What an experience. I’ll start off by saying that I had no idea what to expect when I went into labor, but somehow it was nothing like those expectations I “didn’t have.” 🙂 The whole time my labor was starting, I thought in the back of my mind that I might be in labor, but it didn’t seem dramatic enough: the pain wasn’t strong enough (in the beginning), there was no hard and fast sign that this was happening now, etc.
But I kind of knew it was going to happen. I woke up on Saturday, March 19th and met a friend for coffee. Jacob had been at an all-nighter with the youth group the previous night, so he had just returned home to catch some sleep and I wanted to leave the house quiet for him, so I met up with a friend for coffee before heading out to do some shopping. I came home around noon, did the dishes and ate a light lunch with him while catching up on some shows and scrolling through Twitter.
Knowing the baby could come soon, I had been wanting to do some much-needed cleaning, so I got up and vacuumed the house, washed our bed sheets (so we could come home to clean sheets!) and cleaned the bathroom. I had an inkling I’d like to return to a clean home in case she did come early. I went to the bathroom around 1pm and noticed I was getting some blood-streaked discharge (AKA “bloody show”), which made me think I could possibly lose my mucuous plug soon! That got me excited (and nervous!) that things were getting started, although I knew it could still be a few days or weeks before the baby came. I made note of that, called my mom, and continued on with my cleaning. I also started to feel some light cramping, but again, I figured it was just my body getting things moving… although part of me wondered if I’d have the baby in a day or two. My mom and I even joked that March 20th would be a great birthday… ha!
A friend stopped over to drop off some old baby clothes, so we sat and talked for a while. I told her about my new symptoms and that when I saw the change in my discharge I kind of freaked out, realizing we are close to having a baby. She is really coming soon!!
After she left, I finished my cleaning and organizing and came downstairs to make dinner. Throughout dinner I could still feel the cramping, which was happening more often, but not often enough to be timed. And it definitely still felt more like period cramps: uncomfortable, but not at all what I’d describe as painful. However, since I had the change in discharge and the cramping, I figured walking would be a good idea to either speed things up or slow them down. At 6:30pm I went for a walk with another friend and her kids before she put them down for bed. Again, I told her all my symptoms and we got excited that things were moving, but assumed it would still be at least another few days.
Once I got home, I got ready for bed and laid in bed reading for a couple hours… But only after washing the dirty dinner dishes. After all, I knew I’d be mad if the one night I didn’t clean up dinner was the night I went into labor! Ha!!
Over time the cramping was getting stronger, making me wonder more and more if this “cramping” was really contractions! I tried to sleep around 9:30, but spent the next hour getting up to pee every ten minutes and realized the cramping was getting stronger.. so it was definitely the start of contractions. Still not what I would call painful – just uncomfortable.
BUT, around 10:45, I felt a “pop!” and realized my water had broken! I jumped out of bed, as quickly as a 9 month pregnant lady can jump, and waddled to the toilet as quickly as I could, saying, “Oh God, oh God!” I made it mostly there before the gushing started and Jacob ran up the stairs to find me sitting on the toilet crying. That’s when I realized we are having this baby in the next 24 hours and I am not ready. Sure, we were physically ready – we had all the things that we needed – but I was not emotionally ready!! I was expecting three more weeks, but our lives were about to change drastically and we had no idea what we were doing!! My sweet husband hugged me, told me it was going to be okay and we were in this together and asked what I needed. That’s when we started making calls.
Since we are pastors, we both work on Sundays and have ministry teams that we lead… so it was time to do some scrambling. We called, texted and emailed everyone we needed to get ourselves covered or things moved around and then I called my midwife. She said to call again when my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and so strong I wanted to punch someone. Ha! At that point they were happening about every 2-3 minutes, but weren’t very long or strong. So we got to packing our bags.
I told Jacob to try to get some rest because I was going to need his support later. As I finished packing my bag he climbed into bed and asked, “So what do you want to name her?”
