*All birth photos are taken by Angelina Lopez Photography. *
Where to begin... Well, it was the day before her due date, I hadn't felt any sort of signs that labor was coming anytime soon. Lots of random Braxton Hicks contractions, but definitely no big deal. My mother-in-law shared with me an idea of making these lemon drop cupcakes that are said to induce labor. I really didn't believe, but they sounded so yummy and thought it would be a fun activity for the 3 of us to do. After-all, we only had a limited number of days left as a family of 3 and before Ruth was no longer the only child. It was lots of fun and LOT OF WORK! But they were DELICIOUS! wow!
The next morning we planned to head to Carthage to walk around the square, visit some antique shops, and get some lunch. I went to the bathroom right as I woke up and after wiping, I noticed the typical bloody show/mucus plug. Funny how such a gross thing can make you so excited! I laughed and said the cupcakes worked! lol. I started having more braxton hicks contractions and they started coming on stronger and more frequent, especially the more I walked around the flea markets! After a while they died down a bit. Boo.
The next day we went to church, again lots of strong braxton hicks again. They came in waves. I would have consistent ones for a good hour or two then nothing/VERY sporadic ones for a few hours after. That evening we went to our small group. Instead of our normal bible study, we just had a more relaxed night of hanging out and games. At our friends house, she has an exercise ball that I hung out on all evening. Bouncing, leaning, swaying, I was convinced it would be that night. Contractions were getting closer and stronger and I even got to the point where I would have to concentrate a bit while having them. When we left, things died down again... hmm.
Nothing significant. Still pregnant. Miserable. I realized was probably dealing with prodromal labor.
MIDWIFE APPOINTMENT DAY! Still miserable, but hopeful. Contractions coming and going, nothing consistent. I planned to have them finally check me and *fingers crossed* being dilated enough that a membrane sweep would work!
3:30pm hit and we were there! Met a new midwife whose first day was that day. My midwife checked me, I was at a 4! She did the sweep and we were on our way home! (Also.. the Birthing Center we were using is an hour and 10 minutes from us.) My midwife told me she wouldn't be surprised if we came in that night/early the next morning and to go home and sleep! We got home aaaaaand I couldn't sleep! We went out to eat, hung out, and even went to Orange Leaf for Princess night with some friends! Contractions were KIND OF picking up, but nothing unbarable. I labored for 24 hours with my first, I was prepared for a looooong labor again.
David and I got Ruth to bed and I'm cure played a game of Carcassonne while I bounced on the birth ball.
We finally went to bed. David went right to sleep, I wanted him to be as rested as possible for the drive if things picked up. I pulled the breast pump out to see if it would help get things going a bit. I only did it for about 10 minutes and decided to lay down. I couldn't sleep. Contractions were obviously getting stronger now. About 12:15 I texted my doula a screenshot of my contraction timer app and asked if I should call or maybe take a bath and see if they would die down again. She mentioned either options would be okay so I decided to take a bath. I wasn't convinced that anything was going to come of it yet.
Got out of the tub, contractions had shortened and spaced apart, but were still fairly strong. Decided to go and lay down.
My contractions started spacing out 11 minutes + apart, dosed off between them but those contractions that I had were STRONG! I think i had a total of 3 11 minute breaks when things switched.
As you can see above, it went from 11 minutes apart to under 5 minutes apart in 30 minutes. After this I stopped timing them because they were coming 2-3 minutes apart and were STRONG. 1:30 is about when I woke David up to help me cope and to call the midwife.
We start grabbing things and calling friends to come and watch our 2 year old so we can leave.
I'm having a hard to getting to one room to another getting things together to leave. I'm yelling for David to put pressure on my back every 40 seconds. We realize we don't have time to wait for anyone. Ruth is going with us!
Were on the road! Ruth is in the back. I've got my labor music playing. I'm good! Contractions every minute now. I was still convinced I had plenty of time left. David is going 10-15 over the sleep limit (reminder, the birthing center is an hour and 10 minutes away in Roger, AR.)
(2:55 or so)
My birth photographer calls me and asks where we were and how things were going. Moments before this through a contraction, I had a feeling I could start pushing soon. But, I couldn't believe it, so I convinced myself I was crazy and there was no way I was that far yet! On the phone with the photographer, I start having a contraction and all I can say is "I feel like I have to push." I hear David say "Seriously?!" in disbelief..... then it happened. That uncontrollable, bear down feeling hit me. So my gentle moans and coping sounds turned into all out roar of fear. I was seriously about to have this baby in the car. We haven't even made it to the state line yet!
The next few minutes are a blur. the 20 minutes left in the car felt like 10 hours. David is going about 90 through a 45. We're on the highway and there are NO cars and NO cops to pull him over (praise God!) Angelina, the photographer, stayed on the phone with us, prayed with me and truly was a godsend during this time.
Oh yeah... so my 2 year old is in the car remember. 5 minutes ish before we got to the center, I ripped off my seat belt (I can't believe I kept it on that long!) got on my knees in the seat, my face in the back seat floorboard, but in the air, growling through each contraction. She's awake at this point, asks if I'm okay.. I managed to let her know I was fine and that baby Stella is coming and after that every moan/growl I had Ruth laughed and squealed back! Thankfully she wasn't scared. :P
While back there, through a contraction, I felt a pop and GUSH! Then it stopped. My water broke, but Stella's head quickly plugged me back up.
WE FINALLY MADE! But I can't move. I can't get out of the car! The midwives rush out to coax me out and they can feel her head bulging. They finally managed to help me out and I cowboy waddled all the way into the building and into the room. They helped me rip my pants off and I crawl on the bed.
Ten minutes later and a few more contractions... STELLA ARRIVED! So perfect and so impatient! 10 minutes. We made it to the birth center with 10 MINUTES to spare! In that ten minutes of time, our photographer made it to get those last few moments before she made her way into the world.
This birth proved to me how no matter how much you plan for something, babies have THEIR own ideas of how they will be born! Didn't even get a chance to try much of my hypnobabies or try for a water birth. My doula and her assistant didn't make it until after she arrived, but they were able to help me cope with the stitching up afterwards. Stella was healthy, things went smoothly (outside just how fast she came!) and Ruth got to be involved! She loved it! Was so excited throughout the whole event! Angelina was able to capture such perfect first moments with our new girl. So thankful to have these images to look back on!
Stella Grace Wagner
March 23, 2016 - 3:25am - 7lbs 12oz