I woke up at 4 am on Sunday August 14 (13 days overdue). I went to the bathroom and noticed that I had lost my mucous plug. I went back to bed and fell asleep until 7pm while having regular contractions. Bear in mind that I had been having frequent contractions for weeks. I told David and he wanted to know if we should fill up the tub. I thought that breakfast was a more pressing issue. I called Nadya, my midwife, to let her know what was happening. She seemed convinced that I was going to have a baby that day, though I was not so sure.
The morning continued and so did the contractions. I told David that we should get some help with the children and the tub. He agreed and called his mother and Lauren. Lauren arrived to help with the tub shortly. Things were coming together but the contractions puttered out. Sam brought breakfast and David, Lauren and I ate and talked. After a while of not having contractions, Lauren and I decided to take a walk at Spring Grove while David put the boys down for naps. I am really thankful for the walk because it was cool and not too bright. It was nice to walk with a friend. During the walk, my midwife asked if I could stop by to listen to the baby's heart tones. We arrived at Nadya's house and he sounded good. We also discovered that he had moved from my right side to my left. I was so happy to hear that because most of the pregnancy he had been on my right side. I was however a bit bummed that the contractions had stopped. I was also not convinced that I was actually in labor though Nadya seemed to think that I was. After seeing Nadya, I went home to take a nap myself.
When I woke up from my nap, I noticed that I was having contractions again. David's mom came over to help with the boys. I stayed in my room and sat on the birth ball during contractions. I also would stand while holding David's hands during contractions. Nadya and Sora came around 3pm when the contractions seemed regular. Nadya kept checking the baby's heart tones regularly. Lauren also came back to help. At some point I decided to get in the shower. While in the shower, the contractions became more frequent and more intense. I would sway during contractions in the shower while praying for God to give me strength to endure them. I also sang praise songs and though my circumstances did not change, I can honestly say that I could feel God getting me through them. I decided to get into the birth tub to get some relief. When I got into the tub, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. So, I headed back to the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet the contractions became even more intense. Nadya came in to help me through them. I felt lost and confused. Nadya assured me that these feelings were normal and that everything was ok. Nadya told me that she could see the baby's head and asked me if I wanted to stay where I was or go back to the birth tub. I decided to leave the bathroom and made my way awkwardly to the tub, again.
I thought that it would not be long for the baby to be born once I was in the tub. The midwives told me it was ok to push with the contractions. I was confused about pushing because the contractions were so intense that adding anything to them seemed unbearable. I tried a number of pushing positions but none seemed to really fit. I was hesitant to push because I really thought I might break in half. Nadya suggested touching the baby's head while I pushed, but I was reluctant. After a few more contractions I decided to try. As it turns out, the bag of waters was in front of the baby's head. I got a clearer picture of what I needed to do to push. After one effective push, the bag of waters broke. Nadya reminded me that things would feel differently now that the BOW was gone. The difference was incredible and the intensity increased noticeably. Each contraction I would look at Nadya and tell her how it was all too much. I turned from a squat to hands and knees position. I tried to push and it was too much so I said, "I can't do this" and quite literally attempted to jump out of the tub. Luckily, Nadya was in front of me preventing me from getting out of the tub. I got back in and very rapidly pushed his head out and then one shoulder and finally the rest of him. I took hold of him and to be honest, paid very little attention to him because of how overwhelming pushing was. We decided to get out of the tub to deliver the placenta.
I got out and laid on the bed and delivered a very large placenta. The midwives checked the placenta and while everything looked good they did note an area of interest* on the placenta to check out later. I held Phinn while the midwives rubbed my uterus down. Everything after that seems a bit fuzzy. Though, I do remember Sora weighing and measuring Phinn. We guessed how much we thought he weighed and she proclaimed, "10 lbs even" and 22 inches. His size explained a lot. Lauren got me an ice cream sandwich to celebrate and I was so happy to have him out. I could barely believe he was actually here.
I am grateful to Nadya, Sora, Lauren, David's mom and David for everything. It was the hardest birth yet and it was so vital to have a team to support and pray for me as I delivered Phinn. I also could really feel the presence of God during and after the birth. He showed me how to depend on His strength instead of my own and to throw myself on His mercy.
* A few days after Phinneas was born, Nadya came back to talk to David and I. She discovered what was in the placenta. She informed us, to our shock, that I had been pregnant with twins. The other twin had died at 12 weeks. We saw the tiny baby and were so surprised. Even the ultrasound had not detected the other little one. Since the birth, we have felt a large range of emotions; grief, joy, shock and loss to name a few. It is truly remarkable, how it is possible to love someone you never met and barely knew you had. We have named this little one Arrow. Initially, we had considered the name Arrow for an additional middle name for Phinn but when he was born, it didn't seem to fit. We chose the name from Psalm 127.
3 Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
We are happy to know that he is with the Lord and we were blessed to have him for even such a short time.