Haddon’s Birth Story.
Haddon’s due date was June 18th. Really those dates are guesses and I’ll tell expectant mothers from now on not to bank on them.
“How long was your first child’s labor?”
I have no idea how I will answer this question some day.
Sunday night, June 17th: we went to a friend’s wedding and joked that maybe the cupid shuffle would bring him out.
Monday morning, June 18th: I had some stronger contractions not just Braxton hicks.
Tuesday morning, June 19th: around 2am I woke up with even stronger ones and told Micah around 8 am today might be the day. We even made Haddon’s birthday cupcakes to take to the hospital. Contractions continued to intensify but were not consistent at all.
Wednesday morning, June 20th: around 2am I again woke up with strong contractions and this time closer together. I texted my mom to go ahead and head down our way whenever she got up. Mom and dad got here and while the contractions were intense they again were not consistent. We had a doctor appt that day and I wanted to skip it. I didn’t think I could handle it if they told me I still wasn’t dilated after all these contractions. Alas, I was almost completely effaced and 2 cm dilated!
Thursday morning, June 21st: around 3am after having contractions all evening long I told Micah I wanted to go to the hospital. He woke up mom and dad and we packed the car and got ready to leave. The last thing on my mind was eating but they made me eat oatmeal and fresh pineapple. I am so thankful for that. I had no idea how long it would be before my next meal.
We checked into the hospital around 5am and triage said I was 4cm dilated and they were admitting me. I was so excited that it was time!
Micah’s parents were called and they headed down too.
We were assigned an amazing nurse who had been through two natural childbirths herself and had also used the Bradley Method. Unfortunately she had to leave at 7 am for her shift change but made sure to put me with another great nurse.
Up until I was about 6cm dilated I was “okay”. I could handle the intensity with lots of concentration, meditation, prayer, and encouragement from my birth support team.
Then came the transition.
At times I didn’t think it was possible for me to move at all and someone would encourage me to change positions and somehow the strength would come.
I asked for intermittent monitoring, and the craziest thing is that when they would hook me up to the monitoring I would watch Haddon’s heartbeat for a minute, make sure he was okay, and then by God’s grace drift to sleep. Sometimes I would sleep for 45 minutes at a time and only wake during the really intense contractions, apparently I would breathe heavily through the others.
Now, “they” say you should dilate about 1cm per hour. That was clearly not the case for me. After a completely textbook pregnancy my labor was not turning out to be predictable at all.
By this point a new doctor had come on and my first nurse had come back!
They asked to break my water (which I had requested in my birth plan I didn’t want). They were very respectful about it and let me choose but essentially explained that I just wasn’t progressing. I agreed even though I knew the pain was about to intensify.
Haddon’s water had a little meconium in it, but they weren’t terribly concerned.
When I hit 7cm I turned animalistic. I’m talking noise I’ve never dreamed of and movement like I’ve never imagined or thought I was capable of. One thing that Bradley Method teaches is to constantly change positions so that the baby can descend and the mother can open up. I used the ball, squatting bar, shower, handrails, my mother and husbands hands, you name it!
To make a long story (of an extremely long labor) shorter –
I never progressed from 7 ½ cm, but my amazing doctor and nurse who were completely on board with how I wanted to deliver naturally, manually moved my cervix to a 10 (yes ouch, but really at that point, what didn’t hurt).
They then realized that our little boy was face up.
Alas, a reasonable conclusion for the delay in progression, progress, etc.
I pushed for 45 minutes and on Friday morning, June 22, out he came.
Haddon Isaiah Downs
8lbs 1 oz, 20 in
He hadn’t swallowed any of the meconium so was allowed to be put on my chest right away.
“Was it love at first sight?”
It was more like relief at first sight, and I love him more by the minute.
One of my first questions afterwards – did I tear?
I heard the amazing answer of: oh you don’t need any stitches.
Praise the Lord for Him, mineral oil and an amazing doctor and nurse (and food).
Haddon had a true knot in his cord. It wasn’t tight enough to put him in distress. Another praise the Lord.
I kept thinking about how His grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in weakness, how women do this every day, some in fields in hot sweaty conditions not with hot showers and air conditioning and people cleaning up after you, mom, dad and Micah were constantly encouraging me. One verse in particular Micah kept saying is “in the Lord your labor”… and I always had to answer “is not in vain”.
Maybe a little out of context, but it certainly wasn’t in vain…
We are blessed.
Thank you Abba.
And Micah, mom, dad, Dr. Madella, and Carla!
I love you son. You were worth every second.