It’s something that I’ve heard my husband say often to me, “you’re stronger than you think you are.” He repeated this phrase to me many times during this last pregnancy.
When I became fearful, stressed, worried, or physically felt unable to keep up with the demands of motherhood, he would remind me, “You’re stronger than you think you are.”
After 36 weeks, every night I would go to bed and think to myself, you might go into labor tonight. However, I would wake up with a hot cup of coffee instead. So I continued to wait, and prepare.
My eldest son and I have a sensitivity to gluten, so we use einkorn flour, and I make a couple of sourdough loaves every week. I figured the easiest filling breakfast for my husband, and myself to prepare during the postpartum period would be toast, and eggs. So I kept up making the bread, slicing it, and freezing it. Of course by the time I had gotten to 40 weeks, we had eaten a few freezer meals, and most of the frozen bread; this is to be expected as most women go through an “end of pregnancy fatigue aka: I don’t want to do anything” phase.
Having experienced minor braxton hicks for a few weeks, I had no real sign that labor was imminent. So before I tucked in for the night, I put a loaf of sourdough in the fridge to “rest” after its first rise was completed: by the way…doing this has worked wonders to getting an easy to manage loaf that is not super sticky!! I woke up at 4 am with pretty intense contractions, that were steady and not letting up. I tried to go back to sleep, but with that obviously not happening, I followed my midwives advice-use the bathroom, and eat something with protein. Well, granola with raw milk is close enough-at that hour I didn’t want to wake everyone cooking bacon. I also popped that dough into a bread basket while the oven preheated, I mean, I’m in labor, but we still have to have our daily bread!
Of course, my 4 year old son wakes up anyways. So we bust out a couple of rice packs, and proceed to get cozy on the couch. The comfort, and warmth was so soothing. I am so grateful that our postpartum group made these. The thought that my friends made this for me, and that I knew I had good friends praying for me was very encouraging in the wee hours of the morning. I tried to hide my face, not wanting to show my son the pain I was experiencing, but he could see that I was hurting. I had told the kids for months that when the baby comes mommy would be in a lot of pain, and would probably cry, and yell. “It’s ok mommy.” He said. Oh my sweet little boy.
Around 4:45, I call my mom who will watch the kids at the birth center. I let her know the contractions are about every 5 minutes, “Honey, you need to get to the birth center.” “Mom, I can’t, I have bread in the oven.” We agree that I’ll give her a call by 6:30 if things are progressing.
By 5, things are progressing. My son is asleep on the couch, so I snuggle next to my husband and let him know I’m having pretty consistent contractions. He sees me grimacing during a contraction, “Oh no, we’ve got to go now, you’re grimacing The baby is coming!” “We can leave in 30 minutes, I have bread in the oven.” “You are so silly.” He starts timing my contractions, they are now closer to 4 minutes apart, and lasting a while, and visibly very painful. The timer goes off, and I peek at the bread, “Oh look at this bread, it’s perfect.” I am pleased, and feel prepared enough to now have my baby.
To be fair, I go into a state of denial when I’m in labor, and I think to myself that it’s going to be a long labor. At my daughter’s birth, the midwife arrived at our house with 10 minutes to spare before the baby was born. I’m so grateful for my husband who very wisely states, “we’re calling the midwife.” So call the midwife he does, well, pages the number, and whoever is on call will deliver my baby. My heart leapt for joy when my favorite midwifes’ number popped on the screen to return the call!
My husband gave her the details, and we agreed that we would start to head over…but of course, we need to eat breakfast first-my idea of course. I pull out some frozen bread and begin to toast it in my largest cast iron since my toaster had broken a few days prior. I proceed to have a very painful contraction, rush to the bathroom because laboring on the toilet is a real thing, I realize that I left the bread on the pan, and ask my husband to check on the bread, which is burning, of course *facepalm*. “Sarah, we need to go now.” “Oh but it’s not so bad…” what if they go away, and it’s only false labor? As I have another contraction, I’m brought to my knees, while trying to get dressed. I’m starting to shake, and the midwife calls and advises us to get going so we can try to avoid rush hour traffic on the 60.
I grabbed a jar of peanut butter, a spoon, some fruit, and the burnt bread. I stood there debating whether I should bring the coffee I just made…will it make labor worse, or will it help??? My husband tells me to bring it, and drink it as a reward once the baby comes. Great idea from my anti coffee drinking husband. So we are finally ready.
