Around six a.m. on Wednesday, September 5th, I decided we should get up and go into the living room, because it was more comfortable for me to be sitting up anyway, plus I was pretty excited at the thought that I might meet my little boy that day! The contractions were coming about six minutes apart, and lasting from 37 seconds to 90 seconds. We were tracking them with an app on our iPhones. We were also keeping our midwife, Rebecca, posted via text message. We had made the decision before we found out we were pregnant to have a natural birth at home, if possible. Thankfully, I had a healthy, easy pregnancy, and I was low risk. Rebecca told us to keep her posted and let her know when contractions got to about 4 minutes apart.
|In labor on Wednesday morning, just starting a contraction.|
Adam went and got us chik-fil-a for breakfast, and then I decided it sounded good to get in the pool. I loved being in the pool! It was so peaceful and relaxing! Around 10 a.m. Rebecca called and wanted to stop by to check on us. I also texted my supervisor around this time to let him know that I probably wouldn't be making it into work that day! Around 11 a.m. my contractions slowed way down. Also around that point, Rebecca arrived to check on me. She suggested I try to nap since the contractions were slowed, and said unless we wanted her to stay, she'd leave and come back later that night. After she left, Adam got us lunch, and I did nap, on and off, until around 2:30 p.m. At that point the contractions started getting more intense again. We got back in the pool. I hung onto the edge of the pool and let my body float, and the jets in the pool massaged my belly. It was so nice and relaxing, Adam and I stayed in the pool until it started getting dark! My contractions were getting so difficult and intense for me, that around 7:30pm Adam called Rebecca and told her I wanted her to come over. My contractions were still 6-10 minutes apart, and really long. And did I mention intense?! Holy moly. We also called my niece, Allie, to tell her she could come over. She wanted to be there for the birth. My contractions were getting so intense I could barely stand it. I was using my birthing ball, and right before Rebecca got there, I threw up. I was starting to get a little panicky, because the contractions were so, so painful. It might sound silly, but I hadn't expected that to be the most painful part! I had been more worried about the actual delivery. Adam was helping me with breathing exercises we had learned and some relaxation techniques. It was helping me to remember to not tense up my body. However, around 9 or 10 pm, I hit a wall. I felt there was no way I could continue on. They ran a hot bath for me, and I got in. It felt better, but it was still so intense. I kept saying to Adam, 'I can't do this!' and he would encourage me and tell me I was doing great. He also prayed for me a LOT. I remember crying and saying to God, 'Please, please help me! I can't do this! It's too much, please I need your help!'. I was quite literally begging. Rebecca checked me at this point, and I was dilated to 6cm, and partially effaced. So discouraging to me-I felt like the baby should be coming already! I spent pretty much all night in that tub. (yes, my toes were raisins when I finally got out) Adam spent the night by my side on the cold tile floor in front of the toilet. Such a good husband and daddy. All night he helped me through contractions and reminded me to 'relax your head, shoulders, arms…relax your hands, hips, legs, feet…' So, so helpful. Rebecca and her assistant Rachel checked my vitals and the baby's vitals regularly. Also, everyone kept trying to get me to eat. I felt like I would throw up if I ate, since the contractions were so intense (and I'd already thrown up once!) but I managed to eat some watermelon, apple sauce, and greek yogurt. In the morning, when Rebecca convinced me to get out of the tub and try some walking and different positions, I felt like a different person. All of my birth team could see it. God hadn't taken away the pain, or made things easier. What He had done was refreshed my spirit, and given me the grace to make it through. He reminded me that my body was made to do this, and that He was right there with me going through it, too. He also told me basically to suck it up. I would get through it - it would hurt, and be difficult, but He would see me through. (side note- Adam says he didn't think I would ever get out of the tub. He said it was like a battle to get me out. I had no idea! haha) All day Thursday, September 6th I labored. We listened to Florence and the Machine, Coldplay and Enter the Worship Circle. I couldn't sleep because of the contractions. They were still 6-10 minutes apart and lasting 45-90 seconds. I remember kneeling on the couch breathing my way through the surges. Rebecca, Rachel, Adam and Allie did everything for me. They spoon fed me and gave me water and coconut water out of straws. They rubbed my back and hips and held my hands during contractions.Their patience was unending. Rebecca and Rachel checked my and the baby's vitals often. Rebecca had only checked me internally once. She gave me the option if I wanted her to - and I didn't want to know and get discouraged! Thursday night, we decided to check again. I was completely dilated and ready to push. Søren had moved down as far as he was going to, but my bag of waters was still in tact. I decided I wanted to move in the bedroom, so Rebecca and Rachel got everything set up. Once we moved to the bedroom, I started pushing. It was such a relief. During