I suppose that I have procrastinated long enough in the posting of Scout’s birth story. Truth be told, I haven’t felt that I could accurately capture the event in the words the English language provides. Alas, it is all that I have to convey the experience and so I will attempt to provide it the justice it is due.
As you well know, I had been having signs of false labor off and on for almost 4 weeks. Waking on my due date with the worst stomach flu virus ever certainly sealed my determination that this baby was in fact going to remain gestating inside of me for the long haul. I think it is safe to say that after that incident I was ultimately resigned to remain pregnant, and ignored every discomfort thereafter so as not to excite myself at all over yet another false labor.
Imagine my surprise when I woke early Sunday morning (just three days later) to again discomfort, though this time a regular and most importantly time-able discomfort. After an hour I decided that indeed these must be contractions and so I woke Steve to time them with me. They quickly hastened from every ten minutes to every seven, and then five minutes. I was absolutely convinced that this labor was going to be quick and fast due to my experience with Cutter. I was horrified at the very thought of giving birth in the car on the way to the hospital – or at home – and so I was determined to get there as soon as we thought things were progressing. Steve shared in my sentiment; as evidenced by his blatant disregard for traffic signals on our way to the hospital.
We arrived at there at 6 am and when I was examined I was at 4 cm. I was so relieved to hear this news as I had been sitting pretty at 2 cm for the past 4, almost 5 weeks. My contractions were still about every 5 minutes and were easily handled by deep breathing, leaning into Steve and having him talk me through it. I made clear to our nurse that we were aiming for a natural, un-medicated birth again, and she was very supportive in our decision. I continued to labor in the most comfortable position for me; sitting on the edge of the bed and leaning into Steve’s shoulder at each contraction. They monitored her heart rate for the initial twenty minutes but after that I was free to move around as I pleased. I had an IV-saline lock in, but thankfully no fluids. It was pleasantly quiet in our room without the monitors beeping at us. Steve and I had our routine down pat and settled in to get to work. I continued to drink my water as I had so diligently done throughout the remainder of my pregnancy (you know, since the kidney stones?).
The contractions began to get stronger and I felt much more pressure as she descended further down. My doctor wanted to check me this time, and I was anxious to hear of progress. Cutter’s labor and delivery was only three hours from first contraction/water breaking to his arrival. Mentally I wasn’t as prepared to go much longer than that though I knew full well it was a fluke of nature that he arrived as quickly as he did!
My doctor checked me at 9 am and I was still at 4-5 cm. When I heard her report I felt absolute defeat and disappointment. She encouraged me to walk around for an hour or two and then would check me again, and if nothing had progressed they would break my water as it still remained intact.
The doctor and nurse left the room and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer; I cried – the big, ugly tears. My husband’s shirt was now soaked from my sweat and tears – literally. He was instrumental in helping me to keep my focus and encouraging me to walk and coax this baby along. We prayed together continually throughout the morning and that was an anchor for me in the midst of the frenzy of labor. Lord have mercy, that man is a saint. We set to walk the halls. I knew from earlier that when I stood the contractions intensified, so I was quite hesitant to get up from the bed. As soon as I stood, intensify they did, and we began to walk. The contractions were harder and faster now. I would stop, lean into Steve and sway through each one breathing in and out, and then as it passed we would continue on our walk. We neared our room and ever the caregiver Steve urged me to take a drink of water to stay hydrated. I did, and just as I swallowed it – my water broke. Hallelujah! Only twenty minutes of walking and we had achieved success. This was the moment when my body kicked it into high gear, and decided there was no more messing around – this was serious business this birthing a baby thing.
Immediately I began to feel stronger contractions, closer together, and continued to labor sitting on the edge of the bed leaned into Steve. They checked me one more time and it was all I could do not to cry out as I laid back in the bed. Laying flat on my back was incredibly uncomfortable. I began to feel numb and break into a sweat, but I knew that my body was working its hardest to get to where I needed to be. I was now at 7 cm, so things were certainly progressing. By now it was 9:30 am.
I do not visually remember much else of what happened between then and when it came time to push. There were concerns about the meconium in my water, as well as a concern for her quick descent down the birth canal. Her heart rate had remained stable during the labor, but now was dipping and spiking with each contraction. I begged to push, was checked one last time, and given the okay finally to give in to what my body had been aching for. In all that time I never let go of Steve for one second. The touch of his body was my anchor to keep me settled and focused. His presence was my crutch.
The last forty minutes of my labor seemed to last only five minutes. It was all so very fast and intense.
I had begun to lose track of my breathing in the frenzy of the final minutes of my labor. Steve was doing his best to calm me down and yet I heard the apprehension in his voice. Suddenly, my nurse spoke up and urged me to breathe for the baby – which gave me quite a jolt. I could sense concern and realized that something wasn’t right. They wanted me to get her out – and fast.
I threw my feet up in the stirrups and pushed once, really hard. I waited for the next contraction and with all of my being pushed until I felt every part of her come into this world. Two pushes and she was here.
After a frenzied clamor to snip the cord that entangled her neck, she was freed and let out the coveted wail every mother yearns to hear. I opened my eyes and was in disbelief at her size! She weighed a healthy 8 lbs, 10 oz – a far cry from the 7 lbs, 3 oz of Cutter. They immediately took her to the bassinet and took her Apgars and checked her lungs. The immediate risks from the meconium aspiration were thwarted and our baby girl was doing just perfectly.
Her arrival was simply ideal, down to her timing. Scout and I share the same time of birth; 10:10 am. Now that is my daughter.
At the suggestion of a friend I had prepared myself to whisper the Jewish Shema into her ears as I held her. It was something that just she and I experienced and it was a poignant and wonderful memory for me. The Shema is taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
I pray that she will know that truth each and every day of her life, and that as her mama I can guide her to know and accept Christ early in her life.
Scout Everly Longenecker8 lbs, 10 oz21 inches10:10 am Sunday, February 19, 2012