2:12am.. that time is burned into my brain because it's the moment that I knew something was different.
It had been a long day.. we had traveled to Charlotte to pick up the laminate for the kitchen cabinets, and of course like always something was wrong with the order. I was not in the mood, Ollie was past his due date by a day, and I started feeling sick on the way home... I called my mom and she made the comment that she had felt similar the days she had went into labor. I brushed it off, not wanting to get my hopes up. I got home crawled into bed with Atlas for a long nap... I remember wanting to hold him tighter longer, even taking a picture of the moment, knowing those moments of just the 2 of us snuggled wouldn't be the norm for long.
I woke up with a new vigor... ready to take on the world, or at least paint the dining room wall, and I did. I then decided to do something called the Miles circuit that is suppose to help baby get into position. After the 2nd position I looked at Justin and commented that I felt a lot of pressure. I finished the circuit around midnight and we all crawled into bed, but unlike the other 2 in my crew, I couldn't sleep.
Around 1 I felt God told me to look at the verse for the day .. It was from Romans 8, and as I felt impressed to read the whole chapter this is what I came across Vs 22-26
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. 23 And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves,eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.26 In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us[l]with unspoken groanings.
MAN, He's in the details.
Not sleeping was not the norm for me this pregnancy. I almost slept too much... and insomnia didn't knock on my door often, so I started getting restless. 2:12.. that's when it all changed.I had a contraction that was unlike anything I had felt thus far and I immediately started timing. 7 minutes later I had another.. and then another. 5 contractions in I woke Justin just to let him know and then told him to go back to sleep. An hour later, they were still going.. but now they were about 4 minutes apart.. only lasting 45seconds to a minute and they weren't super strong.
I called the triage nurse. I decided to go to a new hospital last minute over an hour away because I knew they would accommodate the birth that I had dreamed about. Natural with very little intervention if any. I was very nonchalant on the call.. Because of some health issues, I needed to get to the hospital 4 hours early to get some antibiotics, but I thought surely I would have plenty of time. I mean I labored with Atlas for 28 hours. After a call to the Dr, the nurse said to come on. I called my mom and tried calling lollie a thousand and 2 times, but she wasn't answering so we headed to her house with Atlas in tow to wake her up and drop him off.
BANG BANG BANG.. Haven, it's me, Ryssi, get your mom.. I knew Haven was sleeping on the couch, but of course all she heard was the banging and they were sure it was a robber. NOPE just me. Wild eyed and haired they answered the door, I handed them Atlas and said, LET'S Go...
An hour later we were at the hospital being checked in.. I felt silly honestly, I could walk and talk through the contractions and though they were bad they were nothing like the back labor I had experienced with Atlas, but never the less, I was being checked into triage, praying they would not send me home...
Thirty or so minutes later after playing a game with the nurse called a thousand and one questions, they checked me.. 7 centimeters, and 100% effaced, this was happening,
Besides Justin, I had my mama in the room because she is my security in a lot of ways. If she says I can do it, I can do it. I also am the baby of 4 girls, so in a lot of ways I need my mom for confirmation, and because honestly I'm a bit of a baby. Lollie was also there to photograph the occasion, as she always is. She's my soul tie... and we do just about everything together, as God has knit us pretty tightly together. It was awesome because I have photographed 2 of her births, one with an epidural and one natural, and she was getting to do the same for me now. She captured Atlas' birth with an epidural and now we were getting to experience me experiencing natural birth together for the first time By chance , I even had the same midwife she had, I delivered Ollie one day earlier than she had 3 years prior, and the next day I had the same nurse that she had had with Birdie.
So ready or not this baby was coming... Up until this point My contractions were great, super manageable to the point I couldn't believe how far along I was.. AND THEN ... it all changed.
BACK LABOR... if I could say there was one thing in the world I don't care to ever meet again, it goes by the name of back labor. It is the very spawn of Satan. The dr had warned me a few weeks prior that if baby didn't turn that I would be having back labor, I prayed and prayed, but guess who didn't get the memo to turn. I remember pressing myself into Justin begging him to hold me up.. He was so strong, and every ounce of support I could have ever asked for.
