Asher's Birth Story.

January 8, 2018

I can't even describe how happy it makes me to share another birth story here on my blog. This one is very different than Solomon's Birth Story and it's kind of crazy how almost every single detail is different in some way. It's true what they say, labor is a wild animal, and you can only prepare and plan so much. Thankfully things were a LOT faster this go around, but that doesn't always make things easier. Let's start at the beginning.....

Wednesday - December 27, 2017
For about a week I was having random contractions but nothing consistent or steady. I had my 39 week midwife appointment on 12/27, and was planning to have my membrane sweep done, but Solomon had just gotten his first stomach bug, YUCK. He had also thrown up ALL OVER me, and I was so worried that I would catch it so I knew that Asher's birth was the last thing we needed. I wanted to make sure we were all well and healthy before trying to urge him to come. I also couldn't imagine going through labor while also having a stomach bug myself. Talk about awful and dangerous, no thanks! So, that appointment was just a normal check up. We talked about our plan for the 41 week appointmen,t but we were all hopeful we wouldn't make it that far. 

That night, on the 27th, I had a cup of ginger and black cohosh tea and had some contractions but nothing exciting. They were every 30 minutes or so but fizzled off once I was ready for bed. I kept thinking I would wake up around 2-3AM with real contractions and be in labor. I remember going to sleep every night for about two weeks hoping for that exciting wake up call, but nope. Nothing. The night of the 27th was seriously the best sleep in a long time. Solomon slept all night in his bed, and I was in bed by 11 and didn't wake up till 5:30, which was shocking. After that wake up to use the restroom, I then slept till almost 8. It was amazing! I remember waking up feeling so refreshed and ready, I was hoping that was a sign that my body was gearing up for some major work. 

Thursday - December 28, 2017
The whole day was full of busy work, cleaning and putting away Christmas decorations. I had a surge of energy to get things done but made sure I was also resting and siting when I had a chance. I had a cup of my ginger and black cohosh tea in the morning while cleaning and also had my clary sage oils diffusing. Nothing happened other than a few random contractions. My mom came over for dinner, and to help me finish packing away the Christmas trees, and as soon as the sun went down the contractions started. They weren't crazy strong but they were a consistent 8-10 minutes apart. 

Around 7:30, I realized things were getting stronger and more consistent. They continued to build, and around 9:15 I realized that things probably weren't going to die down, so I called the Midwife Office and talked to the midwife on call. I was also GBS positive this pregnancy (one of the many things that made everything very different) and because of this Janelle said we needed to make sure I made it to the birth center in time for the round of antibiotics. I would need one round of meds at least 4 hours before Asher was born. I told her my plan was to take a hot shower and try and sleep to see if things might slow down a bit. She said that sounded like a good plan and to call if I needed to come in. 

My mom was still over and Peter wasn't feeling that well, he definitely caught a bit of Solomon's stomach bug. It wasn't awful but he wasn't 100% and the lack of sleep wasn't going to help, so I told him to go try and sleep while he had a chance. He was beyond exhausted with Solomon's birth and we both didn't want that this time around. My mom started Solomon's bedtime routine around 9:30 since he had a nap earlier. I was totally kicking myself for the nap, but he was still getting over the sickness he had and he really needed a nap. She gave him his bath and got him ready for bed. We did the normal puzzles and books and the contractions were getting really strong and felt much deeper. My mom needed to go let her dog out and try to get some sleep also since I knew I wanted her to be with me for the active labor and delivery. Peter got up from the bed to get Solomon settled and asleep while I went to take a shower. 

I couldn't help comparing my first labor and delivery experience with this one but it was laughable how different it had been so far. With Solomon I was in the zone from the moment I felt any kind of change. Listening to my playlist and praying and meditating over a birth I wanted to have, this time I was reading stories and playing with puzzles and trying to ignore any feelings until I couldn't anymore. My mom even asked me if I wanted to turn on my playlist while I was in Solomon's room and I told her no cause I didn't want to throw off his routine. She laughed and said it's funny how things have changed. I guess being a mom and going through labor does change everything, because you aren't just you anymore, I knew I still had a responsibility to be available and present for Solomon. It was a wonderful distraction in a way, or at least in the beginning of labor.

