A few notes: If you question whether or not you should read something that has the words "birth story" in the title, then you probably shouldn't, so stop now. :)
If you don't know how my labor with Elliot went, you might want to brief yourself for comparison.
While I was pregnant, I began to pray specific things for labor & delivery. I wanted a different experience this time - a better one. I prayed that my labor would start naturally, & that I wouldn't need pitocin. I prayed that my water would not break to start labor. & I prayed that I would be able to enjoy Jack as soon as he was born. I was so out of it when Elliot was born, & I didn't want that again. I had friends dedicated to praying for these things too.
So I was starting to wonder if I might be the first person alive to be pregnant forever. Yes, I know that seems extreme, but we just kept waiting! Elliot came on his due date, so we kind of expected Jack to come by then too.
Saturday the 22nd we had a busy day. That morning, we went to the farmer's market for a while (& saw one of our midwives while we were there, who was surprised I was still pregnant), then went to the birthday party of one of Elliot's friends at the park. That afternoon around 4, I started contracting. They weren't too bad though, & the timing was not consistent, so I wasn't sure if it was going to turn into labor or if they would peter out. Josh & I had a date planned for that night, so we went out to dinner (Chinese, yum), walked around Whole Foods, & got gelato. The contractions slowed down after dinner & were pretty spaced out after that. I went to bed easily that night.
I woke up at 2 a.m. with a hard contraction. Realizing I wouldn't be able to sleep, I took a shower, then went into the living room to work through them. I knew I was in labor at this point; the contractions were painful & I had to stop & try to relax through them (as the Bradley Method teaches). I watched several episodes of Say Yes to the Dress on Netflix, & around 5:45 I decided I probably needed to wake Josh up & get things ready so we could leave when I felt we needed to. As he was getting cleaned up & packing last minute items, the contractions moved from 5-8 minutes apart to 2-3 minutes apart. We called Tyler, my brother-in-law, who was on standby, to come over to stay with Elliot & we headed to the hospital. On the way there, we passed by one of our friends out for a run & told him we were going into the hospital. He committed to praying for us for the rest of his run & throughout the morning. His wife texted me to let me know she was praying too. A few other friends let us know they were praying for us. So encouraging - we are very blessed!
We got the hospital around 7 a.m. In triage, I found out I was 5-6 cm dilated, & 90% effaced. Awesome! I was so glad to have already done that much work. Over the next three or so hours, I labored mainly in the shower (which really helped my contractions) until I felt I was possibly heading into transition. I could tell based on the pain & my attitude that I was getting much closer to delivery. So we had my midwife Amy come check me, & she told me I was 6-7 cm. What?! After three hours, I had dilated one centimeter?? As much as I knew not to put much stock into that, I was pretty frustrated & the pain was getting worse. Amy suggested breaking my water, but I was totally against that plan. I knew the pain would get much worse then, & I didn't want that! So she & the nurse left the room, & I labored over the birth ball. During this time, I felt led to pray that transition would go quickly, & that I wouldn't push for more than ten minutes. I labored & prayed for 20 minutes before feeling like I needed to push. I told Josh & he got them to come back in. I was checked again, & was 8 cm. Over 2 cm in 20 minutes - definitely in transition! Amy told me that if we broke my water, I'd be pushing immediately. I said, "You promise?" She said yes. So they broke my water, & she said, "Okay, whenever you are ready, start pushing." At the next contraction, I pushed, but barely. Then I hesitated to do anything after that. Amy knew what happened with Elliot, & she told me I needed to really push, & I told her I didn't want to push for 2.5 hours again. She knew I had been thinking that, & promised that I could have him out in five pushes. So at the next contraction, I pushed hard, & at the reaction of Josh, Amy, & the nurse, I knew it had actually done something, so I continued to push through & he came out! Jack was born at 11:18 a.m. on the 23rd after about 9 hours of active labor, weighing 9 lbs 12 oz & 21'' long.
Every prayer of mine had been answered - I went into labor on my own, had no intervention, & they even had to break my water in order for me to start pushing. No labor contractions with my water broken! I was able to enjoy the moment Jack was born, which was wonderful & emotional. God answered my prayers during transition as well. Jack was born with less than ten minutes of pushing. I was truly amazed & so very thankful! Our friends were able to rejoice in the answered prayers as well.
Because my labor was so much better this time, I felt better post-partum & have healed much quicker. My emotions have been more in check (though not completely normal, of course!). Every aspect of labor & delivery & post-partum has been better this time around. Praise God! He didn't have to give me a better labor experience. But He did, & I am thankful!