Last year around this time, I wrote this post.
This December, I finally get to share Nicole’s story.
Happy Birthday, Lawson Monroe!
Thank you for blessing my family in such a special way.
I never in a million years thought I would push my second (or first or any child for that matter!) out on one of my best friends bed. But that is exactly where I delivered my son after 41 weeks of pregnancy.
After we had found out we were pregnant with our second child we ran in to some insurance problems, but we were not too worried. We had an excellent birth center just two miles down the street and I was confident I could deliver our son naturally just as I had with our daughter just two years earlier. During the next several months we switched to home birth, then when we moved across state lines, and our plans changed again. We could no longer use the midwife we loved at our new home in North Carolina.
And enter The Kincaids.
We had lovingly joked that we would just have our baby at their house if things got complicated with moving. I had been down stairs when Ames was born at their home just a couple years before, so Rach and I are very comfortable around each other. Chris and Peter even joked about writing and playing music during labor, just another big party! So now we had to ask the hard questions: were they serious? Could we really have our child born in their home?
I woke up on December 7th 2011 disappointed I hadn’t had my baby while I was sleeping (Has that ever happened?!). My husband, daughter, and I went for our usual long walk, and when we got home I panicked. My very active little boy had not been his usual rowdy self. I laid down on the bed and waited. Nothing. Then I started bawling and told Peter my concerns and he attempted to calm me, but I was beyond calming. I was a hysterical 41 week pregnant lady with raging hormones. I moved my huge self from the bed to the dry bathtub, usually in that position he would go crazy. Still no movement. I called my midwife trying to remain somewhat sane, she instructed me to drink juice or a small amount of coffee and she would see me at the birth center to reassure me.
I threw my daughter in the car, Peter followed, and we were about a mile down the road and that mischievous little fella started waking up. Of course! Our ever patient midwife still wanted to see me and I was glad to hear his perfect little heart beat. She also checked me and checked his position. Everything was great, no major dilation so just waiting still. And of course hoping something would happen after she checked me. The little lady and I visited my MawMaw and PawPaw for a bit. We were on the way home and I noted two mild contractions while we drove. I was very unsure what to think of contractions at this point. My first labor was my water breaking at midnight followed by intense contractions almost back to back and I proceeded to push my daughter out just seven hours later.
We went about our day, I took a sweet nap with my girl, and then prepared some dinner. A dear friend was supposed to stop by for dinner and bring presents for the babes. I was making some crazy Thai soup packed with basil, red pepper, and coconut when I felt something change. I can’t explain it, perhaps it’s that women’s intuition but I felt this was it. And because I’m an irrational woman I pretended it wasn’t it and denied it to my husband. He knew, and he knows me better than myself so he finally called my mom to pick up our daughter. I called Rachael, reluctantly, and told her we would be stopping by. You know, just a friendly visit, to have our baby. Those Kincaids, they are amazing. My contractions picked up in the car ride to their house, but after we settled in and unpacked the birthing supplies, my labor slowed.
I felt so dumb. How could I have mistaken this for false labor?! My midwife even admitted to Peter that it probably would slow down and this might not be the real thing. (Thankfully I did not know that!) My mom arrived after my grandparents got to her house to stay with the first born, and we walked in the cold night. I was confused and disappointed, and of course felt horrible for everyone involved. I had interrupted their peaceful evenings and now it was nearing midnight. Rach suggested I run up and down the stairs. Then things did progress, but I was still happy and talking in between the somewhat intense contractions. My water surprisingly broke at 1:21 am, and we all continued to laugh and joke between contractions. Leaning on furniture or a near by friend, mom, or midwife.
I remember being relaxed and enjoying this labor, much different from my first. I was rushed and confused when I labored with my daughter. The contractions were so close that I couldn’t even speak. The beautiful Christmas tree in the Kincaids living room, the candles, and laughter. It was wonderful.
I had felt very strongly about having this baby in the water, so we moved upstairs and began filling the pool. I was here for at least forty five minutes. My midwife checked me when she thought I was ready to push. My body seemed ready but I still hadn’t felt a strong need to. My body wasn’t completely ready to push and now the concern was his position. Towards the end of my pregnancy my midwife suspected he was transverse but after some exercises and reassurance that he would most likely move while I was in labor, we were not too concerned. Now we were concerned.
I was moved to the bed and by now my labor was in full swing. This is where I began to get blurry. My body was definitely wanting to push but after a few more contractions and another check by the midwife, I was instructed to breathe through them and try everything not to push. It all came back to me. The part of my daughters birth I had blocked out. Not pushing, when all your body wants to do is push. I was feeling despair. This wasn’t supposed to happen the second time. It was supposed to be faster, easier, and I was supposed to be more confident. I tried. I breathed hard through a few contractions. I was rotated for a few more, and then lying flat on my back for a couple while my midwife checked me again. This time in order to find the position of his head. I remember Peter explaining this happened the first time. The dreaded cervical lip that kept our daughters head from coming out quicker, and ended up giving her quite the cone. This continued for some time. It seemed like forever. I was so discouraged. I had not mentally prepared myself for this. My mom was so worried. I was told later she was lying in Ames’ room next door praying and pleading to God to keep us safe and for this to be over.
I remember Rachael and Peter being beside me on either side of the bed. Both saying sweet encouraging words. I knew my midwife was concerned about where the baby was, and she and the assistant were speaking right outside the room.
Something changed. I cried and looked at Peter, clinging tightly to his arm as another contraction approached. I begged “I can’t do this anymore!” And I let go of the restraint and pushed with all that my body would let me. There was his head. Everyone was back in the room and I continued to push as my sweet baby boy was born at 4:33am on my sweet friend’s bed.
Rachael took the most amazing photographs. It took me 6 months to look at them, and only a year to write his story. It’s therapy for me. I am a control freak, and birthing two perfect babies has taught me to let go, but nothing taught me that like my boy’s arrival. I could do nothing to get him out on my own, and he was going to get here in his own way. I cried after he arrived. Not immediately when I saw him but after he lay on my chest for a couple minutes. I cried because I was so confused. Something had seemed wrong, and the contractions and breathing through them was not changing anything, and then he was here lying on me. It was an emotional birth, physically hard, yes, but emotionally way more difficult.
We forever grateful to the Kincaids. They opened their beautiful home to us and allowed us to welcome our son in to this world. I don’t think we could ask for better friends!
And who knows if we decide to have more kids, perhaps they will need to save us a room in their beautiful new farmhouse!