Our long-awaited, fervently prayed-for little blessing, Bennett Eric Sharpe, arrived September 1st at 1:55 AM in a whirlwind delivery. And because I love birth stories, I’ll share his!
On Monday evening at 5PM, I went to my usual HIIT class at the gym. Mid warm-up, right after some bear crawls and half way through a set of walking lunges, I felt a gush. I quickly ran to the bathroom to assess if it was my water that broke, or if I had instantly become massively incontinent. It appeared to be the former, but I figured I’d test it out. So I went back to class and jumped right back into the warm-up. Sure enough, I felt another gush, so I grabbed my stuff and hurried to get Mckenna, fearing that I may end up making a huge scene, and mess, if I didn’t get out of the gym quickly.
I waited a couple hours to make sure that I continued to leak fluid before calling the midwife. It wasn’t a constant flow as Bennett was so low he acted like a cork most of the time. We decided since this was probably it that we should take Mckenna for ice cream after dinner to have a special outing just the 3 of us before we became a family of 4.
After ice cream we decided it was time to call the midwife and update her of my status, as well as call my parents to have them get ready to come down to our house. It was relatively uneventful for a period of time. I wasn’t having any contractions other than my usual nightly, frequent, strong Braxton Hicks. The midwife told me to hang at home until the contractions got too intense to talk or walk through them or until 5AM, whichever came first.
Around 9PM my parents got to our house. My dad planned to spend the night with Mckenna and my mom was going to join us at the hospital. We watched TV while I bounced on a birthing ball and walked around the kitchen, trying to get something to happen. At 10:30PM, we decided to go to bed, so we could be well-rested when things started happening.
I was laying in bed watching The Office on Netflix while Ronnie did a treatment, when I felt an odd pop and at the same instant, my first contraction. It wasn’t all that strong, but was a definite contraction. I hopped out of bed to let Ronnie know that my contractions had started, but then got back in bed figuring it would be awhile. At around 11PM, Ronnie’s treatment was done and he joined me in bed. We sat watching The Office and chatted as contractions came and went…I wasn’t timing them however because I was just going to head to the hospital when I couldn’t stand them any longer, but they were pretty frequent. At around 11:15PM, I said to Ronnie that I didn’t think it would be long before we were going to have to head to the hospital because things felt like they were picking up quickly...contractions were tolerable, but strong. Ronnie decided to get out of bed and take a quick shower. By 11:30PM I could tell the train was moving quickly down the tracks and told Ronnie we better get our stuff in the car and start moving towards the hospital. The contractions weren’t awful, but I knew that with Mckenna I didn’t have contractions that I couldn’t talk or walk through until I was in transition (which I progressed through quickly), so I knew I better hedge my bets or baby would be born at home accidentally. At 12AM we woke up my parents to say we were headed to the hospital, but told them to sleep some more and that we would call them when we were checked in and had an update.
Standing outside the hospital
We arrived at the ER at 12:17AM with contractions every 2-3 minutes (I started timing them on the way because I knew they’d ask me when we arrived). They brought me a double-wide wheel chair (you know the kind…the wheelchair a family of 5 could fit in) to sit in while we waited for someone to come wheel me up to OB triage. At this point the contractions were manageable, but very strong. Ronnie and I chatted in between contractions, and when one would hit, I would just close my eyes, hold myself up by pushing on the arms of the wheel chair to relieve some of the pressure, and let my brain go blank until it passed…and then it was back to chatting.
This is Ronnie's stink face...I usually get a stink face vs a smile when I try to take a picture of Ronnie
We soon realized that they were swamped in labor and delivery. By this time it was 12:45AM, and no one had come for me. Contractions were intense, but I didn’t think there was a huge sense of urgency, since my contractions only started 2 hours prior. So we waited patiently. Finally one of the ER nurses wheeled us up because it became apparent no one was coming.
At 12:50AM we arrived in OB triage. I really hate OB triage…especially on night’s like that night. Every bay was filled. You could hear women laboring, moaning and groaning. I’m all for laboring like you need to labor, but I’d rather not have to hear it, as I am very much in my own mental space when in labor, and try to mentally diminish what I am feeling…using internal dialogue to tell myself that it’s just pressure; that it’s not too bad; that it’s all relative; that pain is progress…you name it. Between contractions I’m talking and jovial; during contractions I’m quiet, focused, calm and collected. I enjoy labor. I think it's miraculous and beautiful. And I want to make it fun for myself and for Ronnie. Somehow hearing the moans of others makes it harder. Anyways, I digress.
