It is a whole different club when a mama goes past 40 weeks. I know the due date is just an estimate plus or minus 2 weeks, but for me that date got stuck in my head, and every day that passed, I felt like a marathon runner that got to the end of the race only to be told they changed the rules and it’s a mile more.
Just the day before the birth, I had a moment of prayer where I reflected on my own due date and birth date. I was born 2 weeks “early.” Had I been born just one week past my due date, I would have started school a year later, which means the rest of my life especially adult life would not have unfolded the way it did, and I very well might not have met Ryan or even be pregnant with this baby right now. With a grateful heart, I was then able to surrender it all to my Lord…
“Jesus, I trust in you. You created this child for such a time as this, and I pray he is part of a generation that seeks your face.”
Our sweet baby Gabe finally made his debut on August 18th at exactly 41 weeks, and here is how it all went down.
From 38-40 weeks I would have these “fake contractions.” They didn’t feel abdominal like Braxton Hicks. It was this low, uterine cramp which is why I called it fake labor. Also, as I kept growing, every gas bubble or digestion gurgle almost felt like labor as well. So, I was pretty skeptical when real labor started happening. Around 4:30 am my 2 year old, JP came into our bed, hugged me real tight and whispered, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done” and then knocked out. We are teaching him his prayers, and occasionally he will come into our room in the wee hours of the morning and obnoxiously shout all the words he knows. But, this was different. Thirty minutes later as he’s snuggled up in our bed, I start feeling contractions. I waited for an hour before waking up Ryan, and sure enough, it was go time. This day was looking promising for a birthday!
I got up at 6 am and made some laborade, put away a few dishes, and got into my labor flow for the first stage of labor…spending several breaths in each position. I could feel my body progress and contractions get closer together and more intense. Ryan and I were talking about pacing ourselves because JP’s labor took 18 hours. We were hoping for a baby by dinner. Ryan went ahead and took JP out for walk to give him some one on one attention before all of our worlds were about to change. Meanwhile, I continued to labor to the scent of frankincense and lavender diffusing and the sound of my labor playlist. Each contraction would come and go and when it was over it was like a short reprieve of ecstasy.
By the time Ryan had come back, things were heating up. I was progressing much quicker than we had expected. He was in a rhythm of popping homeopathic remedies (see below) in my mouth, giving me sips of water, and dropping lavender essential oil into my palms. At this point I got a bit stuck because the sensations were very strong. I was laying on my side with a peanut ball between my legs. In perfect timing, my midwife arrived close to 10:30 and gave me the motivation I needed to change positions.
I could feel the baby pivot off my pubic bone and then press into my tailbone and continue his descent down the canal. It was incredible. I spoke to him, “Baby Gabe, mommy is going to create as much space as I can, and you are going to do your thing. I believe in you baby Gabe.”
I believe that in birth, the baby is the smartest person in the room. He knows mom’s pelvis better than anybody as he has been taking up residence there the past 40 weeks. He has to work just as hard if not more than mom to maneuver his way out into the world, and it’s mom’s role to create the space. I truly felt that through the birth that was what my baby needed. Each breath, my mind’s dialogue was “create space, create space,” and my body’s response was to send each breath into my pelvic bowl, to open, spread, release, and bloom.
By the time baby had descended deep into my pelvis and I had entered the second stage of labor, I truly felt like I was breathing my baby out. My uterus was offering these strong, lovely contractions and my breath welcomed the baby further and further down until at last with the love of my life/daddy doula by my side and supported with so much care and love by my birth team, baby Gabe entered the world at 11:34 am after only 6 and half hours of labor. The second he let out his first cry, his big brother JP came busting into the room to meet his long awaited new little buddy, and every moment was blessing.
Baby Gabe immediately latched to take advantage of a much deserved snack, and we snuggled skin to skin that first “golden” hour. We waited for his cord to stop pulsing before Ryan and JP did the honors of cutting it. My midwife gently evaluated him and me, and we were left to soak up the newness and awe of our precious little family of four. It was simple, it was free of intervention, and it was so overwhelmingly blessed.
p.s. Here is a picture of my remedy box with instructions for Ryan of when to give each remedy...He nailed it.