Lylah's Birth Story: Gearing Up for Labor
If you haven't read Part 1 of the birth story background, go do that first!
The week leading up to Lylah's birth (38 weeks) I had this gut feeling it was going to be my last week pregnant. Every time I felt a discomfort, heavy, achy, not able to hold Sadie in my lap well for bed time stories, and generally just done carrying a child within me I felt God whisper, "It's almost over, this is your last week pregnant." That hope kept me going, yet I also braced myself to have several weeks left like my others were. I kept a count down from March 2nd on my white board, even though my due date was February 16th, simply to keep my eyes on that my baby WILL come out and March 2nd is THE last day (in which we would then induce at home).
To prepare for labor I soaked up God's scripture and promises as well as surrounded myself with my worship playlist any chance I had. I love how pregnancy and birth draw me closer to the Lord, I suppose because I know how much I need His strength in the days ahead. Labor is just that-- labor. Work. I listened to all the Heavenly Welcome's class videos and God-filled birth story podcasts, plus the birth scriptures (Plan to make a whole post to share how awesome this class is!). I also used my Hypnobabies tracks. Whenever I would lay down for a nap or couldn't sleep with the waves of contractions washing over me, I would play one of those on my phone surrendering to the process and it always helped me doze off and on between them. However, while I tucked those treasures away and it gave me hope I could have another amazing, peaceful birth with the Lord's presence so tangible, much like I felt with Sadie, I feel like it also set me up to expect a birth that wasn't meant for me. I thought it would go even more beyond how amazing Sadie's birth was, in my mind I thought pain free just as other mommas who stood on God's promises have experienced. But nope, that's not what I experienced.
What I did discover though through the class was this verse, 1 Timothy 2:25, which ties in so nicely to how this pregnancy even began: with healing. I knew that the Lord was going to heal me through this labor and birth. The lingering soul ties, the walls that needed to stay down for the gift within marriage to remain. I prayed over this verse and claimed it for my laboring time, I knew this was His promise for me.
Physically I made a few changes as well in attempt to not go too over my due date. I walked every warm day there was (praise Jesus there was lots of 70's days!) and I applied some essential oil blends to ankle pressure points starting at 37 weeks. One of them I had used last time, but I truly think Spikenard was the difference with this baby. It was referred to me by a fellow pregnant momma whose midwife uses it for the same reason and has had good success with it with her clients not going too far over estimated due dates. And, lots of husband snuggles, because this laboring process was redeeming and (TMI alert for family who may be reading) I felt Him whisper, "the passion that brought the baby within will bring this baby out." After all, oxytocin is the love hormone that encourages contractions too!
Photo credit: The Wallflower Photographer
I do tend to have prodromal labor for weeks, and had been this time as well, but this week it kicked up a notch (38 weeks). Sunday night of the Super Bowl I went to bed early because I was tired from not sleeping well anymore this late in pregnancy. I lied down at night having waves of contractions, nothing painful but felt almost exciting, warm, and full of energy as my body practiced. I had night sweats and hot flashes, which my midwives said sounded like hormones working to start the process. I started having bloody show Monday February 6th, which I have never seen with my other babies until I was well into active labor. I was so excited my body was likely going to start this on it's own! Tuesday night I had 12 hours of mild waves and I saw more bloody show on Wednesday. The contractions never stayed, nor felt very intense, so I didn't bother my midwives with them. However, Wednesday at 2pm I was baking some brownies when suddenly I was doubled over with strong ones coming very close together and I panicked. They felt sharp and unlike anything I had felt in my nights before, and a lot of pressure on my bottom.
I was home alone with an (almost) 2 and 4 year old and in an hour I was going to have to drive to get my older 2 kids from school. Fear set in that I couldn't do this, not now! I called Mark to come home to pick up the kids. I called my friend Leslie crying. I texted my birth team and told them I was scared and needed them ASAP if these were the real deal. Of course, everyone gets here and it all stops. My midwife checks me at my request and I was 3cm dilated but still thick so she didn't think it was going to happen too soon. We still try walking together to see if they pick back up-- nope. We sit and chat, they rub my aching back, and we agree that today isn't the day so they all head home. I, of course, feel defeated as the woman who cried labor. I sat there questioning, "Can my body really start this on it's own? And early? It never has before." Leslie came over that night, and by then contractions were coming back somewhat but super random. She brought me dinner, prayed with me, we read scriptures reaffirming God's truths, talked about my doubts and fears, and listened to worship music. I took a bath and spent some time with God while she folded my laundry. So grateful for the friends God has placed in my life! She truly is a treasure.
Thursday was uneventful, but I was glad since I wanted to go to my small group that evening. They were throwing me a little shower and I wanted to be there! The ladies brought yummy treats and each gave me a baby girl outfit with board book for Lylah (knowing I had gotten rid of all my baby girl clothes last year, oops). They also prayed over me and Lylah and it was just such a refreshing time I needed out of the house to fellowship with other mommas. I remember our group leader praying for rest since I hadn't slept with all the contractions the past week (plus a cold) and I DID. I slept pretty much the full night and felt rested for the first time in weeks.
Friday was when the full moon and eclipse was happening and I kept waiting for something to happen that day and night. Nope. I had more gentle waves of contractions that night but nothing noteworthy. It was gorgeous though, bright and glorious shining above our house.
Now Saturday, things took a shift....but I'll tell about that over here.
P.S. Can we talk about my cat? He acted weird all week, my ankles were like cat nip to him (and to my in-law's cat Super Bowl Sunday when all this began). He was very clingy and my little shadow everywhere I went. He's always affectionate but it was a whole new level, like he literally had to watch me every moment to make sure I was okay. And Sadie? She had been extremely clingy weeks in advance! She'd just come to make, ask me to hold her, and lay on my shoulder snuggling for a while. It was so sweet, yet also hard when I needed to get things done.