Usual warnings: Don’t read unless you want to hear about birth!
Ohhhhhhh my blog. Aka my place to record birth stories and then forget it exists. Here I go again…I’m sure I probably won’t be back again until my next birth.
Peter’s pregnancy was by far my most difficult mentally and emotionally. For the entire 9 months, I was almost 24/7 battling to control my emotions. That was literally my first clue that I was pregnant, which was very, very different than with the girls. After I absolutely lost it in tears and frustration because Mark was late from work (after I knew for weeks that he WOULD be late that day), I sobbed to him “I need to take a pregnancy test, and GOSH I hope I’m pregnant to blame this on!” The entire pregnancy. So. Much. Rage. God bless my husband, family, and most especially my girls. And thank heavens we’re on the other side of that now!
Between all that hot mess, and a 1.5yo and 3.5yo, the last month both crept up on us and took foreeeeever to get here. He was due Jan. 6th, so I told everyone “Once Thanksgiving happens, it’ll just fly by. Because I LOVE CHRISTMAS.” I’m so so glad I didn’t know what God had planned for Christmas.
Christmas Eve, I had every present wrapped way in advance, stocking stuffers were in individual bags in a closet JUST in case babe came early….but that could never happen. Being my family’s first Christmas in Texas, I talked them into staying the night at our house, so we could all wake up together Christmas morning. So we had Christmas Eve dinner at my mom’s, had an amazingly fun Christmas exchange and opened our Christmas pajamas, then went back to our house.
After the girls went to bed, my mom and I prepped stockings, placed presents, while everyone else was laughing and talking. It was exactly what I’d dreamed of. Then super out of character, but definitely not out of my crazy-spazy pregnant character, I said “Ok, I’m going to bed right now. And Mark, you need to go to bed now too, just in case we go into labor in the morning.” Everyone looked at me like “Wait what?” And I immediately started repeating over and over again “I mean I’m NOT, I don’t want to! But just in case.”
God has a hilarious sense of humor, because my entire life I used to wonder “What do people do if they’re born on Christmas?” I pretty much convinced myself that somehow, magically, no one is ever born on Christmas.
Whelp…at 2am I woke up to nurse a miserable, sick Anne in our bed (because it’s Christmas, she’s sick, and I was exhausted). 4am, just as she fell asleep and finally stopped nursing, I rolled away and immediately started cramping. I thought, I must have eaten something that my stomach didn’t like, there’s no way I’m having a contraction. Then five minutes later, when I felt it again, I felt my stomach and realized it was rock hard…. and thought, well I was just nursing, surely it’ll go away. I’ve never been this early. But. I should definitely time them just to be safe. After a half hour of way too many contractions, which got bad faaaast, I thought maybe I should…ya know…not be the only one awake. So I crawled to Mark, and said “Mark, I really wish I were joking…but I think I’m in labor.” and then texted our midwife, Jeanine.
Mark, pro that he is, immediately got excited and started getting ready. I on the other hand was complaining and in complete denial. He talked me through a contraction (at 4:30, I was already in “I need all my energy to get through it” mode), then I whined “I don’t want to be in labor! I’m gonna miss Christmas with the girls! I love Christmas!” And Mark said “Melissa, we’re having our little boy today! That’s a good thing.” And darn it yes, it was a good thing. And darn it yes, it would be today.
At 5, when I gave the update to Jeanine, she told us we should meet at the birth center at 6. At that point, Mark woke everyone up, telling them we’re in labor. So my mom laid with the sleeping Anne on our bed, and my dad and Kevin drove quick to walk their dogs at mom’s place and we waited for them to get back. Lizzy, in her Christmas pajamas (because she just had those and her church clothes) got ready to come with us. It was at that point that I realized we didn’t have a car seat installed for the baby yet. So, Mark got our old purple car seat and put it in his car, because no way were we going to be able to buckle in the new, more complicated one in time. Meanwhile I was in rocking-on-all-fours “NO ONE LOOK AT ME LEAVE ME ALONE” but-silently-in-my-head mode, and trying to convince people in between contractions that I should labor at home for a while and maybe see the girls open presents. Mark was like “Yup not doing that.” Very wise. Then he texted my dad and brother to hurry up. I was still in total denial.
