What Happens in Labor and Delivery, Stays There {My Doctor Promised}

{This is the birth story of our third child and rainbow baby, Levi Daniel. May the Lord know how absolutely grateful I am for the gift of a son. And may Husband forgive me for any emotional trauma I might have caused him throughout the grand last hour of this event.}

{This is the birth story of our third child and rainbow baby, Levi Daniel. May the Lord know how absolutely grateful I am for the gift of a son. And may Husband forgive me for any emotional trauma I might have caused him throughout the grand last hour of this event.}

Saturday, April 30, 2016 – 1:30 p.m.

It is twelve days before my due date. I start feeling light, inconsistent contractions. I wonder if this will actually turn into the real thing.

Sunday, May 1, 2016 – 7:30 a.m.

Contractions continue through the night, just strong enough to make me have to get up and pee once every hour. For that reason, I am exhausted this morning. But I think we are getting closer to calling my doctor so we take showers, make sure our bags are packed, and give Toddler’s caregivers the Pre-Game Warning.

1:00 p.m.

So many hours pass without enough progress to go in. While Toddler naps we watch the movie Armageddon, the movie we watched and I cried and my water broke to when I was pregnant with Toddler.

I sob the same stupid tears I cry every time I watch that movie.

I wonder what it is about this film that my pregnancy hormones just can’t even handle. Is it the "I Don't Wanna Close My Eyes" sung by the only "rock" band I ever came close to listening to? Is it Ben Affleck awkwardly playing with animal crackers on Liv Tyler’s belly? Is it the symbolism between a meteor destroying the earth and a baby destroying the lower regions of my body?!

As the credits roll, I wipe away the tears streaming down my face, waiting for history to repeat itself and for my water to break. No such luck.

3:00 p.m.

“PICK A LANE, CONTRACTIONS! YOU IN OR OUT? ARE WE DOING THIS OR WHAT?!”

5:30 p.m.

We concede this just isn’t going to happen today and take a walk around the neighborhood.

8:00 p.m.

Husband puts Toddler to bed.

My contractions pick up suddenly.

It is like I walked into a dark room and they turned on the lights, threw confetti in the air, yelled “SURPRISE!” and started dancing the polka on my uterus.

They are strong, they are loud, and they are only three minutes apart.

8:10 p.m.

When Husband walks out of Toddler’s room I tell him that it’s time to go to the hospital right now.

It is in this brief exchange that I turn from being his loving, affectionate, doting bride into Satan’s Mistress. From this exact point on, for the duration of each labor pain wreaking havoc through my body, Husband cannot do or say a single thing right.

“I need your help,” I tell him in a calm but clipped voice that screams "Sociopath."

I don’t have breath to say much else, so I wait and watch him struggle to figure out exactly what that means.

Unfortunately, in the many years of this earth’s existence, men have not developed the ability to read women’s minds. So when Husband takes a wild guess, picks up a blanket and starts folding it, I think about walking over and setting the blanket on fire.

My normal OCD self would have thought him folding a blanket and putting it away was the sexiest gesture ever, but in labor I am not my normal self.

8:15 p.m.

I can’t walk very well because of the sudden pressure on my What Lies Beneath. Somehow we make it down two flights of stairs, through the pouring rain, and into the car.

As we drive to the hospital Husband asks, “Are you too hot or too cold?”

As another contraction rips through me, I once again morph into a hellcat and think, Why would you ask me such a stupid question?

I wonder if this baby will actually come out of me in the car. Between the stormy weather and the 35 mile per hour speed limit, I just can’t even.

“Will you please drive a little faster?” I think and say out loud.

8:30 p.m.

We pull into the parking ramp, and I command Husband to grab a wheelchair for me.

As his 163 pounds pushes my roughly 200 pounds slightly uphill from the car to the walkway, he grunts just a little bit and I consider giving him a sucker punch.

And when he accidentally bumps the wheelchair into the door we are trying to fit through, I think it’s probably time he and I break up.

8:35 p.m.

We are brought to a room to undress and register. I think about how my solitary goal for delivering Toddler was to have an all-natural birth. As my body writhes in pain now, I think that is so jacked up. All I want for Christmas is drugs.

“Is it too late for an epidural?” I plead.

A doctor checks me. “You’re at 9.5 centimeters.”

