“I think my water broke.” I calmly told my husband as I came back into the room at 2 AM, that Tuesday morning. I was three days away from my due date and there was certainly no surprise that baby would be making his appearance any day now. I had been having irregular Braxton-Hicks contractions for about 1 week, all-the-while, trying to waddle my way around the ER each day as a busy resident. Like most moms-to-be at 39 weeks (and for many, way sooner than that), I was more ready to be done with being pregnant, than I was nervous about having the baby.
I had my birth plan in place (which was to labor at home as long as possible, finish laboring at our chosen hospital using a water therapy tub, and deliver all without the use of medications), everyone on my birth team (hubby, mom, midwife, and doula) was aware of that plan, and I was at peace about what was to come. That peace part didn’t come easily, however.
I think like any first-time mom, especially in Western culture, I was super afraid about the pain that would come along with giving birth. After all, I had never experienced anything like that before in my life. It had gotten to the point where I would think about the pain to come just about every day, and I knew that wasn’t healthy. So, I did what I usually do when I’m worried about something. I prayed. This time in particular, was on a weekend when my hubby was away on a business trip. I decided to take a walk around sunset and simply talk to God. I told Him my worries about the pain and about having a safe delivery, I told Him about my insecurities regarding my ability to be a mom, and I asked Him to give me peace about it all. By the time I finished my walk, He had done exactly that. That was about 2 months before D-day, and I can honestly say from that point until delivery, fear was a non-factor. So early that Tuesday morning, I was ready to give birth…too bad I didn’t actually do so until Saturday!
It turned out that my water, in fact, hadn’t broken and after being examined I was sent back home. So, I spent the week trying to do last minute preparations for the nursery, moving into our partially renovated house, and doing what I could to help out with the renovations on said house—all with the help of my amazing husband and mom.
Thursday night the contractions started picking up and were occurring at regular 15-minute intervals. Needless to say, I got no sleep that night. Little did I know, I wouldn’t be getting sleep any night thereafter for a while. By Friday morning, my once regular contractions started jumping all over the place. They went from 15 minutes to 11, to 7, to 9, to 12. My midwife told us not to come in until contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart, so we waited. My husband spent the day splitting his time between working on the house renovations and checking in on me every 30 minutes, while my mom spent the day encouraging me to walk and squat (which brought on contractions every few steps, so it took much prodding on her part!). Around 5 o’clock, contractions were about 7 minutes apart and were becoming more painful, so I decided to labor in the tub with hubby and some warm water, which was super soothing. Within an hour, contractions were happening every 3-4 minutes. We then called the midwife, who said it was time to come in. The beautiful thing was, as we were leaving the house, the sun was setting, and as a Sabbath-keeper, I was already looking forward to the Sabbath. For whatever reason, it all just brought about even more peace.
We got to the hospital around 7:30 pm, and when they checked me, I was only 1 cm dilated. After all those contractions and with expectation building from Tuesday, that was certainly disappointing. However, my midwife suggested I walk for about an hour around the floor, at which point they would check me, and if there was even just a half centimeter of change, they would admit me. Well, I walked for about 40 minutes, with contractions literally happening almost every single step. At that point, I was over walking to say the least. I came back to the room and was examined once more. 6 centimeters! We were in business! They admitted me, I settled in, and got ready to work.
Once admitted, the first thing I did was spend a couple of hours in the water therapy tub which I found to be super helpful in taking the edge off the pain. I fell asleep (like deep, dreaming, snoring sleep) between contractions with my head over the edge of the tub, popping up in pain with each contraction. I also alternated between squeezing the life out of my mom’s, hubby’s and doula’s hands, which they were kind enough to lend me. After 2 hours in the tub, they checked me again. 8 centimeters with a bulging bag. They gave me two options: they could rupture my membranes or I could wait a few minutes to see if it would happen on its own. I chose the latter. My awesome doula suggested I sit backwards on the toilet (facing the wall), and no sooner had I done that, “GUSH!”, my water broke. I got back in bed, and it was pushing time!
At that point, it was about 2 AM on Saturday, and I was so exhausted from having no sleep the night before that my pushing efforts were less than exemplary.
Baby began to crown about an hour and half into pushing, at which point I was completely spent. I kept trying to push, but baby’s head just kept going in and out….in and out…in and out. Eventually, his heart rate started to drop, at which point my midwife, who this entire time had been extremely gentle and encouraging, sternly said “Sheree, I need you to take a deep breath, focus, and PUSH!” That was enough to help me get it together and really push. Then, at 4:17 AM, that beautiful Sabbath morning, Micah Christopher Brown was born. And our lives have never been the same since!
Ever been worried or fearful about something? What did you do to combat that fear? Comment below. I’d love to hear about it!
Wondering why we were renovating a house and having a baby at the same time? Find out here.