Monday, February 7, 2011

Holland Elizabeth’s Birth Story, Part II

I regret that it has taken me so long to compose the rest of the story of little Holland’s birth.  I have been really touched by all of you who have asked me about it—it really means so much that you all care to read my story!  So, thank you for being interested :)  In truth, I have not been spending all of this time writing it; I think I’ve been procrastinating actually getting it written down because it seems such a major thing about which to write!  And I want to get it just right!  I want to remember it all perfectly and share it with you all so succinctly, so that I will forever have it written down to cherish!  And so, I must write it!  Here goes…

When I left off last, Philip, Wade, and I had spent the afternoon of November 11th (five days before my due date) playing in a nearby park, all the while I experienced nary a sign that labor might be imminent.  I spent some time later that afternoon and into the evening working on a few things for the nursery (sewing some pink basket liners to replace the blue ones to be exact).  I even decided I’d head over to a friend’s house for a jewelry show after dinner.  (Looking back, it’s rather fitting that a few of us at said jewelry show joked about how I could justify purchasing some jewelry for myself as an upcoming “pushing present”!  Note to the hubby:  I practiced self control and did not in fact purchase any jewelry…) 

{One detail I forgot to include in Part I was that a few days prior I had learned at an appointment with my midwife that I was 3-4 cm dilated and about 70% effaced!  My goodness, that was surprising news!  In part because I was Strep B positive and we wanted to try and time my dose of antibiotics with the baby’s birth, my midwife had been checking my cervix at my last couple of visits.  I didn’t do this with Wade, but we felt it could give us potentially helpful information this time.  A week ago I wasn’t dilated at all, and now to think I was over a third of the way there!  Wahoo, I say!}

I arrived back at home around 9:20 pm and within minutes after walking in the door, I went to use the bathroom (nothing out of the ordinary for a full-term preggo lady).  On my way to the bathroom, as I walked across our lovely dining room rug I felt a gush of water—my water had broken!  With Wade’s birth, my water broke right when I started pushing, so I wasn’t familiar with this progression of events!  I was so surprised and excited as I yelled the news to Philip in the living room.  I didn’t quite know what to do, so I attempted to go to the bathroom as planned, and more water rushed out.  It was so bizarre!  It required me to do nothing; it just rushed out all on its own.  I’ve always found it so mind boggling that labor tends to (usually) work that way when left alone—your body just knows what it needs to do.   

At this point, we knew to call Nancy, our midwife.  When we had planned for the birth, Nancy agreed that I would probably have a  pretty quick labor (based on my labor with Wade, which was about 5-6 hours of active labor), and told me the one thing that could speed it up even more was if my water broke first (!)  When Nancy answered the phone she asked me if I was having any contractions.  I told her no, I felt fine.  She asked me if I had taken a nap that day.  I told her no, but that I could probably go lay down and take one now (oh how naïve I was…).  She laughed and told me, “I think you’re going to have this baby now.”   This sort of shocked me considering I didn’t feel like I was in labor at all!  We agreed that I would call her back in about a half hour and report what I was feeling. 

I headed upstairs to try and rest and I was hit by so many emotions.  It was just the craziest thing to feel basically fine, but to know that labor should begin at any moment!  I also found myself feeling emotional that the time had truly come for our second baby to be born.  I felt strange pangs of guilt, like I wanted Wade to know that he was enough, that I loved him fully, and would always love him so much, even after this baby joined our family.  I remember going in to check on him in his bed one last time before I went to lay down, before labor would really “begin.”  I covered him up and prayed that he would always know how deeply loved he is. 

I went to our bedroom and relaxed on the bed while Philip lit some candles and began to fill up the birthing tub (an actual horse trough in reality, how cool is that?!). 


I remember I felt really cold and needed extra thick socks and our down comforter to get warm.  As I lay there, I began to experience some mild contractions.  Ok, things were happening here!  I breathed through them and focused on relaxing and resting. 


{please pardon me while I step away from the events leading up to my daughter’s birth to address my mismatched and too-small-for-the-space lamps.  I’ve written before about how I like interior design, so I just want to say that I have since updated these guys with a fun pair.  I know you were all worried.}

It was nearing 10 pm, so I called Nancy and explained to her that I was contracting some, but that the discomfort was definitely manageable.  Knowing labor like she does, Nancy said she planned to gather her things and that she would be there within the hour.  By the time she arrived at about a quarter of 11 (We had lit Christmas lights on our dogwood to help make it easy for her to spot our house in the dark), the contractions had intensified slightly, and I was still laying on our bed.  I remember Nancy coming over to the bed and asking me how I was doing.  I choked up as I told her that I felt emotional, strangely sad even, to think that I would never again just have one child (oh, those hormones!).  She was very understanding, and yet encouraging as she reminded me of the great gift I was about to give Wade. 

Nancy checked me and told me I was a good 5-6 cm dilated and that my body “wanted to be a 6” (ha, not sure exactly what that meant, but I’ll take it clip_image002) As I continued to lay on the bed, the contractions didn’t feel good of course, but they weren’t all that bad.  Nancy suggested I get up and move around to get things moving along.  I remember her telling me that this would probably enable me to have this baby within the next couple of hours (!).  In my emotional, hormonal state, I told her I just wasn’t sure I was ready to do that.  I was overwhelmed with the thought that I could really bring this labor on and bring this baby into the world so soon.  I didn’t know if I might just want a little more time, a little more easing into this thing!   I also knew that the kind of labor that brings a baby into the world is REALLY. REALLY. HARD!  Did I really want to do things to make this happen sooner?!  It was a crazy place for me to sit, to wade into mentally and emotionally…

*I’ll be back with the last installment in this drawn out story very soon (like, this week)!  I’m sorry to leave you all hanging…I didn’t realize it was going to be such a long story, but I don’t want to forget any detail, so I will attempt to record them all.  Thanks for bearing with me.  And thanks again for caring enough to read my birth story! clip_image002[1])


  1. I completely understand your emotional state. I was an emotional wreck just before and after Abram was born, thinking about how big and hard this change would be for Ellie. I think I cried buckets over it all.

  2. Ann this is such a WONDERFUL story. Thank you for sharing it so openly! I may send it to my friend who is delivering any day now and who Nancy will be tending to.


  3. Suspense!!!

    On another note, your stopping to comment on your lamps is hilarious.

  4. Love the suspense of these cliffhangers. Can't wait to here the rest of it.

  5. What a beautiful story and a lovely family you have Anne. I actually got teary reading the birth of Holland. Reminded me of my last two children coming into this world with the help of our midwife. Nothing is better than having your baby your way! I wish you the best and hope to meet your gorgeous children one day. So glad I got to meet you and Philip at JCrew several years ago. Regards,


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