To grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
Jubilee was planned to arrive about 15 months after JodiAnn. We knew we were getting older and figured they would be our last so we thought having them to close together would be the best for them.
I knew this time around that I didn’t want to go past my due date. I was 10 days late with my first and 5 days late with my second. Each time, I felt the pressure not only from myself but the midwives to go into labor before that two-week mark. Once you are over 35, as I was then, they really don’t want you going much past your due date.
So…I started homeopathic remedies at around 38 weeks, hoping that I would deliver between 39 and 40 weeks. (Note: I am not recommending anyone do anything without the supervision of your doctor or midwife…I am just telling my story).
My due date was the 19th of June. I was hoping for the 12th. My father had passed away May 12th from a tragic accident and I had worked all month helping get things settled in preparation for birth. When the 12th came and labor did not start, I was anxious. I really had felt strongly that it would be the time.
On Saturday, the 13th, I told my husband that labor would start around 4. He laughed. That evening, I started having weak contractions that were definitely not Braxton Hicks. It was 4 o’clock when they started…but by 6:30 that evening they had fizzled out. I was so disappointed!
I woke up during that night feeling strange. I got up for one of many trips to the bathroom and thought to myself that it seemed like I had been hurting. I disregarded the feeling and went back to bed. I awoke again at 4 am and realized again that it felt like I had been hurting…this time, I decided to stay up to see. Like clockwork, the contractions were coming. I kept track of them until 5 am when I decided to wake up my husband. This time, the contractions brought the pain with them and I knew that they were the real deal.
He got up and made me breakfast. I knew I wouldn’t get to eat at the hospital. We got our things ready and made arrangements for the day since we were going to head to the hospital. It was Sunday, so we needed someone to teach our Sunday school class in my husband’s place…plus, we needed to arrange childcare for JodiAnn.
By 8 am, we were on the road to Asheville to find out if this was it or not. My husband spent the drive calling family and friends to let them know we were in labor. I fought the anxiety that wanted to rise up in me of what was to come. We arrived and gathered our things to lug into outpatient. They got me settled in and began to monitor me.
One of the midwives, Beth was on call. I have known her for years through my visits and I was thankful she was there. She needed to check my progress and I was anxious to know how dilated I was. Her words to me were a shock though…”I feel digits,” she said. My first reaction was, “what does that mean?” Obviously, there was either a hand or foot down there. I assured her that it was not a foot!! This baby was definitely head down!
After using the ultrasound machine, they determined it was a hand. We laughed saying she was praising the Lord since it was Sunday morning. My husband put his hands on my belly and prayed over her and me. We were told that if she didn’t move that hand, we were going to have a C-Section. For me, that would have been the worst option. Having a toddler at home, I needed to not have a C-Section! So…we were told they would check again in a couple hours and for now, …we were on standby. If my water broke…we were heading for the OR.
It was shortly after this time, that I began to feel light-headed. I told Mike that I thought I was going to pass out. He called for Beth, and everything went dark after that. I am not really sure where I went…but, I can tell you, I was not here anymore. I came back feeling the sensation that I really liked where I had been. But, when I awoke, everyone in the room (and there was quite a few of them) looked pretty worried. When my husband described what I looked like (using a cow he had seen give birth in distress as an example) I knew why they had all reacted so quickly! Shortly after that, I was moved to my room for the day while we were in labor.
Our room had an incredible view. I was so thankful that this time around, I had something beautiful to look at while I was there. We waited until around 11:30 to get checked again, and much to the surprise of the midwife, her little hand had moved. We were cleared for delivery!
By 1:00, I was 4 cm dilated and ready for an epidural. I could tell from the nurses, they thought the epidural would slow my labor at that point. They thought I was managing the pain well and didn’t need it yet. They were right…I was managing the pain well, but what I now understand about my body, is that it believes it is under attack when in labor. It freezes up and locks down and will not dilate beyond a 4. I have tried all the relaxation techniques in past labors and none ever worked to get me past a 4. So, I am ok with getting an epidural to allow my body to do what it is designed to do.
Over the next 3 hours, …things were progressing while I rested. Beth had come in to let me know that we would be taking things slow. She wanted me to be able to take my time while delivering to avoid any tears or issues. I was glad to oblige. I was checked around 4:15 and I was around 9 cm. They began preparing for delivery.
Shortly after that, the atmosphere in the room changed.
People started watching the monitors intently, the room began to fill up and I was asked if it was ok for some extra doctors to observe the birth. Things got really stressful when all of a sudden the midwife was on my bed, telling my husband to put my leg on her shoulder. She quickly opened a package and put something in to monitor the baby’s heart rate more accurately through the birth process. She let me know very quickly that we needed to get the baby out and we needed to get her out now. I wondered what happened to taking things slow.
With the first contraction that came, she guided me urgently into pushing…it was very hard this time around because my epidural had worked extra good and I had basically no sensation in my legs at all. I pushed the best I could, but the contraction ended and we had to wait. I knew something was up. People kept turning their backs to me and talking so I couldn’t see. At one point I even told them that I knew they were trying to keep something from me…but, they just reassured me that we needed to get our girl out quickly.
With the next contraction, I pushed again, really trying to focus on getting her out. Trying to make sure I was pushing the right way to make the most impact. I got really close at that time. Finally, the next contraction brought our baby girl’s head out. They had me hold back pushing so that they could remove the cord that was around her neck. That cord was the reason for all the urgency…they had seen her heart rate dropping and stopping with the contractions. Her little body was under a lot of duress through the birth canal and they knew she needed out asap!
At 4:41 pm, I am so thankful to say that she was just fine when she emerged…crying loudly and passing all her tests with flying colors. The room cleared out again and we were left to spend time bonding with our sweet Jubilee.
When we left the hospital, I told my husband that I wanted to be sure that I had Beth for my postpartum exam. I felt like I needed to get answers to what was going on behind the scenes so that I could eliminate the fear of the unknown if we ever had another baby.
Granted, this sweet baby’s story was not as extreme of a situation of birth trauma. But, what I hope to illustrate through her story is that first, unexpected things happen that can totally blindside your birth plan and cause procedures to have to be done that you did not originally plan. Also, it is the perception of the mother that her baby is in danger that can often lead to trauma after birth.
If Jubilee’s hand had not moved, I would have needed a C-section which would have truly been difficult to handle. Also, when the baby goes into distress, it is absolutely the scariest moments of your life and can cause you great stress long after your baby is born.
And, finally, I had to advocate for my own body. I could not allow the thoughts and past experiences that the nurses had seen dictate how my treatment plan was carried out. I knew an epidural was essential for my dilation and delivery even though honestly I hate getting them.
Here is a video of the 7.5 minutes that happened from the moment that they came in and said, we are having this baby now until she was out…if it does not show up immediately, refresh the page and it will be there!!