I literally laughed because I totally forgot we hadn’t officially picked a name yet. There was one name we kept returning to again and again, so I said that one and then we talked about middle names. He sounded sleepy so I left him to catch some sleep and went downstairs to keep timing my contractions. I busied myself with random things and eventually sat down to start writing this post while it was fresh on my mind. By 1 am the contractions were getting strong enough that I was getting hot and cold chills, feeling mildly nauseous and very uncomfortable. They had been lasting nearly a minute and coming every 4-5 minutes for about forty five minutes.
I called the midwife around 1:30 and told her I wanted to come in to be checked because I didn’t want to miss my opportunity for pain meds if I wanted them, so I woke up Jacob and we headed to the hospital. I had a couple contractions on the way to the hospital and was getting anxious to get there, praying there would be some dilation happening.
They had my room ready for me when we got there, so I changed into the hospital gown and waited for my midwife to arrive. I told the nurse I’d likely want an epidural, but wanted to try the nitrous oxide first. She prepped me for a saline drip for the epidural, got me hooked up to all the machines and we waited for Sharon. She arrived at 2:45, and by that point I was starting to fade fast. The contractions were incredibly strong and nothing soothes them – walking, sitting, leaning against Jacob, etc. I was getting a little grumpy.
Sharon checked me when she arrived, and I said, “I better be more than 2cm!!” Thankfully, she said I was already 5cm and I literally said “PRAISE GOD!!” out loud. Then I told her I wanted to go straight to the epidural because I had no idea how anyone does this without medication. We had to wait for the anesthesiologist to arrive, so I used the gas while we waited. The gas did not cut it and ended up frustrating me more than helping, so I quit using that and thanked God again when the anesthesiologist got there.
She was amazing – she explained everything she was doing while setting up for the epidural and patiently waited while I worked through contractions. They put the epidural in around 4am and told us we should try to take naps. Every contraction after they started the epidural felt better and better (after birth, I told my midwife the epidural was literally “life changing.” She laughed and said no one had said that to her before). I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, but was relieved from the life-draining, searing pain they brought with them.
I couldn’t actually nap during that time because I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, but the quiet and the break from the pain was incredibly restful and energizing to me. Jacob was able to nap for about 30 minutes and I spent that time reflecting on what was happening. It was the first opportunity I had since things really got going to reflect on the process. I got to spend that time thanking God for the ways he was perfectly providing for us and meeting my needs in this labor process, as well as pray for strength and a safe delivery ahead. Looking back, I’m so grateful for that time I got to spend with the Lord in preparation for Adeline’s arrival. It was such a special time for me.
However, I could definitely tell things were moving along during that time as well. Around 4:15 I realized the pressure I was feeling had moved from my lower abdomen to what felt like my butt (lol), so I figured that must mean she was loving down into the birth canal. The contractions and pressure were getting stronger and longer as time went on, so at 5am I called the nurse back in to have Sharon check me again.
As soon as she checked, she said, “it’s time to have this baby!”
I looked at Jacob and said “Are you ready?! We’re having a baby!!!” And then freaked out a little in my head… The hard part was coming.
Sharon said we’d start pushing with my next contraction. At 5:11 they had me start pushing – which felt like an exercise in futility at the time… I felt like nothing was happening yet I was exerting all my energy!! They told me I was doing great, though, and pushed 3-4 times with each contraction. Adeline Grace was born at 5:26am on Sunday, March 20th. Turns out it was the perfect day for a birthday after all. 🙂 She weighed 5 lbs 15 oz and measured 18 inches long.
Jacob and I knew we would name her Adeline at that point, but we were still going back and forth on three possible middle names. We decided on Grace in the delivery room because to us, she was the result of God’s perfect grace and provision for us. This entire pregnancy was wrapped in a season of turmoil and a lot of emotional pain for us. So much of our lives that we thought was worked out was turned upside down in the most upsetting and confusing ways, but in the midst of it all, God gave us this perfect gift we didn’t even know we needed. She has already changed our lives in amazing, growth-provoking ways and we can’t believe we thought our family was complete without her. We now know God has so much more in store for us and we are so grateful to spend the coming many years seeing his Grace poured out through our beautiful daughter Adeline Grace.
Adeline, we love you so much already and look forward to our love growing along with you. We are honored to be your parents and thank God for you all the day long. You are beautiful, you are loved and you are cherished – by us and God your Father. Welcome to our family.