That morning Brooklyn and I had a fun time together. We had a dentist appointment with our neighbor who is a dental hygienist. Brooklyn did great at her first dentist appointment and talked about it for days. I jokingly asked Jani (our hygienist) if there was any correlation between teeth cleanings and going into labor. I’m pretty sure there’s not, but it was still pretty funny that I went into labor that night. After our appointment we met our good friends, the Sevilles, at Sea Isle Park for a playdate. Then B and I got Chick Fil A for lunch. A pretty special morning with my first baby girl on her last day as an only child.
That evening I was determined to go on a walk before dinner, so Kyleigh (my dog), Brooklyn, and I went on a short one miler and I felt lots of pressure in my lower abdomen and rectum. I didn’t think much about it because I had been having lots of Braxton Hicks and lower pains for several days. Well, that night after I read B a book I came out to the living room and started watching a new PBS show called “Call The Midwife” and the lower abdomen pains seemed to be really close together. It was around 8pm. I kept an eye on the clock and when Ben came out of B’s room after getting her to sleep I told him, “I think I may be having contractions”. I kept saying “I’m really confused because they are really close together but not very long or intense”. (like 3 minutes apart but only 20-30 seconds).B’s labor started out really slow and easy. I timed them for an hour and then called my midwife and mom. My midwife suggested I try to rest since they were still so short. I took a bath and did some chores but they kept getting longer and longer and still about 3 minutes apart. At this point we tried watching part of a movie (Remember the Titans) but I was progressing pretty quickly in the pain department so we moved into the bedroom where I could relax. I was still pretty confused since this wasn’t “textbook” at all. My labor with B was completely different too so I wasn’t sure how the rest of my labor with Annalise would pan out. Eleven hours later the word to describe it was “intense”!
Around 10:30pm I was convinced it was real labor and my mom and brother Jordan headed our way. My aunt Dawn, grandparents, and brother Erik left shortly after.
Around 11:30 or 12 I called my midwife and she got ready to come over. She checked me and I was around 3-4cm and 80% effaced. I got in the birth pool around 1am. I LOVE me some hot water during labor. I mostly labored on hands and knees rocking with the contractions and breathing my four count pattern of exhale-exhale-pause-inhale. I rested in between contractions, which wasn’t long since they were still 2-3 minutes apart. They got more and more intense really quickly. My exhale pattern turned into a more verbal “ooo, ooo, pause, inhale”, or other noises like that. I really felt like I was transitioning so my midwife checked and I was around 5 and 90%. Not the news I was wanting. I had no idea how I was going to endure much more of this...God’s grace was the only way I can explain it. I got out of the pool for a while and alternated sitting on the toilet and birthing stool to let gravity and some gentle pushing help move me along. The contractions were a bit more intense out of water but I felt like I was working with them to hurry things along so it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. Before I got back in the water my midwife checked me because I really felt like I wanted to push, but I believe at this point I was maybe 7-8 but completely effaced. I still was concerned I had a long time to go. So often I felt like giving up, not that I could have of course. I kept telling myself that this was the way God designed labor to be and that He would give me the strength to persevere. He had created women to birth and they had been doing it for generations. But it wasn’t easy! I kept having a slight urge to push so they told me to gently push at the peak of contractions. That helped a lot with the pain because I felt like I was really working towards something. I stayed in a mostly hands and knees position and rocked my pelvis a lot. Throughout labor I was really exhausted. I had napped that day but to labor when you would normally be sleeping proved to be really exhausting. My legs were really tired and weak about halfway through labor. I sipped on juice and ate ice cubes of Shaklee Performance electrolyte drink to give myself energy. Towards the end of labor I really needed water poured on my back during contractions and a cold rag on my neck and head.
Well, I kept feeling the urge to push more and more so my midwives gave me the go ahead to push gently a little bit more. At this point I asked my midwife if I should get out of the water so she could get to me better, but she assured me she’d be able to assist and I could stay in the comfort of the water. I really wanted a hands on pushing stage to prevent tearing as much as possible. All of the midwives and my husband were amazing coaches during this time. (they were amazing the whole time actually, especially my sweet hubby. he never left my side) They reminded me to push gently and to breathe through some of the contractions. One of them sang to me for about 30 minutes because that was very calming for me. Of course resisting the urge to push was not fun and it was really difficult, but I knew I needed to endure this short amount of pain to try to prevent tearing. My midwife Martina provided counter pressure for the head and assessed if I had torn after each contraction. I tore really bad with Brooklyn and had a lot of physical and psychological postpartum issues because of it so this was my biggest concern with this birth.
I should add that Brooklyn woke up around 6am and came in to check on me. It was so encouraging to see her sweet face and to know that I was about to birth her baby sister soon. It was such a blessing to have labored during her sleeping hours so we didn’t have to worry about her.
Well, I kept gently pushing and the midwives said they thought I would have the baby out within 5 contractions. It ended up being three. (my total pushing stage was about 40 minutes) We called for the family to come in at this point because they all wanted to witness the birth (my mom had been in there the whole time though). Crowning was no fun, but after breathing through that, I pushed out the head and body two contractions later and was holding sweet Annalise in my arms at 7:01am on October 16th. I cried tears of relief and joy as I looked down and saw my chubby olive skinned dark haired girl. Brooklyn quickly came over to kiss her sister and sing her Happy Birthday. It was an amazingly intense birth but the good news was that I didn’t tear at all and Annalise was perfectly healthy with a 10 on her apgar. We enjoyed some sweet time with just the three of us and she nursed really well right away. I stayed in bed most of the day and just enjoyed resting and holding my sweet girl. She was big, 8lbs and 21 inches. A few days later she has already gained back her birth weight.
God answered all of our prayers concerning this birth...1)I didn’t tear 2) i labored at night so we weren’t concerned about having to know how involved to allow Brooklyn to be 3)all of my family arrived on time 4) God gave me the strength to endure even though I was exhausted. He also granted me some sweet blessings that I had hoped for...I really wanted to be able to eat a big breakfast from Brother Junipers at some point during my labor. Well, although I didn’t get to during labor, that was my first meal after giving birth. I also really wanted to be able to have Muddy’s cupcakes for the party that night so I was hoping to avoid giving birth on Sunday or Monday since they are closed those days. So just some sweet blessings. :)
My family all stayed through that evening and we celebrated Annalise’s birthday and Brooklyn’s Big Sister Day with some Corky’s bbq, Memphis Pizza Cafe, and Muddy’s cupcakes.
All in all, an amazing day. We are so blessed to have two sweet girls! I am so thankful for my husband and Full Circle Midwifery, as well as my entire family and many friends who prayed me through this labor and birth. God is so faithful and good!