The quick, natural, (mostly) peaceful birth of our very large baby boy!
Hannah meeting her little brother.
6:30pm- water broke
7:30- contractions 3-5 minutes apart
8:00- went to hospital
8:30- checked and 5-6cm dilated
11:15-10cm and ready to push
11:58- Judah Levi is born!
My due date was May 4th, 2010 but all throughout my pregnancy I had been telling people my due date was May 5th just because I liked that day better. As I approached 40 weeks I began getting increasingly uncomfortable and was starting think Judah would be late like his older sister Hannah, our lovely toddler. I was walking twice a day and doing much to try to speed things a long but was still doubtful that Judah would make his appearance soon.
I went to my 40 week appointment at 9am on May 5th, feeling fairly optimistic though. The Lord had been working on some things in my heart (impatience, trusting Him, letting go of control, etc) so I resisted the urge to ask about induction. My doctor was fully of supportive of however I wanted to birth this child and was willing to give me as long as Judah would take. He checked me and my cervix was 2.5 cm (half a cm progress from last week) and my water bag was still bulging a little. He said he thought my water would break on it’s own soon; but since that’s what he said the week before I wasn’t very hopeful. My doctor also did a “membrane sweep” for the 3rd time. This is a procedure where the doctor “sweeps” a finger around the cervix separating the bag of water from the cervix in hopes of stimulating contractions. Thankfully, I never found it unpleasant and when he said he was going to be gentle, I said… “you really don’t have to be.”
I went about my day with Hannah. We got slushes from Sonic and went to Walmart to pick up some groceries. I began feeling more exhausted than usual and irritable. I had made tacos for our Cinco de Mayo dinner and was upset that I couldn't eat in peace when Hannah kept getting down from her chair and Aaron was trying to finish up some yard work. Eventually, Aaron came in, helped me with Hannah by getting her bath started... and when I got up from my chair to put my dishes away, felt the strange sensation of my water bag popping. I wasn't sure if that was it so I went to the bathroom. There was a very slight trickle, but when I bent over more came out so I knew this was it.
This was at 6:30pm. I took our dog for a walk, while Aaron got Hannah ready for bed. I had heard it could take hours to go into active labor so I wanted to give myself a head start. I had 2 mild contractions during the walk so I was excited to really see things moving. When I got home Aaron was cleaning the house and getting our bags ready... I had planned on taking a shower but almost immediately I had to start focusing through contractions so the shower idea went out the window. They were coming pretty fast somewhere between 4-5 minutes but I found it impossible to time them so I asked Aaron to help.
Originally, I was listening to my hypnobabies "birth day" affirmations track while I tried to help tidy up the house but Aaron forced me to lay on the couch and relax, which I was thankful for. I didn't even make it through the 40 minute CD track before I began feeling so uncomfortable I thought we might need to head to the hospital soon. Laying on the couch, I lost track of time but every time I had a contraction I would say "ok..." so Aaron could write it down. I did not know how fast my contractions were coming nor did I want to know. I was feeling more discomfort and kept feeling like I had to go to the bathroom. I kept trying to pee but couldn't and started feeling sick.
At some point Aaron sent a text to my mom saying she needed to come now because my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart. This was at 7:30pm, only one hour after my water breaking. I felt somewhat like a wuss that I would be feeling so much discomfort so early and was hoping we weren't going to the hospital too early. I thought in doing so I would be "tempted" to get pain meds. (Keep in mind I got the epidural at 2cm with Hannah). But at the same time, I did not want to be stuck having the baby at home.
My mom, a nurse, arrived shortly after and thought I might be in transition. I was starting to moan a little, feel pressure, saying I needed to use the bathroom and feeling like I was going to throw up. I laid down for a contraction, tried my best to enter self-hypnosis, as Aaron packed the car... and as soon as the contraction was up I was out the door and ready to go. The car ride wasn't that bad. I had my hypnobabies playing on my Ipod the entire time and I felt I was really able to relax. I noticed Aaron speed out of the driveway, but told him he didn’t have to drive so fast, I was ok.
Aaron and I walked, albeit slowly, into the E.R around 8pm. I saw the waiting room full of people, was afraid of having to wait and asked the lady at the desk, "can I please go to L&D?" I think it's funny I was so polite. We waited a few minutes for a wheel chair but were on our way shortly. The transport was trying to tell me about all her grandchildren and all I could think was, "stop talking to me, lady, I don't want to hear about your grandchildren..." so I ignored her and focused on my hypnobabies. When I made it to our L&D room I was barely able to walk. Our nurse, Merry, seemed sweet and asked me to put on the gown and give a urine sample. Seriously? Impossible. I could not pee at all, and she said that was just fine. I was checked at 8:30pm (2 hours post water breaking) and found to be between 5-6cm. Not quite in transition but not bad either.
Aaron gave the nurse our birth plan and everyone was great about honoring our wishes. The lights were kept dim and for the most part the nurses spoke to Aaron first before approaching me, as I listened to my hypnobabies scripts and focused through each contraction. If anyone tried to talk to me while I was having a contraction, I would completely ignore them, and there was something empowering about that. Most everyone got the point.
In my birth plan I had said I wanted to be as mobile as possible. I imagined myself bouncing on a birth ball, walking the halls or rocking… but the funny thing is once I was at the hospital the most comfortable position I found and the only one I wanted to be in was almost flat on my back found and knees relaxed, bent up. Odd, right? I think psychologically I was just ready to push Judah out. But even laying on my side wasn’t as comfortable.