After the shower I went to sit in Asher's room and finally turned on my worship playlist. I also put some of the clary sage oil on my ankles and feet. I thankfully loved the way it smelled and would inhale it during some of the contractions. They were coming closer, 4-6 minutes apart but also lasting for a lot longer and they were very deep. I could feel them all through my hips and into my low back. I could also feel Asher moving around and trying to find his way down which I thought was so amazing. It was so sweet to have some alone time and labor in his room. 

Once Solomon was settled and asleep, Peter and I went to lay down and try to get some sleep. I was interested to see if things would slow down at all or pick up. It was around 11 by the time I got in the bed. Laying down was so uncomfortable for me because of all my hip and pelvic pain. Going to bed at night had been my least favorite activity for several months now, so doing it while in labor with contractions wasn't any better. The contractions definitely slowed down to 10-12 minutes apart but I also couldn't get comfortable enough to rest. The contractions would also wake me up on the rare chance that I did actually doze off, and then I wouldn't be able to get comfortable again. Finally around 1 I couldn't lay down any longer because of my pelvic pain. I decided to sit on my ball next to the bed and roll back and forth. The contractions quickly started to pick up, in 10 minutes they were 2-3 minutes apart, and I also started to have crazy chills. My legs were shaking so badly I could hardly stand. This was the biggest thing that worried me since this can be a sign of hormonal transition. I really didn't think I was that far along but I know that second births are a lot faster and I thought it would be best to be early rather than late. 

We called Peter's mom and told her that she should come over and sleep at our house since we would be going to the birth center for sure. I knew things weren't going to slow down, and we would end up having a baby, hopefully by morning. I also called Janelle and told her what was going on, she told me to head in to the birth center so she could check me and see where we were at. Around 1:20 we went to the birth center. I told Peter on the way that I was so nervous that I wouldn't be dilated enough to stay, since you have to be a 5 for the midwife to let you stay. Either way I knew I wanted to know where I was at. I like to know my number during labor so I can mentally prepare for where I am. I didn't think I would be that way, but I felt the same way during my last labor experience. 

We get to the birth center and head into the room. The lights were dim and the water was running in the tub. It was so welcoming to walk in and I was excited to meet our sweet baby boy. Peter instantly put on my playlist and I started to pace the room. I definitely prefer to walk and sway back and forth during contractions so I started to do my little dance around the room. It's rare that I can be still or sit while having contractions. 

Janelle came into the room and asked me to empty my bladder so she could check me. I remember praying so hard that I would be able to stay and not have to go back home again while I sat on the toilet. Once I got back in the room I lied down on the bed and Janelle told me the sad news, I was only a 2. Buuuuuummer. I wasn't shocked since I hadn't been in labor for long but I was definitely bummed. She then gave me a couple options, which I was very thankful for. She said I could go home and come back later once things were progressing or I could stay for an hour and she could check me again to see where I was at. Peter came back in the room from getting our bags in the car and I told him the news. We both agreed that staying for an hour just to see if I would dilate quickly would be best.

The next hour was spent doing a lot of walking and swaying and also rolling on the ball. I could tell the contractions were getting even stronger and I had several that really moved Asher down and I thought my knees would give out on me. They were so deep and strong and I would have to moan my very loud and deep cow moo noise. HA, the only thing that would help. 

A couple of the big differences during this labor, and my last with Solomon, were how I didn't really want to be touched. I guess it was a good thing since Peter was feeling pretty rough and was lying in the bed for most of the beginning parts of labor. I also did not want the water at all. I kept thinking about getting in the shower or preparing to get in the tub in the next few hours but I had no desire at all. I always thought I'd love to have a water birth but I guess it's just not my thing after all. 

Once the hour had passed I went to empty my bladder (all the crushed ice water made for frequent trips to the loo) and Janelle came in to check me again. She said that I was at a 3-4 and with this being my second baby we should just stay put. Also, since I was GBS positive, I would need a round of antibiotics before the baby was born. She said she'd go ahead and get that started while we got settled in the room to stay. 

