Please forgive me for taking a little break from my teaching resources to share the news of our newest addition! If you like birth stories, this is for you. If not, skip to the end. 🙂
I think it should be a rule that women who are 5’2″ should not have big babies.
If there is such a rule, my body hasn’t gotten the memo.
As always, I spent the last month of my pregnancy assuring people that “No, it isn’t twins. Yes, we’re sure. No, really. It’s impossible.” Those last thirty days were long and painful. I don’t know that I’ve ever had so many looks of sympathy from friends and strangers – as I walked at a snail’s pace in the grocery store, in the parking lot, or at church. The baby was mercifully out of my ribs, but it was so low that every step hurt.
As much as I dreaded natural childbirth, I was ready to get it over and done with.
My doctor wanted to induce me because of my history of big babies (our fifth baby was 12 days late and huge) and the fact that I had gestational diabetes.
But even though I was miserable, I wanted the baby to come on its own timeline. I resisted the idea of induction, mainly because I didn’t want a host of medical interventions – least of all Pitocin, which would make it very difficult to have a natural birth because of the increased intensity of the contractions.
I felt that I had proved that my body could have big babies. I had done it before. What was the urgency? But my doctor’s concern was that big gestational diabetes babies are built differently than regular big babies. He was concerned about shoulder dystocia, and was adamant that I not go past my due date. He was willing to break my water first and see if labor started on its own before giving Pitocin.
Finally, I gave in. We prayed fervently that the baby would come before the induction (at 39 weeks, 6 days), but that wasn’t God’s plan. On December 21 we left the house at 6:30 AM for the scheduled induction. I was worried and scared, and the tears flowed on the ten minute drive to the hospital.
At 7:15 AM, the doctor broke my water to start the induction.
My husband and I began our walks around the birthing center. I held onto the railing, and he held my other hand as I hobbled along. And so we moved – ever so slowly – around the perimeter, while I received the same looks of sympathy I’d been getting for the past month. After short periods of walking, we took breaks in which I sat on the birthing ball. It was important that I keep moving to give my body every possible chance to begin labor on its own rather than with Pitocin.
Happily, at about 10:15 AM my contractions were becoming noticeable. Soon afterward, they began to be painful. I was ready to move into the shower, the place where I spent most of my labor for our fifth baby.
At about 11:30 AM I began what would turn out to be more than ten hours in the shower.
I sat on the ledge, with the jets spraying my back, and I held the long hose to spray water on my contracting belly. My husband talked me through my breathing and relaxation exercises. It was all doable. But it was obvious this was not going to be quick.
Don’t you think that when you’re on your sixth labor you should get a short one? I seem to defy all the birth predictions. My labors have not gotten shorter – they have stayed about the same – typically 10-11 hours from first contraction to delivery.
At about 1:30 PM the doctor had the nurse check me to see how I was doing. By this point he had decided we didn’t need Pitocin, since inducing labor by breaking water had done the trick. (Thank you, Lord!) I was in enough pain that I hoped to be at least 6 cm dilated, especially since I had been at 3 cm for the last few weeks.
How discouraging, then, to learn that I was dilated just 4 centimeters!
Ugh!! Three hours of painful contractions, and I had only moved one centimeter. All I could think was, “This is going to take forever. I should just get an epidural now and save myself the torture.”
But in my heart I really didn’t want an epidural, and getting one that early felt ridiculous and premature. Sure, I was in pain, but it was manageable. And there were at least 5 minutes between contractions. I’ve always had my mind open to an epidural if it felt necessary, but I knew it wasn’t time to give in.
My biggest goal was staying on top of my contractions and not giving in to fear.
Through each contraction I closed my eyes, breathed in and out, and visualized a tiny mountain climber getting to the top of another mountain. I repeated “perfect peace, perfect peace,” as he climbed. I was remembering a Bible passage which helped calm my fears in the weeks before labor: “You will keep those in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
At 3:30 PM it was time for another check. My husband asked if they should keep the dilation number secret from me, and I quickly agreed. I knew how easily I was discouraged.
After labor was over he revealed what the number had been, and I’m so glad he hadn’t told me during labor – because it was still a 4! That would have put me over the edge!
Two hours later, I was checked again. Again the number was kept secret. It was a 6.
The day dragged on and on and on. It was getting much more painful now.
I was switching between sitting on the shower ledge and moving to the floor on my knees, draped over the birthing ball. This position was much more painful, but it increased the intensity of the contractions, and we knew that the more painful and intense the contractions, the sooner this whole ordeal would be over.
