Did you see last week’s post about what not to say to a pregnant woman? I was feeling pretty weary of the questions and comments after going overdue with our little one. I was dreading our induction on Monday, especially since I prefer to have a natural labor if possible.
Thankfully, God sent our little baby a day before the induction, and she was born naturally on Sunday morning. Our baby’s gender was a surprise, so it was an extra special blessing to find out that our daughter has finally gotten a little sister!
Many of you know what life with a newborn is like… long nights, tired days, unpredictable schedules… What does this mean for themeasuredmom.com? You can read more about that here.
But for those of you who love birth stories, read on...
This was a great pregnancy. I don’t get nausea, just fatigue – but even that was hardly noticeable this time around. Instead I had tons of extra energy to work ahead on my blog, do learning activities with my kids, and get the house organized. At 36 weeks the doctor told me I was measuring smaller than with my other kids. I needed the chiropracter only once. I didn’t feel like I was at “advanced maternal age” at all.
Then week 38 hit.
Suddenly my belly grew before my eyes. I was so round I couldn’t get comfortable to sleep. My legs swelled (something I’d never experienced in pregnancy). My ribs hurt so badly I walked around with an ice pack. Driving was so painful I thought I’d pull a muscle. The baby was so low I could hardly walk. I eagerly anticipated my due date.
Then I watched it pass me by. Day after day after day. For someone whose latest pregnancy only went until the due date itself, this was extremely difficult. I started most days in despair that I was still pregnant. I was dreading natural childbirth, which had been exceptionally painful with my fourth. Even more I feared an induction. Most days began and ended with tears.
I spent hours in prayer, reading Bible passages, and praying that I wouldn’t give in to worry and despair.
Many, many friends were praying for me that I could overcome my fears, that I would deliver before an induction, and even that I would choose an epidural if that was the right decision.
Contractions began at 10:15 PM, 11 days past my due date.
I was dismayed that they were pretty intense from the beginning, but thankful that they were quite far apart. Finally I woke up my husband at 11:45. The contractions were about a minute long and 6-10 minutes apart. We called the doctor and decided to head to the hospital. I prefer laboring there rather than in the house where our other four kids might wake up. Thankfully my mom was here from out of town to mind the troops.
When we got to the hospital I was 6-7 cm dilated and feeling in control. The contractions were manageable with deep breathing. But I was still smarting from the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I knew we were in for another all nighter, and I wasn’t sure I had it in me — natural labor, that is. For the first time I seriously considered an epidural.
I talked to the nurse about the pros and cons. I met with the nurse anesthetist. I signed the papers.
My husband said it was my choice, but I knew it wasn’t his first one. I’ve spent years reading about natural childbirth and telling him about the health risks of an epidural. Most of all, he knew I loved the freedom natural childbirth gave me and the fact that I could be on my feet shortly afterward. I was all set to get the epidural.
I came this close.
Then God gave me a second wind and I headed to the shower. From about 2 in the morning until 5:15 I was in and out of the shower, sitting on the bench and feeling the jets on my back and stomach. And do you know it really wasn’t that bad? My husband coached me through deep breathing, and I could do it. It was kind of unbelievable. Sometimes he couldn’t even tell I was having a contraction. They were painful – but completely manageable.
The nurse said to call if I was feeling pushy. At 5:15 the doctor checked me. I was 9 cm dilated and 100% effaced. And I still didn’t feel like I was in transition. I started getting this crazy idea that maybe I was going to miss that crazy, out-of-your-mind pain that I had for hours at the end of my fourth’s labor.
For the moments that I was heading to the bed, waiting to be checked, and not back in the shower — they were torture. Intense, tear your body apart contractions. But I had fewer than 10 of them. When I sat in the shower, the pain was reasonable again.
However, it became clear that if I wanted this baby to come, I was going to have to change position. The nurse suggested standing and moving my hips. “I don’t think so, lady!”
The hours passed by, and I was finally ready to try something new. I worked up the courage to get down on my hands and knees – which I knew would be excruciating but would probably do the job. Sure enough, two contractions later, I headed to the bed and was ready to push.
I hate pushing. I really, really, hate it.
