It was the last day of spring break and I felt the rush to get things finished around the house. We had our taxes done, I feverishly cleaned, and we picked out our new car- a mini van.
Barry had to leave for work Sunday night- he had to be in San Antonio by 4:30am Monday morning. This of course, became a point of contingency as the time to leave got closer. I was rushing around like a mad woman, while Barry packed to leave. The whole time my mind was racing with what-if scenarios and fear that Wyatt would be coming. I had a lot do before Monday morning came and I returned to my students.
Barry left and I finished the bed time routine at home.
Once everyone was settled in I started to finish my last batch of edits for my final photoshoot before maternity leave.
I remember pushing through the pictures and having lots of conversations with myself about how I needed to finish them before Wyatt arrived.
By 11:30pm I was finished. I wearily climbed into bed, when I noticed my first contraction. I’ve had a few Braxton Hicks as well as some false alarms before, so I ignored it and tried to sleep.
20 min later, Ruby was awake and fussy due to her shots from Friday.
As I soothed her back to sleep, I somehow knew tonight was different.
I went back to bed but only to begin to track my contractions.
They had already formed a small pattern and would not go away. I texted my doula.
With Eli, he came so quickly after my contractions started that I didn’t want to ignore any signs of labor this time. Joli was concerned too but asked me to try to get some sleep.
I closed my eyes and maybe dozed for 2 hours before a slew of contractions woke me again.
Joli texted to check on me and asked me to listen to my body- was I really in labor? Was this really it?
I decided to take a bath and see how I felt after soaking so I could decide if I would be waking anyone else up in the middle of the night.
At that point, I knew I was in labor. Nothing made the contractions dissipate and I just had a feeling.
I called Barry to let him know he needed to drive back in to Houston. I called our sitter to let her know she needed to come watch the older kids and I called Joli so she could come pick me up. Doulas are awesome like that. 🙂
Joli drove me into Houston and we checked into triage. At this point, no one took me seriously. I looked fine, I felt fine and was talking through contractions. No one knew what to do with me- admit her or send her home.
By 8am, Barry had arrived at the hospital to join us. And by 9am I had finally gotten checked. I was 4cm dilated and would be admitted- even though everyone had decided I was a freak of nature.
We got a room and in came the various doctors, nurses, residents and students. Each one with more questions and each one looking at me as if I had no business being admitted. Some were supportive of our birth plan, others looked at us like we were crazy. And maybe we were. 😉
We decided to try to rest since I had not slept at all in a day and a half. Resting was nice but it slowed my progress, so 2 hours later I was up walking the halls and sitting on a birthing ball.
I began to realize that the more I moved around, the more progress I was making. Which seemed silly. Why move and cause myself pain when I could stay in bed and relax?
But I stuck with it because I was at risk for being sent home since I wasn’t in active labor and my water had not broken.
By 3:00pm my contractions were heavy and I had difficulty talking through them. I was a 6/7 and starting to see the end of this labor.
Our doula was amazing. She paid close attention to what I needed and walked with me through the whole process. Barry and her were my coaches and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to be by my side. They gave essential oil massages, I had a hot bath, and words of encouragement. My phone filled up with positive prayers and thoughts. It was all coming together.
By 6:00pm I could no longer talk between contractions, couldn’t answer texts and spent most of my time with my eyes closed. I am told that the sounds I began to make let everyone know I was coming close to the end.
This was the part of my labor where I began to doubt.
I felt confident the whole time. Comfortable. Strong. In control. Until 6:00…
I cried. I yelled. I told the nurse and my doula and Barry that I couldn’t do it anymore. That I didn’t want to do it anymore. My body was tired and I was done.
The nurse checked me. I was 9.5 and the only thing holding me back from pushing was that Wyatt was still in his bag of waters.
A new doctor came in as the room filled up with people. I hadn’t met this woman before but I was told she’s blunt. She introduced herself and I asked to have my bag of waters broken so I could move forward. By this time I was desperate to push. My pain level was high and I was beginning to fade. The doctor assured me she would have a resident come in to break my water but I would have to wait.
This was the moment I fell apart. The moment I was so sure I couldn’t do it. The moment I begged for an epidural or a spinal or anything to help me finish this last part.
As we waited on the resident (for 30 minutes, mind you…) I realized I was going to have to do this myself. With Joli and Barry on either side of my bed, I gathered what strength I had left and tried a new approach. Pushing.
Two contractions in, and my water broke. But not just broke, it exploded. Barry’s says it was something out of a movie- like the scene from Men in Black where the woman gives birth in the car, minus the tentacles.
Instant relief. Wyatt was engaged and we were ready for productive pushing.
I had my eyes closed most of the time. I’m pretty sure I yelled at a few people and at one point screamed “get him out!!”. Intense. It was very intense. I really didn’t think it would ever end. But the pushing part? That was the best part and the least painful. Just lots of hard work.
Barry held my hand, and when I looked at him, I could see how proud he was. Joli whispered words of affirmation- they both believed in my and it kept me going.
After I had burst every capillary in my face, Wyatt arrived at 7:12pm.
7lbs 15oz and 21 inches
Full head of long hair, big cheeks and wide awake, ready for the world.
I did it!! My unmedicated VBAC birth was a success!
When I say it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but one of the best, I know so many of you understand. Wyatt’s birth represents so much for me. The end of our fertility journey feels bittersweet. To go from thinking we would never have any children, to having three is amazing on it’s own. But to have experienced birth from all angles, and get these precious gifts from heaven? No words.
I went from a 100% augmented and surgical birth with Eli, to standing at the foot of a bed to catch Ruby while witnessing the physical/emotional strength of another woman, to a completely unmedicated VBAC with Wyatt. All in 2 years.
It’s surreal sitting here with Wyatt in my arms. There is something so religious about the hospital experience…the humming background sounds, the swaddles and portable crib, the quiet at 4am while I nurse my son…it’s all sacred and beautiful and doesn’t feel real.
Wyatt Michael, you were our little surprise from the very beginning. It’s not difficult to imagine that you would surprise us again with a Saint Patricks Day arrival. You’re our lucky little guy.
You’re a sweet, and easy boy with big cheeks and an affinity for snuggles already. Thank you for giving me this incredible experience. Mommy and Daddy can’t wait to see the person you will turn into.
Our family feels complete and we are overwhelmed with love.
Thank you to everyone who has followed our journey- from infertility, to IVF, to Down syndrome, to three under the age of two. It’s been a wild ride but we wouldn’t have it any other way.