Up until I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Anson, the whole pregnancy seemed nearly identical to Madeline’s. But at that point, it took a course of its own.
Towards the middle of June 2007, somewhere around 34 weeks, I began noticing that my practice contractions were getting to be pretty decent in strength. One Saturday at the end of June, I had 6 good contractions in on half hour. And one night, I had a couple of contractions that were so strong that I couldn’t talk to Erich through them.
When we went in for our 36 week appointment I asked the midwife I was seeing, Susan, to check my progress and sure enough she found that I was already 4 cm dilated and 50% effaced! I got pretty nervous about the possibility of Anson coming so soon. . . I didn’t feel ready just yet. But the news motivated us to get the last of the preparations made for his arrival. Two days after that appointment, I began losing a lot of mucus, a sign of further preparation for labor.
Thinking that his arrival was really close, my mom changed her 4th of July vacation plans to visit my grandmother in Florida so that she could be here for his birth. Everyday we thought, “Today will probably be the big day!” But everyday, he refused to arrive.
We thought he’d come for the full moon at the end of June. But he didn’t.
Then we thought maybe he was waiting to be born on the 4th of July. But he wasn’t.
Then we thought, maybe 7-7-07 would be his birthday. It wasn’t.
Then we thought maybe he’d arrive on my mom’s birthday, July 9th. He didn’t.
Then we thought maybe he’d come exactly 2 weeks early, since Madeline was exactly 1 week early. Again, that wasn’t his plan.
By week 38, we were still waiting. I was still 4 cm dilated at that point, but had progressed to 90% effaced. Susan said we were very favorable, meaning something like when he decided to come, he was going to come FAST! She also said that she wouldn’t be surprised if he came in the next few days, though she couldn’t make any guarantees. So, my mom left work for another long weekend to be with us, hoping to be here for his arrival. But again, he was determined to stick to his own timetable!
I had to keep reminding myself that for everyday he didn’t arrive, the chances went up for him to arrive on the following day. But my excitement for his arrival was also mixed with my apprehension for how quickly this labor would go. My labor with Madeline was fast. With my body already being so primed and ready and with this being my second baby, it would undoubtedly be faster. Could I really handle a faster labor? Would the sensations overwhelm me this time?
Then, on Saturday, July 21st around 5pm, we finally went into labor. All my questions were about to be answered. I called Erich after the first kickin’ contraction. But after the last couple of false alarms I waited until a couple more came and went before calling the birthing center. After the 3rd or 4th, however, I was sure this was it. I called the midwife on duty, Linda, who told us to come right in.
My mom, Madeline and I loaded right into the van. Fortunately, our bags were already packed. We had been ready for this exact moment for weeks! Just like my trip down our neighborhood’s winding hill the last time I was in labor, my eyes filled with tears. I was so excited that my labor had begun! And so glad that Anson decided to come when my mom was with us!
Linda checked me around 6pm and found that I was still 90% effaced and 5 1/2 cm dilated, only 1/2 cm further dilated than at my last appointment. But things were progressing quickly. The sensations were all familiar but were so much more condensed than they were with Madeline.
- I felt the same shiveriness
- The same urge to poo (which I knew this time was pressure from Anson’s head descending)
- The same bliss when I entered the warm birthing tub waters
- The same disdain for the chemical smell of the water
- And the same surprise when the midwife told me to follow my body’s urge to push.
It was just minutes after first entering the tub at 6:10pm, when I felt the urge to push. Linda had just left the room to check on another mother who had been in labor since early that morning. Erich called her back for me. It seemed too soon to begin the pushing phase, but Linda assured me that I should follow my body. And so I pushed. I felt the same amazing sensation of Anson moving down. And at 6:28pm — less than a half hour after arriving at the birthing center — our baby boy, Anson, came into the world!
We gave thanks to God for another beautiful labor and delivery.
With the exception of his temperature being a bit low for a while, all was miraculous, incredible, perfect! I was so relieved that the Lord didn’t overwhelm me with the pace. It was all familiar, just a little bit faster. Instead of a few hours of early labor on that day, the early labor had been taking place during the weeks before, so I just jumped right into the active part this time around.
We had the same wonderful experience of moving from the tub to the bed, getting acquainted with our new baby, nursing, having the midwife and nurse get all his stats, eating and resting. Then, a few hours later, we were ready to go home to our own bed.
And now we eagerly anticipate the next birthing story. Only 6 more months until I get to see how this one unfolds!