it was a sunday, hadley's second birthday. a sweet, slow-drip of a morning spent opening a few presents, followed by a trip to the zoo. after her late nap, we ate pizza for dinner and went out for ice cream! all of that walking tired me out and i pleaded with david for a massage.
shortly after we shut our eyes for the night i exhaled with relief: our girls would not be sharing a birthday after all. in all honesty i was not too keen on the potential jealousy it could cause, since they already will be sharing so much throughout their life--toys, clothes, bedrooms--i wanted each of them to have their own special day. i prayed that they would.
thirty minutes later, the contractions began. it was just before midnight and the pain wasn't much worse than period cramps, so i decided to keep it to myself and go to sleep. i really did not want to get our hopes up as second babies seem to often tease with labor.
i woke suddenly at five am, monday morning. the contractions were still there. i waddled over to where my phone was charging and opened the contraction timer i had downloaded two weeks prior.
eight minutes apart.
david's alarm for work went off and i told him what was happening. maybe you should work from home just in case. i had a midwife appointment at 10:30 anyway to check how far along i was and to do a membrane sweep.
he called his boss to let him know he would either be in around noon or not at all as today just might be the day. after almost two hours of the contractions being six to eight minutes apart i took a screenshot of the timer and texted my midwife.
awesome, she replied, i'll wear my scrubs today. stay hydrated and eat when you can!
we called my mom and let her know what was happening, as well as our friends that we were planning on dropping hadley off with.
and--of course--in true fickle fashion, as soon as we made all our phone calls and really settled in to the mindset that we were having a baby today, my contractions drifted further apart. fifteen minutes. twenty minutes. twelve. thirty. fifteen again.
i texted neva (my midwife) and told her what was happening. she said to just come in for my appointment at 10:30 to see how i was progressing. oh, and bring your labor bags, just in case.
at my previous appointment the thursday just four days prior, i had only been three centimeters dilated. i wasn't expecting much had changed but i was hoping for a little progression at the very least.
we grabbed our bags, woke hadley and drove over to our friends to drop her off.
we may or may not be back to pick her up, i laughed nervously.
as we drove to the birthing inn, i prayed and breathed slowly trying not to get my hopes up.
david and i arrived five minutes before the half hour mark. quickly i used the restroom and pulled myself together knowing that she could very well just send us home.
we walked into her office, david plopped himself on the couch and i hoisted my bulging body up into the exam chair.
as neva began to poke around down there she had a pleasantly surprised look come across her face.
you are a really good 7 centimeters dilated. you're having a baby today!
i was shocked. the contractions hadn't been consistent for hours and they were hardly painful by any means.
she suggested we go on a nice long two hour walk and come back to talk about next steps.
david and i made our way down to point defiance park, pineapple chunks and laborade in hand. we walked circles around the pond, listening to the birds, watching the ducks bob in and out of the water in search of their food.
sometimes in silence, grinning at one another, no need for words; other times laughing at how ridiculous i looked hobbling one foot up on the curb, the other on the pavement as i worked to open up my pelvis; and then there were those moments--less often since my contractions had become so infrequent--where i would bury my head into his chest, only for thirty to fifty seconds at a time, inhaling deep breaths of the the fresh air, working through the painful yet manageable tightenings of my uterus. as soon as those moments were over i joked, this really is a walk in the park!
that's just what it was. in fact, i felt that it wasn't fair how easy it had been so far. by the time we got back and neva checked me once again, i was easily an eight, she said. i was speechless.
it was 1:30 in the afternoon when we decided to go ahead and break my water.
it was the strangest feeling. not quite like peeing, but the same sense of relief that peeing brings.
as soon as the majority of the fluid had come out, i made my way over to the birthing tub. soaking for what felt like forever, but really was only an hour, i asked my midwife's assistant, soo, is anything going to happen? i was still having contractions but they were about the same pain level, only a little bit closer in frequency.
maybe you are just one of the lucky ones who have easy labors, she smiled.
as soon as the words left her mouth, the contractions took it up a notch--or rather ten notches... transition.
this was encouraging. i began focusing all of my energy into breathing and finding a position that was as comfortable as could be in the tub, without getting too hot, or too cold. david sat there, knowing me well that i didn't want to be touched (ha!), soaking a rag in ice water and gently laying it either across my forehead or the back of my neck, whichever i preferred in the moment.
after about an hour of hard labor i was getting so fed up things weren't progressing as fast as i had wanted them to, so i stood up. i began rotating my hips in circles, as you would a hoola hoop. and then, i peed in the tub.
sorry you guys, i laughed to the women in the room. there were three of them; four people total including david. after having one baby, i learned there really is no such thing as discretion with childbirth.
it seemed as if that was exactly what my body needed, though...to pee. to get that pressure out of the way, because as soon as i did, i felt her drop down. ohhhhhhkayyyy, i shouted, i need to push now.
so i pushed. standing up. in the middle of the tub.
after about five minutes of that, my legs shook uncontrollably. i felt that they were going to give out at any moment, so i dropped to my knees and continued pushing, leaning over the edge of the tub. there it was...that stinging, burning ring of fire that everyone had told me about--which i hadn't felt during my first labor with hadley. this was the moment i felt like i was unable to go on. it was the moment i thought i might die, or, that my downstairs was going to end up being one...huge...hole..
there's a line in jurassic park, i'm sure you've heard it. you know, the hang on to your butts! one? this is what pushing a baby out feels like. like your bum bum--as we call it in our house--and everything else down there is going to fall off.
but i'm happy to report, that doesn't happen. the human body works it's beautiful miracle and makes a way for these babies to come out. and she did.
after about four hard pushes she made her way earthside.
at a healthy 8 pounds 1 oz., amelia mercy landrus was born into the water at 4:08 pm on may 1, 2017.
i exhaled, turned around and leaned back against the tub. i reached down and grabbed her holding her tight. it was so surreal. so beautiful. this wonderful girl we had been waiting for, the one worth all of the pain, all of the early-pregnancy difficulties, she was here.