How do you women do it, who push for hours? My pushing has always been quick — fewer than fifteen minutes — but each push brings deep, searing pain. This time was the most painful of all. With my husband, doctor, and nurses all yelling at me from different directions —
“Take a deep breath first, Anna!”
“Wait, we want to ease this baby out – not all at once!”
“Could you please stop pushing on my hand with your foot?” (from an unpleasant nurse)
“You’re doing great!” (from everyone else)
“I can see the head, Anna! You’re almost there!” (my husband)
“Right here — push right here!” (the doctor)
My husband said it took five minutes.
The longest five minutes of my life.
And then, at 8:20 AM, that glorious moment when the baby’s body slips out, my husband leans over me with excitement (“It’s a GIRL!”) and I collapse knowing that we’ve done it. The pregnancy, the labor, the pushing. It’s DONE. And we have a second daughter! Praise the Lord!
She was a little blue, so after taking care of her breathing they set her on the scale. Everyone watched with great interest, because it was obvious from the get-go that this was no small baby.
I was expecting at least a 10-pound newborn, but even I was shocked when we heard the verdict: “11 pounds, 12 ounces!” And with only a second degree tear. Praise. The. Lord.
Soon I was able to hold my little sumo wrestler – for that’s just how she looked, with her tiny forehead, slanty eyes, and giant cheeks.
And she was beautiful.
*Update: Our little girl is a great eater and an extremely good-natured baby. She’s also lost all of her newborn puffiness. At her four month check up she had only gained a pound since birth, but she’s still a healthy baby with just the right amount of pudge. 🙂
God bless you and your family! i hv littler girl in this year (26.05). thanks for all your sharing.
Thank you so much, Haiyen – and congratulations on your beautiful baby!
God bless you and your family!
Thank you, Milene!
Congrats Anna. Bless you and your new little one and family. Thank you for all you do. You give so much to others and I want to tell you how much I appreciate your wonderful gifts of creativity.
Thank you so much, Deborah – I very much appreciate your visits to my blog! Our “new little one” is actually soon to be a big sister, a month before she turns two. 🙂
Congrats Anna. Bless your new little one and your family, especially you who gives so much to others. Thank you so much for all that you do. Deborah
Oh man. I had a natural 10 pounder with waters intact. Ha. These big babies. I did 3 natural and one epidural and, if I was to do it again, would go natural. I get scared (not comforted) when I can’t feel my body! Ha
Yes, that’s how I feel, Rachel – although in the middle of the pain all I can think about is “when will this be over!!” I love being able to walk around afterward, but I’d never rule out an epidural entirely, especially if I had an insanely long labor like some women do!
Thank you, Christy! I shared this post today because I wrote it almost a year ago. Today our baby girl turned one. 🙂 She hasn’t grown much from her birth weight, though… just a little over 18 pounds now!
Happy Birthday, baby! My 2nd one, 11 lbs, 9 oz, turns 33 next month.
Thanks, Nancy, I’ll pass on the birthday greetings. 🙂 Fun to see we have something special in common!
Oh, and her birth was natural also, other than they did break my water. They mentioned pitocin, and just the mention of it was enough. The fundal pressure (to push her shoulders out) was THE worst pain!!
How much did your baby weigh how many hours did you push for did you bear down and make noises.
Hi! I goolged 11pound baby as I’m curious about how common big babies are. My little girl was born at home 3 months ago and was 11 pounds. I love your birth story -I must get around to writing mine! I’m also a teacher so I’m delighted to have found you from that perspective too! I look forward to reading more.
Hello, Aideen! Thanks for your comment on my birth story. Congratulations on the birth of your baby! I hope you are starting to get some rest. My sister is planning a home birth soon – that’s great that yours went so well! I hope you stick around and find things you can use here on my site. 🙂 Have a great weekend!
Congrats on having your little cute girl!
Also thank you for sharing your kids books,they are great!
Thank you, Yeshi, we’re enjoying our little girl so much! Almost 4 months old – how time flies!
I love reading birth stories, and yours was no exception! I delivered my three naturally as well, which I loved (afterward, of course!), and reading your experience made my body ache with a remembrance of what it’s like to go to the brink of death to bring new life into the world, but then also remember the inexpressible joy of finally holding that new little one in your arms. I wish you the best!
