I realized at some point in the past that I had posted Audrey’s birth story (& all of the ‘adventures’ in the weeks leading up to her birth) on our blog, but I had never posted Ezra’s! So, in honor of his 5th birthday, here it is! It is a birth story, so if contractions & all that goes along with them are not your thing, come back in a day or two (or maybe a week given our busy lives!) for pictures from Ezra’s 5th birthday!
I was due with our first baby (We didn’t know if it was a boy or girl!) on June 13th, but I had picked June 1st as my ideal day for baby to arrive. My reason for June 1st was because it was a day off school (for Pfingsten [Pentecost]) and my two greatest wishes for labor (well, other than it not hurt too bad, which of course is not possible) were 1.) to not have my water break in front of my elementary librarian students and 2.) to be able to sneak off to the hospital with no one knowing. I got my wish, but in a very different way!
Ezra’s birth story sort of started on Friday, May 29th, which was the last Friday night event of the school year for BFA as graduation was the following Friday. Since we were headed into a long weekend, we decided to go out with a couple of our friends. This meant we didn’t get home until quite late & I didn’t get to bed until about 1:30. Micah decided to stay up & play a game on the computer & finally called it a night at about 4 or 4:30.
At 5:30 I got up to take one of my many trips to the bathroom & this time it just felt different. I noticed some blood in the toilet, which scared me to death, so I went & woke up Micah & told him we needed to go to the hospital. I was trying to look up ‘water breaking’ in my “What to Expect When you are Expecting” book to see if blood was normal all while getting dressed & throwing the last few things into our nearly-packed hospital suitcase. We were headed off to the hospital in Müllheim by 6:00. On the way there, I felt the baby move inside of me, which was the most wonderful feeling since I hadn’t felt the baby move that morning. After that I was able to enjoy the beautiful day as we drove to the hospital. The sun was coming up over the black forest and the view was gorgeous! It was also obvious by the time we got to the hospital that it was in fact my water that had broken, as I was quite wet walking into the hospital. Once there, the midwife hooked me up to the monitors & within a minute was able to tell me that the baby was all right, which was the best news. My water had broken, but I was not dilated & the baby had not even dropped! Since my water was broken, we were admitted to the hospital so that they could keep a watch on us & make sure that infection didn’t set in. They told us that if nothing had started in 18 hours I would need antibiotics to keep infection at bay & within 24 hours they would induce labor. God was very gracious to us in that the midwife on duty that morning spoke French along with German, which helped since we hadn’t filled out all the medical forms yet & she could explain to Micah in French what the German question was asking.
Micah & I were admitted to our very nice postpartum room & did our best at sleeping since we didn’t know what the next few hours would hold, but it is really hard to sleep when you are waiting for such an amazing thing!
Exactly 38 weeks pregnant! They put an IV in place in case I would need antibiotics.
Our nice postpartum room. The machine in the middle of the room was for monitoring me occasionally throughout the day while waiting for labor to start.
I had to stay in bed for a few house while we waited for the baby to finally drop, as they were concerned about the cord dropping down first. Around 2:15, the midwife came & had us try a couple homeopathic things to start labor (some pill under the tongue & clove oil inside of me) & then sent us out to walk. I had a couple little contractions, but nothing major. At 3:15 she wanted us back & she did an enema, which was not pleasant, but then she did a mustard bath for my feet & gave me a foot massage, which was quite nice. By 5:30 in the evening contractions had started & were already 5 minutes apart and pretty strong. We were the first to check into labor & delivery that day so they let us choose which of the three birthing rooms we wanted (it’s a very small hospital!) & we moved the things we wanted for labor in.
Being monitored to see if I was truly in labor
We walked for a short time around the hospital, but pretty soon, I felt that I couldn’t keep myself composed enough to be out in public, so we headed back to our room. I labored on a big exercise ball for a time & I even labored in the tub for a while. After 6 hours of contractions, the midwife checked me & I was at 3 centimeters. I cried! I felt like I had done so much work & just hadn’t made much progress. The midwife was busy with two other couples & couldn’t spend a lot of time with us, so that combined with the fact that I was exhausted from only 4 hours of sleep the night before and really couldn’t relax or focus caused the midwife to strongly suggest that I get an epidural. I decided I was too tired to go on without medication & so we agreed & had them call the anesthesiologist. It was the most amazing thing – the midwife gave me a shot of something into my IV, which either stopped my contractions or made it so I couldn’t feel them for a short time while the doctor gave me an epidural. The relief was wonderful! By a little after midnight I was feeling only a tiny bit of pressure every now and then & while I was hooked into about a million machines that were all making noise I was finally able to relax & rest!
The epidural was also amazing as I was only numb from the top of my belly to the top of my thighs. At one point, I even got up with the help of the midwife & used the bathroom! I’ve heard they are called ‘walking epidurals’! Micah managed to get in a pretty good nap on the delivery bed in the room as I was in a normal hospital bed beside the delivery bed.
At 4, I was feeling a lot more pressure & feeling like I needed to push so the midwife checked me – I was dilated to 8! At that point the midwife turned off the epidural completely & immediately all the pain of contractions returned. It was a big battle to not push as everything in my body was telling me to do just that! The actual pushing started around 4:30. I think I pushed in every position possible: knees, standing, squatting, sitting on a birthing stool, ultimately we ended up on the delivery bed & I would pull myself up almost to a sitting position with each contraction.
Delivery stool & exercise ball for labor
I remember at one point, crying to the midwife, “Why won’t this baby come out?” She said it was a first baby & promised that a second baby would be much faster! Not much helps in that moment! After 45 minutes of pushing, I was getting tired & the midwife asked if I wanted her to get the vacuum. I said, “yes”. She said, “Let’s give it 15 more minutes” & I agreed. Within 15 minutes she could see the head & was getting all the delivery stuff ready, which was just what I needed to keep going! After another 15 minutes of pushing & pushing & pushing with no results, I cried again, “When is this baby going to come?” to which Micah answered, “The head is already here!” With the next contraction, our baby was born! It seemed like they pulled that baby out of me for such a long time!
I looked down & there was our baby! The midwife said, “Was ist los? (What’s going on?) & quickly slipped the umbilical cord from where it was around the baby’s neck! Thankfully, everything was fine in spite of that! We both asked, “What is it?” She turned the baby over & said, “It’s a boy!” & then she placed my crying, bloody, amniotic-covered son on my chest & suddenly it was all worth it!
I had never experienced love at first sight until I held Ezra for the first time! It was the most amazing experience to hold him & soothe him & say, “It’s okay, little man! I’m you’re mommy!” It was the most perfect day of my life as I laid in that delivery bed holding my son with a beautiful clear spring day beginning outside our windows!
Ezra Micah was born at 5:50 A.M. on May 31st, 2009. He was 52 centimeters long (20.5 inches) and weighed 2.88 kilograms (6 pounds 5.5 ounces)