this time there was a loud clap of thunder and a small storm. I remember it, because Søren's name means 'thunder' or 'war/warrior', so even in the midst of labor it stood out in my mind! At one point, Rebecca suggested we try to rest and sleep a bit, and to let my body do it's thing. It sort of sounds crazy, but it worked. I tried to sleep, but every time a contraction would come I had to bear down just to get through it! After a little while, I woke Adam and he went into the bathroom with me. I felt like I really, REALLY needed to go to the bathroom. (Real talk: I kept saying, 'I have to poo!!!' over and over. haha) While we were in the bathroom, I could feel something moving down my birth canal. I wasn't sure if it was the waters, or the baby's head. Adam called Rebecca in, she checked and it was the bag of waters. After a few minutes, it broke. And man, did it ever. It was like someone threw a water balloon. (relief!! such relief!) Adam leaned out the bathroom door and said, 'It broke!'. I remember us laughing a lot, because, seriously? It was kinda ridiculous. Anyway, we moved back into the bedroom and Rebecca asked Adam if he wanted to pray, so we did. Then I started pushing again. Adam was helping me through each contraction (I was laying against his chest) but he was so tired he would fall asleep between each push! I remember reaching up and touching his face to wake him up each time. We were all exhausted, and sleep deprived. I threw up some more (fun!). I remember the contractions feeling like one constant contraction and telling Rebecca, 'I just want a break!', and I remember Rebecca looking at me and saying simply, 'I know.' It doesn't sound like much, but it was just what I needed to hear. At one point, in the middle of a contraction, Rebecca told me to stop pushing and to puff air, and I didn't understand why. As it turns out, Søren's head was almost out, and she was trying to help me ease him out without tearing. Seconds later, Rebecca said, 'His head is out!' and Adam said, 'Jess! His head is out!'. Now, personally, I didn't think that was possible. Wouldn't it have been much, MUCH more painful? I looked down, and sure enough, there he was. Adam said I kept saying, 'That's my baby!? That's my baby?!' then finally, 'That's my baby!'. Rebecca told me to wait until I felt the next contraction and then give a big push. Problem: I had no more contractions. Zip. Zero. Nothing. We waited. After a minute or so Rebecca told me I needed to push now, so he could come out before he tried to breathe. I tried. Nothing happened. The next few minutes were intense. I was pushing with all I had in different positions, but nothing was happening! I remember Rebecca saying, 'Jesus, we need this baby to be born now! In Jesus' name!', and with that, Søren Robert Magnus Wright came into the world. I reached down and lifted him onto my chest.
|Moments after Søren was born. Adam snapped the photo with his phone. I'm so glad to have it!|
It was 6:16 a.m. on Friday, September 7th. I had been in labor for 52 hours, and it was Adam and my 4th wedding anniversary. Søren weighed 9lbs, 1oz, and was 20 1/4 inches long. His head was 14 1/4 inches and his shoulders were 14 inches. He was so beautiful and perfect.
|*these beautiful photos were taken by our friend, Rachel, when Søren was about one and a half weeks old. You can see her blog here.|
He cried on his own before he was fully out of the birth canal. I had been in back labor the entire time because of his position, which is likely why it took him so long to move down. Throughout my labor and every push and contraction, Søren's heartbeat never faltered. He's my lion hearted boy. Adam was in tears kissing me and Søren. I couldn't stop smiling. Søren was so warm and soft, and so calm. It was so peaceful in our room! So joyful. So much love. After a while, Rebecca clamped the umbilical chord and Adam cut it. I snuggled Søren for a good long time, and he latched on and nursed. Then, when it was time to get me fixed up, I gave Søren to Adam and Rachel showed him how to bathe him. Then I delivered the placenta, and Rebecca asked Adam if he wanted to see it. His response was, 'No thanks. That's gross.' Haha. (For the record, I didn't really want to see it, either, but I sort of had to. We also were given the option to keep it. Not so much.) So then Rebecca got me all cleaned and fixed up, and helped me get all settled into a clean fresh bed. Then Adam came in and Søren nursed more. Rebecca and Rachel cleaned our house, did laundry, and cooked us breakfast. It was so amazing. Once they had us all settled in, they left. Then our little family snuggled in bed and napped. It was so good, I can't even explain it.
After a while, my sister Sue brought us cheeseburgers upon my request, and later a turkey dinner and a homemade apple pie (which we ate all week! so good). They were the hardest few days of my life, with the biggest reward. It was beautiful and difficult, peaceful and scary, painful and rewarding, spiritual and physical. It was exhausting and refreshing, and the best thing Adam and I have ever done, hands down! I feel like our little family can get through anything, since we did this together. And I also feel so empowered for getting through it. Basically? I feel like wonder woman. At the same time, I'm so humbled, because I KNOW that but for the grace of God, I couldn't have done it. My mom quoted the scripture to me later, 'The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'. That rang so true to me! I had never thought of it in that context, but it was exactly right for this situation.