At 5:42 we got ready to get in the car, and I was already panicking about having to drive twenty minutes feeling that much pain. I could only stay calm rocking on all fours. At the car door, I said “Lizzy’s sitting in the front, I’m sitting in the back on all fours. I’m not buckling my seat.” Mark started arguing that’s a terrible idea, you need to be safe, and I was so focused that I said “Nope. We’re doing this.” And jumped in the car. Super not typical of me. Super big sign I was way farther along than I thought I was.
I held my sister’s hand to ground me, and rocked through all the millions of contractions. Mark, trying to keep things light, initially put music on and started chatting with Lizzy (maybe it was about colleges?). But minutes later, I said “Can we not talk?? And no radio.” This was by far my bossiest birth. Halfway to the birth center, I started making really low, guttural noises…and I labor silent up until I’m about to push out a baby, so we all knew it was gonna happen super soon. As we were waiting at the light right after getting off the highway, I started saying “I’m baring down.” Um. Yes. That means I’m minutes from straight up pushing. Bless Mark and Jeanine for knowing me so well, and for knowing how fast things were happening because at the light he texted Jeanine “She wants to push, could you start filling the tub?” and she responded with “It’s already filled and ready!” Just the hope of getting in a hot bath gave me courage!
At 6am, we pulled into the birth center, and I waited in the car until my contraction finished, then “ran” into the birth center without my shoes so we’d be in before the next contraction. Jeanine was ready with us, helped me into the tub, and I said “Mark, get changed so you can catch the baby in the tub. Lizzy, sit here and hold my hands.” Then immediately had an epic contraction. Jeanine, wise soul that she is, told Mark he should probably stay here. Thank goodness, because at the next contraction, squeezing Lizzy’s hands, and on my knees in the tub, I started shouting “Why do I feel like I need to push?!” Jeanine calmly said “That must mean your body’s telling you it’s time to push.” At some point around then, our awesome friend and birth assistant, Theresa got there, and we were so excited. Even in all that pain, there was so much energy in the room because we knew a baby was minutes from being born.
Minutes later, I felt my water break. I don’t really remember pushing except that it wasn’t that long, and in what felt like seconds, I was shouting that I could feel the ring of fire. Jeanine coached me through it, and just like last time, there is just no pain like not pushing during crowning…but SO worth it. The moment I passed crowning, at exactly 6:09, NINE MINUTES after pulling up to the birth center, Peter just shot out, and Mark passed him beneath my legs into my arms.
And that little man. He didn’t even know he was born. He laid in my arms, breathing, spitting water out, and totally still asleep. And completely slathered in vernix. Mark and I were absolutely in love.
As we lay in the bed afterwards, snuggling Peter, we texted my family to let them know Peter was born, and see if the girls were awake. Both girls were still passed out. And then we all started laughing and began to process what had just happened.
God is so so good. Labor had been exactly two hours from start to finish. Based on when we decided to leave for the birth center, if my family hadn’t stayed the night to be able to immediately start watching the girls, we wouldn’t have made it. If it hadn’t been Christmas morning, and we’d hit going to work traffic, we wouldn’t have made it. And Theresa probably wouldn’t have made it. If Jeanine hadn’t already filled the tub, I probably wouldn’t have been able to deliver in the tub. Because of when I went into labor, I hadn’t even missed the girls opening presents!
At 9am, after we were done being observed, we went home with our little man. The girls had only just started opening presents (and they take a million years to open presents anyways), and my dad had breakfast waiting. And we just snuggled our little man, surrounded by family, enjoying every last bit of Christmas. And as my friend said in a text that made me sob, “And they gave birth to their firstborn son.” Obviously he’s not Jesus….but that’s pretty stellar.