Once again, a huge difference from my last time around, was the GBS positive. I was negative last time and didn't even think this time would be different. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I was so annoyed by the IV in my hand the entire time. They put the IV in and did the first round of antibiotics around 3. The baby would need to be born in the next four hours or I would need another round, so the clock was on. I then started to really move around and try and speed things up. I didn't want to have another round of meds. I also let my mom know that she should head to the birthing center since we were staying put and hopefully he would be here quickly!

During the next few hours I tried a lot of things to bring baby out. I even got in the tub for a bit to see if I liked the water this time and I hated it. I think I had two contractions at most in the water and I wanted out. I then was freezing and had cold chills for a while. To warm up I put a thick robe on and got in the bed with Peter. The big queen size beds are a huge perk at the birth center for this exact reason. I could lay beside Peter and he could rub my hips while I had the contractions. After I got out of the water and into the bed, the contractions picked up drastically. There were several rounds that felt like they never ended. Peter even mentioned how long they seemed and asked if they were stopping at all.

The contractions kept building and I would have those really big knee weakening ones frequently. I could tell he was finding his way down and things were speeding up. Like I said, I like to know my number so I can gage how I'm feeling and prepare mentally for the rest of the labor. I helps me process everything and manage the pain. Around 5AM I started to feel really impatient and the contractions were causing so much pressure. I felt the urge to push a few times but I knew it was still early for that. My mom went to get Janelle for her to check me and see where we were at. After she checked me she said I was at a 7. I was happy with that number, but I also knew I had a lot of work to do... she then asked me if I wanted her to break my water. I eagerly said yes! I remember how much that helped last time with Solomon, and I was sure it would help this time. With Solomon, I was at a 10 already when my water broke, so I was excited for things to speed up. She also told me that the bag of waters was extremely tight and his head was pushing against it, so breaking it would help a lot. After she broke the water she told me that I needed to either stand or sit so that gravity could do its work to help bring him down. I sat on the toilet turned around facing the wall for a while and had several contractions that way. 

I couldn't concentrate on the labor at all because I was thinking about Solomon constantly. I remember having to get up from the toilet and go ask Peter to call his mom to check on him. I was thinking about him the entire night, but knowing that he usually makes his way into our room between 4-6AM every morning, I kept wondering if he was still asleep. I just kept thinking about him waking up and freaking out when we weren't in our room. Peter sent a text to his mom at 5:30 and then his mom called at 5:37 with Solomon screaming hysterically. He was so confused and I felt awful for him. I told Peter to go get him and his mom and bring them back to the birth center. I just felt so much better knowing he was right there with us, even if he wasn't in the room with me.

While Peter was gone I moved to the bed. Solomon was born while I was lying in the bed so I just assumed this would happen again. Especially since I didn't like the tub like I hoped. I tried sitting on the bed on all fours, then when a ball under my arms, and then back on all fours again. I was starting to freak out because I couldn't feel any movement happening. I then tried lying back with the nurse and my mom helping with my legs. The fire I felt in my hips and back was unreal. I was so uncomfortable but I wanted him out so I kept trying to push through it. I would ask Janelle if she saw anything happening after every few contractions and big pushes. She kept saying that he was coming and I was doing a good job, to keep it up. I was exhausted and so hot. The cold rag on my face and sips of cold water wasn't doing anything. Janelle also said that my body was waiting on Peter to come back and be with me, which I knew was true.

Peter came back in the room around 6:30 and it's so true, as soon as he was there holding my hand I felt things changing. My pushes got stronger and I was ready to be finished and  hold my baby in a whole new way. I had my husband and I knew Solomon was ok. He actually fell asleep in the car on the ride to the birth center so that made me happy too, knowing he was okay and waiting for his baby brother.

As I was trying to push in the bed the burning in my back and hips only became stronger and I couldn't handle it anymore. I told Janelle I had to move and do something else, I couldn't lay down anymore. She told me that we should move to the swing and the birthing stool. I wasn't so sure about this because I tried it with Solomon and absolutely hated it, but I didn't care, I just wanted him out. As soon as I sat down and wrapped my arms in the swing I knew it was exactly what I needed. I could control the pushes more by pulling on the swing with my arms and the squatting position on the stool was so helpful. I was in this position for 10 minutes at the most. It's crazy how helpful it was.