My amazing nurse Erin, more on her to come, asked if wanted to get into the bath... UUMM yes. I was praying and hoping it would stop the back pain, or at least soothe it a bit. My worship playlist called Ollie was softly playing, and all I can remember is crying and lifting my hands to praise him as these words filled the air.
I was not oblivious as to what the pain in labor was. A consequence.. A consequence to the sin we brought into the world, but also an empowering moment, knowing that My Jesus loved me enough to take the payment for that consequence. Knowing that if he could endure the cross, I could endure this pain, and that He would go there with me. If I pressed into Him, He would be my ultimate support and guidance. I went on a retreat called heartquest this year in Texas, and we did an awesome study on woman, and how God wants to restore woman. That was the moment I purposed in myself to do this naturally. To experience what it was that He intended women to go through. You may think this is crazy, and that's ok, because it was an experience I wouldn't ever give back.. through the pain and fear, He was there, and it was beautiful and spiritual all at the same time.
At this point, the contractions were really strong, and I thought my water had broke, so i got out of the tub to check. No dice, and at this point, I had not progressed too much. My nurse Erin was a champ. Constantly encouraging and directing me. Seriously, there was no need for a doula with her on board. I was so blessed to have her as my nurse.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Psalms 127:4. Justin and I got these matching tattoos for Atlas our little arrow. We will add on for our Ollie now... We are going to try our best to teach them to shoot straight, to pierce this world with Love, and to do mighty things with their lives.
I couldn't get comfortable. No position I was in felt ok, and the back labor was so bad I began to question my sanity in my choice to go natural. Erin would suggest a position, and I would just scream... no ball, no leaning on the bed, nothing helped. She would get me peppermint to smell for nausea, and then would get warm compresses for counter pressure.. Did I mention how awesome my nurse was.
The above image really makes me laugh.. You can see them cracking up at the fact that Justin was trying his best to get me in a zone and into a good place. He mentioned my grandmother's hammock and imaging myself there and I literally put my hand in his face and said not now. I wasn't in the mental place, and as much as I love my grandmother's house I was in too much pain to be transported there. As long as he said "You've got this you are doing great.." He was fine, and it was beyond comforting and empowering. This was the period I must have apologized a thousand times. I said I was sorry for screaming.. I said I was sorry for snapping at people.. I told my nurse, Erin, I was sorry that I couldn't get comfortable in any position, and if she asked if a position was better I would say I don't know... I just don't know, and then again I'm sorry.
At this point I was feeling the need to push and began screaming. I jumped in the bed to be checked and I was only an 8. They kept telling me that If I could hold off until 11 to get a second round of antibiotics that would be best. It was a bit after 9 at this point, and the idea of being in labor for 2 more hours was impossible. Erin looked me in the face and got tough and said, Christen we can get this baby out soon, but you have got to get on all 4s. This position was excruciating, but she pointed out that I was in insane pain no matter what position I was in, so let's suck it up and get this baby out. So I did it.
3 contractions in, I sat up and begged for a 10 minute break.. "I just need 10 minutes.. I just need 10 minutes, I can do this if I can just get a 10 minute break" Everyone looked at me with pity knowing I was not going to be getting that break. I also was regretting the pineapple I had eaten earlier, and was beginning to think i was going to be sick. Young Living Peppermint essential oils to the rescue. Another 2 contractions in and I was blood curdling screaming. My awesome nurse, trying to comfort me rubbed my back as she shhh-ed me. The midwife came in and checked me and I was still an 8, she left along with Lollie to get me some more water. Here we go, another contraction ... and then I screamed "He's coming" .. "He's Coming" There was no doubt about it, and I flipped my body over on the bed as fast as I could.
The midwife heard me down the hall and was in the room before the contraction was over. I began to frantically search for Lollie. I looked up to see my mom holding the camera, and I said, get Lollie, where's Lollie... There she was, water and camera in hand. OK let's do this.
