The Birth of Megan Amanda

I was very surprised to go a week past my due date—a new thing for me. You think by Baby #4 you have it all figured out, but that was not the case! So I was good and ready and very happy to have a couple contractions on the evening of May 30th. I figured that we’d probably have a baby the next day. I had a handful of contractions through the night and the next day—not enough to have any effect on my sleep or normal activities. I expected active labor to start later in the afternoon, as it had with all my previous babies, but once again, Baby #4 did not care about my “normal” patterns.

My husband got home from work, very surprised that I hadn’t needed to call him earlier. We ate supper and went for a walk, still fully expecting the irregular contractions to suddenly turn into active labor. We put the girls to bed and decided we might as well go to bed, too. Getting ready for bed I had a few more contractions, but my mom texted and I told her nothing had really changed and I was going to bed. I got in bed around 10 and had one contraction and said, “Nope, I am NOT lying down for these!” And then, finally, contractions were 5 minutes apart and definitely labor! We thought maybe there was a chance we’d have a May baby after all. I called my mom back at 10:30 and said, “Never mind, I’m not going to bed! Come on over!” I was feeling really overwhelmed thinking of going through labor, so Noah prayed for me and that really helped me to feel more settled and ready. We called Patrice to get the midwives on their way at 10:40. Contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and pretty intense. My usual way of handling contractions is to sing through them. I had made a list of hymns I know and I would sing a verse or two of a hymn with every contraction. I was kneeling by the bed, with Noah on the bed holding my hands for each contraction. As usual, active labor made me feel nauseated and I threw up a few times.

When my mom arrived, she filled the tub for me and I got in. The warm water felt great and relieved some of the intensity of contractions. They kept getting stronger and really overwhelmed me. Noah was holding my hands and reassuring me with each contraction that I could do it. My mom was in and out, being great support, singing with me through contractions and carrying on the song herself when the contractions were too intense for me to keep singing. I would sing as long as I could but gradually switched over to just praying out loud and begging the Lord for strength to do this hard work. Contractions seemed farther apart than usual for me, and more intense. I continued to throw up which was incredibly annoying! For the first time my back didn’t hurt, which was nice, but I think it was just more focused pain in my belly. It was so much more intense this time! It was really hard to cope with contractions and I felt more out of control and overwhelmed than with any of my other babies. I needed a lot more encouragement that I could do it—it was so hard! I asked Noah to pray for me again and he prayed over me and I’m so grateful. I really don’t know how anyone could labor and give birth without a strong, supportive husband.

Patrice, Barb, Jen and Rachel all arrived somewhere in here and were in and out, listening to the baby and offering encouraging words. I felt a little pushy a couple of times, but knowing my tendency to feel pushy long before I’m completely dilated I tried to ignore it as long as I could. I moved around a lot in the tub and dozed off in between contractions occasionally. It was past midnight: Baby wasn’t going to be a May baby, after all!

When I started to feel really pushy around 12:50 I pushed a little and it hurt, so I checked and felt a lip of cervix still there. Sigh. I wish I didn’t have to deal with that every time! I tried holding it and pushing (hard to do for yourself), breathing through more contractions, and just pushing, but nothing felt like it was making any progress, so I asked Jen to hold it back while I pushed. That was not fun for a couple of contractions, but it was good to feel like I was making progress and baby’s head was finally moving down well. Once that cervix was all out of the way (at 1:20) it was good to just push and know I was getting close to meeting my baby!

Amy and Sylvia, our 7- & 5-year-old girls, were awake now and ready to meet the new baby! They were in the bathroom with us for a bit and then went and laid on our bed in the next room until the baby really started coming out.

One of my least favorite things about pushing is in between contractions when baby’s head goes back up—it’s the yuckiest feeling and I really hate it. It’s so nice when the baby finally stays down and doesn’t go back between contractions. I was keeping my hand on the baby’s head as it started to come, holding it back so it would be born slowly. I was so excited to meet my baby! Crowning and birth of baby’s head was so much easier this time—I’ve never had a tear so I didn’t feel anxious about that and just paid attention to how it felt. I pushed gently and blew instead of pushing when it felt stretchy and burned. That blowing/not pushing phase felt so much shorter this time—like it was only a couple contractions. I was still doing a lot of support on baby’s head to help it ease out slowly. Baby’s head was born and I pushed right away and the shoulders rotated and started to come, but then kind of stopped and I felt a cord around the baby’s neck. Jen slipped it over baby’s head and I pushed again and lifted my sweet baby out of the water and up onto my chest at 1:46am. The cord was still tangled around her arm somehow and Jen untangled it while I snuggled my baby and enjoyed seeing her squinch up her little face for her first gentle cry.

I felt right away that she was a girl and told Noah that we have another girl! My mom went upstairs and got Kate, our 2½-year-old. When all 3 of our big girls were in the bathroom with us, I said, “Kate, you were right! It is a girl!” She had been all sleepy and bashful until I said that, but then she lit up and did a happy dance and was ecstatic, “I was right! It is a girl!” She kept saying that over and over until she went back to bed, and then for the next few days, “Daddy was wrong. Amy was wrong. Sylvia was wrong. Jacey (the dog!) was wrong. And I was RIGHT! It was a girl!” Her absolute delight at having a baby sister is one of my favorite things from this birth!

We didn’t have a name for this baby—we’ve had names picked out and used by other people a couple of times now, so Noah said we weren’t discussing names until we had a baby. J But when she was about a day old we decided this little girl would be Megan. And when she was 5 days old we chose her middle name, Amanda, after my sister. But for now she was just “Baby!”

Baby nursed within 10 minutes, in the tub still. I called my dad to let him know she was safely here—I figured rightly that he wasn’t having a restful night waiting to hear. After she finished nursing Noah held her and he and the girls enjoyed her while I showered. This is what we’ve done in the past, and I really enjoy my few totally private minutes in the shower to marvel that baby is here and give thanks to the Father for the gift of another healthy baby.

We got all snuggled in bed and baby nursed again (and again and again!) and then Patrice did the newborn exam. Baby weighed 9#4! I was so surprised. Once again, not fitting in my patterns, she broke out of my previous half-pound baby weight range by an entire pound!

Active labor was a couple hours longer than the last two times, and so much more intense. It was really overwhelming and I felt like I just couldn’t cope with the intensity of contractions. I kept needing to be talked down from feeling out of control and I threw up so much more than the last couple times. It was also harder having a baby in the middle of the night—all of our others have been evening babies and I have really enjoyed being able to have all of our families come over within a couple hours for a quick peek at the new baby. It was disappointing to not have that this time, and felt like it took so long to catch up on missing almost a whole night of sleep. On the bright side, my back didn’t hurt at all this time and the crowning and birth of baby’s head was much easier.

I loved having Amy and Sylvia there for the birth and Kate in right away after Meg was born. Such a special moment, and Kate’s reaction to finding out she had a baby sister was priceless and is something I will treasure forever!

Noah was with me for every single contraction, holding my hands and reassuring me, praying for me and with me. He is totally my rock and I depend so much on his strength for labor. It’s truly a team effort and it’s no wonder I say, “WE did it!”

I’m still in awe at the miracle of birth—no matter how often I see it or experience it myself, I can’t wrap my mind around it. Holding this tiny person who we’ve sort of known for a while, seeing her and realizing she’s the one we’ve been waiting to meet–it’s mind-boggling. It’s so amazing and beautiful and wonderful and all I can do is praise the Creator and Giver of all life. God is so good!