If I could sum up Scout's birth in a few words they would be: intense, healing, painful and beautiful. It was different than Behr's birth for a number of reasons but I think the biggest one would because I was a different person the second time around. I've grown. I know what it is to be birthed into the mothering role. It's not easy for me to share all the details as I'm afraid of what people may think. But I know that stories hold power and need to be told, if only so I can claim that power for myself. And so, here it is, the story of how we met our Scout.
The weekend before she came, Jonathan was working night shift. Which means he left the house at 4:30pm and wouldn’t get home until 6:00am the following day. I was highly uncomfortable at this point (not a big surprise for the end of pregnancy, I know). But contractions were a constant annoyance. There was no rhythm to them, but they were definitely sticking around enough to make me a low level of miserable. I remember Jonathan sending me a text that said, "I feel good about you having her this week." He just had a feeling that she was coming soon. And even though it was a over a week from her due date, turns out, Daddy was right.
Because Jonathan was working and I was so uncomfortable, I asked my mother-in-law Tina to come over for a few hours to help wrangle Behr. Keeping up with our rowdy toddler while contracting and waddling around nine months pregnant with our girl was proving to be nearly more than I could handle. Scout had carried low the entire nine months and at this point my hips were tired stretched to their limit and constantly throbbing in complaint to the weight they were bearing. Tina ended up coming over Saturday and Sunday night. I was so thankful to have someone there to talk to and help pass the time. She stayed long enough Sunday night to make sure Behr went to sleep and then left right after making me promise to call her if I needed anything.
I was mildly anxious after she left. It was exactly like when I was a kid and was about to do a play at church or do some form of public speaking; a concoction of excitement, slight nausea and that we-just-hit-the-plunging-section-of-the-rollercoaster feeling. It was horrid and thrilling all at once. Could this be the real thing?! The contractions were still there off and on but nothing I couldn’t handle on my own. I texted Jonathan a bit but eventually decided I needed to try and rest if it was at all possible. I climbed into bed but my mind was too busy to let me sleep. So, I thought I’d watch something on Netflix to pass the time. I needed something interesting and lighthearted to keep my mental state from giving into anxiousness. Moana was obviously the best choice.
I watched Moana in bed and noticed that the contractions were picking up and staying fairly consistent. Jonathan and I text back and forth but eventually I thought it’d be best to try and sleep if it was possible. I was able to sleep for a few hours and woke back up around 3am. The contractions we’re now 5-7 minutes apart and fairly painful. I ended up calling the midwife on call and asking her what I should do. After talking with me about what was happening, she suggested I come in to get checked because of how quickly things progressed with Behr. And so that started the chain of phone calls. To Jonathan to come home from work. To Tina to come be with Behr (who was thankfully still fast asleep). And to my mom to keep her updated on whether she and the family should head this way from Tennessee or not.
Jonathan and Tina arrived and the contractions were still present and painful, but not unbearable. In fact, I told Jonathan to go ahead get a shower since I didn’t feel like there was any need to rush out the door. I remember when I got up to get dressed that the the contractions would slow down. I know now that was just a preview of what was coming. We finally got on the road right as color was bleeding into the sky. I'll tell Scout one day that it was a clear, soft sky. No clouds, just a smooth pink and gold horizon . Her daddy's favorite type of sunrise.
We arrived at the hospital and headed to triage. They brought me into the same tiny room I first got checked with Behr (the one my waters broke in with him). The nurse checked my cervix and I was a disappointing 2-3cm dilated. They didn’t know if they could keep me because I wasn’t progressing as quickly as they thought I would. The midwife suggested that I stay at the hospital and walk the halls for an hour and then see if I’d made any progress.
So that’s just what I did. Jonathan and I walked the halls of the labor and delivery room for a solid hour stopping every few minutes to work through very strong contractions. It was hard work but I was handling it pretty well by breathing slowly. By the end of the hour, the contractions felt like they had picked up. The only way I felt like I could work through them was to wrap my arms around Jonathan’s neck and shoulders and sort of suspend my weight on him. He has always been a safe, steady place for me and he was just that and more while the intensity of birth washed over me. I was so thankful for his calm presence.
We finally headed back to the exam room where the nurse checked me and tenderly announced that, “Oh honey, it hasn’t changed at all.”
All that effort for nothing. I could feel my body working so hard to get it all started. I knew I was in good, hard labor but my body wasn't dilating like it needed to. I was so tired and disappointed.
And that's when the medical staff came in and began steering the conversation towards the last thing I wanted to hear: "We think it might be best for you to go back home."
to be continued...