As soon as I started pushing more efficiently I could feel Asher coming so quickly. This of course was so scary but so incredible. Pushing with Solomon was very different. Once he started to come out, it took a very long time to get him fully out. Asher's head came out almost instantly, after only a few very strong pushes. (And a LOT of yelling on my part. I hardly had a voice after he was born from all my loud screaming. It really helped me push as hard as I could for some reason? My mom said it sounded like I needed an exorcism, HA!) Once his head was out I was so happy to reach down and feel him, still dying with anticipation to see what his face would look like. Then I had one big hard push for his arms and shoulders. I then reached down and held him under his armpits, just like I did with Solomon, so ready to pull him to my chest and be done! For some reason I thought I needed to push with all my might again, but this just made the rest of his body fly out so fast thst it caused his butt and legs to hit the floor. My mom laughs when talking about this now, because she said his butt smacked so hard, poor thing. But, I was done. He was safe and in my arms and so beautiful. 6:50 AM, bright and early in the morning, on his due date. Right on time! Everyone was shocked at how large he was and they said he was a big boy, maybe 9lbs. I was shocked. He actually ended up being 8lbs 5oz and 21in long.

After he was in my arms, I kept crying and exclaiming, "I DID IT" over and over, it was the craziest feeling. Such an unreal high that I wish I could bottle up and keep forever. Childbirth is no joke, but it is the most amazing experience ever. I also love that I know exactly what song was playing when he made his way into my arms. The music was actually turned off for some reason and I remember laying in the bed earlier thinking, "why is my music off?!?" but I didn't have the energy to ask about it. While I was pushing in the end, my mom asked me if I wanted the music on. I said yes!! It was crazy how that changed everything. As soon as the song started to play I could feel a peace come over me and I was ready. God With Us was the song playing which was so perfect. It has been one of my favorite worship songs for a very long time. God was with us, and I could feel His presence so strongly. This song will definitely mean even more to me now.

So there I was, sitting on a stool and holding my baby boy in my arms. Staring into his eyes and thanking God for another miracle. It's crazy to think back on that night and morning and all that went through my head. I hate to compare Solomon's birth to Asher's birth so often, but its hard not to since it's all I've known. With Solomon I was in the zone, and everything was romanticized in a way. I wanted all the pictures, and to be held by Peter and I needed so much support. Laboring as a mom already was a lot less intimate and sweet in a way, which was such a surprise. My mind was just in a whole new place. This time was so different because all I wanted was to be done so I could have my family together. I wanted both of my boys in my arms and I was so thankful that Solomon was already at the Birth Center.

Peter left to go check on Solomon once Asher was here and as soon as my placenta was delivered I moved over to the bed. My mom got to cut the cord this time since Peter was with Solomon, which I thought was so sweet. Daddy was busy being a daddy and Gigi got to be there for her new boy. Within 20 minutes Solomon was in the room with us. He was so sweet, confused and a little scared about that stupid IV in my arm, but he was happy. And I was so incredibly happy my heart could have burst. I got to nurse Asher pretty quickly after he was born and then everything fell into place and Solomon was running around with toys and reading books. It was such a sweet morning.

After everything was settled I was told that I had to stay at the birthing center for a full 8 hours (instead of the normal 4-6 hours) so my mom left to take Solomon and Peter's mom back to her house. This way he could have some breakfast and play with his cousins who were in town for Christmas. My mom picked up my grandma and some breakfast on her way back to the birth center since I was starving. Peter couldn't even eat the bagel once she got back with the food so he took a hot shower, since we were going to be at the birth center for several more hours, I told Peter to go home and take a nap. He needed to rest and sleep comfortably at home since he was feeling so off. There wasn't really much he could do while we waited to leave anyways, and that way he would be refreshed a bit when he came back to pick us up to leave at 3PM.

The rest of our stay was filled with cuddles, naps, nursing a lot & an amazing Jimmy John's sandwich! By 3PM I was beyond ready to head home and get things settled with our family of four. Asher's birth was a lot faster and a little crazy but it was perfect. He has been the happiest little thing ever since he was born, and anytime he gets fussy, daddy has the magic sway and bounce that can fix it. He really is the perfect addition to our family and I can't imagine life without him now! God is so good, and I can't believe we have two beautiful boys now.

Asher Hackney Eliya
12.29.17 // 8lbs, 5 z, 21in 

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