It was a cool summer morning on Natalie Viann's due date--June 24th--when contractions began that were consistent and significant in length. After an hour or so of unchanged circumstances, I decided to delay going into work, hoping, praying, wishing that these were signals that little Miss Natalie (who in our opinion was already two days late---both Ethan and Meira came two days before their due dates) was excited and ready to meet us face to face.
Alas, after another hour or so there was little change in the intensity of the contractions and I was feeling that even if it was going to be today, it wasn't going to be anytime soon. Little Miss Natalie had already given me a few false starts in the last two or three weeks so I was expecting baby #3 to be unlike any previous labor. So, I went into work. Trey went with me and read outside my office in case we had to make a mad dash home. The hours faded by and the contractions went with them.
Thursday came and went. Few contractions if any graced my bulging belly all day. Then, at 7:30PM they started to return, coming and going at about the same pace as Wednesday until about 1oPM, when they pretty much ceased to exist.
Defeated, I went to bed.
Somewhat elated I awoke at 1AM with more contractions that were on again/off again like a bad high school relationship. I fell asleep and woke up at 6:30AM not able to sleep through the disruptive but seemingly unproductive contractions. These fickle little pains that wrapped themselves around my mid-section continued most of the morning. Having spoken with my midwife, Erin, I knew that she wanted me to call her when my contractions had been consistent for an hour--5 minutes apart and 45 seconds long each. Finally, around 1PM they had met that criteria.
Erin arrived, we checked my status and prepared ourselves for labor to progress. We waited. I folded laundry. We waited. Trey and I threw the frisbee in the backyard "froggie style." (Explanatory note by the editor: this involved squatting and leaping in an attempt to intensify the effect of gravity. Strange, I know, but we were determined that another day would not pass be spent in waiting.) We waited. I made some brownies (good labor fuel). The contractions remained constant but did not increase in intensity, speed, or frequency.
Around 4:30PM we talked through potentially breaking my water since contractions were not slowing and I was already dilated at 6; it seemed that might push me over the edge. Trey and I talked about it, prayed about it and then we just started trying to naturally induce. Feet rubbing. Jumping jacks. Squats. You get the idea. A few rounds of those and I started to feel like the contractions were taking more of my breath away. I asked Erin to "check"my status. I had dilated further! I was ecstatic and extremely chatty! They continued to be more intense like this until about 5:50 when I started to feel the desire to push. So, I hopped on the bed and prepared for the toughest part--delivery. With Trey at my side, blotting my head with a cool rag and encouraging me through every contraction and push, we worked. A painful and fatiguing forty minutes later, Natalie arrived screaming with her eyes wide open and pouting--that little lower lip garnering all the sympathy it could for the entrance she had just made. It was absolutely amazing. This was probably the most challenging and exhausting labor I have had. But, ironically, I have never been so relaxed during labor at the same time. I cannot imagine having spent all that time laboring at the hospital. I would have missed out on the brownies! In seriousness, the LORD knew just the right place for her to be born and perfected our circumstances. He is GOOD!