My due date was June 15, not that I was expecting labor to happen before that. Lucille and Abram were both born at 41 weeks, 1 day, when I was eventually induced. I was really, really hoping labor would start on it’s own this time, but wasn’t super hopeful. My midwives and I had chatted and made a plan to break my water on Friday, the 23rd if I hadn’t had the baby yet.
I had been having contractions every evening (and often during the day) for at least a week. Not only was it exhausting physically, it’s frustrating to always have that “maybe this is it!” feeling. On Wednesday the 21st, I woke up at 2am with painful contractions. They were coming every 10-20 minutes and only lasting 20-30 seconds. I tried to go back to sleep, but they kept waking me up. I got up at 4am, and expected them to stop once I was up and moving. They never did, but they never got closer than 15 minutes apart.
I paged my midwife at 9am and gave her a heads up, even though I knew this wasn’t it. Later in the morning, I called Erin and let her know, since she was hoping to be at the birth. She packed up her little girls and came over to keep me company since Austin was working all day. It was a really frustrating day because I had a few errands I wanted to run and some things I wanted to do around the house but it was pretty much impossible with the inconsistent contractions still coming every 15ish minutes. Erin and the girls came and the kids all played outside while Erin and I got some cleaning done in the bus.
Erin took Addy to an appointment at noon, and I encouraged her to leave the other girls here since I was feeling fine, besides the random contractions. The kids all played outside and I kept puttering around the house. After Erin got back, we had lunch together and then she headed out at around 3pm. I felt okay, but didn’t want to be home alone. Because Abram’s labor had progressed quite quickly once things got started, I felt paranoid about being home alone if labor did start. I called Austin at work and he was able to head home a little early.
My midwife checked in on us again at around 5pm and suggested that we come to the birth center to get checked and see if I had made any progress from the day of random contractions. Hannah stopped by and picked up the kids and we headed out. It was such a weird feeling to leave the bus, we had no idea if we’d be coming home that night or if we would be coming back with a baby or not!
When we got there, I had made very little progress from the day of work. At my previous appointment, I was 3cm dilated and I was about the same when she checked. I tried not to be disappointed, since I wasn’t even in labor and knew it would take more than that to get things going. We talked about our options and decided to break my water that night, since I really didn’t want to go through the night without sleep and be exhausted for labor when it did start.
She broke my water at 7pm and Erin came shortly after with some dinner and snacks for everyone. We all visited and joked while waiting to see if labor would start. If it didn’t, I knew I’d have to head for the hospital. Thankfully, by 8pm, I knew this was it. Contractions came every 10-15 minutes and were very intense.
I got in the tub and labored in a few different positions for a while. After about an hour, I couldn’t get comfortable in the tub and I asked the midwife to check me. She did and I was discouraged to hear I was only 5cm dilated. Abram’s whole labor was only 4 hours and in my head, I had been counting on the same. Everyone assured me that even though this labor might take longer, I was doing good work. I felt defeated. The midwife encouraged me to labor on the bed for a while, and although I hated the idea, I listened anyway.
I laid on my side for a while and was actually able to sleep between contractions for a little bit. After 45 minutes or so, I sat up and reclined against the pillows. I remember thinking that I could always go to the hospital and get an epidural. Then I realized I’d have to wait in the waiting room and that sounded awful. I wondered if they’d call 911 for me so I wouldn’t have to. I remember thinking it had been over 3 hours already and I was only 5cm, I really didn’t think I could do it for that much longer. I was so tired after weeks of broken sleep and a full day of intermittent contractions.
“Why does it hurt so bad!?” I yelled and the midwife replied “It’s your baby finding its way out, getting ready to be born!”. “Stupid baby, there’s only one way out!”
During the next contraction, I suddenly felt like I had to push. I HATE pushing and knew I wasn’t there yet, so I really tried to ignore the urge. Watching my body do it anyway was such a weird feeling. I get pretty crazy during pushing and I remember yelling “I can’t, I won’t!” over and over. Not super encouraging affirmations to myself… I felt a little panicked because I couldn’t imagine I’d be 10cm already, but my body knew what it was doing. During the next few contractions, I couldn’t help it anymore and I started pushing. Less than 10 minutes later, our baby was born. My water was broken at 7pm, labor really picked up at 8pm and Felix was born at 11pm!
The moment he was out, I felt better. It’s such a crazy feeling. Physically, emotionally, everything. I just felt better. The midwife put him on my chest and I was immediately impressed by his giant chubby face! All along, we thought he’d be smaller than my first two babies, but as soon as I saw him I knew we were wrong. He didn’t cry right away, so they started rubbing him all over and encouraging crying. At that same moment, I felt the bleeding start. I’ve hemorrhaged very badly after every birth and this one was no different. Thankfully, my midwives were very proactive and prepared and had gotten an IV started before breaking my water. They had a bag of fluid and pitocin ready and started it right away. While I still lost a pretty incredible amount of blood (over 10 times what they normally see at a birth), they were able to control it very quickly.
Austin and I were both enamored with our new baby and didn’t even think to check if it was a boy or a girl for several minutes. When we found out we had a second son, we were both thrilled! Neither of us had any strong preference or feelings as to what we were having this time, but it felt so perfect right away.
The midwives cleaned up and we all visited and chatted for a while. Austin and I discussed a few name options and we decided on Felix Robert. Felix is a name that I’ve liked for a long time, first hearing it when I used to watch ‘Road to Avonlea’ after church with my mom and sister. It fit with our other names and our qualifications that it be a simple, easy to pronounce name that’s not too popular, but not unusual or weird. Robert is a family name from Austin’s side, and is actually his given first name.
After weighing and measuring him, we found that he weighed exactly the same as Lulu did at birth - 9lbs 14oz. He was 21.5” long and his head was 15.25”.
We were able to go home several hours after he was born. Driving home at 2am was such a strange feeling. The streets were empty and dark and we hadn’t told anyone that the baby had been born. It was such a cozy, special feeling. Cuddling into our own bed felt so good. Felix slept on my chest all night, and I sat awake and marveled at him.
God is good and we are so grateful that he has given us this sweet boy!