Ashford Mark – December 7th, 2020

Fast births. My friend said it best…people tend to say things like, “they must be easier” when in reality they feel like an out of control freight train where everything is compressed into minutes and there’s no stopping it🚆.

On Monday morning, December 7th, I had my 40 week appointment. I asked to have my membranes swept which she did but I was only 1 cm dialated and didn’t seem to have any early signs of labor.

I started having cramping pretty quickly which they say is common so I didn’t get too excited. I made flour dough Christmas ornaments in the morning with Freeland, got him down for a nap, worked on a puzzle…still just “cramping”. (Although, I’m so curious with how differently people experience labor /!what other people would call these…there’s probably a very wide range of adjectives that people refer to when dialating 😂).

When Freeland woke up at 3pm I started noticing they were getting stronger. Decided to get dinner in the oven early and download a contraction timer to see if they were consistent ⏱. By 4pm I texted Bill asking him not to stay late at work… they were more consistent about 5 minutes apart…he came home right away (probably remembering better than me how things went last time haha).

He was able to hangout with Freeland for the early evening and I just hung out in the bedroom / bathroom, swaying through contractions, listing to Shane and Shane Christmas music and getting babysitters in place. When I tried to lay down to relax it slowed contractions down I so decided to stay upright and moving to keep things going. Not always as comfortable but I knew I was letting gravity do some work.

From 5pm-7pm contractions moved from 5min apart to 3min, to 2 min. Still my water hadn’t broken and I was feeling more in control than I was with Freeland so didn’t FEEL that far along. A friend came and parked in the drive way (in case we needed to make n emergency exit… again, more certain than I was that things were going to be fast). I texted a picture of my contractions (over a minute long, 2 minutes apart for 30 minutes) to a midwife friend around 6:45pm (she’s a lifesaver) and she said I should probably go to the hospital (she’s so smart)! I snapped a last picture with Freeland… I knew he was about to grow into a little boy! Bill put Freeland to bed, we loaded up in the truck and got to the labor and delivery desk around 7:20pm. By that time I couldn’t speak through contractions!

We Got into a room to get checked and I was 6cm 🙌🏽. I literally gave Bill a high five haha. I thought I was maybe at 3cm since my water hadn’t broken so I had definitely improved my breathing management / emotional control in that early phase!

However, things picked up quick! Covid test done, iv port inserted, and contractions were getting harder and harder. With Freeland I labored mostly on all fours but for some reason my side was more comfortable this round. On my side with a death grip on the bed handle to help pull up during contractions. My biceps were sore for days!

The midwife on duty was the SAME midwife that delivered Freeland… I couldn’t believe it. When she hung around the room I knew that things were probably close but I kept asking in between contractions, “am I close?!” It was feeling unbearable as each wave felt more intense. She offered to break my water which would likely speed things up so I agreed. I honestly didn’t even know it had happened but when I started saying I felt pressure she encouraged me to use the contractions to push .. to make them purposeful. I knew I didn’t want to deliver on my back and she told me I could be in whatever position felt best. She encouraged me by telling me I was definitely having a baby before midnight and told me they call these “drive by labors”. The nurse even took some pictures / videos for us…it’s a little like having an out of body experience watching them now.

Bill was so great. Kept encouraging me. Reminding me to breath. Reminding me to relax between contractions. Reminding me to drink water (all the things I asked him to say!) Once I started pushing I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. The intensity of pressure, pain, being out of control, whatever adjectives you use…is as emotionally tiring as it is physically. The pushing phase felt longer / harder with Ashford I think in part because I was choosing to breath (rather than hold my breath) through the pushes (in attempt to not tear as bad). All in all it was probably 20-30 minutes but felt soooo long with hardly any time for deep breaths or to relax between contractions. They were one right after the other. It felt like one long contraction. Again, lots of “I can’t do this” came out of my mouth and a lot of “yes you can, you’re doing great!” from Bill and the midwife! (I so appreciate the minimal amount of people in the room. I never saw anyone but the midwife, one nurse, and Bill the entire time.)

Definitely a lot of, “why did I choose to do this again without an epidural?!” went through my mind… might have also come out of my mouth. But at my hospital they ask you when you arrive what your plan is. If you say unmedicated, they never ask again. Not that I would have had time, but not having the option rehearsed to you also helps if that’s what you’re hoping for 🖤).

After about 20-30 minutes of pushing, his head came and after an easy push for his shoulders they handed him right to me and Bill! His eyes were wide open! No tears from either of us just relief and deep breaths and amazement! 8:40pm

We had a sweet hour together of him on my chest. He latched right away and I couldn’t believe it (also something I prayed for a lot). They did a couple vital checks on him but never took him away.

After our “golden hour” they did height and weight measurements and other assessments and Bill did skin to skin while I ate dinner! Props to the nurse who found me a full tray of food at 9pm (still need to right her review)! Took a shower, changed clothes, and headed to our mom and baby room around 11pm. Tired and happy!

I had a 2nd degree tear, much better than with Freeland – probably thanks to better pushing techniques and practice.

6.5lbs and 20 1/4in long! All the midwives were right, he was a “little guy” and definitely needed those full 40 weeks. And I was right, he was a full 2in longer than Freeland! Fair skinned, blue eyes (for now), and acting very different than his older brother already and the perfect addition to our family…they are going to make quite the pair 💙💙. I still can’t believe Bill and I moved to Texas with just the two of us and here we are a family of four!

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