The pregnant cousin had her baby! Now I will need a new name for her. I will figure something out. It isn’t my birth story to tell, but some of it is, so I am going to tell that part.
Not long after I moved in with the cousins (she was about 2 months pregnant at the time), we were watching youtube videos of home births. She looked at me and said, “will you video my delivery?” I happily said that I would. I didn’t really know what I was getting into; I had never been a part of a birth before.
In October, I flew home in hopes of witnessing my nephew’s birth. Sister-in-law had invited me to be in the room. I got there the day he was due. Walked on the beach with Sister-in-law. Told the little babe he was getting an eviction notice. I had traveled over a thousand miles to meet him, he needed to show up. A week later I had to get back and start a new job. My first day on the job my nephew decided to join the world. I missed his birth, but Dad flew me home to meet him a week later.
There were A LOT of tears (and we are not particularly teary people). My arrival was a surprise for everyone but Mom and Dad. When I walked in the door, Brother’s eyes got wet and he chokes out: what? what? He immediately hands me the baby. I cried, Brother cried, Sister-in-law cried (she is a good crier), Mom and Dad cried, the wee one slept through it all. It was beautiful.
Fast forward 5 and a half months and the very pregnant cousin wants to go for a walk when I got home from work. Now, we have this gorgeous open space walking distance from our house, and quite a bit of the pregnancy has been experienced on this walk. My first few weeks here we would stop often, her to vomit from pregnancy induced nausea, me to adjust to altitude. Second trimester saw frequent potty stops and lots of emotions, hers pregnancy induced, mine life induced (the emotions that is).
So here we are walking along 2 days past her due date she is slow for obvious reasons and I am slow on account of the broken foot. This was going to be a short walk. It was not. It turned into a 2 hour walk. We didn’t take our phones. This was not wise on our part, but oh well. We were walking along…
“Oh my God! Ugh, this hurts, like down here! Is this what a contraction feels like? Am I in labor?”
“I don’t know! How would I know? I only know what period cramps feel like! Let’s get home…”
“Okay, wait…ouch, yeah this is different…okay…lets get back…”
We get back to the house, the sun had set on our walk, we were freezing. Hot showers to warm up.
“Hey, I hate to kick you out but I want the house cleared out.”
I headed to a friends. They were so sweet to have a space waiting for me. I get a text message:
Water just broke; you can tell the group to light candle…
I know I won’t get any sleep, but I decide to try anyway. Just as I was climbing into bed (literally one foot sliding under the covers) this text comes in:
Ok, talked to doctor, she wants us to come in […]
Come over 🙂
Bring a book just in case 🙂
Bring a book? Ha!
Little did we all know how this was going to play out.
Wednesday night, at 11 pm, we meet at the hospital. We all had our hospital bags packed already, we get into the room, the doula arrives. We plug in the lamp we brought. Load up the mini fridge. Plug in the speakers. Set out the ball to sit on, the head massager. Get all of our stuff settled in. We are ready for this baby. I am a little superfluous at this point, but I have the camera ready, and everyones’ phones next to me. I doze off on the couch here and there, and become well acquainted with the ice machine.
The sun rises Thursday morning, the four of us (cousin, pregnant cousin, doula, me) are all still in the room. We have a beautiful view of the mountains. No baby.
At one point pregnant cousin says, “Guys, I think these are just Braxton-Hicks. I am not really in labor.”
We laugh. We are confident these are not Braxton-Hicks. Confident there will be a baby soon.
Now it is afternoon. We order sandwiches. We try to rotate naps between contractions. Contractions seem to be picking up and intensifying. We have started running low on snacks, and energy. But every time I look at her I think, “she is doing the work, she is tired, I can rally.”
At some point, the sun sets behind the mountains. None of us have slept since Tuesday night. The new nurse comes in (we have been there for three shifts now). They are talking about interventions. Everyone is tired. And honestly everyone’s morale is getting a little low. But we are trying to keep our eyes on the prize.
We have passed the 24 hour mark since her water broke. We are past the 24 hours at the hospital mark.
We have a scary moment. Nurses come rushing in. It happened pretty quickly. Now pregnant cousin has an epidural (she never asked for it, but the doctor explained in that moment that it was getting necessary and she agrees). She is able to doze off for the first time since morning.
It is Friday.
25 hours at the hospital I send this text to a friend:
It is official. We ran out of real food. I just had a soda, candy bar, package of peanut butter, and two shock blocks and called that dinner.
I don’t know why I am so concerned about food. Whatever. The doula and I give the parents a few moments alone. We make instant broth and think it is the most amazing food. I am telling you, I was well acquainted with the beverage and snack station. I also found possibly the only person in his office on the first floor at 1 am. He made change for me for the vending machine. The doula and I invent recipes from the snack station. We get the giggles. Giggles are good. Giggles motivate us. We get back to the future parents.
Future Dad finally agrees to nap on the couch. I am behind the pregnant lady rubbing her back falling asleep sitting up. Doula is on the other side of the bed rubbing lotion into her dry hands and massaging her head. Pregnant cousin rouses, asks me to rub her feet. I comply. She rouses again and remembers that I really dislike touching other people’s feet. Emotional gratitude for a moment. Then sleep again. I really am not a fan of feet. I am also too tired to care.
She rouses again and asks:
“Where is Lyndsay?”
“At home. You want her?”
“Is that my leg? Why is it over there?”
Guess that epidural is working. She dozes again.
3:30 Friday morning. Time to wake up and rally. I feel like I am a professional at reading the monitors. I understand how people know when a contraction is coming. I know what numbers are for Mommy and which are for baby. This might really happen soon. I am excited again. Where does all this energy come from? How are we all still functioning?!
Riding the wave. This girl is a champion. I am kind of in awe.
Sometime in the five o’clock hour it is time to start pushing. Cousin/Future Dad is holding Soon to be Not Pregnant Cousin’s hand. Doula has the right leg. I have the left. Commence pushing.
“Which one of you guys keeps farting?! Ugh that is really bad! [Husband] is that you?!”
The doctor tells her it is her.
“Don’t get that on the baby!!”
The doctor assures her she won’t.
We laughed about it later. We might have even laughed about it then, but I assure you we laugh about that now.
She continues to push.
This is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. This focus and calm wash over her (she might disagree, but I swear to you she looked different). In this moment she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Sure she had been up for days, and in labor for 30 hours, and on the roller coaster of her life. But I am telling you, breath taking.
I see a head. I take a picture. She wants to see it. Her eyes get huge. And time for another series of pushing.
A nurse takes over the left leg. I start filming.
The phone had been playing spa type music all day. The baby is crowning. I kid you not, the phone is playing Hallelujah Chorus.
6:17 am Friday morning we have a baby. 5 lbs 12 oz 19 ¾ inches. Happy healthy baby boy. Elated family. Tears and laughter.
Life changing experience.
I feel so blessed to have these two precious babes in my life. I love them both so much. They are truly incredible.