Hadassah’s Birth


How does one condense a birth story into a blog post without losing the “feel” of the thing? I’m not sure it’s possible, so prepare yourself for a long read.

First, I must confess that after Garrett’s birth, I really, really didn’t want to go through the whole pregnancy and birthing process ever again. It was just too much pain for too long. Of course, what I didn’t realize at the time was that his not being positioned correctly for birth made the contractions not only more painful but much less effective, dragging the whole process out.

As Hadassah’s birth neared, I tried to prepare myself mentally for another long labor. They say that second deliveries are much less difficult, but that’s not always true, and besides, there are many levels of “less difficult”.

So I gathered up my supplies and put them in a handy place to set up when the contractions started coming. After all, during the early stages of labor, there’s plenty of energy to do things like cover your bed with a waterproof sheet, right? I also had some nice music ready to go in both the cd player in our bedroom and in the living room because I wasn’t sure where I would end up doing most of my laboring.

After putting so much thought into that sort of thing, it’s funny that we never used any of it. Nope, not even the “necessary” things like the mattress protector.

At 11:30 (ish) Saturday night, I woke up and did my usual routine of procrastinating and finally working my way out of bed and trekking to the bathroom. I felt fine. But then, almost as soon as I got back in bed, I felt a contraction. Despite the pain, I thought it was just the affects of my bathroom break and tried to go back to sleep. Before I could even drift off… another contraction.

After 3 or 4 more, I got up and wandered around to find my phone with which to time them, thinking the activity might make them go away.

No luck and the contractions were averaging 8 minutes apart. After several more, I went out to kneel on the couch in an effort to get some relief. It didn’t take long to get tired of that position, and I decided to take a walk.

It didn’t seem like a good idea for a gal in labor, however early the stage, to wander off without anyone knowing where she was, so I woke Gabriel and told him what I was doing. “What? contractions? Really? For how long?” I figured by this time, it’d been over an hour, but I didn’t know exactly.

He told me I should call Sheryl. I said I’d text, and at 12:55, as I headed down the driveway, I did.

Walking made the contractions so much less painful, which of course, convinced me that they weren’t the real thing after all, or at least that I was in the very early stages of labor. But suddenly, they were less than 3 minutes apart instead of 6-8.

After about 15 minutes of walking, I decided to call Sheryl. She was sure that this was indeed real labor but based on the fact that I felt like I had a long way to go, she suggested that I monitor contractions for a little while longer and call her back.

She couldn’t have known that I was so bad at interpreting the labor signals.

Almost as soon as we disconnected, the contractions became so hard that I almost started crying and felt like I couldn’t continue anymore. But I headed back down the driveway a third time anyway because the alternative of sitting down and giving up was just too painful.

Just a few minutes later, I felt so tired all I could think about was lying down. I forced myself back down the driveway yet another time, but as soon as I got back to the porch, I called Sheryl. Contractions are down to 2 minutes and harder. She said she was coming right away. I felt nauseated and still very tired, so I went in to lie on the couch.

I quit timing contractions then, and the contractions, though much harder lying down, became further apart, for which I was immensely grateful. Of course, that reaffirmed in my mind that I still had a very long way to go with this labor.

It wasn’t long before the time between contractions began to close, and though I don’t think it went back down to 2 minutes, they did get very, very hard.

I began to shake and feel nauseated again. By this time, I was having a hard time dealing with the pain, and what had started as praying for strength and quoting scriptures during contractions turned into asking for strength as the contraction began and then telling God I couldn’t do it anymore as it peaked. Because, you know, it always helps to whine.

About the time I decided to get up and evacuate my bladder, nausea became intense, and… let’s just say some unpleasantness followed.

Throughout this whole process, Gabriel was doing what he could to help. Honestly, the biggest help was the moral support.

I finally made it to my feet and got to the bathroom – having another contraction along the way – where my back began to ache like crazy. I considered taking a shower, hoping that would have a soothing effect, but the desire to lie down won out again, and I headed back out to the couch.

About the time I got there, I began to feel as if I might have to push. We hadn’t gotten any floor or mattress protection down, so I turned around and headed for the bathtub. I asked Gabriel to come with me, thinking that the bearing down sensation was surely a false alarm but that he could use the detachable shower head to spray my low back with hot water. He must have seen headlights on the driveway because I heard him say that Sheryl was there.

I think he went to let her in, and I headed to the bathtub. I stood there for just a few seconds, trying to summon the willpower to undress when I felt another contraction. I knelt down – kind of draped over the side of the tub, and felt a “popping” sensation and a gush of fluid. Up to that point, water breaking had never entered my mind. If it had, I probably wouldn’t have spent all that time on an unprotected couch.

The next thing I knew, Sheryl was in front of me, asking how things were going. I told her my water broke and promptly had a contraction with which the urge to push was undeniable.

She asked me to breathe through the next few contractions while she got her things ready. I thought she was crazy but agreed.

Turns out, breathing through a contraction during which your body is telling you to bear down with all your might is pretty much impossible. At least for me, and with the next contraction, the baby’s head was out. The whole head in one push.

I was so surprised that I reached down to feel if what I thought I’d felt was really what I felt.

It was, and the next thing I knew, Gabriel was beside me, saying that I could let go; he had the baby. I let go, and with one more push, Gabriel was lifting the baby up, where he and Sheryl proceeded to clean her up. I asked why “it” wasn’t crying a split second before the wailing started.

I was feeling relieved that it was over, but otherwise unemotional, until they started calling the baby “he”. Another boy! That was exciting!

Then Sheryl said, “oh, it’s not a ‘he,’ is she?”

What? That was really exciting!

The baby was handed to me then, where she continued to wail, and as we sat in the tub, waiting for Sheryl to finish sterilizing her instruments so we could cut the cord, the nerves in my south side caught up with was had happened, and boy that stung!

Gabriel finally cut the cord, and I tried to expel the placenta. Just as at Garrett’s birth, I was surprised at how difficult it was. After delivering a baby, it seems like the muscles just go on strike. It finally came through, with some gentle coaxing from Sheryl, and I handed Hadassah to Gabriel so I could clean up and get out.

That’s the handy thing about having a baby in the shower: easy cleanup.

After we got all cleaned up and in bed, Hadassah took to nursing as if she’d been doing it all her life. I couldn’t believe it! No latching issues whatsoever with her! She’s a little porker.

I felt very blessed after having Garret that I hadn’t torn and thought that, because of that, I’d had an easy recovery. As it turns out, it actually wasn’t that easy – at least, not compared with this time around. I was actually able to sit comfortably in a chair later that same day!

There is no doubt that we were very blessed with short labor, quick delivery, easy recovery, and good health for all involved.

I hope our poor midwife has gotten a few nights of uninterrupted sleep since that whirlwind weekend of five births!

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