut my brain off long enough to fall asleep, so I decided to watch the Family Stone on our computer. When my nurse came in to check on me, we had a nice conversation about The Family Stone and Sarah Jessica Parker.
The doctor walked in with a big smile. As I was hooked up to the monitors, the doctor started asking me some questions. He asked about things like my birth plan, pain level, how many deliveries this was for me, etc.
I told him that I was still NOT experiencing any pain. He and the nurse looked shocked. He asked me again: “Even right now, you aren’t feeling any pain?” I smiled and said, “Nothing!” He was surprised, because I was having pretty strong contractions every 3 minutes from the time I was put back on the monitors. As far as my birth plan, he told me a natural delivery was going to be really hard, but as long as I was progressing he would leave me alone and let my body do what it wanted. He also said, because my water broke, that he would not check me often, because I was at a higher risk of infection.
Around 1am my monitor kept messing up. Jessa was “sunny side up” (I guess my babies like giving their mommy back labor) and they were having a hard time keeping track of her. At this point, I was still having contractions, but I didn’t feel them. After failed attempts from two different nurses, we decided to use the wireless monitors. Which I loved and hope to get every time! The new monitor was light and ten times more comfortable. Plus I had more freedom to move around.
Around 2am I was in active labor and in a significant amount of pain. I asked Paul to turn on our playlist of my favorite music (think Jesus culture, Hillsong, All Sons & Daughters). Hearing the music through my labor helped remind me that God was in control. No matter what pain I was feeling, He had the power to comfort my body and He designed my body to do exactly what it was doing.
During active labor I enjoyed getting into many different positions. My favorite was to wrap my arms around Paul’s neck, let my belly hang, and sway almost as if we were dancing. While in this position, Paul would whisper in my ear, telling me how strong I was, that I was beautiful, and that we would be holding Jessa any moment now. Later, when my back labor became really painful, my mom and Paul would take turns squeezing my hips.
3am was the start of a nurse change. I was sad to see my nurse leave because she was so supportive of my natural delivery and our personalities fit well. I will say, the second nurse was also very supportive.
At 4am I told Paul to go ahead and call my mom. I wanted to have her in the room again as extra support. She arrived at 5am and brought a new level of excitement to the room. My contractions were definitely intense and two minutes apart but I could easily work through them. I was able to laugh, joke, and even dance (inside joke) in between contractions.
For the next few hours I tried many different positions to help me get through each contraction. I found leaning over the peanut shaped ball on the bed helped with back pain.
At about 8am I started to have nausea. During each contraction I was on the verge of throwing up. I had back labor the whole time, but now it was starting to feel unbearable.
The nurse said she could give me something for the nausea, but I just wanted something to throw up in. A few minutes later I started throwing up a lot. I had read that throwing up during labor could help the baby move down. That was very true for me.
From that point on, my contractions were right on top of each other and so painful. The nurse came in to say my doctor was running late because he had to drop his son off at school. I decided to go to the bathroom before he got there to check on me (drinking all that water had me going potty a lot). While I was in the bathroom, I felt the ring of fire and a strong urge to push. I knew I was having a contraction so I tried to relax and breath. I came out of the bathroom and very quietly, but firmly told them to get the nurse, now! I slowly crawled into the bed and got on all fours to relieve the pressure from my back. I leaned over the ball and asked God to please bring her soon! The nurse came slowly to check me. I don’t think she thought it was time for me to push. Her expression quickly changed, she looked at me and said I’m getting your doctor NOW. When my doctor arrived he said, “Is it time to have a baby!?!” He looked down at me to check my progress and said, “Okay, Jessa has a lot of hair. I need my gown.” There was no need to check me because Jessa was already coming. My doctor barely had enough time to put his gown on. After three quick pushes, on November 24, 2014 at 9:17 am our little Jessa was in my arms.
I think for the first 15 minutes or so, I was in shock. I was only in active labor for 7 hours, I pushed for only a few minutes, and I never felt the need for pain medication. Don’t get me wrong, labor is painful, but compared to my first labor with Caleb, it was so much better! I hope the next time goes so smoothly. What I think really helped me was that I got to be on my own, with only my husband and mom. The hospital staff did such a wonderful job of making me feel at home. Not being checked constantly to see how I was progressing, I think was a huge blessing. There was never any pressure of, “Oh, your only 5cm.” My body just did what it had to do. The only downside to not being checked was that Alysha (our birth photographer) didn’t have enough time to make it to the hospital, which was a major bummer. Luckily, she is a good friend and took some really sweet pictures of us while Jessa was only a few hours old. My advice for anyone wanting a natural delivery is to do what works for you. For me, I liked the Bradley method. I stayed on top of my pre-labor workouts, I ate right (aside from my sweet tooth), and I reminded myself that God was in control.
I was really excited the first time Jessa and Caleb met. We got a gift for Caleb and told him it was from his new sister, Jessa. He was excited about his present and very curious about his new sister. He held her after she came back from the nursery. He had the biggest smile on his face! He kept saying, “Baby Jessa!”
We love our little baby girl and we are so happy to have her with us.
Photo Credit: Alysha with Blessed Beginnings Photography, and a few non – professional photos from us!