Ezra Neal: a birth story

Our “due August 17th” baby was too cozy and comfy, safe inside mommy – and when he finally came out 9 days later, he bawled and bawled to let the world know he was not happy about the eviction.

But we were so thrilled.

It was Monday, August 26th when the day finally came. I had scheduled to induce for Wednesday, and felt a little saner seeing a “no-later-than” date on the calendar. What a long 9 days! I visited my Ob-gyn that afternoon, and it was a workout with two toddlers in tow. He found that I was mostly effaced, and dilated to a 4. We went over instructions for the inducement morning, and he reassured me that when things got rolling it should be pretty smooth since my baby and body had clearly been ready for weeks. It truly felt like we were just waiting for God to give the “go ahead” for labor to begin.

I drove home, skipping the errands I had planned, as I was too tired and had promised the kids a smoothie at home after our appointment. Shortly after we got home my husband was home too, and since my energy was running short, he volunteered to make something for dinner. I went to lie down for a little while. It was about 5pm, and I was feeling a little crampy.

The crampiness was uncomfortable, and I mentioned to Nels that it might be an early sign of labor – but who was I kidding? Clearly I was never.going.into.labor. Thankfully, even though I was overly-hesitant to be sure I was actually in labor, he was more alert and began making phone calls to alert my mom and get in touch with our friends who would be babysitting the other kiddos. I decided to take a shower, figuring either I would head to the hospital clean and fresh – or the soothing warmth would relax my body and the contractions/cramps would stop.

Contractions did not stop, and though they were only about 25-30 seconds, they were coming continuously, about 12 minutes apart. Nels had me sit down and have a bite to eat, insisting “you’ll need the protein!” Then we rounded up a few last things for our hospital bags, Nels took the kids to our neighbors home, I called my mother-in-law to make sure we weren’t being crazy to head in (she confirmed we definitely should) and we left for the hospital.

It was a little discouraging that I didn’t have any contractions in the car on the way to the hospital. I was still nervous it was a fluke and I was wasting everyone’s time to go in. But a few contractions later I was increasingly uncomfortable, and increasingly certain we were doing the right thing. It was about 6 pm. There was still quite a distance (sometimes 10-12 minutes?) between contractions, so I’m not sure the hospital staff took my labor very seriously yet (not unlike myself!), but when I told them I had been at a 4 earlier in the afternoon, they hurried their pace, got me to a room, checked us in and found that I had progressed to a 5-6. My mom arrived shortly thereafter and encouraged me to walk the hallways while I could still handle that. Nels downloaded a contractions-tracker app on his phone while we walked…when he asked, “What should I rank that one? Mild?” I about lost it. 😉 We headed back to the room where I went ahead and asked for some pain medication through the IV, which made me a little dizzy and confined me to the bed. It was getting later in the evening and I was ready to lay down for a bit and gather myself. Plus, the finale of Bear Grylls’ “Get Out Alive” was airing and we didn’t want to miss it!

We watched “Get Out Alive” but I still missed it. My mind was a little foggy with the pain medication, which did help take the edge off the contractions a bit, but then the intensity really started to increase. They checked my progress and I was about more like 6-7 when the doctor (who I had never met before – ugh! I missed my doctor by about an hour) broke my water. I was a little surprised by that, and the contractions really intensified. They were more frequent and there was less relief from breathing techniques, rocking my hips back and forth, laying on my side, etc. The duration was increasing dramatically as well and I felt myself begin to panic a little bit. Mom and Nels were both there reassuring me, helping me work through the contractions. I bit down hard on a towel and twisted to my left side and prayed for God’s help. We had talked about getting an epidural, but now I was at an 8 and things were progressing enough that it felt like an epidural would be more hassle than help. But I was getting scared, and after that I couldn’t have any more of the pain medicine through the IV.

Our main nurse told me to call her when I felt the urge to push, but I called her in earlier – not sure I was ready to push, but certain that things felt out of control and that it could happen any second. It felt better to have my legs pulled up and ready “in position”…

Prior to labor, I had imagined entering into the delivery with confidence and poise, but I felt that all falling apart as things went so different than I expected – I kept praying. I said several times “I can’t do this…” and felt the panic knowing that at that point I had to do it. My eyes kept searching out Nels, then my mom, feeling reassured that they were there with me and praying, sharing in my struggle as much as they could.

It was confusing when my nurse instructed me to push, because I didn’t yet feel that pressure – though I felt crazy intensity and lots of pressure in my back and tailbone. I knew I had to try though, because I couldn’t just keep breathing through the increasingly difficult and long contractions. She instructed me to hold my breath and push, and the doctor was standing there too, saying the baby had not descended the birth canal entirely but was really close (and apparently had a real big head – thanks for that encouraging tidbit of info, doc!). Because I didn’t feel his head in place yet and he wasn’t crowning the way my other babies had been before I really pushed, it was confusing to figure out where/how to push or what muscles to use. I was concerned I would push and push with no progress. I held my breath and did my best to bear down and push through the next contractions though, and a few minutes later he descended and was really in place, ready to come out. What a relief. Apparently he had been turned a little awkwardly and needed to rotate before he could descend.

Once I felt his head I was relieved. It was painful and burned like crazy, but when I could feel that his head was right there it was so encouraging and motivating. It was a lot easier to feel where to push too. In just a few moments his head was out, then his shoulders and the rest of his body plunged out and his desperately sad crying brought a rush of the sweetest relief over me. They placed my sweet, gorgeous baby on my tummy – a silly, messy crying boy – suctioned off his mouth and nose – I held him and relished the moment of seeing his face for the first time. Nels carefully cut the umbilical cord, and a nurse said, “that boy is over 9 pounds, for sure!”

I was surprised that I was still in so much pain though. There was a decent tear, and delivering the placenta that came a few minutes afterward was uncomfortable, but I felt some relief after that. I had some numbing shots and stitches and Ezra nursed right away which immediately started my uterus contracting again. The nurses were wonderfully patient with us though, allowing Nels and my mom and I to ooh and ahh over him, hold him, study his features, etc. before weighing and measuring and cleaning him up too much. We were so relieved to have him finally born. He has been an absolute gem of a baby and I am so delighted getting acquainted with him more every day!

C.H. Spurgeon said “Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!” I certainly feel like pregnancy and labor and delivery can be a storm – but it is such a blessing, when it drives us to dependence on a heavenly Father who is a rock for us. I am so thankful for His tender love and mercy, and for His constant presence and help on this very profound day in our lives.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,

who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;

he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The Lord is your keeper;

the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day,

nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;

he will keep your life.

 The Lord will keep

your going out and your coming in

from this time forth and forevermore. {Psalm 121}

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Ezra Neal Carlson

10:07 p.m.   |   8/26/2013  |   8 pounds, 14 ounces  |  21.5 inches long

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Hudson’s birth story

Kaya’s birth story

❤ jc

P.S. WE ARE ALSO SOOOOOO THANKFUL for all our friends and family who have encouraged us with gifts, meals and other loving things in celebration of Ezra’s birth! Wow, praise the Lord!

Click here to read about why we chose “Ezra Neal” for this baby boy.

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10 thoughts on “Ezra Neal: a birth story

  1. I’ve been with hundreds of women as they endured labor, then the birth of their baby…and I NEVER, EVER tire of hearing just one more story! Congratulations sweet girl . He is stunning!! And you did a GREAT job! Praying for his salvation at the news of his birth! Love.

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