Anticipating the birth of your second child is so much different than the first.
I was excited and I was ready–but there was a bit of odd sadness at the fact that my little girl wouldn’t be my only child anymore. In the days leading up to the induction, I felt extra attached to Ali. My parents took her home with them for a few days while I attended one more long day of appointments and prepared for Nolan’s arrival. I will always remember staring out the window and ugly crying as I watched my mom’s car drive away with Ali in it, holding on to one of her toys like she was gone forever. It was so ridiculous, but in that moment, I couldn’t help it.
The night before, I took extra time to love on my girl and made sure Tim captured those last moments with her as my only one. Again, it was an odd feeling. But the night felt very special, very sweet in a way that is hard to accurately describe. I treasure these pictures.
I nearly jumped out of bed at 5am the next morning, before my alarm even went off, to get ready for the hospital. I did my hair and makeup, peeked at a sleeping Ali a million times, and poked my tired husband until he managed to get out of bed.
Before I get into the story, I do have to say how much God’s hand was on the whole day, in every detail. He was my strength and my joy and my guide the whole way.
Once in that lovely gown and in bed, and my nurses came to get things started. All the nurses at Menorah are amazing, but Krista, the nurse who helped deliver Ali, had been my favorite–and with a look at the name tags, I realized she was my nurse again, just with dark hair! It may seem so trivial; but to me, it was just another part of God’s involvement in my day. He truly does care about the little things.
Everything started slowly: low amounts of Pitocin, no changes in dilation, very small contractions. My parents came, one of my mom’s adorable handmade signs in tow, and my in-laws showed up later with Ali. She was excited to see me until she found the stool with wheels, and from that point only took interest in said stool, snacks, or any cell phone she could get her hands on.
My doctor visited briefly and broke my water. That was probably the most excitement the first few hours contained, because there was thankfully no meconium and there was so much water. It just kept coming! Honestly, it was comical.
The day dragged on with little changes, though, and my optimism at a quick delivery was fading. Contractions soon became painful. I was still thankful when they increased the dosage of Pitocin to speed things up–until back labor began suddenly and with great intensity. It was like someone stabbed a flaming knife into my back, twisted it, and dug it in there with all their might. It was literally unbearable. I squeezed the life out of Tim’s hand (so much he even said “ouch”) and asked politely but adamantly if I could please have the epidural now. I was determined to stop the back pain, having experienced it for hours upon hours when I gave birth to Ali.
Thank goodness for my anesthesiologist. Anesthesiologists are heroes. The kind man who did my epidural understood the back labor and he made it disappear almost completely within minutes. Oh, I wanted to hug him so bad, and I would have, had it been appropriate or had I not been hooked up to a million things.
My contractions continued to grow stronger, but they were still fairly inconsistent and failed to get things going. Krista and Dawn, my other nurse, finally explained that part of the reason things were so slow was because of all the extra fluid (or water). My uterus was so stretched out that it was taking longer to contract properly.
Well, great. Was it so much to ask for a simple, easy delivery?
A couple more hours passed. My nurses came in and out, checked me for dilation multiple times, and put that awful inflatable peanut-thing in between my legs, which were 100% numb and completely dead weight. It was about dinnertime when I asked why I wasn’t progressing faster and what we could do to make it happen. Nighttime was approaching faster than I thought it would, and I did not want to have a baby at 1 in the morning again.
This time, from what I managed to understand, the problem was that his head was at an angle where it pressed against a bone and kept him from descending any further. The only thing that could be done was for my doctor to come in and literally try to move his head herself. Krista said Dr. Shipman would come in soon to try it.
Well, as fun as that sounded, I quickly sent out a prayer request to our Lifegroup’s group message on Facebook, along with a few random text messages.
Thankfully, at that moment, there was no one else in the room and it was quiet. Rather than giving in to my feelings of frustration and hopelessness, I stayed calm. I put my hand on my belly and I prayed. God, I know you’re in control. Please, take this sweet boy and turn his head. Please make it possible for things to move forward.
Only minutes later, I was in pain again. I had made it through most the day feeling mostly comfortable, but suddenly there was a deeply intense pressure that hadn’t been there before. Once again, I was grabbing my husband’s poor hand, the side of the bed, whatever was available when Krista came in to check me again.
The other times they had checked me, they took a few minutes before they decided how much I had dilated. This time, it was quick. “You’re complete!”
Oh, thank you Lord. I knew He had heard my prayer and I knew He had graciously answered. And so quickly!
The pressure, though, coupled with vicious contractions that came out of nowhere, was enough to make me lose composure again. “Oh! Oh! Let’s go! Can we push? Can we get this started? Let’s do it now!”
Unfortunately, I had to wait. But thankfully, within the next 30 minutes, additional doctors and nurses came in and equipment was wheeled up to the bed. Those dreaded stirrups were pulled up and my awkwardly numb legs were lifted into them.
Things happened fast from that point. I started pushing, but it stressed him out and his heart rate dropped alarmingly low. I was quickly handed an oxygen mask and took some deep, slow breaths, although I was anxious about his well-being. Thankfully, my nurses were masters at staying calm, and once his heart rate bumped up to normal again, we resumed pushing.
Well, for a minute. My new nurse, Rhonda, said, “Okay, stop. I can see his head. We need to wait for Dr. Shipman to get here.”
Tim was right next to her. “I see his hair! It’s dark! It’s like yours!”
I laughed and cried at the same time. I couldn’t believe we were so close already.
When Dr. Shipman finally showed up, everything happened so fast. I barely remember her coming in and I don’t even remember how many pushes it took because it happened almost instantly. My baby boy came out crying and someone said, “Do you want to hold him while we clean him up?”
Well, then I definitely started crying. “Yes! Yes!” I was overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness. I hadn’t gotten to experience this moment with Ali because of the issues related to her meconium–so this was incredible. My baby boy let out all these healthy wails as they cleaned him up, and I just couldn’t stop looking at how perfect his face was and how it looked so much like his sister’s.
Moments later, as he lay calmly on my chest under a blanket, I noticed how I had fresh blankets covering me, so I asked if they were going to stitch me up. Dr. Shipman just smiled and said they didn’t need to. No tears, no cut, nothing.
Again, I wanted to cry. If you’ve had babies before, you know how this makes a world of difference. My recovery would be so much different–so much easier.
At that point, Dr. Shipman showed Tim and I the placenta with the velamentous cord insertion. The membranes were thin and so delicate. It was a bit frightening to know just how fragile they had been. “This is why we wanted you to come in early,” she explained. “If your water had broken at home or one of these had ruptured, it could have been very, very dangerous.”
Rhonda added, “The fact that you and your baby came out of this as healthy as you did is nothing short of a miracle.”
Looking at my sweet, healthy boy in my arms, I continued to be overwhelmed and aware of God’s presence. He had not only protected us this whole time, but had blessed us beyond what I would have ever imagined. I felt guilty for the times I’d complained when my pregnancy got rough along the way. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so acutely aware of just how personal God’s love is for me. It was just so evident that he had taken such precious care of me and my baby boy, that He had worked out every single detail to ensure the best for me and my family. I am so, so thankful and He is so, so good.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read it. Now for the pictures, which were made possible my by sweet husband. 🙂
Nolan Everett – 7 lbs 9 oz 19in – 6:25pm – Tuesday, March 29
And some photos from the next day / at home