All I could think was, “There is no way I’m writing about this birth story. I don’t want to remember this!!”
Every two hours, the nurse checked my blood sugar. The concern was that, with my gestional diabetes, my blood sugar would be high at the delivery, and then the baby’s would come crashing down after it was born. If the reading was too high, I would be put on an insulin drip. The last thing I wanted was to be tethered to an IV.
After each blood sugar check, my husband brought me cheese, carrots, and some crackers. It was imperative that I stay well nourished, but I had to time my carb consumption so that it had two hours to work through my system before my next blood sugar check. I’m not sure if this was “working the system.” Whatever the case, it worked. 😉
Things were getting more and more painful now. I couldn’t believe we were still at it. Oh, how I wanted to be done!
Before long I was hitting transition. Oh, the contractions! They wouldn’t stop!
They just went on and on, and now the breaks weren’t breaks at all – just lower intensity contractions. I was groaning with my breathing now, and the little mountain climber in my head had disappeared – because he never came down that mountain!!
I began to feel pressure and felt it must, must be time to push. We took the dreadful walk from the bathroom to the bed for the nurse to check. This time she revealed my number, and horrors – I was at an eight! I couldn’t believe it! Two more centimeters to go at this pace – how on earth could I do it? This was the only time during the labor that I lost it and began to cry. “An eight? What?! How can I only be at an eight? I can’t do this anymore!!”
The doctor (who had come by in case this was it), nurse, and my husband all encouraged me. “You’re doing great, Anna! Keep going!”
Miserably I hobbled back to the shower, where transition was in full force. This was where an epidural would have come in very handy. But it was too late to go back. There was no way I’d be able to sit still for it. I knew we had to be near the end.
By now I was elbowing my husband, hard, with each contraction, completely overwhelmed by the pain. My last labor included a very short, manageable transition. This, by comparison, had turned into my hardest, longest labor.
Finally at around 9:30 or 10:00 PM we headed back out for another check. I was at nine centimeters, and the nurse encouraged me to stay on the bed, as I had just a little while to go.
That last hour was a whirlwind of pain and misery.
I elbowed my husband with my left arm and gripped the nurse’s hand with my right.
The doctor wanted to check me to see if it was time to push – but how? There were no breaks!
Finally he had a chance – “The head is right there. It’s time!”
They urged me to hold my legs up behind my thighs, but I couldn’t focus – I couldn’t fight the pushing, and I couldn’t think about anything else at the same time. I don’t remember if I ever grabbed my legs, but I just pushed past the pain, and in just a couple of minutes my husband cheered. “Anna, the head is out!” I screamed through the last push, and we had our baby! Oh, praise the Lord!
Immediately upon his exit our big boy sprayed the doctor. I turned to my husband in exhaustion and joy, “We did it – praise God, we did it! Four boys…!”
Our precious gift weighed in at 10 lbs 12 oz, joining his two sisters and three brothers in our busy, blessed home. He was baptized just a few days later, in a beautiful Christmas service.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever!”
God bless you, Anna. I am a mom from Vietnam who follow you for 8 years, I have a baby girl in 2014 like yours and had a Boy last year. Read your story with tears. I know that when a new life had come maybe somewhere they take other life gone. But we are here is mean that we had a chance to become a new life for ourselves (who are moms).
I had my boy in the Taxi when I went to the hospital. Thank Univer that we an alive, we are alright. He is the Sun because he came to the world at 5 am.
Read the period when you so hurt but you don’t need Pitocin, focus on the Breath with the voice in mind “I am ok, we are ok, all is well” – I cried.. We are really supper woman 🙂
Welcome the boy to come to the Earth, and You have a new journey.
With love from Vietnam
That’s quite a story, Haiyen – wow! What a blessings that you had a safe delivery! Giving birth is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I praise God for giving me the strength to do it! Hugs to you!
Than you so much for sharing. I just had my membranes artificially ruptured because of gestational diabetes and I’m waiting waitNg for something to happen.
And this is what I found in the meantime! Perfect peace. I think I’ll go with it if I’m lucky to ever get started!
Hugs to you, Nicole! You can do this!
Amazing story, he is a sure blessing. He is adorable and how time flies. I appreciate you sharing your story, continue being an awesome mom and wife.
All the best and God bless you.
Thank you for your kind words, Keisha!
