Click here to read part one.
Soon after we arrived at the hospital, they did a non-stress test and cervical exam. I was admitted, though I was a bit disappointed to find out I was still only 3 centimetres dilated like I had been at my last prenatal appointment. We got up and walked the halls for a while, stopping for each contraction. I came back to the room and soaked in the tub for a while. It felt so good to labour in the warm water, and it was the only thing giving me relief at the moment. At this point, I was sure I’d be labouring for days—how could I only be 3 centimetres?!
By the time I got out of the tub, I had to ask for pain relief. I was given a shot to help with the pain and nausea, since I had thrown up three times while contracting. I was able to rest a little in between contractions, but the pain made it difficult to relax my body. Despite having just worked a 12-hour night shift, Isaac was so encouraging and attentive to my needs. My mama rubbed my back and gave me such encouragement.
By early afternoon, I was checked again and was 7 centimetres—it’s happening! Late afternoon came and I was told things were progressing very quickly. That 7 centimetres would quickly become 10, so it was time to be transferred to the delivery room! A quick ride over, and I was offered gas to help with the pain of contractions. It helped so much and really gave me the ability to work through the pain.
Soon after, I was instructed to start pushing—the scary part! Before I knew it, my mama was telling me she saw his little ear folded up. I felt his head, and it gave me the encouragement to keep pushing. At one point, Samuel’s shoulders got stuck, but the doctor quickly brought him through.
Thirty minutes of pushing (and a whole lot of coaching) later, and our sweet Samuel was placed on my chest! He was so calm and absolutely beautiful in every way. I looked at him all over; I wanted to see his little toes, his furry back and shoulders, and his chubby little hands. I couldn’t believe he was finally here. I had heard mothers talk about the feeling of birthing their children, but I wasn’t prepared for the incredible rush of emotion I felt. It was as if I had always known this little person, and while he had just met me face-to-face, I wanted to protect him from everything and love him harder than ever possible (holy emotions!).
They delayed clamping his cord (as per my birth plan), so we spent a good while just cuddling and getting acquainted with one another. Once the cord was clamped and the placenta passed, I was given the gas again to breathe while being stitched up from a tear I had gotten during the birth.
Our sweet boy was well taken care of by his nurses, my mama, and his daddy. I’m so thankful my mama was there to hold him while I couldn’t, though the nurses put him on my chest every chance they could (they were such a wonderful team!). Over an hour later, and the entire birthing process was complete.
Our sweet Samuel Alan weighed in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 20 inches long. We were all surprised by how big he was, but not at all surprised by the amount of hair he had (hello, heartburn!).
In the few minutes that followed the birth, my father was invited to come in the delivery room and meet his grandson for the first time. It was such a special time with just my parents and us before being transferred to our room.
When I wrote my birth plan, I knew full well that plans often go out the window when labour is actually happening. Babies don’t always come according to plan, and I was prepared to be very flexible with my wishes. That being said, I couldn’t have asked for a better birth experience for my first. The doctors and nurses helped in so many ways, and I didn’t feel anxious at all during the process. I’m so thankful for how God had His hand on the whole experience.
Giving birth was such an incredible, powerful experience. In the past few weeks, I’ve really tried to capture it in words, but I feel I can’t fully explain it. I will say this, however: I have never felt more proud or capable than I did after delivering Samuel. I still can’t believe how incredible the birthing process is, and I’m sure I’ll still be trying to wrap my mind around it in years to come.