Most of you know that I was anxiously awaiting the birth of my second child a little longer than I anticipated. My due date was December 24, though the 20-week ultrasound showed that December 28 was more accurate, but he decided not to make his way into the world until January 9! I’ll all about kids coming in their own timing, and not rushing them or trying to intervene at all, but man he was really starting to try my patience. It was probably hormones, but I started to wonder if he didn’t want to come out or if something was wrong with my body this time. Of course it wasn’t any of those things, it just wasn’t his time yet. But when it was, MAN WAS IT EVER!
I did cardio fix (from the 21 Day Fix) Saturday night, one of the hardest workouts I had done in a couple weeks. I thought maybe it would help move things along. I went into labor in the middle of the night, around 3 a.m. I’ll always wonder if the workout is what did it, but I have a feeling it was just God’s time. I woke my husband up to let him know I was pretty sure that’s what was happening, but that I didn’t need him yet. He had worked until 1 a.m. so I knew he needed his sleep. I headed out to the family room and turned the fire on. I said a prayer, read my devotional, and then headed downstairs to grab the birth affirmations I had printed. And in true Kim fashion, I also finished up a bit of work for my next challenge group since I knew my time was running out! I even threw in a load of laundry and picked up downstairs before I grabbed the exercise ball and returned to the family room to relax and pray. I read my bible and tried to prepare myself for what was ahead. So much fear surrounded me throughout this pregnancy, as well as with the unknowns of our first home birth and the possibility of the baby having the blood disorder that my other son does, that I knew I needed to stay close to God throughout this labor. I was very afraid to go through all the pain again, since my last labor was so unbearable. It took nearly 3 days of back labor to birth Caleb, and although I was able to do it naturally, it was the hardest and most painful thing I ever did. My recovery took nearly a year from the posterior birth and a cracked tailbone. I hoped and prayed this labor wouldn’t be like that.
Labor with Joshua started off very differently. The contractions were almost ten minutes apart and they felt more like strong menstrual cramps. I did feel them in my back as well, but it was different than last time. I almost wasn’t sure they were contractions at first but they were. I pulled up an app to log them, and although they were getting a little stronger and closer, everything stopped when my toddler and husband got up a few hours later. I actually questioned if I had been in labor after all!
I let my midwife know and she told me it was common for labor to stall when a mother’s mentality shifts to her other child. I was disappointed but once we got my son breakfast and over to my sister’s (she was going to watch him since we expected the baby to arrive shortly), it took a little while and then things started to progress again. Again I was surprised by how different these contractions were from my last labor, I mean night and day difference here, but I also noticed that they weren’t really getting any closer. They stayed almost ten minutes apart, never closer than about nine, and they were longer than I expected them to be. They were always right around 60 seconds in length. I let my midwife know what was going on and she said it sounded like prodromal labor to her. I had never heard of it before, but she told me that it can last days unfortunately. It’s almost like a precursor to active labor, and even though contractions were happening, they weren’t actually doing very much in terms of opening the cervix. I was so upset. This is exactly what had happened to me last time, though no one had shared the terminology with me. I had labored for nearly 24 hours before I went to the hospital, walking around through excrutiating pain that was all back labor (the worst kind), just to be told I was only two centimeter dilated. I remember thinking, at that time, that it was obvious I couldn’t have my baby naturally. If if took this much pain and time just to get to two centimeters, I could never make it to ten. I was heartbroken and if I wouldn’t have had a doula, I truly don’t think I would’ve had a natural birth after all. Caleb wound up being born posterior, which no one knew ahead of time and was the reason why I had such an ineffective, long labor with most of the pain in my back and a much longer pushing phase. Now that it seemed the same thing was happening again with Joshua, which was exactly what I had feared the whole time, I was crushed. I felt so defeated. Satan swooped in and tried to convince me that Josh was also posterior (hence some back pain again), that my labor would yet again take days and that I wouldn’t be able to birth him at home after all. I broke down in tears and told my husband that I tried to be faithful and not listen to my fears but that it was happening again anyways. The very same thing, my horrific labor, all over again. I told him I just couldn’t do it again and that we should just forget the whole home birth and head to a hospital. I questioned why I had signed up for this again, why I even try to birth my babies without drugs. I was in a dark place, Satan was having a field day and my faith was so weak. My husband encouraged me and prayed with me, which helped, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong with me, that I just couldn’t have normal, functional labors like most women, and that I couldn’t do what I signed up to do after all.
