Thursday, December 4, 2008

this woman's work - day four

My plan was to labor at home for our second birth. Then at the last possible moment show up at the hospital with husband, birth ball, odwalla bars, doula, pjs, music, pictures and battery operated candles all in tow. Approaching my due date I felt empowered, all of the mantras taught to me by the midwives revolved around and around in my head. I knew which newborn procedures I wanted to waive and how I was going to navigate hospital routine. Most of all, I knew that I could do this. My body was meant to do this. I had a plan and an amazingly cooperative doctor. Everything was in place.

My plan, however, did not include being 14 days over due, my doula not making it, an induction, and an epidural. But the empowerment stayed with me. I counseled with my doctor. I made good decisions. I avoided a cesarean twice by working with my baby.

Day 14 after my due date we had a nonstress test that showed some low heart rate tones. The doctor I didn't normally see told me we needed to go to the hospital right then. Right now. This minute. She couldn't believe my doctor had even let me go this late. I said I wanted to wait to talk to him.

After much prayer, discussing together and counseling with our doctor we decided to check in at the hospital later that night. We tucked 2 year old Noah sweetly in bed, whispering that his baby brother was coming, and left him with my patient mother.

Our doctor was at the hospital and induced labor with a cytotec pill. I tried to get some sleep while mild contractions were starting. An hour later I woke up to talk about an emergency c-section and nurses bustling around the room, prepping for a move to the Operating Room. My doctor said our baby's heart rate was decelerating rapidly and he had been watching it and waiting longer than he usually would because he knew our intentions of a vaginal birth. He said if we were any other patient, he would have already been in the OR, but stopped to talk to us instead.

This sounds simple, but I knew what was going on. While I was sleeping I had moved over onto my right side. My baby always turned my belly into a punching bag in the middle of the night when I would lay on my right side. I would just switch to the left and he would stop kicking. I knew my baby. I asked Dr. Barton to let me change positions and wait just a little longer. The heart rate calmed down within seconds and so did the bustle in the room. He also removed the cytotec pill and gave me a shot of caffeine to slow the contractions.

Labor stopped for awhile then started up fast and furious on its own. Waves of determined contractions overwhelmed my entire body. I remember Dave - so concerned, warm washcloths, unbelievable pain…then an epidural, peace, quiet, and anticipation.

All together 5 hours of labor and 15 minutes of pushing gave us our Gage. He was born exactly the way he needed to be, despite my plans, right into Dave's hands – quiet, slimy and beautiful.

{Gage's left arm was across his neck and up by his ear. Dr. Barton said this was probably why his heart rate was decelerating when pressure was put on my right side.}

And then the hospital staff quietly left us just momma, papa, and baby for a good hour before any measuring or cleaning. Our requested hour of bonding time. This was incredible. This was heaven. I was amazed at the immense love I felt for this baby boy, amazed at the journey it took to bring him here, and amazed to see his face all his own. Gage. My Gage. And plan or no plan, he was here.
Love, Jessie

gage christian born july 14, 2007


  1. fourteen days past your due date is a labor of love in itself. i love that noah was tucked safely in bed. i love that you knew your baby so well already. i love that you had an hour to meet your boy with no interruption. i love the way you have with words.
    thanks, friend.
    love, lindsay

  2. What a great story. When all is said and done, it really doesn't matter how our babes get here does it? As long as they are healthy and all is well! Thanks for sharing Jes! I read your blog always for inspiration. You are a wonderful mom. I aspire to be like you. I just wanted you to know that!

  3. I love this story Jessie. It is so beautiful. I am happy you shared it.