My youngest of four daughters turned 33 this year and she and her sisters never tire listening to their birth story.
God holds a special place in his heart for good mamas like you. Merry Christmas!
Thank you for your kind comment, Betsy!
Oh My! What a story. Thanks you for sharing it with us. I am so happy that you are both healthy and happy! Congratulations to your family and kudos to you for toughing it out! He is precious! God bless!
Thank you for your kind words!
Thanks for sharing your beautiful story of the birth of your son.
Thank you for reading, Doris. 🙂
Congratulations Anna… No pain no gain… your new baby boy is so adorable.
Though I visit your site so often this is my first note to you. thanks for your great work and i love using your work to help my kids.
All the best wishes to you and your family…
Thank you so much for your note – it’s so nice to hear from you. 🙂 We’re doing very well with our new baby and thank God for him!
Congratulations Anna.. He s so adorable.. God bless the mom n the baby..Having gone thru so much on yr delivery.. take good care.. for winter borns are sure to keep us busy.. All the best wishes to the busy family.. Happy New Year..
Thank you so much, Pria! We are very blessed!
Bless you and your whole family. I had tears in my eyes as I was reading your story. I too went natural. I was blessed with three sons. Even though my labor was a lot shorter than yours, I remember having some of the same feelings you did. At the end it was all worth it, wasn’t it? It was all for our little one?
Yes, every contraction is worth it – but isn’t it great to have it behind you? 🙂 Children are such a blessing!
Yes it is?Then later in life if you are blessed with becoming a grandparent like I am, that is super cool and without contractions, lol
Congratulations . God Bless you and your family
Thank you so much!
Congratulations! Many wishes for you and your family to have a happy, healthy 2016!
To quote a previous response “You Are A Trooper”
Times Ten To the 100th power!
Thank you so much, Clara! Our baby boy is such a blessing – worth every contraction, but I’m sure glad labor and delivery are over!! 🙂
Hi Anna……….CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW BUNDLE OF JOY!!!!!!! Enjoy your time with him……….SMILES!!! Molly
Thank you so much, Molly! He’s such a blessing!
Congratulations on your newest addition! God bless you with enough strength and all the things you needed!
A Happy New Year indeed for you and your beautiful family!
You are awesome and amazing! Thank you for all you do and sharing your pics with us!
Thank you so much, Summer – blessings on your new year!
Amanda van Rooyen
Greetings from Muscat, Oman.
Congratulations!! You are super!! I am really glad it is over and a job well done!!
God bless you and your family.
Thank you so much, Amanda! I’m very happy it’s behind me, too! 🙂
Congratulations! Happy New Year to you and your family! God bless! I wish you all the best in 2016.
Thank you so much, Tan – blessings on your new year!
Congratulations to your arrival of your baby boy .I’m sorry for the hard labor you had to go through .It reminded me of my daughter my first born .It was long and hard and I did have an epidural was still hard even with the epidural. But my son 10 years later was very easy and I did have a natural birth with him .congratulations and I pray he will be a easy baby …
I’m glad you had an easier labor after your hard one, Elsie! That’s one of the hardest parts about anticipating labor – you just don’t know what you’re going to get! Thankfully our little guy is a great sleeper so far!
I am a new reader and am SO IMPRESSED by your site and by your faith. Thank you for sharing your resources and testimony. And, actually, it is the birth of my second child a month ago that has me looking for a way to bring more meaningful inside activities into the life of my 20-month-old. Your website has me rejuvenated and excited!
Oh, and a HUGE congrats about your new addition!
Thank you, Monica!
Congratulations Anna! I am very happy to hear about the “new addition” to your family. God bless you and the rest of your family for a healthy and happy new year.
Thanks so much, Lisa!
Congratulations to you and your family. You are really blessed to have six healthy children. Rest, relax, and enjoy. I would also like to thank you for your generosity of giving. jb
Yes, we are beyond blessed with our six healthy children and think of that every day. You’re very welcome, also, for what I get to share here. It’s a blessing to me too!
Congrats Anna on your new bundle of joy.
Thank you so much!
Congratulations Anna! Thank you for sharing your experience with us! I love birth stories… Such a reflection of God’s creativity, they are all so different! I’ve been blessed with two boys so far, and hope to have more! 😀
Wish we knew each other in real life! I would gladly bring you a dinner; you’ve been such a blessing to me in my newly undertaken homeschooling adventure!
