Read part one here.
Just before 4 am the Hubs and I said farewell to my mom and our sleeping babies and loaded up into the car. We texted my doula and called my doctor and let them know we were on our way to the hospital.
For all you mamas that have labored in the car, you can attest to the fact that IT. BLOWS! The 25ish minutes it took to get the hospital were excruciating! Sitting was not comfortable and my contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes. We didn’t have time to remove Ellery’s rear-facing car seat and couldn’t lay the seat back.
We arrived at the hospital just before 4:30 am we had to go through the ER entrance since it was before 6 am. After working through a contraction in the parking lot, I waddled into the (dead) quiet ER and immediately leaned over the intake counter to work through another contraction.
In a bit of a hushed, grunt I told them I was in labor, contractions 3 minutes apart, needing to check-in. The nurse behind the counter tried to call up to maternity but it went to voicemail so with a panicked look on her face, she said “I will just walk you up there”. They offered me a ride in a wheelchair, but after the car ride, sitting was the last thing I wanted to do.
The poor nurse walking us to the maternity floor probably thought I was crazy because I stopped to moan through a contraction and when it was over I pleasantly said “what? You don’t want to be Facebook famous for delivering a baby in the hallway?” To which she replied “NO! I don’t do babies. I do everything else but NOT BABIES.” So we continued our journey upstairs.
Once we got the maternity ward we were met by my doula Lexie and checked in to (what we would learn was) the last available room.
My Beautiful Hospital Birth
All too often, and for many good reasons, hospital births get a bad rap. In so many instances moms are rushed through labor, forced into interventions, and in some instances left with a traumatic birth experience.
The trauma of Ellery’s birth had been fresh in my mind for the entirety of this pregnancy and even as we walked into our room BUT things were anything but traumatic.
At check-in, I handed my nurse a copy of my birth plan and the staff followed it exactly as written. My room was kept dimly lit and aside from the Hubs, my doula, a nurse and eventually my OB, the room was uninterrupted.
My Birth Team
We were into our room shortly after 5 am and things continued to progress smoothly. I had been worried moving to the hospital would slow things down as this is often the case for moms, but the calm environment meant I felt comfortable and at ease so things continued on.
The staff was respectful and let me labor however I pleased and only used the monitors sparingly. The velcro straps weren’t even placed, but instead, a soft band was used to hold the monitor to my belly for a contraction to hear baby’s heartbeat and then they were removed after the contraction.
My doula and the Hubs worked flawlessly together and not once did I feel unsupported. Together they made sure to apply pressure, keep me relaxed and offer me water or snacks. There was never a moment I felt alone or as though the situation was out of my control.
My OB arrived shortly after we were settled in and told the nurses “she will let me know if/when she wants checked” so I was able to continue laboring without disruption.
In fact, my OB quietly sat in the corner while my team and I worked through what I would come to know was transition. Not once did I feel as though I had to bend to anyone’s wishes. I truly felt like everyone in that room supported me and my baby’s journey earthside.
I worked through the last stage of labor by utilizing the shower, walking and swaying. With each contraction I had incredible bum pain and so my doula encouraged squatting and swaying. My legs were actually sore the next day from so much squatting and swaying, but it truly did help move baby down.
Just before 7 am, roughly 2 hours after getting into our room, I asked to be checked as I just felt like things had changed. My doctor checked and I was 8 1/2 cms. I nearly cried hearing that news. All our work had paid off and this was it, we were so close!
To make that last bit of progress my doula recommended working with an exercise ball. While sitting on the ball I asked the Hubs to turn on my Pandora and Zach Williams Fear is a Liar started playing. I instantly started crying. I could feel the Lord with me there! I could feel all the hurt, fear, anxiety that had shadowed this pregnancy and birth just washed away.
I moved to the bed to continue laboring on all fours and when I was there my doctor told me to let him know if I felt like I needed to push. After a few minutes, I think I muttered something to the effect of “Something’s happening in my under region”. And yes, something was indeed happening. So much pressure!
Let’s Meet the Baby
I rolled to my back and began pushing. Unlike my previous vaginal birth with Asher, this pushing was calm and stress-free. There were no stirrups, bright lights, and gowned hospital staff. Instead, my doctor simply sat at the end of the bed and coached me through 20 minutes of pushing.
My bed was surrounded by a team of calm, collected and supportive people. I would even later discover that the nurse who was present was the same nurse who supported me and wiped my tears when Ellery was born.
After twenty minutes of pushing, at just after 7 am, our Miss Amelia Claire was born.
There were no stirrups, no bright lights, no OB or nurses yelling at me to push. Her arrival earthside was simply calm and stress-free.
Since delayed cord clamping was a component of our birth plan, the umbilical cord was not clapped until after the placenta had naturally delivered. This freedom to birth, in all respects, at my own pace was amazing! And something all women deserve.
As part of our birth plan, Amelia was not to leave our room unless there was a medical emergency. Additionally, my birth plan included a delay of all measurements until I was ready. So once she was born she didn’t leave my chest for over 6 hours! The nurses did their assessment while baby was on my chest and then after changing out the bedding, they simply told me to page them if I needed anything.
Hours later the returned to the room to weigh and measure our girl and to our great suprise she weighed in at 9 lbs 7.5 ounces and measured 21 inches long! Over a pound heavier than her brother!
Over the next several hours we nursed, snuggled, and while the Hubs slept, I stared at the beautiful baby God had blessed us with. All the worry and sadness and anxiety was wiped away.
Getting to experience my unmedicated, VBAC birth provided so much healing. Healing in ways I didn’t know I needed until it had happened. We are feeling so blessed to be able to snuggle this happy, chunky little nugget and call her our own!