After having a nineteen hour labor with my firstborn, you can understand why I was praying my next labor and delivery would be short. However, nothing could prepare me for the whirlwind that was Ames' birth.
The day before he was born I had to have a stress test at my midwife appointment to make sure baby was doing alright. I was twelve days late at that point. Feeling anxious and out of control, I went home and decided to take a nap while Cohen was sleeping. I then started to feel some regular Braxton Hicks, which of course now I know, were just plain ol' labor contractions. I didn't want to get my hopes up that "this" could be it, so I continued with the rest of the day and even decided to go to the city for my brother in law's birthday dinner.
Twelve thirty am rolls around and I'm woken up by sharp pains. I started timing.
Remembering that Noel and I will most likely have a long day ahead of us, I decided to labor alone for an hour, until I realized that these contractions were getting really hard to breathe through. This was not like before.
By the time I had woken Noel up my contractions were 3 minutes apart. I picked up my hospital bag that had been packed for weeks and Noel feverishly threw clothes and a toothbrush into his. Not even ten minutes later my labor had progressed to two minutes apart. We rushed to the hospital and got checked into triage.
I honestly had thought when I was laboring at home that I would need to get an epidural once I got to the hospital because if the pain level was this intense already, there was no way I was going to make it! The nurse asked me to get up on the bed so she could check how dilated I was but by that point I had contractions right on top of each other and there was no way that was happening. Finally, there was a brief break from the pain and I found out I was eight cm. As painful as it was I got onto the bed and was wheeled into delivery.
As I was moving from one bed to the next my water broke and the rush of pain I remembered so well came flooding in.
I started pushing and threw all my breathing techniques out the window. In between screams I could tell that I sounded like one of those overly dramatic actresses on every movie birth you've ever seen. Everything was a blurr but I do know that I was given oxygen so that the baby was getting enough air. Finally I was reminded by my midwife to take a deep breath and then push, putting all my energy into getting this baby out. I guess as fast as everything was happening, they needed him to come out even faster. His heart rate would keep dropping incredibly low and with every new nurse coming in to help I felt the overwhelming feeling that something was wrong. Thirty minutes, a few cries out of "I can't do this!" and a prayer later, my little boy was born. 3:22am, a little blue, but crying like a champ. It was so surreal to us that at midnight we had been sleeping off our pizza coma and by three am we had our little Ames in our arms.
I thought in order to have a successful birth I needed to have my music playing, honey sticks on hand, my sister in law taking photos, my sister as my doula and my baby born in the water...just like last time. I knew that there was a chance that wouldn't happen but I couldn't have guess it happened the way it did. Ames didn't come the way I had envisioned, but his story is unique and I'm so happy he is finally here.
Special thanks to my sister in law, Laura. She made it just fifteen minutes after he was born and was able to capture some of these precious images that I know hold so dear.