*afterward of course* are the key words 🙂 Thanks so much for reading, Emily! We are doing so well with our little girl – our easiest newborn by far. What a blessing she is!
Congratulations!! I pushed for three hours w/ number one (after a 30 hour labor). All natural for mine as well but the biggest was 8 lbs 6oz. Way to go! Hang in there these early weeks.
I’m sorry you had an unpleasant nurse. And I feel you on each day after 41 weeks. I’ve never experienced what my few friends who all deliver early experience when they say pregnancy never hurts and feels good. My hips still haven’t forgiven me for my last one. 😉
Oh, goodness, you’re my hero, Georgia — 30 hours of labor and 3 hours of labor PLUS all natural! Wow. I think labor is the pits, but I’m saying that from someone who’s longest labor has been 11 hours. You must be very determined! We are doing very well with our baby and thankful that she’s “easy” as far as newborns go!
Congratulations! How wonderful! I gave birth last May to my second boy. I was soooo set on having a v-bac (my first labor/delivery really upset me and I will never be over it even though I was blessed with a healthy boy). I was late with my second and had a stupid “just in case” c-section set for 41 weeks. It was set for Tuesday since Monday was Memorial Day and should have been the c-section. Well he decided to come on Memorial Day! I was so happy! My dreams were almost crushed when at 10AM I was still stuck at 6cm and wasn’t progressing. My midwife and consulting doctor both agreed that a c-section was probably going to happen. The doctor didn’t want to do it at all. She was totally routing for me. She said she’d give me 2 more hours, thinking it wouldn’t work anyways but wanted me to know she was crossing her fingers for us too. Within the next hour I all of a sudden needed to push and was fully dilated! I feel so very blessed I got to experience that! I was knocked out with a c-section for my first so this was just soooo beautiful! Glad to hear you had a great experience!
I’m so glad to hear you were able to have your baby naturally! What a blessing that you had a doctor who was rooting for you! Thanks for sharing, Jamie – I LOVE birth stories!
Kim Vij @ The Educators' Spin On It
Congratulations Anna! My first born was 11lbs and those last days of pregnancy are truly overwhelming, you are so brave. My delivery story was a bit different ending in an emergency C-Section after many many hours of labor and pushing 1 week late so I’m so thrilled that your were able to deliver naturally they way you hoped for. Enjoy these moments they grow so fast!
You’re a champ after surviving hours of labor and pushing and then having to get that C-section! Thanks for the kind words 🙂
You look fabulous! Congratulations!! Yikes!
Thank you, Amy – so glad it’s all behind me!!
Veens @ Our Ordinary Life
Oh my … I love birth stories… and I am tearing up already, feeling all fuzzy inside…. what a beautiful gift! You are looking absolutely beautiful as well 🙂 I hope you get ample rest and the troops would be all so excited 🙂 God Bless your family esp. your little Sumo Wrestler… she is so adorable…. love her cute cheeks 🙂 Take care 🙂
Thanks so much, Veens! We are adjusting slowly but surely — doesn’t hurt at all that my mom is here to help out for another week 🙂
Congratulations! What a sweet, sweet blessing for your family. There is nothing quite like the soft fuzzy head of a newborn on Mommy’s cheek. Wishing you a joyous time with your new addition to the family.
Thanks so much, Jeannine!
Thank you, Mia!
Just stumbled across your blog while I was looking for alphabet activities…
Such a lovely birth story. Congratulations! I love natty births (okay, I love reading about them – I don’t tend to use the word “love” when I’m enduring them).
You’re such a champ. I resonated with so many of your sentiments. Our 3rd baby was excruciatingly painful to deliver and I seriously dread doing it again. He was only (this is pretty much the only time I preface his weight with “only”) 9lb 10oz. Many parts of birth are so wonderful, but many parts are not… 🙂 Amazing job on getting your second wind and going with it. God is good.
Anyhow, thank you for the info on the blog and congrats many times over on your beautiful new baby girl. Praise the Lord is right!