I think that is fancy doctor code for “no.” {Or maybe, "you're screwed."}

8:45 p.m.

The nurse asks questions that feel like rocket science when you’re trying to answer in late labor, like, “When was your last period?”

Then she asks, “Do you have any religious preferences or desires?”

I let out a breathy, “Jesus…”

That is the funniest thing they have heard all night. I try to explain, “No, I mean: We love Jesus.”

It’s still hilarious.

9:00 p.m.

We are brought to the delivery room. Whenever a contraction hits I do some version of Lamaze breathing I picked up from the movies. I wonder how Mr. Lamaze made millions of dollars just by coining a specific method of breathing.

I assume Lamaze is a mister because: “Breathing like this takes away my labor pains!” said no woman ever.

9:05 p.m.

I want to push, and I tell the resident doctor as such. She tells me I can’t until she checks the position of the baby.

“If the baby is the wrong way it will tear your cervix,” she says.

I want to snap back, Isn’t that what the baby is about to do anyway?!

9:10 p.m.

When my doctor arrives and the pushing finally begins, it is an apocalyptic chorus of my own breathing, yelling, and screaming. Between contractions I apologize to everyone in the room for all the guttural noises coming from deep within me.

My doctor reassures me, “It’s okay! It’s kind of like Vegas in here: ‘What happens in Labor and Delivery, stays in Labor and Delivery!’”

9:15 p.m.

As an interesting encouragement tactic, my doctor says, “You have a nice voice, but maybe you should try using that energy to push instead.”

I was told the exact same thing as I pushed Toddler out of me.

I again wonder why I ever thought I could or wanted to do this naturally. Nobody needs a hero here, Kendra, I remind myself too late. I have heard so many people say there are bragging rights in having a natural labor, but I have never heard someone say there is dignity. 

Nope, there is no dignity lying on that bed, knees apart, Armageddon flowing from your voice box.

9:20 p.m.

It hurts. It feels like taking a sledgehammer to the gut and then sitting on a fire and then trying to push out a watermelon. It hurts so much more than I remember when I was in labor with Toddler. It hurts so much I think surely this pain is the Lord’s curse on childbirth.

My doctor whispers to the resident something about the baby being sunny-side up. He later explains this means that the baby’s face was nose up when the back of the baby's head should be showing. 

Their whispering makes me nervous and brings up all the anxieties of giving birth to a rainbow baby – a baby we are delivering after our last one passed away. I ask over and over if the baby is okay, and they assure me the baby’s heart rate is normal.

9:25 p.m.

One of Husband’s hands holds my left leg, and the other hand is liquified between my white-knuckled squeezing through each contraction.

It is in this posture, along with my instruction to please not sit next to my ear and yell “PUSH, PUSH, PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!” that Husband perfects the number one rule of Birth Partners: They shalt be seen, but not heard.

9:28 p.m.

On roughly the tenth push, the baby is born. I feel instant relief, and I cry instant tears.

Husband looks at me with a huge smile and exclaims, “It’s a boy!”

Just like that, Husband is the best looking I have ever seen him in our entire life together: the proud father of a son. He looks at him again and laughs, “Whoa, he’s a big boy!”

And just like that, I am once again his loving, affectionate, doting bride.

9:30 p.m.

They call them rainbow babies, those gifts from God that come after the long, dark storm. I think the moment they lay Levi Daniel in my arms feels exactly like a rainbow: tears falling like rain, but the sun rays of happiness for this gift of a child shining brilliantly over the grief of our past.

A year ago I felt so empty. But right now I cry and cry and say over and over to Husband, “I feel so happy!”

And just like that, I can’t imagine our lives without him. All nine pounds, ten ounces, and three chins of him.

 

Grace and Peace, Tired and HAPPY,
Kendra

 

P.S. A few photos:

Cheeks and chins for days. 

Cheeks and chins for days. 

Proud Daddy. 

Proud Daddy. 

Confused Big Sister.

Confused Big Sister.

Happy Family.

Happy Family.

Grandma Potgeter.

Grandma Potgeter.

Grandpa and Grandma Broekhuis.

Grandpa and Grandma Broekhuis.

Daniel, Collin Daniel, and Levi Daniel.

Daniel, Collin Daniel, and Levi Daniel.