In honor of Anna’s second birthday, I decided to share her birth story. My labor with Anna was very different from my labor with Maeve. I think part of the reason it has taken me so long to write is because quite frankly it was just super long and painful, and I don’t want to think about that! The funny thing with physical pain is that once it has passed we only have the memory of it. The memory of labor is vivid and yet, hard to describe. I’ll do my best!
Anna was a week late. Have I mentioned before how much I need to grow in patience? Well, God really tries to help me in that respect. I was surprisingly calm, more so than waiting for Maeve. I knew that the baby would come when ready. We didn’t find out the gender with either of ours, so she was dubbed McNugget or Baby at the time. I had an OB appointment close if not on the due date, I can’t remember. At the appointment I was scheduled for an induction for a week past the due date. So if Baby didn’t come by then, I would go to the hospital the night before induction and be induced in the early morning. I really wanted to have an all natural delivery and was pretty distraught when the days kept passing with no signs of labor. Of course I hadn’t progressed at all at any appointment, which now I realize means absolutely nothing!
James knew I was worried and after the appointment drove me to a surprise Adoration visit with Jesus! He is the best and knows how to calm my heart (James that is, and Jesus even more so). Anyway I prayed for patience more than anything, and I desperately wanted to feel everything and have a natural birth (I know anyone who has been through labor will probably laugh at that).
It was a Wednesday night when I started having what I thought could be contractions. It was 5 days past Baby’s due date. I was super stoked. I called James who was at work on a 24 hr shift. It was probably 10pm. He told me to just try to sleep and to keep tracking the contractions and call back in an hour if he needed to come home. This went on with me calling every hour saying contractions hadn’t gone away, but weren’t getting more intense either. Around 3am James came home. I had consistent contractions ranging from 5-10 minutes apart all night. I got no sleep. Then around 9am they let up. I had about an hour of no contractions and we went out to breakfast. During breakfast contractions started again and we went home. I labored all day! I was confused by the timing of my contractions because they were consistent and pretty long around 45 seconds or longer and 5 minutes between. I was tired and around 10pm I wanted to go to triage, I just needed to know where I was at! My greatest fear was that I hadn’t even dialated yet or something?! We went in and they said I was around 4cm. They said to walk around the hallways for an hour and then they would check again. I walked and when I was done I was still only 4 1/2 cm. The nurse said I could be admitted right then and there if I wanted an epidural, but if I was planning on going natural I could go back home and labor until things got unbearable or my water broke… That’s seriously what she said. She said she’d let the other nurse at shift change know we would probably be back in a few hours.
So we went home and I felt better knowing where I was at! I was up all night in the bathroom laboring in different positions and I remember laying on a towel or squatting and the contractions being super intense!!!! I hit the “I can’t do it” wall around 6:30am. I told James I needed to go to the hospital and that I needed drugs. I felt a little defeated, but wanted the pain to stop. Then my water broke! So we got ready to head back to the hospital. With both of my labors the car rides to the hospital were miserable! Anyway when we got to triage I was 7cm. I was brought to a room and then labored for about an hour. I mostly sat on the end of the bed and ate ice chips breathing slowly through the contractions. I was too tired to move around anymore! Anyway after an hour I was 10cm and ready to push. I was excited, and felt the urge so the pushing began. It lasted forever! The nurse initially looked at the clock and said we should have a baby within the hour. Nope. I pushed for 2 hours and barely had energy to move into better positions. Baby’s head would move and then slide back, they said Baby kept hitting my pelvis bone and sliding back. The nurse left saying she would be right back. I got a weird feeling and knew that the baby was gonna need some sort of help to get out. The doctor came in and sat down beside me. She basically explained that they were going to try a vacuum. She said I would have three rounds…of three pushes. These were basically chances and if the baby still wasn’t out then they would wheel me to the O.R. For a c-section. So all these people came in the room in case it didn’t work so that I could be wheeled off if necessary. I just said ok, and looked at James trying to telepathically tell him, “NO, heck no, I didn’t labor this long to have a c-section.” I knew that ultimately it was out of my control. I prayed to St. Gerard, the patron of expectant mothers. Then I seriously started repeating in my head “All you holy men and women pray for me!” Then they got the vacuum set up and that hurt, but I was not even really thinking about that pain, I was just preparing for my three chances. I listened to the doctor and nurse and looked around the room at all these random people standing over me and I just prayed, prayed for the doctor, for the baby, for the strength. I followed the directions of when to push and pushed like my life depended on it, hoping it would be enough! After three pushes and the help of the vacuum we had our baby! Our first baby, and SHE was a girl! A girl! Anna, our Anna. Everything washed away. They laid her on my chest and I tried to comprehend the enormity of what had just taken place. Instead I just held her in disbelief. They put her on my chest and let us have skin to skin and attempt nursing. She latched immediately. I’ve never felt anything as amazing as holding my babies for the first time. Nothing else they did phased me, delivering the placenta, being stitched up, once the baby is there you’re like what?! Ok do whatever you need to do, I have a baby!
Once we got to our own room and had visitors my mom asked if I would go natural again? Since my labor was so long and all, I instantly said yes. While the memory of the pain did scare me when I was pregnant for the second time and thinking about laboring again, I just knew the elation that followed was so amazing and beautiful that I wanted to try again. You can check out the story of the second time around here.
I wanted to recount this for memory’s sake since Anna, our first child and daughter, the one who made us parents is turning 2. What an amazing 2 years it’s been. We are in awe of you and so grateful to be your parents. We love you so much Anna!