Since things didn’t seem to be progressing so much as staying the same, we had our son come back home for the time being. I didn’t want to waste my sister’s help. I tried to stay focused on the contractions, to relax into them, and I kept moving around or sitting on my ball, but it didn’t seem to be changing anything. My husband occupied Caleb and things did pick up again, so I was hopefully the baby might still arrive that day. We had dinner and I still had regular contractions so I let my midwife know. She was confident it was still prodromal labor after I filled her in. I think she could pick up on my hesitation and uncertainty of whether or not I was dilating and if the baby might be closer than we though, so she stopped over around 7:30 p.m. I was so surprised to see her, but I was very grateful she made the drive over. At least I would have a little peace of mind knowing where I stood, whether these were really contractions or not. Upon checking me, Brenda informed me that I was about about 1.5-2 centimeters dilated. Obviously not much. However, rather than being discouraged, I felt better knowing that the contractions were doing something and that labor had begun. But when my midwife told me to take some Ibprofen and relax, and to take a little tincture that would calm things down, I felt discouraged all over again. That is EXACTLY what had happened with Caleb. After 24 hours of later, when I got to the hospital and was checked at about 2 centimeters, the midwife encouraged me to go home, take some tylenol, and rest because if I stayed then I would be expected to make progress. If I didn’t, pitocin would be administered and my birth plan probably wouldn’t go as planned. So here I was, yet again, being told to just go to bed. I had no idea how I could with the pain I was in, but yet again the contractions seemed to slow to nearly a stop as I cried and got more upset. We talked and prayed about whether Caleb should go to my sister’s or pray, and I slipped into my old habit of not trusting myself and putting the opinion’s of others above my own. My midwife didn’t think the baby was going to come overnight, and even though a part of me did think the baby would come, I guess I almost hoped I was wrong. I didn’t really want to be in pain anymore, I wouldn’t mind a break to get some sleep since I had been up since 3 a.m., so I figured I would take the Ibprofen and go to bed like last time. But in the heat of the moment, I forgot that last time, I only got about 2 hours of sleep before I was woken up to full-fledged labor. So we put Caleb to bed, figuring that if the baby came he or she would probably arrive before Caleb woke up in the morning. I tried to eat more but I really couldn’t. Just like last time. My husband encouraged me to get into bed and turned on a movie. I picked one of my favorites, “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” We were both tired but the contractions hadn’t stopped yet. They stayed pretty regular but I didn’t pay much attention since I knew they weren’t doing much. Or so I thought. About halfway through the movie the contractions began to get stronger, though they still weren’t any closer. I was frustrated that I was in too much pain to get some rest and yet not enough pain to give birth to this baby! I tried to relax my mind, to pray when I needed to, and to just watch the movie. My husband started to drift in and out of sleep, and by then the contractions were significantly stronger. I wondered if I should let my midwife know, but reminded myself that I was only at 1.5-2 centimeters and still had a very long way to go! So I continued to lay there, relax into the contractions instead of tense, and to breathe through them. I was still logging them, but every third contraction or so was so strong that I couldn’t. During those ones I had to grab onto my husband. I needed him to wake up and support me. They were strong enough now that each one took all of me. I felt a little disappointed my husband was sleeping when he had gotten more sleep than me the night before but this time I felt differently. I wasn’t mad or upset. I prayed about it. I told God that I knew that there was no one, not even my husband, who would never disappoint me except him. That there was no one who could always be there for me except him. I asked him to remind me during the worst and scariest contractions that HE was all I needed. I kept reminding myself that he would never leave me, never forsake me, and that I didn’t have to be afraid. He was holding me and I knew it. I gave him my fear and my weakness, and he turned around and gave me his grace. I woke my husband up and told him things were progressing rapidly. That was about 11:44 p.m., which was when I logged my last contraction. They were getting too intense and required all of my focus and energy. My husband said he thought we should call Brenda and I finally agreed, though I still wasn’t confident my cervix was dilating the way it should be. She asked my husband a couple questions, asked him to start filling up the tub and told him she was on her way. Shawn told me he needed to attach the hose to the shower and that he would be right back. I immediately called him back as another contraction took hold. When it passed, he told me he just needed a minute to finish. The only problem was that I didn’t have more than seconds that I didn’t need him close to me for support before another contraction took hold. When it passed I would relax and tell him to attach the hose to the shower head but he was having trouble and needed a get a tool. I didn’t have that kind of time. He was torn and didn’t know what to do. I remember him saying as lovingly as possible, “Well, I can’t be in two places at once dear. Which would you like me to do?” He got the tool and ran into the bathroom, which is less than ten feet from our bed, and got the hose connected. I heard the water start to fill the tub as I called for him