We get to the car, while my husband buckles up the children. I sit in the car, proceed to have another contraction and hop out of the car because sitting was becoming unbearable. “What are you doing, get in the car Sarah!” We finally leave, and I pass some pears back to the children. I nibble on another pear, and open the window to try to cool down. It’s early in the morning, but I am so hot, and then cold, and then hot again. As we are about to get on the freeway, my husband sees a police officer, and rolls down his window, “My wife is in labor, can you escort us?” He tells us he can take us to a Mesa Banner hospital, but not to Phoenix where the birth center is. “Well, can I book it?” The Officer said, “I’m not DPS(department of public safety) was his response. So he put on our hazards and we get into the HOV lane…surrounded by heavy rush hour traffic, which seemed especially slow.
When we had previously discussed getting me and the kids to the birth center, I thought I would be able to drive us there if my husband was working…boy was I wrong. While I squirmed in my seat, nibbled on my pear, and grasped my brow, I could only think that I needed a distraction. I changed the CD to track #23 on the FWBC Christmas CD. We like to call this and #13 the glorious music, straight piano, and just so glorious to me. I later learned the song title is greensleeves. While the song is on repeat, I try to relax, and breathe, looking out at the surroundings while the music plays.
Finally, 25 minutes later we arrive, and no other cars are there…where is everyone? I see my midwife in the front room through the glass window, and she comes out to us right away. I am relieved, and ready.
6 months later…because having a baby makes things slow down, and when circumstances change, your technique and methods of doing things change too! Anywhoo, back to the story…
I had been conflicted about the birthing rooms. One has a wall full of mirrors which as one assistant told me would make excellent photos…I knew my photography loving husband would love this, I however was not enthusiastic about that at all. Thankfully my midwife whisked me into the nicer of the two birthing rooms, I immediately got on all fours and started swaying my hips to try to relieve the pain.
I get into the warm birth tub and am immediately relieved, and so relaxed. I grasped the handle bars during a contraction, and found myself getting angry, and frustrated, even hitting at the water. I was not expecting this. To feel so helpless, and just knowing that the pain was imminent. My husband comes in and is on his phone looking at something, “what are you doing??!” I am not the most patient, gentle, or understanding person when I am in labor. “Asking for prayers from the church FB group.” Boy do I feel like a jerk! He goes to check on the children, and another midwife comes in and starts breathing next to me loudly, of course, I’m supposed to be doing that too, I need to relax and be less tense right now, except there’s another person breathing right next to me. This was a helpful reminder to breathe, even though I was very irritated in the moment. Really, your birth is never going to go perfectly as you planned. Case in point, my midwife checks the water, and it’s too warm, so she adds cold water…did I mention I hate cold water, did I mention how often my husband surprises me with water and ice thrown into the shower or tub…I digress.
I move away from the cold water and she checks the babies heart rate. She tells me that its slowing down whenever I have a contraction, which could mean the cord is wrapped around the babies neck…oh dear. I would really love to lounge around, procrastinate, and put off the impending excruciating pain that I know is coming, but hearing that flicked a switch in my brain.
I have to get down to business, the business of birthing, and getting this baby out into the world safely. I am determined, I start out of the tub, with assistance, and clamber onto the bed. Its too bright, so they dim the lights. I know squatting is supposed to be helpful, but all I can think of is laying on that bed, and getting my baby out. With the contractions, I squirm on the bed, I have to ask them how to push because really I know, but I don’t want to. It gets to the point that I’m asking, am I done, is the baby out??? No, ok, well finally with good pushing instructions my baby comes out. And they tell me the gender, a baby boy. My husband knew it! The cord had been wrapped around his leg. He is healthy, safe, and finally in my arms.
My sweet Midwives feed me berries, which I end up vomiting, and freezing cold hydration drinks…did I mention I really don’t like the cold?? My children are eating burnt peanut butter toast, and I have my baby in my arms, nursing right away. It’s not the perfect scenario, but I am happy. After Vomiting I am toasty, an assistant waves me with a fan. “It’s ok, I can do that” I tell her. “Please, you just had a baby, let me love on you a bit.” So I lay there, being fed berries, and am being fanned. It’s not what I envisioned, it’s better. I feel so humble, so grateful, so blessed to be where I am. Being married to the man I have. Having these three little children. A birth center with caring Midwives and a very helpful Doctor, and exceptional assistants. I explain the burnt bread to the assistant, feeling ashamed that I let it burn, “you wanted to cook while in labor…? You have it more together in labor, than I do not in labor.” Ok, that felt good. We discuss his name, I was convinced baby was a Julia-nope, my husband had just done a job for a jerk named Jason, but the assistant reassured us that she knew a very cool Jason. So after reading the Bible where his name is from we decided, Jason Dean it is.
Really, just the best expierence, the best people involved, the best birth experience, it was all just a huge blessing that I ended up where I did.
If you read this last post you will Understand a little of the ins and outs of this pregnancy.
Continue reading You’re stronger than you think you are…A fast natural birth story.