At 9:15pm I started feeling more intense pressure and asked to be checked. I was so eager to push this baby out. I was now 7cm and still focusing on my relaxation even though I would get intense urges to push every now and then. Pretty much from the moment I got the hospital my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. But the wonderful thing was, my breaks between them were pure bliss, so much so I almost didn‘t feel in labor. No matter how much pressure I felt, I knew they would always end, just like a wave that comes crashing to the shore and then resides. I never felt that when I was induced with Hannah.
I feel that my labor at the hospital (period between 7-10cm) was actually easier than my labor at home. I (with Aaron’s help) really got a groove going…. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was listening to my hypnobabies tracks in detail but I focused on the words I needed to. At one point the relaxation almost felt overwhelming and like I really had taken something for pain. I loved the rest periods between contractions.
When I had a contraction, or “pressure wave” as hypnobabies calls them, I would tell my body to fall completely “loose, limp and relaxed” and specifically focus on relaxing my pelvic organs. Aaron wasn’t totally into the self-hypnosis thing, but was more than willing to do what I asked. My favorite thing he did was press his hand on my forehead every time a contraction would come and remind me of relaxation cue word- “peace.” The pressure on my forehead felt so good and truly aided my body in turning off and letting go. He did this through almost every contraction. I did not want to be touched anywhere else. Unless you were looking at the monitors you would barely know I was contracting but if Aaron wasn’t watching I would simply say “hand” and he knew what to do. Awesome man!
At 10:15 I was now 8cm. The nurses called my doctor to come in. For the next 45 minutes or so there were certain contractions where my body irresistibly would bear down and I would get more vocal. But since I was not 10cm yet, I was told to try not push. I could not help it. I went from 8 to 9 and finally to 10cm at 11:15pm and I was finally given “permission” to push. Pushing really is involuntary when you don’t have drugs. That was a whole new experience. At times it was overwhelming. I let out “ahhhs” and ohhs,” shook, involuntarily regurgitated the tacos I had eaten for dinner. But pushing meant Judah was almost here and I was saying, “thank you, Jesus.”
I’m not sure how long I pushed until his head was out. I felt intense pressure, but I can honestly tell you I never felt the ring of fire. The next part of the story, however, is probably the most painful thing of my life. After having a relatively calm, drama-free birth, don’t read the following if you intend on delivering an 11 pound baby that may get stuck inside you.
I always thought that once the head was out, that was it, the rest of the baby just slides right out, right? Not so with Judah. Once his head was out I felt relief, the contraction was over, but they told me I needed to keep pushing to get his shoulders out. I tried, but nothing happened… kept trying, still nothing happened. Two words: shoulder dystocia. That was when I felt the most horrible pain of my life as my doctor had to literally stick his hands up there and try to pull Judah out. And it wasn’t just for a short time, it was at least a few minutes. I felt all of the maneuvering, twisting, pulling and turning and kept hoping that it would be over soon. They told me I needed to keep pushing but I asked them if I could wait for a contraction. They said no, I needed to push now. At this point I was screaming at the top of my lungs like this quiet little Bridget has never screamed before, pretty much begging them to stop. They did not heed my pleas for mercy and finally one nurse made me look in her the eye, focus and push… focusing on her face helped… and after what felt like an eternity, the rest of his body slid out. I’m telling you it was the hardest, most painful 3-5 minutes I’ve ever gone through in my life.
There was a good reason for it though. Judah was born at 11:28pm, May 5th, 2010.… weighing 10lbs 15oz and 22 inches long. His mommy is 5’2’’ and weighed 114 before she had him. I literally had no idea he would be that big. I kept asking, “how does that happen?!” And “what in the world was God trying to do to me??” Everyone was amazed. I don’t know anyone who has birthed a baby that much, much less naturally. If someone would have told me he was going to be that big I would not have believed them.
Judah was having a little trouble breathing and they were worried about him having a fractured collar bone so he was taken from my right away. In the video you might notice him not moving his right arm. It took him a few minutes to cry but once he did it was the most beautiful sound. I was stitched up from a second degree tear (pretty much in the same spot I tore having Hannah) and of course got local anesthetic for that.
Another somewhat sad part of the story is that I did not get to see much of Judah for the first night. I spent a few minutes with him but they wanted to do some more intense monitoring in the nursery… to make sure his lungs would clear up and also to do an x-ray. His clavicle was found to be not fractured (thank God!) but he was having a hard time moving it from being stretched. The doctor had to pull on shoulder out. I wasn’t able to breastfeed because they wanted to keep Judah from being stimulated until his lungs were clear. I pretty much did not see my baby for the rest of the night, as he rested and was observed, until around 7am. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep and stayed up all night thinking about him and replaying the birth in my mind.
When we reunited in the morning, it was a sweet moment for the 3 of us. He felt so heavy and looks like a little football player. Thick neck, chubby cheeks, still a little swollen from birth, a little cone head full of short, dark hair that will hopefully stay (love babies with hair!) He’s even got little sideburns and little hairs on his ears- it’s so cute. He’s been breastfeeding like a pro and we are totally in love! And Judah is completely healthy… cleared by the pediatrician to go. Everyone keeps stopping by our room to see this big, beautiful baby boy. So far he seems to have a relaxed, laid back personality.
Everything seemed to happen so fast, it was a shock to suddenly have little Judah with us, but we are soaking up every minute. Hannah came the next morning with my mother and is adjusting very well to her little brother. She was shy to hold him, but once she did, she didn’t want to put him down.
It’s not even 2 days later and feel amazing. My bottom really isn’t even that sore. I remember it much worse with Hannah and my only complaint is I feel a little achy all over my body… the nurse said that’s because I probably used every muscle when I pushed out that baby. I’ve only taken some Motrin twice for the after pains, but they’re not even that bad.
We are so blessed! God is so good and we are excited to see our family of 4 adjust to life at home shortly.