again. He raced back to me and prayed with me as the contraction took over. But this time, something was different. “Shawn,” my voice shook. “Something is happening. I don’t know what it is, but something feels really different.” I was scared, I felt so out of control (something very, very hard for me), but I knew my body was doing what it was supposed to and that God was in control. “Kim, I think we need to call Brenda.” I told him I thought he was right. He started to dial but I needed him. “Shawn!” I cried out. “Shawn!” I was scared. I didn’t know what was happening to my body. I wondered if it was my water, I wondered if it was breaking, but I didn’t know because I hadn’t experienced that before. The hospital had to break my water with Caleb once I got to 10 centimeters dilated because they said it would really speed everything up from there and I didn’t know any better. Then the feeling I had came to a peak, it was almost like a strong pressure change, I still didn’t know what it was but I definitely didn’t like the feeling. I was crying out to Jesus to help me, doing my best to breathe, and suddenly I couldn’t talk (yes, you know something intense is happening if I can’t talk!). Then it happened. I felt water trickling out of me. “Shawn, my water broke.” In my head, that meant I was at least in active labor, I was at least 6 centimeters dilated. “I’ll let Brenda know,” he said, dialing her number. “Hi, um, Kim’s water broke,” I heard him say. He was quiet and she asked him a couple of questions and assured him she was on her way. Then the strangest sensation came over me, but one I remembered feeling once before. Bearing down, and within seconds, and urge to push. How could this be? I thought to myself. There’s no way I was anywhere close to 10 centimeters. Just a few hours ago I was checked at only 2 centimeters and it was all prodromal labor. I hadn’t been in enough pain for long enough. How could the baby be here already? Yet despite any logical reasoning, I knew what was happening. “Shawn,” I said as I reached for his shirt, “hurry. Pull my pants down. The baby is coming!” I think he asked me if I was serious, which of course I was, and then he began to pull them down as another contraction took hold, a sensation that truly felt like the baby was already coming out of my butt, which scared me because it felt like he actually was unlike last time, and then my first push. I couldn’t help it, couldn’t hold it back, I had to. My body pushed and I felt like something came out. I asked Shawn if he saw the baby’s head. “No,” he said, “But I think you just lost your mucus plug.” That only added to my confusion. Last time I lost my mucus plug before we went to the hospital the second time, when I was about 7 centimeters. I lost in several hours before Caleb arrived. It didn’t make sense that my body felt like it needed to push. The baby couldn’t possibly be coming right now. That’s the whole reason I hadn’t let my midwife know. I was certain I was still hours away from meeting the baby. How could this be?!
The feeling came over me again, much stronger this time. I pushed, and again it felt like the baby came out of my butt. I prayed for God to help me, because I didn’t know what was happening. I asked him to not let that thing (which I still didn’t think was a baby because it felt more like the size of a small coke bottle) come out of my butt. To me, it didn’t feel like pressure, it actually felt as though something came out. And later I found out a little something did, which often happens during labor, but it wasn’t a coke bottle or a baby! I told Shawn the baby was coming and that he needed to get ready! “What do I do?” he asked. “Just put your hands down there to guide the baby out!” He looked as nervous as can be but there was no time because another contraction came and I pushed. This time I knew. It was the baby. Part of the baby was out. “Shawn! Is that the baby?!” “Yes, the head is out,” he answered. Oh my goodness, I could hardly believe this was happening. The urge to push came over me again so I did. “Is the baby out?” I asked breathlessly. “No,” he said. “Just the head.” I knew I needed to push again but didn’t feel the urge and then I remembered that I needed to wait for another contraction and told Shawn. Suddenly it dawned on me that the baby wasn’t crying. Was something wrong? But I didn’t have time to worry because another contraction came and I pushed. And just like that, after just 3-4 pushes, our baby entered the world. “I think it’s a girl, Shawn said. “Wait no, it’s a boy.” I had almost forgotten the gender surprise in the midst of having our own unassisted birth! At this point, it didn’t even matter. The big surprise was that we had a baby on our own. I reached down to grab the baby off the bed and suddenly heard his first precious cry. I had my husband run to grab a towel so I could keep him warm, and I finally got to lay eyes on our precious new baby boy. We didn’t have a boy name picked out yet, but within a couple of days God himself answered our prayers by putting the same name on both my husband’s heart and mine. It was a miracle. Our Joshua David was here! I was amazed. I couldn’t believe how fast it happened. Up until 11:44 p.m. I was logging contractions that were still 8-9 minutes apart. I was nowhere near where I needed to be, but God knew that. He knew I felt like I couldn’t do it again, he knew the pain was getting too great for me to go on like that for hours and hours, and I truly believe he met me in the midst of my fear and took me from a couple centimeters dilated to 10 centimeters dilated in just over 15 minutes. I know second babies can come a lot quicker but after being in labor for 16 hours and only getting to two centimeters, no one could ever convince me that this wasn’t an act of God. He knew what I needed, he heard my cries, and he answered me. I will forever sing his praises for the fast delivery of my Joshua David.