There’s nothing “only” about 9 lb 10 oz! 🙂 My third was 9 lb 5 oz, and my fourth was only 8 lb 10 oz, so maybe you’ll get a smaller one next time! Birth is definitely an amazing and agonizing experience… the best part is that it’s only a day and then we get a beautiful new person to love. I can say this because I’m on the other side of it now 🙂 Blessings to you!
Erica @What Do We Do All Day?
Thank you for sharing your story! (I love birth stories). Whenever someone tells me the doctor wants to do a C section because the baby is too big I will remember your 11 pound baby. That is amazing! Congratulations. (Sidenote – I had to push for 4 HOURS with my first one.)
Oh, four hours, Erica! You’re my hero! Agreed that it’s amazing what our bodies can do… never ever would have thought I could push out a baby that big. And would like to never try again, ha!
Congratulations! She is a very sweet baby 🙂
Thank you! Agreed — she is such a sweet “little” girl 🙂
Katie @ Gift of Curiosity
Many, many congrats Anna!
Thanks so much, Katie!
Amanda @ Holy Hen House
Oh! oh! oh! I was so happy to hear of baby girl’s arrival, Anna! How beautiful and bright she is! Thank you for sharing her birth story and your journey bringing her into this world. God stretches us (literally!) and our love with each child. Motherhood. So difficult. So worth it. Thank you for the reminder. *HUG* 🙂
Thank you so much, Amanda! We do hope to be joining you at the gym later this month… after my mom leaves I’m going to need to get these boys out of the house!
Congratulations! You did AWESOME! I am so happy you had a little girl and that all is well with everyone! Enjoy your beautiful family!
Thank you so much, Jana!
Oh my goodness- 11 pounds! You rock!!!! Amazing is what you are. Praise the Lord, and congratulations!
I think I might have not done so well had I known BEFORE hand that I was going to be pushing out almost 12 pounds of baby!! Thankful that God put my big hips to good use 🙂 Thanks for the congratulations, Heidi!
Jodie @ Growing Book by Book
Yeah, congrats to you and your family on your new bundle of joy! I’m glad that the delivery turned out the way you wanted. Enjoy the new baby!
Thanks so much, Jodie!
I love birth stories! Yours is such an inspiring one. Just beautiful. I didn’t get my second wind with my daughter and gave in to the epidural at 8 cm. When I think about it, I get a little sad. But I know I will have more children so I’ll get another shot at it 😉
Congratulations to you and your family. Your baby girl is just precious.
I think you’re a champ for making it to 8 cm without an epidural! The hardest part of labor, I think, is not knowing when it will end. Sometimes we’ve just had enough. I hope you get a chance to have a natural labor if it’s what you want, but I think all women who have babies — whether it’s naturally, with an epidural, via C-section, or through adoption, deserve a badge of honor!
Yay! This is so well written, Anna. As much as I love remembering my #2’s birth–that glorious day when everything went as I’d hoped–reading this reminds me how truly horrific it actually is. And I am so glad I don’t have to think about it any time soon.
ME TOO, Sister.
Congratulations!! I *love* birth stories, so thanks for sharing yours! So happy for you all, and prayers and praises for your new baby girl! So glad you got to have another one naturally.
Thanks so much, Caroline! God is good.
Congratulations! What a sweet surprise to have another girl! I never used to cry, but motherhood has changed me, and your story has brought me to tears. I’m thrilled that God was so faithful and let you have a natural birth. My first birth was 48 hours of labor and two hours of pushing. Talk about rough! But to be greeted by a sweet little (9lb 9.6oz, so small compared to yours! ) girl made it all worth while! For the record, my second (also a girl) was only 4 hours of labor and about 10 minutes pushing. She was in such a hurry she was a week early and come out in the bag!
God bless you and your family. May he shower you with grace over the coming weeks and months.
Yes, I cry much more as a mother too! I don’t think you need to call your 9 lb 6 oz baby small 🙂 I had a 9 lb 5 oz baby too, and I was plenty big with that pregnancy too! You’re a champ, 48 hours of labor!!! I’m so glad God granted you a much easier second labor. You deserved it! Blessings to your family too, Ally.