This post is partially to share with all of you the story of Knox’s birth, but it’s mainly so that we can document the process while it is so fresh on our minds. Pregnancy had been a breeze. I loved it! I was able to work as a physical therapist with primarily young children until I was 39 weeks and 2 days. We had been waiting for what seemed like forever for my body to start going into labor. We were beginning to wonder if I would be pregnant indefinitely. It wasn’t even past my due date yet, but I had decided to stop working to rest in the days leading up to the birth. I expected the process to be similar to a marathon. They tell you to prepare for active labor to last 24 hours at least for your first baby. However, I didn’t want to waste my days off before Knox was here. Thankfully I was only off for 2 workdays before I had him! Praise God.
It seems like Knox has been talked about and anticipated for a very long time via prayers, discussion, facebook, twitter, and instagram. He even has his own hashtag, #knoxezekiel, which has been used regularly by our close friends and family. One of our friends described it perfectly, it’s like he has been our imaginary friend all this time and now he’s real! People have been praying for Knox’s health and development, making and buying him beautiful gifts, and talking to him through my belly for months. This is one reason the end of my pregnancy seemed to last forever…we just wanted him out already to love and cuddle.
So that brings us to the weekend of May 25th…I had gone to my OB on Wednesday the 23rd to try and get things started via separating my water bag from the cervix. It is a natural way to try and encourage labor, but if your body wasn’t ready, it would do nothing. Apparently Knox wasn’t ready to leave the belly yet, because nothing happened. Billy and I went walking on San Antonio Street, our favorite street in San Marcos, almost every evening. We even tried walking stairs, driving the jeep over speed bumps, drinking a ton of Pregnancy tea, eating eggplant parmesan on our date night, eating pineapples, bouncing on a big ball, and other natural labor inducing activities. Ha-ha. But Knox was going to come on HIS terms, his and God’s, not ours. Nothing happened.
Then finally…I began pre-labor symptoms on our estimated due date, May 27th
at 11pm. I had light cramping at regular intervals, but kept reading Mockingjay (which I have yet to finish). I finally woke up Billy to tell him at 2am; of course he kept asking me if I was sure and if this was REALLY happening. I called Tamara
, our doula, who came over for a few hours in the middle of the night to try and help me get things progressing. We walked the streets of my neighborhood, tried using the breast pump, but contractions were just not increasing in intensity. Tamara went home to rest and I tried to sleep but couldn’t. The next morning we went to our OB appointment at 10am and I was dilated to 2 cm. We called CTMC to see about the birth tub room, but someone was using it; She didn’t end up using the tub so they asked if she would move. She initially agreed, but ended up staying in the room for her entire delivery, and so the room was unavailable. This terrified me since our entire birth plan was based around using the water to help with pain management. They told us they would call us when the room was ready. (They never did) We decided to labor as long as possible at our house. I kept eating like normal so that I would have energy for the marathon ahead. To help manage contractions I stood in a hot shower for about 2 hours. When I got out, the contractions started getting stronger. Billy came up to help me through them by speaking words of encouragement and putting heavy pressure through my low back while I sat on the ball and leaned on the bed.
At one point I felt a pop and figured my water had broken. I was sitting on the ball which kind of kept the water from gushing everywhere. Billy got me towels so we managed to not make a huge mess! After that I blacked out for a little bit. I assume it was from the pain of that contraction and a little panic from realizing things were about to begin moving fast. Billy called the hospital and told them we were on our way, with or without the tub room being available. When we got there the contractions were coming very close together. I had to stop walking multiple times on our way into the hospital and from the lobby to the room. When we got there, they told us the tub room would be ready in 5 minutes. What a relief! When we got to the room around 3pm I had to lie on a bed while they strapped monitors to my stomach, and read my vitals, and Knox’s, too. It was frustrating to wait through this while having really intense contractions. All I could think about was getting that part over with and getting into the tub. I was dilated to 4 cm when I got into the tub around 3:30pm. It was very soothing, like a hot tub, and I felt immediate relief. Tamara guided my vocalizations to be “low and open” so I hummed through the contractions. There were times I wanted to shriek in a high pitch because of the pain, but that would have been counter productive to the progress of my labor. At some points Billy, Tamara and I were all humming loudly together to help me stay on track.
We had created multiple playlists to play during labor, but we stuck with the calming songs by artists like Sigur Ros, Eddie Vedder, The Album Leaf, & Active Child. We also put up scripture on the wall to remind us why we chose this birth plan. The main verse to represent the labor was:
“But he said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Billy reminded me multiple times during contractions, “He is strong in your weakness” and “this one is going to end” which was encouraging.So I labored in the water for about 2.5 hours before Knox was born at 5:47pm. This was pretty fast for a first baby. My water broke a little before 3pm and I was holding him less than 3 hours later. I believe this was because we had no interventions to slow it down and I could feel what was going on. I pushed for 45 minutes before they placed my sweet baby boy on my chest. He was 8 lbs 6 oz, 19.25 inches long and had a full head of dark hair. He looked so HUGE, and I couldn’t believe he came out of me. The song that played when he was born was Hoppípolla by Sigur Ros, which translates to “jumping in puddles”. How ironic that he was born into water, and that song randomly played on shuffle at the time of his birth. You know how people say that when you see your baby, the pain just disappears? It’s true. Even without pain meds or epidurals…it’s true. When it was over, I really didn’t know how the heck he got out of me. There were times when I thought, “There is no way he is ever going to come out”. Giving birth is equally physical, mental, and spiritual.
God gave me the strength and endurance to get through the entire process. He blessed me with the most supportive husband who kept telling me how much he loved me and was with me every step of the pregnancy and birth. He also allowed us to meet a wonderful local doula who did so much to educate and encourage us, guide our planning, help control my pain, and provide support after Knox was born. I so highly recommend using doulas, especially if you plan on pursuing a natural childbirth experience, but regardless they are great for putting your mind at ease and giving you confidence.
So that’s how it all went down. Now he’s here and we cannot fathom the love and joy that we feel. He is so perfect, a gift from above which we do not and will never deserve.
Jessica Wells (Originally posted June 9, 2012)