I would gladly accept the dinner if you lived nearby, Megan! 🙂 So glad to hear my site has been a help to you – it’s so much fun for me to create and share and a real blessing that other people can benefit.
Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy! Thank you so much for all the free resources. I have loved everyone of them. I am retired and am teaching deaf remedial children in four grades. Your worksheets, books and games have been invaluable. It is such a help to me! I will subscribe as soon as I can afford to. Thank you so much for sharing your hard work!
Thank you, Eliaine! I’m so glad you can use my resources. Subscribing to the e-mail newsletter is free. 🙂
Anna congrats, with the beautiful baby boy as well as the rest of your family. So glad to know you are one of many that still loves their babies. Children are a true blessing from God. Thank you for sharing
Yes, they surely are a blessing, Rebecca – thanks for reading!
Bless you Anna. The gift of life is so very precious and your family is an example of God’s love. Will you share his name? Congratulations to all of you and I pray your Christmas was amazing.
Sent you an e-mail. 😉
Congrats! I kept close tabs on your pregnancy comments, as we were due about the same time. We had our baby boy the day after you. This was our 3rd (2nd boy) and I also had to be induced because of being way overdue. Still had a natural, unmedicated birth after that (as I did with #2). Enjoy your sweet bundle.
Did you have a natural birth with Pitocin? I’d love your secrets in case I have to do that in the future… can’t imagine keeping up with those contractions without pain reliever! Congratulations on your baby and a natural birth!
Yes, Anna, we did have a natural birth after Pitocin. I have a midwife who is great working with me. Twice now (with #2 and #3), I’ve had to be induced because I was at almost 42 weeks. Thankfully, we were able to have a “gentle” induction, starting the Pitocin at 1/3 to 1/2 the regular dose, and then backing it off all together once I really kicked into labor. As opposed to my first birth, labor pains were more intense after the induction. But the length of my labor was greatly reduced, too . . . from 44 hours with our first, to around 6-8 hours of active labor with the other two. (Of course, my boys weren’t quite as big as yours, though they were 9lb. 4oz, and 8lb. 9oz). I hope you never need to be induced with Pitocin, but if you do, a natural birth is definitely not out of the question. Like you, though, one of the worst parts is that you are attached to an IV the whole time . . . definitely not my favorite part.
Thank you, Riana!
Congratulations! You are an encouragement to other mums! Well done and God bless your family
Happy New Year
Thanks so much, Brigitte!
Congratulations to you and your family. My first born was 10 lbs 2 ounces, I can empathisize with your delivery.
That’s a big baby to start out with, Sandy! Mine have gotten bigger as we go along – my first was early and only 6 lb 6 oz – I wasn’t even tired of being pregnant when she was born!
Congratulations!!! May God continue to bless your beautiful family <3
Thanks so much, Wendy!
MoM of Many
Congratulations!! You are a trooper.
Hi, Anna… Congratulations… It’s a blessing from God!!! Thanks for sharing your story , I loved it, May God Bless you and have a Happy New Year with all your family!!
Thanks so much for reading, Blanca!
Congratulations!!! on the birth of your baby boy.
Thank you, Roma!
Congratulations!!!! thanks for your share this post, i read every word i live in feeling with my second baby at last year. You amaze me how you manage to do for your family and time to share with everyone. Happy new year for you and your beautiful family. Big hug from VietNam.
Thank you so much, Haiyen!
That is a huge baby for you to have! I am 5’6″ and my middle child, a son, was 10 lb. 113/4 oz. and he came walking! (that was 42 years ago, and he’s still a big guy!) Congratulations to you and your family. What a wonderful gift to have given to all of you at this time of year.
Yes, he is a wonderful Christmas gift! 🙂 Our baby isn’t walking ;), but he is holding his head up already. It’s hard to be pregnant with a big baby, but it IS nice to have a strong, sturdy baby from the beginning. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your birth story with us all.Congratulations on a very big healthy boy.I envy you with a large family!! You amaze me how you manage to do so much !! Take care and all the best.
There is a lot I don’t do… like everyone I am always working at finding the right balance! Now I get to start all over again with our newest addition. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll find my new groove before too long!
Congrats! Read every word because I will be going through my first in March! Yes, no epidural! Your story inspired me! Rest well!
Good for you, Claire! Are you reading up on any relaxation methods? The Bradley method book is very old (the photographs are kind of annoying), but I found its relaxation exercises very helpful.
Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for reading, Christine!
