After months of wondering, anticipating, processing and preparing, Haven Ann arrived on March 14th, her due date, like a perfectly timed little boss.
I woke up that morning at 1am with very intermittent “sensations” like someone was, um, pushing down…inside of me? Oh, yea, labor. Not wanting to ring a false alarm , I didn’t wake Rich up until 5am. And even then I think I was pretty chill about it all.
“Um, honey, I think this might be it.”
You see with Jane I was induced in the hospital. Even though my baby and pregnancy were perfectly healthy, my blood pressure had gotten a little too high. Labor started artificially and it came in hard and fast and lasted FOR-E-VER. Pitocin is truly a magical force. This time was so relaxed and natural that I wondered if it was actually for real.
After Rich and I hugged and cuddled our big girl Jane, through tear filled eyes, realizing when she came home she would not be alone, my mother-in-law came over to take her during the labor and recovery.
The rest of the story is going to make many women hate me, because in all honesty, my labor was annoyingly awesome.
I had a fear of my labor stalling, and it all seemed too easy, so Rich made us breakfast and then we went on a hike. After some good inclines I still wasn’t experiencing pitocin like contractions so we decided to go home and just rest. I sat on my birth ball, thinking I could bounce the baby out I guess? And, I did a puzzle. Yep. You’re hating me now.
Over the next couple hours it got a little more intense so I enjoyed a couple minutes in our newly remodeled shower. After we remodeled our bathroom last summer, I said several times, “I just can’t wait to labor in here!” What a weirdo. Well, labor in there, I did, while Rich stood by with the contraction timer app.
“That one one was a zinger! How long was that!?”
“Only 35 seconds babe”
Dang it, time for more ball bouncing.
After about 10 hrs of mild, unsure labor, I laid on our bed to rest. A large contraction was coming in, and just about when I thought “Good grief this one SUCKS!” I felt a pop, a small gush and finally knew, this was really happening? .
When Jane was born, she came out basically when my water broke. So I knew we potentially had about 5 minutes before Haven would arrive.
You know how in the movies the woman’s water breaks and she rushes to the hospital and screams in pain and delivers the baby 25 minutes later, and you think “Yea right! It does NOT happen like that.” Ladies and gentlemen, it does happen like that.
As my water started leaking over our bathroom floor and we prepared to get in the car to go to the hospital, Chill Hilary who labors over a puzzle and sandwich at home took a bow and Beast Mode Hilary took the stage.
I don’t know why there’s not a clause in the marriage vows that includes “In sickness and in health…during the transition stage of labor and afterwards..”, because I cannot count how many of my personalities my husband had to encounter on our 10 minute adventure to the hospital.
We rushed down the freeway, and into the open parking spot for expecting mothers at our hospital that I’ve NEVER seen open during my entire pregnancy (Halleluyer!).
As we raced (aka wobbled through with water down my legs, and stopped every 2 minutes moaning on my sweet husband with contractions) through the parking lot, up the elevator and down the MILES LONG HALLWAY to the birth floor, I said very childish and regrettable things to Rich. But also very justifiable I think…
I was checked in to our room in a flash (Leaking water through your pants is really effective and gets people movin), and hooked up to all the necessary devices. The same midwife who delivered Jane was on duty and really nice nurses told me to “just breathe”. I told the sweetest nurse I was sorry if I cussed at her. That we were pastors at the church that you could see from the window of our room. I figured if she happened to hear me preaching one day, at least she couldn’t say I didn’t apologize in advance.
Turns out my appetite for cussing and multiple personalities was because I was already at 8cm. And my entire time spent in that hospital bed consisted of some very unwelcome back labor. I had heard of this before. I believe in Latin it directly translates to “Back massage from the Devil”. It wasn’t the hospital staff’s fault. They encouraged me to move how I’d like, get on all fours, or whatever I needed to feel comfortable. But back labor has a special way of paralyzing its victims into complete surrender.
Still, 40 minutes after checking into the hospital, I was ready to push Haven the heck OUT. People had told me before I had kids,”Don’t worry, your baby won’t fall out of you”. I kindly beg to differ. Three minutes and about 6 pushes later, Haven Ann was born.
My birth stages are recorded as:
1st stage of labor – 13 hrs
2nd stage of labor – 5 minutes
Although the first words out of my mouth were, “The Harris 4 and no more”, it truly was a redemptive labor (more on that term later). It came with ease, without fear and it was fast. So fast, in fact, that amniotic fluid didn’t have time to get squeezed out so she spit it up for the first 24 hrs. And doctors kept telling me how I was “made for giving birth”. How sweet. Let me punch you in the face. On paper it was just as it should be and I am so grateful. It was, however, the very beginning of so many emotions, memories, and challenges that have been and are yet to be processed for this new family of 4.