When we found out we were pregnant, we knew we wanted to go with a practice that had a midwife. My goal was to have a natural birth with as little medical intervention as possible, spend most of my labor at home but still deliver my baby at the hospital. Knowing me and my fear of pain, I knew I would need extra support to help me achieve my birth plan, which is the reason we decided to also hire a doula. We found the perfect pair!
I was so convinced our boy will arrive more than a week before his due date of March 26th. I had all the signs, the belly tightening, the pressure on the lower abdomen even a few contractions. Plus I had a strong feeling he was coming soon (we mamas just know!). On Wednesday, the 21st of March I went in for my weekly visit and was told by my midwife I was 4 cm dilated and that labor was to start soon. My mother had just arrived the day before and we were joking how little John Andrew had been waiting for his grandma to arrive before he would make his appearance.
Thursday morning I woke up at 3:30 AM to some strong contractions which we began to time and soon discovered they were irregular and not close together. I texted my doula at 4:20 AM to give her an update and was told to try to rest as much as possible. I was able to go back to sleep until about 8 AM. Aaron stayed home as we were sure the baby would arrive that day. We kept Nikolas home from school ( he was too excited to finally meet baby brother!). I went on a walk with the boys – the weather couldn’t have been nicer! My contractions started to pair up but still far apart – I was in what they call “puttering” part of labor, where things progress slowly. I had texted my closest friends and family asking for their thoughts and prayers as labor was progressing. Their encouraging replies gave me heart but also made me emotional. I was so close to meeting our precious one yet the unknown was making me anxious! My doula called to find out the pattern of contractions. When I told her contractions were pairing up she asked if she could come over soon. The paired contractions are a sign that baby’s the head is sitting crooked on the pelvis. She said there is a position that can help resolve the crooked head position. She arrived at 11:15 AM and put me in the “open knee chest” position – with Aaron’s shins supporting my weight. I was in that position until 11:55 AM. I must note here, it was a very uncomfortable position to be in but the thought this could bring me closer to meeting our little guy, made it all worth while. During this time I experienced 3 strong contractions 7-10 minutes apart. Doula squeezed my thigh during each contraction to give me focus for my breathing. Another strong contraction occurred right after I got up – this one much stronger.
Labor had finally picked up! I settled into a nest on the couch with the body pillow behind my back and serving as armrests and another pillow behind my head. I went into what they call “a floppy soggy” stage with each contraction Aaron doing the thigh squeeze. Contractions were becoming regular (now at 5 minutes apart) and the loopiness of active labor set in. I could feel each contraction come so strongly but with the help of Aaron and doula I was handling them ok. Each would last about 30 seconds. I knew I was getting closer and closer to pushing the baby.
Aaron called my midwife at 12:25 PM informing her of the timing of contractions. She headed out from her home and said she would meet us in the hospital. I was feeling a little pushy – ok, very very pushy! We started moving between 12:30 and 12:35 PM. Aaron asked doula to ride with us in case the baby came on the way! They grabbed a pot (yes, a large spaghetti pot!!) and some towels and the three of us headed out. My mother was in complete shock at the speed of events. Nikolas was completely oblivious and totally immersed on playing Star Wars on the iPad. We headed out quickly! I told my mom (who doesn’t speak much English) I would call her when baby had arrived.
Doula held me during the drive encouraging me to stay focused and continue to breath during each contraction. I was having small pushy contractions that sometimes moved my belly. I was later told that was a sign my body wanting to push the baby out. I didn’t want to deliver in the car so I did my very very best to try to hold off until we arrived at the hospital. We arrived at Northwest Community Hospital at 12:45 and Aaron went in asking for a wheelchair. He moved the car up a bit from the entrance and left his flashers on. There was no time to park! As we arrived on the delivery floor, the doula explained the situation to the front desk. My midwife had also called so they were expecting us. We got situated into the delivery room at 12:50 PM and once I changed into the gown I laid in bed. A few nurses came to set things up. There was no time for an IV (God knows how much I hate needles!) My midwife was still on her way. A vaginal exam showed I was 9 1/2 cm dilated. My water broke shortly after the examination. The on call doctor, came in to catch the baby. I had this intense urge to push. I knew the end was near and I was finally giving it all I had. Doula said I could touch his head. Hearing those words was all I needed to push him out. I pushed about 3-5 minutes. Our precious boy was out on the third push – first his head and than his body came out almost effortlessly. Pushing the placenta out was a breeze, getting a 1st degree repair done with very little anesthetic was not fun.
At 1:08 PM they placed sweet John into my arms. He was still a bit purplish and wet and crying. My heart felt like it was going to burst from joy. His soft and smooth skin next to mine. We had finally met! It was a sweet moment I could live over and over again. My midwife (whom I just love and feel a bit sad she wasn’t there to catch John) arrived at 1:15 PM. While she was doing the repair (a first degree tear, yikes!), Aaron was skin to skin with John. Than John came back to me where he latched on and nursed well on both sides with a great big mouth. An hour or so later, we were moved on the mother/baby unit where sweet John received his first bath. Aaron held John’s little hand the whole time to comfort him. Precious! At around 3:45 PM they brought sleepy John to me. He nursed and slept so well and I couldn’t stop gazing at his sweet face all night long. Nikolas came over at 4:30 PM with my mom to meet his little brother for the very first time. I would never forget the proud look on his face!
On March 22nd, 2012 at 1:01 PM, our precious boy, John Andrew Chupp joined our family at 8 lbs 13 oz, and 21 1/2 inches tall. I could have never imagined the kind of birth I had – so unpredictable and quick! Although deep down I know God was there listening to my prayers and comforting me in my fears every step of the way. Thank you all for reading my story and for following along my pregnancy. Your thoughts, kindness and well wishes mean so very much to me!
PS. Next week I will be sharing more pictures.