Our Birth Story: Part 1
Andrea: Monday, August 6th began like every day. I wondered if the baby would come early, on time, or late. The waiting game was on – and had been “on” for quite some time. Each day, I fought my expectations and what-ifs. It was Josh’s regular day off—and boy was it great to have Josh home on the day before my due date! I knew I would be extra distracted by that fact, hoping all day that the baby would come. After taking a half-hour nap around 10 am, I awoke rested and ready to run some errands. Josh and I headed to pick up our replacement vehicle while our rear-ended Jeep went in to the repair shop.
Josh: So... as we were waiting to get our rental car, I saw Andrea squeeze her legs together. My eyes widened a bit. “Did your water just break?” I asked. Andrea looked at me and smile-giggled. “I’m going to go sit in the car,” she whispered. She waddled out the door while I waited. Now the seconds felt like minutes. The lady was all ticked off that the insurance company was giving us a sub-compact car instead of something comparable to our Jeep. I did not care at this point. I would’ve driven off in a monster truck at that point. I just wanted to get to get my soon-to-not-be pregnant wife home. I was a little nervous, but grateful that the big day had finally arrived.
A: We headed home, knowing that we had only a matter of time if this was what we thought it was! We cranked the radio, laughed and enjoyed the ten-minute drive. Josh was frequently asking how I was doing- the kind soul. All the way home I was praying that the car’s cloth seats would not show evidence of the event and was thankful for my smarts in what I wore that morning and Josh’s hoodie that just happened to be along for the ride. Success! When we got home we watched one of our favorite movies, one that Josh introduced to me when we were dating –Fantastic Mr. Fox. I made frequent trips to the loo, and gradually experienced “cramps”. I changed into my “happy birth-day baby outfit” which consisted of my swimsuit top and my red and blue college graduation dress that Josh and I had picked out together! I had Josh snap a picture “while I could still smile and look happy in it”!
we kept track of progress on the back of our wedding program until we started using the app!
J: About half way through the movie Andrea’s contractions started to intensify. We had downloaded an app that timed contractions and they were getting closer together. Quickly. We had called Joy, our midwife, on the drive home, and she had come by to talk and check. We called her again to give her an update.
A: We also updated my sisters as it went along. I remember texting Natalie something like, “Joy would be here in an hour or so!”, to which she replied “No way! That’s SO awesome! Way to go! I love that name”...no Natalie!...that’s the midwife...not the baby. “HAHA! I was thinking that was fast...and they know it’s a girl!” hehe! I called my mom to tell her that I was ready for her to come over and handed Josh his iPhone back...we had been keeping track of my contractions on an app. It had been fun for a while, but at that point...I just didn’t want to know anymore. She arrived around 3. It’s always good to have Mommy around!
J: My best man, Matt, and his new bride, Pauline, had said prior to the event, “We really want to be there for y’all when the baby comes! Anything you need, we’re there!” I called Matt to give him the news. It went something like this:
Me: “Hey man...”
Matt: “...Hey what’s up?”
Me: “Oh...you know.”
Matt: “Is she...”
Me: “Yep...she sure is.”
A: I had good breaks, but they were definitely contractions by the time our friends came over. We could chat it up and then I had to concentrate...bounce on the exercise ball for a bit and then come back to the real world. It helped the time pass, although it was a tough time. I can’t remember exactly when our midwife, Joy arrived with her two apprentices, Misty and Debbie—but when they did arrive, they got straight to work! They monitored my vitals as well as the baby’s, but otherwise, let me “do my thing”. They set up in the spare room, which transformed into the birthing room, and soon after would become-- the baby’s room!
J: Once the contractions started to intensify, I decided that it was time for everyone who wasn’t a part of the birthing party (sort of like a wedding party, but way different) to leave. I asked my good friends to depart and they totally understood. At this point Andrea wasn’t saying much, just whispering please and thank you for everything. So polite. After about three hours in, Joy wanted to check Andreas “progress”. 2cm. This did not make my wife happy. After a couple of contractions in our room, we moved back to the living room and it was back to the birthing ball 4 or so hours. I held Andrea’s hands while she gracefully drained the blood from mine, squeezing them like a boa constricting a tiger. Around the time Matt and Pauline were heading out, my mom arrived with drinks from Sonic and food for the evening ahead.
A: The timeline is all very sketchy for me. I will defer most of that to Josh, but here are some things I remember...I remember rocking-bouncing-swaying on that exercise/birthing ball because I wanted to make “progress”! At one point Joy had me change positions to get the baby to move around and get the little one’s heart rate at an even more “ideal” level. I didn’t feel stressed at all about that. Actually, it wasn’t even presented in much of a tone of concern. I moved from the ball to the floor and labored there for a while. That did the trick, right in the perfect zone. However...it was not my favorite position. I would lie on my side and press my feet off the couch. All the while, Josh continued to be by my side. I remember him asking permission to get up at points to eat a little snack, but he was always back quicker than I realized he had gone. What a great man! I should also mention that my mom was on “drink duty”. She would offer me juice and water, which we had discussed before hand would be in cups with straws. I knew I would drink more if there were a straw! The water cup was one of those tall reusable Starbucks cups that Josh had purchased for me as a Tuesday Gift!
J: By about 7pm the birthing party consisted of: Josh, Andrea, Marshall (status: unborn), Joy, Misty, Debbie, Jay and Jennifer, and Matt and Jean. Food and chairs were everywhere and the place was rather warm because of the birthing tub, the chicken provided by Matt Greene, and the 10.5 people in the 2-bedroom apartment. Andrea, Jean, myself, and the midwives were in the soon-to-be baby room. Andrea was getting ready to get in the tub because within 3 or so hours she’d gone from 2cm to 7cm. Yes! My mom was in and out providing an ice bucket with wash clothes for Andrea’s face. They felt very good to her. The dads stayed in the living room.
A: I was very glad to get into the 100-degree water. It wasn’t that immediate “ahhhh” that you feel when you get into a bath, but it did distract my mind. The best part about the pool: getting to MOVE! I had so much buoyancy that allowed me to “go” with each of the contractions, moving my body with them. I LOVED the ice-cold washcloths. During each contraction I would rub them on my face as fast as I could. It was nice just to feel something else. I think I moved in every way possible in that tub, but that was nice. I remember thinking, “I want a break soon”, as I hadn’t had pain-free time between contractions in quite awhile. I remember everyone being SO encouraging. Quiet. Assuring. I remember my sister Leah’s words, “don’t panic, it doesn’t help”. She wasn’t able to be there yet, but I heard her reminders. The lights were dim and occasionally I heard music in the background, although most of the time I forgot it was there.