It’s a pretty weird feeling to get into the car and go have a baby – knowing that you aren’t coming home again until you’re not pregnant anymore. For several weeks leading up to James’ birth, I was having weekly ultrasounds due to having high levels of amniotic fluid. This led to a conversation with my OB about the possibility of being induced, because it could affect the function of my placenta. So, the weekly ultrasounds were to monitor the levels and the baby to make sure he was still maintaining all his “points”.
Ultimately, we decided to schedule an induction for part medical reasons and part elective. I was absolutely miserable, needed this baby to come out, and also, it was much less stressful to plan for child care for Lily. That was my biggest concern is that the baby would’ve come and I wouldn’t have made it to the hospital in time/people wouldn’t have been able to make it to my house to be with Lily.
Around 11pm, they started the induction process. The first step was to insert a Cook Balloon to help get my cervix thinned out. It was not fun. It took them four or five tries to get it in, and each try was more painful than the last. When they finally had it in, I started to have mild contractions that continued throughout the night. I couldn’t sleep through them very well unfortunately, but at some point the balloon came out on its own, which is apparently a positive thing! haha.
Around 6 or so they started pitocin, and I stayed at 4cm, with intense regular contractions for the rest of the morning. It was really defeating (and painful) every time they checked me, just to hear that I was still at 4cm. Around 11am they broke my water, and then the contractions really started coming hard. When they broke my water with Lily, I didn’t feel a thing, but this time, it was incredibly painful and I guess it was because my cervix had “slipped” back and they had to literally grab it and pull it forward. The pain was so bad, and so much worse than it was with Lily’s birth. Nothing was working, the ball, the tub, moving around. It was brutal.
When I was in the tub I decided I wanted some form of pain meds. We decided on something that would be put in my IV, and I remember the nurse calling another nurse when she started to put the medicine in because it immediately made me super sleepy. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, but I still felt every contraction. I remember thinking in my head “maybe this will be the time it’s not as bad.” Around 3, the nurse suggested I get up and start moving around again, and in my head I was like “I’m never leaving this bed again. I don’t want to keep my eyes open.” I asked for a few more minutes, haha. I was just so freaking tired. When I did start to get up to go pee and start moving around, I started throwing up *and* peeing all over the bed at the same time, from the force of throwing up. Glamorous, right? Labor and delivery nurses are just absolute angels.
After that, we tried nitrous oxide. Steven told me he thought it was helping me because I was pretty quiet while I was on it. But in reality, I was worried that if I started making noise during a contraction I’d choke on the air, haha. It’s like I was trapped inside my own mind, just screaming with every contraction, thinking “WHY ISN’T ANYTHING HELPING?!” Well after the birth, Steven told me he wondered if maybe it *was* helping but I was progressing so quickly, that the contractions were getting worse, but they just felt the same. At some point during the nitrous oxide, I was checked and was finally at 6cm and in “active labor.” I was relieved but also bummed. I felt like I still had *so* far to go.
Not long after that, I felt like a demon because I pulled the nitrous oxide mask off and just yelled “I have to push! I have to push!” There was only my nurse in the room, and she tried to remind me to not push until the doctor checked, so I wouldn’t rip open my cervix, and I just was basically crying saying I couldn’t not push. I had to push.
I didn’t even see or feel the doctor. I just heard her say “you’re fully dilated, we’re delivering.” Steven told me he wasn’t convinced anyone else was going to make it into the room before the baby came out.
The next thing I knew there was a flurry of people coming into the room, the bed was being adjusted, my amazing nurse (Brooke) and Steven were holding my hands helping me through each push. Each push felt like it was a lifetime in between, and I was so tired. I remember thinking “did the contractions stop?”
Once the baby’s head was out, I looked down and when I saw the head all I could think was “holy shit that’s a big head.” I heard the doctor’s voice again, and she said “Linda, focus on me. I need you to push.” I just kind of shook my head at her, and then gave one last push, and he was out! At 4:18 was when the doctor told me I was 6cm, and James was born at 4:55. It was insane how fast it went right at the end.
They put the baby up on me, and almost immediately they had me cut the umbilical cord, and once my brain caught up to me, I realized that James hadn’t been crying. They took him pretty quickly and told Steven to go over with the baby. James needed oxygen at first to help him breathe, and I ended up having extra bleeding they were trying to get under control – and you guessed it, that was pretty painful too.
Finally James started to cry and make noise, and I just couldn’t stop asking “why isn’t he crying? is he okay?” I was pretty delirious at that point. The whole ending felt like an out of body experience. Everything about this birth was so much different than Lily’s.
Throughout my labor I had a playlist going, and I don’t know what song James was born to. But moments after, as I was getting stitched up, I heard these words “Great is Your faithfulness to me, great is Your faithfulness to me, from the rising sun to the setting same I will praise Your name, Great is Your faithfulness to me” come over the speaker. It felt like the most fitting song to be playing at that moment, and it brought me incredible peace.
I went into this not expecting to have any photos. After all, I wasn’t allowed a birth photographer due to COVID, but Steven took it upon himself to photograph the birth of James, and I’m so thankful. He even managed to photograph one-handed while holding my hand.
This was the second hardest thing I’ve ever done. Recovering has been hard physically, but it’s also been a bit smoother than recovery after Lily’s birth, which is good. We’ve been adjusting to this new life of ours, and I love seeing Lily love on her little brother. I can tell she’s having a bit of a hard time with me not being as mobile and available, but I know we’ll get through it.
I am so grateful to the incredible nurses and doctors at Maine Medical Center! Our whole experience with them was just as wonderful as it was when we had Lily there 🙂 Well, here are some photos from James’ birth!
(Just as a warning, there are photos of him literally coming out of me.)
Welcome to the world, my sweet boy. I can’t wait to see who you become.