Congrats ! You really deserves the best 🙂 Happy new year for you and your beautiful family !
Thank you, Noraan!
May Yahuah bless you all as a family that loves Him. Thank you for sharing your story, your family and your wonderful teaching talents
God has been very good to us – we are blessed!
Congrats! I’m glad it’s all over! So worth it, although perhaps your body is still reeling… 🙂 I have #5 due in a couple months….you’re scaring me…I do hope I have a better story than you!! 🙂
I don’t want to scare you, Naomi! Actually my fifth labor was long but very manageable with a very short transition. 🙂 https://www.themeasuredmom.com/11-pound-baby-natural-birth/
I am so happy for you and your family. May you and your family only derive pleasure., pride and happiness from this adorable newest addition to your family!
Thank you so much, Arlene! He is such a sweet baby!
Thank you, Krol!
I have been eagerly waiting to hear about your newest family addition. I am so happy that your son is healthy and that the long, hard labor is now over. Thank you for sharing your story and for sharing all of your wonderful teaching resources!
Thanks so much, Margie!
Congratulations Anna, you have a beautiful family and I am glad you and your baby boy are doing great. You give me so much hope on natural birth with my pregnancy.
Congratulation again, merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Thank you, Fam – you can do it! Blessings on the rest of your pregnancy!
Congratulations Anna! Welcome to your new baby boy. And thanks for sharing your story, it’s beautiful. Sending love and light to your amazing family xxx
Thank you so much, Violaine!
Congratulations!! You are definitely a strong woman of faith to have untaken this process 6 times. God bless and watch over your new baby!!
I admit I have a hard time in the last month as I anticipate (and dread!) labor, Ife – but God always keeps his promises to help me through it!
I did not know you would have been worried about induction. I would have written you about it. They induced me and my youngest daughter was born.
What a story. The blessing is we soon forget the pain and have the cutest little baby to take care of and love while our body heals.
Congratulations on your precious new family addition.
Yes, the babies are more than worth the pain – thank the Lord for that! Thank you for the congratulations. 🙂
Congratulations! I could not imagine being in labor that long but I know the pains of labor. My labor with my four boys were quick but those pains and barely making it to the hospital without medicine is something I will never forget but it was so worth it. Get some rest and once again congratulations to you and your family on your new healthy bundle of blessings.
I can’t imagine barely making it to the hospital – wow! Good for you! Thank you so much for the congratulations. 🙂
What a story!!! You made it!!! It’s times like that which remind us we can do anything!!! Congratulations!!!
Yes, it’s amazing the strength God gives when we need it!!
Congratulations. Children are beautiful but sometimes they don t help out LOL. I am so happy for you. It’s so apparent on your blog that you are a great mother and teacher. The Lord be with you and yr family. God bless the little traveller. He has started a great journey with fantastic parents supporting him. Happy New Year to all the family. Xxxxxxx
Thank you so much, Josephine!
Beautiful. Welcome in the most dazzling and extraordinary world. May you be blessed!
Well done mum!
Thank you, Barbara!
Thank you for sharing. Such a strong woman you are, as is your faith. You are an inspiration to so many.
Wishing you continued blessings.
Thank you, Cathy! I definitely couldn’t have done it without God’s help and the help of my amazing husband!
Congratulations Anna! Thanks for sharing your story. It’s a good witness of how our God is worth is through our pain and Joy.
Yes, I couldn’t do it without His help!
Mom of five, six grandchildren, an in home preschool and a labor doula. I live birth stories! Good work hanging in there!
Thank you so much, Karen! I’m so impressed by doulas – you do such important work!
Thank you, Anna!
Thank you, Fiona!
What a nice description I enjoyed reading all of it!! Good luck with your little boy and may God bless him!! I just can’t imagine writing all this after the delivery!
Writing is relaxing for me. 🙂 I knew I had to write everything down before I forgot it!
Congratulations! You deserve a long rest after all that labor!
Thank you, Cynthia! I have enjoyed having my parents here and have gotten a lot of rest!
Congratulations! on the arrival of your new baby boy!
Sorry to hear about what you went through to bring your baby out! the welcome of every baby in our family is always unique, so that’s what make every child different and precious!
Have a restful holidays!
Thank you, Marelag – it was a hard labor but so worth it! He’s a precious baby, and we’re so thankful for him.
Congratulations!!! He is beautiful and you have a great family. Happy Holidays!
Thank you, Mercedes!