In between contractions while before being hooked up for monitoring in OB Triage
During contraction while waiting to be hooked up for monitoring in OB Triage
At this point the contractions were one right after another and strong, but they were in the middle of assessing me and getting me what I needed to be admitted, so I did what they asked me to do, between contractions. Walk to toilet, pause for contraction. Pee in cup, pause for contraction. Get gown on, pause for contraction. I tried to work quickly, as I felt like I did with Mckenna towards the end of labor, so I had a hunch we didn’t have a whole lot of time. Everyone else took their sweet time, assuming because I was the quietest patient that I was also the least progressed. They hooked me up to the monitors, and I waited for my midwife to come check me. At this point I was hitting the zone. Other mommas may know what I’m talking about. That point where you’re very much in tune with your body and relatively disengaged with everyone else. I would chat between contractions and did what was asked of me, but I was very much in my own headspace.
In the zone...mid-contraction
The midwife came and checked me around 1AM. I was 100% effaced, 6cm dilated, and +1 station. I was thrilled that I was that far along and thrilled that I was actually in-tune with where was body was. At this point I was not thrilled with having to labor laying in bed on the monitors, but I still had to be hooked up, and they still needed to get blood from me and start an IV. The nurse came and drew some blood. I sat as still as possible, which wasn’t the easiest as at this point my contractions were legit, and the last thing I really wanted was some lady digging at my veins as I breathed through them. Also, I was Group B Step positive, which meant I needed two rounds of antibiotics, 4 hours apart. I knew all along I probably wouldn’t get two doses, but they came in to start my IV to at least get one dose in (which actually never happened...as you'll see). So another nurse came to start my IV. Her first attempt, she blew it. It was one of those moments that you kind of want to say, “ok, you’re done. Bye Bye,” as she dug around a bit in the middle of a really strong contraction. But I just smiled and nodded when she said she was going to try my other arm. As she was taking her sweet time, I suggested that everyone start to hurry a little bit as it felt like I was getting close. The contractions were one on top of the other, very intense, and my head was completely fuzzy, so I knew I was fully in transition and that it was going to move quick. Mid-second IV attempt, and just one contraction after my suggestion of hurrying, I felt my body bear down. I told the nurse that they needed to move me to a room quickly; that I was bearing down and could tell he was coming fast. Thankfully, they took me seriously. Everyone started to move. She quickly placed the IV, and they started wheeling me to their “drive by room” as they call it. It was adjacent to the triage room, and they always keep it set up, for such a time as this.
At this point it was 1:40AM or so. I continued to feel the urge to push, but tried to breathe through as best I could. Once in my delivery room, a nurse came to check me. She didn’t say anything. Another contraction was starting so I asked her if I was fully dilated, so I could push with the contraction and bearing down vs breathing through it. She looked at me with a slightly nervous, wide-eyed look and said, “OH YEAH, he’s like this far in,” holding her thumb and forefinger about a centimeter apart. Funny enough, she was the nurse there when I delivered Mckenna, and I’m pretty sure the look of panic was her thinking she may have to catch this baby…before the midwife could arrive.
Thankfully, in that moment both my mom and the midwife arrived. I was thrilled my mom made it in time!
Everyone got into their positions, as I began to push with my contractions. Side note: I love labor and delivery, but I will say, I do feel a nervousness as my body bears down because the discomfort is pretty legit, I know it’ll get worst before it gets better, and I have zero control over it…and who likes being out of control? But at the same time, I see it as a challenge, and it’s part of why I love going unmedicated in deliveries. Anyways, back to the story.
So I start pushing with my contractions. The thing I love about my midwives is that they just let me do what comes naturally. So I did just that. Some contractions were legit and my body was bearing down with them. So with those contractions, I’d push. Every once in a while a contraction wouldn’t be as strong and my body wouldn’t be bearing down the same way, so I just would rest and breathe through it. In between contractions, we would chat, make jokes, etc. I also progressed so quickly, that I wasn’t actually totally admitted yet, so between contractions the nurse was trying to scan my bracelet and get me checked in.
Right after the midwife got there
Trying to scan my bracelet...they tried what felt like 34283942 times
Pushing...and yes, when I push, I like to hold the rails for dear life...I white-knuckle those rails!
I got SUPER hot mid-pushing...so I shed layers.
Having a laugh between contractions...though I guess I still look focused!
All smiles between contractions...we knew Bennett was minutes away from our arms at this point.
That first look
There's nothing better than this moment!
First shot of Bennett with Mommy and Daddy...Pure joy!
He was here. He was perfect. He was worth the wait. And he is forever ours!