This part was fast and furious... pushing without an epidural was completely different. You feel everything, and I screamed about everything I was feeling. "It burns" "My hips, my hips" - i literally thought they were breaking... One of the nurses told me to reach down and feel his head, but I was like NO, hahah I had every intention of catching him, but in that moment, I just wanted him out. 9:46am My little Ollie Hawk entered the world. 8lbs 6 oz, 20 in long. I did grab him the moment he was out and put him on my chest, and in that moment, the world stopped, the pain was worth it, and I just remember the look on Justin's face.. one that was so proud, and I said "We did it, we did it" over and over. I had prayed for a labor 8 hours or less, and it was 7 1/2 hours from 2:12am to 9:46am.
Things started going a bit haywire here. The midwife let me know that I was hemorrhaging and that I would need a shot of pitocin, and something else to stop the bleeding and asked for my permission. Um of course. They then proceeded to push on my stomach trying to get all the clots out. This part was not fun, and honestly I don't remember much of what was going on around me. This was one of the most painful parts of childbirth for me.
Time passed and the midwife gave the all clear on me, and exited the room. It was one of the busiest weekends for the hospital and they ended up having to send women to other hospitals, delivering in triage rooms, and one woman even almost had her baby in her car, due to no fault of the hospital. From here the medicine they gave me for bleeding kicked in along with my adrenaline and I began shaking uncontrollably. It lasted for about an hour and then stopped...
Natural labor is a crazy thing.. one minute you are screaming you can't do it, then you birth a baby, and an hour later you are up, getting ready to see the grandparents and your first born. Though it was hard and painful, if we ever have another one, I will without a doubt do it this way again. It was exhilarating, and made me feel strong, and empowered. I allowed my body to do what God had created it to do. it was beautiful and intimate.
This was the part I had feared and anticipated the most. I debated who should be holding Ollie when Atlas walked in. He is fiercely independent.. but also fiercely my boy... and I was scared of his reaction and the change that had just happened. We went from not even 24 hours earlier snuggling with just him at nap time to rocking his whole world with a new little one. I know he will be the best big brother, teaching Ollie about sharks and dinosaurs, but I felt just the tiniest bit guilty in that moment. Atlas of course was a champ, and played with dinosaurs the whole time barely giving a second glance to me or Ollie. He did give us all kisses though, which made my mama heart soar.
My little Ollie... you have filled a void I didn't even know I had. I was so nervous I couldn't love another like I love your brother, but boy was I wrong. You are the spitting image of your daddy, which is fitting as you were named after his maw maw.
We had no idea what we were going to name you. Your great grandmother did not love her name, and honestly I forgot her name was Ollie until the funeral. She was known as Rena. She was insistent to be called by her middle name, to the point most people didn't even know her real name, but as me and your daddy sat mourning the loss of someone we loved hard we looked at each other and knew this would be your name. It was like we didn't even skip a beat.. You were our Ollie.
I came home and asked your aunt Lollie what she thought.. because well it would be very close to her life long nickname.... but also because I value her opinion above just about anyone. She agreed it was perfect.. She also said she was going to claim you were sort of named after her... we are going to let her have it, because she's pretty darn special, and you are going to grow to love her just as much as everyone else does!
So my sweet second born, you have been in this world a little over 2 weeks, and you have let it be known you are going to be just as needy as your brother was. You love to be swaddled held, and fed constantly. Moon River calms you down quicker than just about anything else. You love how warm and comfortable your dad is, and can fall asleep on him easier than anyone.. you also are very patient with your big brother crawling all over you. You love your pacifier your aunt Jessie got you, and the cactus blanket Charity made you. You are already so loved and special, and we know you are going to do great things in this world. You are a champion, formed by your heavenly father uniquely who loves you more than we ever could. My little Ollie Hawk, on the day you were born, the world stopped spinning, and my whole life became a bit clearer. We love you our little Huckleberry Friend.