Our midwife walked in minutes after Josh was born and she got everything set up to check the baby, get the baby nursing, help me deliver the placenta, get me cleaned up, stitched up a bit from a minor tear, to strip the bed and throw in some laundry, and a bunch of other things. She was amazing. I’m so glad she was on the way, though of course I would’ve preferred if she was there for the whole thing. Shawn started to drain the tub which we didn’t wind up needing, and it’s funny because when Brenda had originally asked me if I intended to have a water birth I told her I really didn’t know. It was almost like I knew it wasn’t going to happen, and obviously it didn’t! Maybe next time, if there is a next time. I remember, at the end of my pregancy, seeing a video clip from a recent episode of Kelly Ripa’s show where she was interviewing an actor who was telling the hillarious story of how his first baby was abruptly and unexpectedly born at home and how we had to catch it! I shared it and couldn’t believe how crazy the story was. Little did I know how similar ours would be! And now my husband has a wonderful story to tell for years to come and the prestigious self-proclaimed title of “The Baby Catcher!” You better believe he’s flaunting that around these days! 🙂
Back when I was first pregnant and had asked for OBGYN referrals here in Georgia to make my first appointment, I had nothing but trouble being seen. The doctor got called away one time, another time we got stuck in traffic and showed up late but even after hours of waiting they couldn’t work us in so we left, and another time they had my appointment down on a different day than the day I had written down. I remember looking up and asking God if perhaps he didn’t want me doing this. I wondered if maybe he did want me to pursue a homebirth this time, so we prayed about it and couldn’t believe how quickly things started to align. He went to one office first before we heard about Brenda and knew we needed to see her. Her beliefs align very closely with ours, and we could tell from that first appointment that she would be a much better fit for us. But we were still nervous about a homebirth, still unsure if this was what we should do and if it was wise considering the fact that Caleb had a hereditary blood disorder that required us to be in a hospital and this baby had a 50% chance of having it too. I didn’t want to pay a few thousand dollars for a home birth just to have to go to a hospital after the baby arrived. There were so many things I didn’t know but as I sought God’s word for counsel, he gave me my answer. It was clear. We needed to pursue a home birth. We needed to step out of our comfort zones, to step out of the boat. We needed to trust him. So we did, and now I know why this was his plan. Because he already knew what we didn’t. He knew that this baby was coming at home, or if we would’ve been having a hospital birth, possibly even on the side of the road somewhere. He knew we never would’ve made it to a hospital because I never would’ve thought we were close enough to need to go! I would’ve been laying in my bed in a pile of blood, holding a newborn baby, with no help on the way. We would’ve had to call an ambulance to rush us to a hospital, which would’ve been scary and super expensive instead of being able to get cleaned up, eat a home-cooked meal and get some sleep in a freshly made bed with our new bundle of joy. We would’ve had to call my sister in the middle of the night to come get Caleb, and that probably would’ve been a mess. And in the event we had realized we needed to get to a hospital in time, with how quickly the baby came I truly think he would’ve been born in our car (not quite sanitary, I’m sure) with nothing we needed to welcome him. I am so so grateful that God knew best when we didn’t. Although I wasn’t certain of the decision and wrestled with it a lot, I truly felt he was leading us to a home birth. The only reasons we thought we should go to a hospital were fear-based, and I’m so glad we didn’t listen to them!
So that’s how our sweet baby Joshua entered the world. Although he made me wait a long time for him, when he was ready, BOY was he ready! He came in his own perfect way, in God’s perfect timing, and every need was met. So, in closing, however you take this crazy story, I hope the one thing you will walk away with is that you should always listen to that still, small voice in your heart. God usually doesn’t give us the big, directional signs we are looking for but if we pray without ceasing and stay in his word for guidance, he will reveal his instructions to us. If we choose to listen or not is entirely up to us, but I can promise you that if you do, even when you don’t see the way, that it will ultimately be what’s best for you and that when it’s all said and done and you look back on it, you will have the understanding you didn’t have before. God never makes mistakes. <3