At 6cm, we knew that we were there to stay and so we walked down the hall and settled into one of the labor and delivery rooms around 3:30pm. We requested one of the two rooms on the floor with a whirlpool tub and it just so happened that we were in luck. After spending about twenty minutes on the monitor, I decided to spend some time in the tub. It started out great until the contractions really started to pick up, especially in my back. The next hour was intense. Full blown back labor. I spent the majority of that time sitting on the edge of the hospital bed, draped over Russell’s shoulder, with my friend/doula, Heidi, pushing hard on my lower back. (Shameless promotion: Hire a Doula next time you give birth. You won’t regret it! And if you live in KC, hire Heidi Meythaler!) Around 4:30pm, I had my midwife check me again. 8/9cm, she said. I was in transition and I was feeling it!! I tried to persuade the nurse to give me her best guess as to how much longer I had to go. She smiled sweetly and said, “An hour? Maybe two at the most”? At that point, I think I cried. There was no way I could make it that long! Each contraction felt like a knife was stabbing me in the back and they were now so close together that it felt like there was almost no break in between. “When will I know when it’s time to push?” I asked. “Oh, you will know!” was the answer. That’s always the answer. Ten minutes later, I felt the urge to push. I don’t know if I actually felt or if I willed myself to feel it because I couldn’t stand the pain anymore!
My midwife came in and checked me again and sure enough, I was at 10cm and it was go-time. In came a swarm of nurses, the big light dropped out of the ceiling, and in the midst of all of the hustle and bustle, I got a charlie horse in my hamstring. Are you kidding me?!? Regardless, it was time to push. In the back of my mind, I was remembering what it was like to push Hannah out. I had grand ambitions of pushing her out quickly but an hour later, she was still semi-stuck and ended up coming out face-up (not a fan). It was terrible (no exaggeration). This time, however, I pushed through 2, maybe 3 contractions and out came Jonah! The thing about labor that always gets me is how a relatively modest and very self-aware person can do the things they do in that moment. Russell still loves the famous line from when I was pushing Hannah out and the midwife gently suggested an episiotomy. Even though we came into that room adamantly denying the option, there I was in the worst pain of my life and screaming…. “I don’t care what you do! Get this baby out of me!!!” This time around, I was equally as unashamed and my normally well-behaved lungs enjoyed the workout. In the end, however, I will always remember that exact feeling when the nurses lay that fresh-out-of-the-oven baby on your chest, all purple and wrinkly, and all you can do is sigh a deep breath of relief.
sidenote: When I first held Hannah, my very first thought was, “OH MY WORD. THIS IS MY DAUGHTER!!!!!! Thank you, God!” When I first held Jonah, it went more like this, “OH MY WORD. I’m not in labor anymore!!! I’m not pregnant anymore!!! Thank you, God!!” And then came, “This is my SON!!” Just being honest. :)
After several minutes of cuddling, the nurses took him to weigh him, clean him up, etc. They were initially concerned about his breathing (it was very rapid) and so they ordered some blood work to be done and warned us that if he had an infection, they may have to take him to the NICU for a bit. However, after Russell held him for about 30 minutes and we were able to pray for him, his breathing returned to normal and we were allowed to keep him with us.
Overall, the experience was incredible and significant on so many levels for me. I tangibly saw and experienced the grace of God. By grace… I mean divine enabling… supernatural help. I experienced HIS strength in my utter weakness and pain, HIS endurance and perseverance when everything in my body was saying, “Quit!”. And the result was the birth of our precious Jonah. The name, Jonah, means ‘messenger’ and his middle name, Isaac, means ‘laughter’. Our prayer for this little boy is that God would give him and make him into a living message that would bring joy and laughter to everyone he comes in contact with.