It's taken me a while, but here is the birth story for sweet baby Joci:
I woke up around 5:00 am on Friday June 27 for yet another trip to the bathroom. When I settled back down into bed I noticed some cramping and wondered if maybe this was the start of something. These crampy contractions became regular for about two hours, between 7:30-9:30. I texted Josh at work just to give him heads up that something might be happening.
After about 9:30 the contractions slowed down and became very irregular and spaced far apart. So I thought it just wasn't time yet and Micah and I got ready for our pool date with Mamma and Aunt Lauren. My nine-month pregnant body felt so light in the pool - it was amazing!
|Me and my boy. And my kankles.|
Micah ended up staying with Mamma for the afternoon and so I headed home around 2:30 or so, hungry and tired. When I got home, the sleepiness won over the hunger and so I laid down for a nap. In hindsight, I should have definitely eaten something ...
Josh called me around 3:30 and said he had finished his last case and would be able to come home if I thought that was a good idea. I told him I wasn't sure - contractions still weren't regular but they were more noticeable (read: ramping up slightly on the pain scale). He decided the best thing to do would be to come home then, especially because rush hour traffic would be starting soon and then there would be no telling when he could actually make it home. And, because my labor with Evie went so fast at the end (read her crazy birth story here), he wasn't comfortable staying away any longer. So he headed home and I made some calls to arrange Micah to stay the night with my parents "just in case". The Lord was really so good to us to work out both of these details so nicely - it was definitely something I had been praying about.
So Josh arrived home around 5 or so, much more convinced that I was actually in labor than I was. He put together the baby swing and put the carseat in the car. My stomach was in knots about then just trying to decide if I was in labor or not or what was going on. I was hungry but could only choke down some berries. Again, in hindsight, my lack of food that day wasn't a great way to fuel the energy necessary for labor.
From about 6-7 pm my contractions were very regular (5 minutes apart) and the midwife had told me just a couple of days ago to call her when my contractions were that far apart. So I called, reminded her of my precipitous last birth, and she told us to come on in.
|Right before we left for the hospital.|
We arrived at the hospital around 7:30 and I was checked. I had only dilated to two centimeters and was only about 50% effaced. The news was quite a blow to my morale. The midwife told us to walk around for about an hour and then she would check me again.
So Josh and I walked the halls of the labor and delivery floor. We read the names on the baby feet wall. I paused for contractions, trying to do some serious squats to get my body going.
A little over an hour later we were back in the room waiting to be checked. Neither the midwife or nurse seemed to be hurrying back to check on me so I called the nurse and just asked if she thought we should go home. Maybe we had come too early and just needed to wait it out at home for a couple more hours and come back later. But when the midwife checked me this time I had dilated to four centimeters and was 90% effaced. She told me with this amount of progress in one hour she would not feel comfortable sending me home. And that was music to my ears.
They took a couple more measures to try and get things progressing, including breaking my water. When the midwife broke my water she uttered a disappointed, "Oh no." There was meconium in the water, just like with Micah (read his birth story here), which means the baby had been in distress at some point. But the worst part is that having meconium present meant that I wasn't allowed in the birthing tub. Demoralizing. When you're trying to birth without drugs, the hot tub is as close as you can come to pain-free. I had really high hopes of going through transition in that warm water and minimally experiencing the unbelievable pain that dilating the last 3 centimeters brings. It could not be so.
From there I had to be transferred out of the Midwifery Center where they only monitor the fetus intermittently, down the hall to the Labor and Delivery wing where I had to be hooked up to continuous fetal monitoring. They wanted to make sure my baby wasn't in any more distress, which of course I appreciated, although I wished so much to be in that tub!
Once settled in our new room, I was given a birthing ball to help me through contractions. It really was helpful, especially in supporting my weight and helping me squat really low to get the baby on a good position.
I need to give a shout out to my wonderful husband because, at this point in labor, I felt so hungry and weak and just ready to be done. I half mentioned wanting an epidural just so I could be done and relax. He kept grounding me and encouraging me and rubbing my lower back when necessary. I had already lost the mental battle, the most crucial battle in laboring without drugs, and he stepped in to fight it for me. What a guy <3
At one point the midwife checked me and manually helped me dilate from 6 to 7 centimeters. Oh my word that was the worst most out of control pain I've ever experienced! I don't know how to describe it except I felt like an animal and could absolutely not control my decibel level. Not my finest moment.
I labored in transition for a while. It's worth mentioning that, even in that very active phase of labor, my contractions were still about five minutes apart. And in between some really bad ones I even had some less intense contractions. So strange. The same strangeness that had me guessing if Evie was really coming up until the moment that I knew. Anyway, my crazy body.
I was starting to feel really tired and really weak from not eating. My arms and legs were shaking from supporting my weight during labor and the crazy adrenaline rush that happens during transition. I needed some encouragement and asked the midwife how long she thought it would be. She said she thought I'd be birthed by 2:30. It was currently 1:50. I remember thinking, I can do this. Forty more minutes.
Whether or not she really meant it, I don't know, but it was enough to give me a bit more gumption to endure more transitional contractions. When 2:30 rolled around we hadn't yet birthed, but I knew it would be close.
About an hour later I was feeling so much pressure and an urge to bear down and so the midwife checked me again. I still wasn't quite to 10 centimeters yet so on the next contraction she manually dilated me the rest of the way. Josh said he heard an audible popping noise (gross, right?) and the midwife said "That's it. Get the pediatric team." (the peds team was needed to suction Joci right after birth to make sure she didn't ingest any meconium).
I totally didn't realize she was so close to being born. Everyone was telling me to push, that the baby was right there. I just kept saying, "What!? Really? Are you for real?" Haha, anyway they were definitely for real. I think I did about two pushes for her head and another one or two for her body and she was out.
I honestly don't remember her crying, probably because I couldn't hear her over my own sobs. The labor process had not gone quite how I was anticipating and I was just glad it was over.
After I calmed down a bit I was able to glance over and see my little dark-haired sweetie. Everyone was saying how big she was, and she was indeed a great size!
|Jocelyn Evie Rieke, 8 lbs. 8 oz., 21 inches.|
Jocelyn has been home for a little over two weeks now. It's been tiring, of course, but mostly just sweet and enjoyable and wonderful. Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers. We are so thankful to the Lord for our sweet baby girl.
|Joci and Mommy after our sponge bath and shower, respectively.|
|Proud Big Brother|
|Our little family|
|Thank you Jesus <3|