My Miracle Labor: The Story of Boston Wilder's Birth
This post is so totally bizarre. I don't know why some pleadings to God are answered and why others aren't. This is my answered prayer. I hope to honor God in the retelling of it. This is the story of Boston's birth and the healing miracle it was for me.
I cannot recall if I ever shared August's birth story. It was not unusual or extremely long but it was traumatic as birth can sometimes (always?) be. I shared my fear and anxiety approaching Boston's birth in this post. This post is long and detailed so do skip if you're feeling squeamish or if you are my brother or father. ;)
I have been having contractions for days, perhaps weeks. Each time I think it might result in labor, the contractions stall after using the bathroom or lying down. On Monday May 4th, I drive to the birth center for my 41 week appointment with the midwife. Judy is working but I also speak with Laurie. They tell me I am 4 cm dilated (or is it 5?) and that I am having contractions though they are not painful. They tell me I can wait a few days for natural labor to begin or I can take a labor-inducing cocktail in the morning. I drive home and make sure we are ready for baby's arrival on Tuesday. I quite like the idea of a baby born on 5/5/15 as well as on the same day of the week I was born. I am also anxious about having to be induced in the hospital.
Through the night, the contractions become stronger but they stall out multiple times. Brandon and I decide I should go ahead and take the cocktail. He goes into work at 8:30 to get some things finished up before a few days off. At 8AM, August and I eat oatmeal pancakes with peanut butter. At 9AM, I take the Zofran pill so that I keep the cocktail down and text my mum and small group friends for prayer. Mum is on her way to play with August so I can rest. Lydia is slated to take over August duties when we leave for the birth center so that Mum can come with us. I pour the chilled ingredients into the blender: ¾ cup champagne, 2 tbls castor oil, 4 tbls almond butter, ¾ cup apricot puree. From 9:30-10, I sip the blended cocktail while snuggling August on the couch. It tastes like an oily peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The champagne gives me a lovely, relaxing buzz. I think to myself that I'd like to take a nap when Mum arrives.
At 10:45, we go outside to play with plants and toys. I rearrange and deadhead a few of my planters then straighten the chairs and sweep the porch. While I am sweeping, contractions start up again. I use the restroom and sit for a few minutes to see if they abate. They do not so I text Mum to please hurry and ask Brandon to come home. Now. Because suddenly the contractions are three minutes apart and getting more intense. I stay on the porch, marking contractions, while August takes the broom and sweeps the leaves. Mum arrives just a few minutes later and plays outside with August.
Brandon arrives at 11:20 and has me call the birth center. I only speak with Mary at the front desk but the midwives instruct me to come in. We go upstairs so I can change my clothes and gather my things. The contractions are so strong at this point that I need Brandon pressing on my back. Brandon pulls the car around and has the door open for me. August is playing in Mum's car on the far side of ours. I walk around to Mum's car to kiss August and tell him we will be home soon. I sit in the back seat of our Rav4 while Brandon drives. Mum will come along later once Lydia is available to watch August. As we pull out of the driveway, August watches and waves.
We leave the house around 11:50 and this is the longest car ride of my life. The lunchtime traffic and bumps along I-26 make the drive extremely painful. The contractions are painful across my stomach and into my back. Sitting is extremely uncomfortable so I sort of stand hunched over in the back seat. I use the contraction tracker to anticipate the oncoming wave. Brandon uses the CD track counter to talk me through each contraction. The urge to push comes a few times in the car but I refuse to deliver this baby in the car.
At 12:10, we arrive at Charleston Birth Place. I immediately jump from the car between contractions so that I can stand through the next one. I am sick in the parking lot. Both Laurie and Erin come out to the car to greet us and escort us into the birthing suite. Laurie, my preference, is to be my midwife. They have the tub filling for me and we wait for it to finish. I labor for a few minutes beside the bed with Brandon pressing on my lower back. Laurie tells me she does not need to check my dilation and indicates I can get in the tub at any time. I want to ask about the nitrous oxide but things are moving so fast. Each contraction feels different and the pain moves around my back. I think Brandon is frustrated with me changing the pressure points with each contraction. I know I am not communicating clearly.
After about 30 minutes in the tub, I say that I want to go to sleep. I am overwhelmingly tired as if I have been suddenly drugged. I rest my head on the side of the tub. The steps are in front of me. Brandon is at my back. Laurie is kneeling beside the tub. She asks me if I have felt my water break (no) and tells me if I'm urging to bear down, to do so. I can't believe what she is telling me. I move to all fours, leaning on the steps. I push through a few contractions without feeling any change. At one point, the pain is so intense I panic and lose focus between contractions. I am breathing very fast and intensely. The nurse comes to my head and encourages me to slow my breathing.
I feel a shift and I start saying "oh! oh! oh! baby!" I am trying to let Laurie know the time is close. Boston crowns through two searing contractions. At this point, the only difference between a contraction and no contraction is the urge to push. The pain is incredible and stretching. On the third contraction, his head is born. I don't realize this at first and I panic a bit; I have a strong, ridiculous urge to run away. Laurie confirms the head is born and I calm down knowing this will be done on the next contraction. Boston Wilder is born at 12:53PM as Andrew Peterson's Don't you Want to Thank Someone plays on the stereo.
Laurie lifts Boston and hands him to me. I flip from my knees backwards to rest in Brandon's arms, ecstatic and disbelieving our boy is here so quickly. I truly cannot believe it. We hold him. Brandon is holding my arms as Boston rests in my hands. He is so silent and Laurie is rubbing, rubbing, rubbing. We just speak gently to him as Laurie rubs. As concern sets in, he lets out a little cry. She explains to us that he is born "en caul" meaning the amniotic sac was still around him. I hold Boston for several minutes before they clamp the cord. Brandon eventually cuts it. Meanwhile, Boston opens his little eyes and looks around at us, so aware of this new life.
The nurse takes Boston from me. Brandon gets out of the tub to rinse off and change. Laurie helps me out of the tub and over to the bed. They give me a pitocin shot. The placenta is loose and deteriorating. There is a knot in the cord. The afterbirth pains are much more intense this time. My lower back and tailbone feel bruised.
Brandon holds Boston for just a few minutes and then they transfer him to my chest. Brandon walks to the parking lot to see if Mum and Dad have arrived. Dad has just pulled into the parking lot and cannot believe the news. He comes straight in to see Boston and Mum arrives shortly after. They stay for the next four hours as they monitor me and Boston. We take pictures, chat with the visiting staff next door, try to nurse, take footprints, use the bathroom and wait on lab tests.
Boston's blood is O+, he is 9lbs exactly, 21 inches long. His head is 14 inches around and he scored an 8/9 on his APGAR.
We leave at 4:45 and drive home through rush hour traffic. When we arrive home, Grammie, Lydia and Betty are in the yard entertaining August. August runs over to our car. He climbs in the back seat with me and Boston. He says "hi baby!" and stares at him, super sweet and very curious. Then he realizes he is in our car and declares, "play! car!" and climbs up front. We unload and introduce Boston to his doting family.
August asks to hold Boston several times. "Hand, take" he says with outstretched arms and dancing fingers. After his bath, we let him hold Boston. August gives unprompted kisses and smiles. All four of us Loys pile in our bed and read stories together before August goes to bed.
No one can believe I only labored for two hours, especially me. The whole day feels like a wonderful dream. Brandon's co-workers thought he was still on lunch break when he texted in a picture. My dear friends were still responding with "yes, I will pray for you" well after I was holding Boston. This birth was healing in so many ways and was a straight up miracle gift from the Lord.