For each of my children, I've written down their birth stories. Each one is different in it's own way, but they are some of my most cherished memories and I don't want to forget the tiniest details that made each day so special. September 2 was another day that will forever be burned into my memory in the most meaningful of ways.
The days dragged on as we watched and waited, the nights even longer with the occasional bout of painful, timetable contractions. 37 weeks came and went, then 38. I couldn't imagine we would make it to 39, but we did, much to my dismay. By that point, it had all become a mental game of waiting; agonizing over every little twinge, hoping it was an indication of labor. Due to a myriad of factors including my history of birthing large babies and the fact that all indications suggested that I would be going quickly once labor began, a plan was set in-place with our midwife to jumpstart labor once I arrived at my due date due.
The days ticked by slowly until September 2 finally arrived. I awoke at 2am to painful contractions once again, not daring to hope that this was finally true labor. Once again, the contractions slowed around 6am and discouragement set in.
We knew that we needed our baby to be in the ideal position to break my water and move the laboring process along, and even a few days prior, he had been far too high, a risk factor that would've made rupturing my water much too dangerous to attempt. Without high hopes, Jonathan and I left for the birth center that morning to see where we stood even as I continued to have the occasional contraction.
Our favorite midwife (the same who delivered Mary) was on-call that day and she ushered us inside the quiet building. It was closed for the day and we were the only ones there. Immediately, we went into the exam room and she checked my body, giving us the good news that baby was finally in the right position. I was dilated to a four and the contractions the night before had been just enough to move everything forward enough to proceed.
We waited a few minutes for a nurse to arrive to assist in the delivery with our midwife while the three of us swapped stories and joked about our baby following in his big brother's mischievous footsteps. Jonathan and I selected a birthing suite and he brought our bags inside.
I had no idea what to expect once my water was broken. I knew that it could easily kick things into a fast and furious labor... but it could also take time to begin, much like my labor with Mary. Once it was time, I laid on the bed and held Jonathan's hand, nervous about what was ahead, but then it was over. My water had broken and I got back up, standing next to the bed and chatting with our birth team and my husband.
I had the occasional strong contraction, but it was clear that true labor hadn't yet begun. I could talk and even laugh through the pain at that point. We waited for over an hour for things to progress by themselves, but when that wasn't happening, our midwife suggested a technique to induce contractions and move my body into active labor.
After an exhausting night with contractions that had kept me awake, my energy was starting to lag, so we started stimulating contractions and within moments, it was a night and day difference. Gone were the contractions that I could ignore; suddenly, I was faced with the kind of contractions that I could only moan through as Jonathan quietly encouraged me and rubbed my back.
I remember so vividly rocking back and forth as each contraction hit, wondering how long it would take our baby to move down as I tried to hold off on getting into the warm bath as long as possible. I knew that the water would take the edge off the worst of the pain and I wanted to wait, to make it count, when I needed that extra help.
Finally, I moved to the tub, leaning against the edge on my knees and clutching Jonathan's hand as he sat just outside the tub in front of me. I moaned through each contraction, tightly gripping his hand with one of mine and the side of the tub with the other. With each surge, I told myself that this was it- with the next contraction I would finally feel the urge to push and it would all be over.
I lost all sense of time as I sat there with my eyes closed. I remember praying silently over and over for strength and help. The contractions got worse and I felt doubt creeping in as I wondered if I was strong enough to finish. I looked up at Jonathan and asked why the baby wouldn't come.
Tears came as more contractions hit and I reached my breaking point. I opened my eyes and told Jonathan that I needed nitrous. I couldn't do it anymore. The baby wasn't moving down, I didn't have the urge to push, and the pain was just too much. My midwife gently asked if I was sure and one of the nurses went to get the equipment.
Another contraction hit as she brought it into the room, but this one was different. After what felt like an eternity, I felt the urge to push and realized that I didn't need nitrous after all. The contraction peaked and I reached down, needing to feel my baby and searching for the motivation to continue pushing. I felt the top of his head in the palm of my hand as another contraction approached.
I remember screaming, partly from the pain of the contraction and partially from a place of pure, primal need to push my child out. Then, suddenly, he emerged. I looked down and saw him enter the world underneath the water and I reached out, pulling him up and laid him against my chest. I was sobbing with a mixture of relief and joy and I looked up at Jonathan, seeing that same joy echoed on his face. Our son had safely arrived, after all of those weeks of waiting.
William Jonathan Gamlin, named in honor of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, was born at 1:28pm after a short but furious 45 minutes of laboring. Our sweet boy weighed nine pounds exactly and was 21 inches long. After he was born, we spent the first hour enjoying skin to skin bonding time and nursing, relishing in the quiet with our newest little baby.
William's delivery was the answer to our hopes and prayers over the past forty weeks as we had anticipated adding to our family. We knew that there were so many variables that went into the delivery itself and we had hoped that everything would go smoothly. The fact that we were able to have another healthy baby was a tremendous blessing and something that we didn't take for granted as we savored being new parents one last time.
After four hours at the birth center, we were able to go home where we were greeted by the sweetest sign on the garage welcoming our baby. William was met at the door by all three of his siblings who couldn't have been more excited to greet him.