Ethan’s Birth Story

(WARNING: This isn’t a very graphic birth account, but it’s probably more info than some want to read. So, if you’re not interested in hearing the details, just skip this post. I don’t want to offend or gross out anyone.)

Well, he’s finally here. 🙂 Ethan Oliver arrived last Friday morning. The world was supposed to end and it was the shortest day of the year and the first day of Winter. It was also supposed to be the night/morning of a really bad snow/wind/rain storm, but that didn’t really happen at all.

I worried all last week about the baby coming Thursday night or Friday morning because of the forecasted storm. They said with the wind gusts at 50 mph and the rain and snow we were to get, it was going to be awful to drive on the roads…possibly even zero visibility at times. Well, none of it happened except the wind. It rained for a short while and then froze.

My mother-in-law decided on Thursday she would just take the train to the station by us and stay the night with us. That way, if the storm made the roads too rough, she would already be here in case I went into labor and she wouldn’t have to drive the hour from her house. This got rid of my worry about having someone here to stay with the kids. And the kids loved having a sleepover guest. 🙂

During the night, Buddy woke up all congested and coughing. I brought him into bed with us to prop him up on pillows. He isn’t the best sleeping partner – he likes to lay his arms across my face or hold me around the neck. Makes for one sweaty Mama….that can’t sleep well.

Around 4:20 AM, I awoke to what I thought was the baby kicking/repositioning, followed by a sudden urge to use the bathroom. Then, I thought I was wetting the bed before I realized my water had broke!! I woke my husband to get Buddy out of bed. Thankfully, I had been sleeping on a towel for about a week (been doing this the last few weeks of pregnancy with every child…just in case). My mother-in-law took Buddy, and I called my midwife. She was actually staying overnight at the hospital in case someone went into labor, as she worried about making it to the hospital with the crazy storm that was supposed to happen. Good thing she was there!

The midwife, Karen, and I discussed the usual – what time did the water break, what color was the fluid, was I having contractions, etc. I was not yet having contractions, but she advised I get to the hospital right away anyhow because I have fast labors. My husband and I got dressed, and the contractions started. They weren’t too bad at first, so I thought they’d progress like normal….and would be painful in a few hours. WRONG! They got pretty painful during the 10 minute car ride to the hospital. I was surprised at how painful they were in such a short period of time.

We got to the hospital and up into the labor & delivery room by 5:15AM. Karen came in to check on me and get things set up. The nurses did their stuff, and my contractions really progressed while they got all the paperwork taken care of to complete my registration. I was at 4 centimeters dilated.

My husband, who becomes quite the jokester in tense situations, made the comment, “My guess is she’ll deliver in the next hour and a half.” Karen chuckled, and I thought it sounded like a great idea. 🙂

I think I said this when I posted about my last delivery, but I’ll say it again: I am a huge fan of Lamaze breathing. I have found that it really does help with getting through the contractions. I also love the relaxation and focus that Lamaze stresses. I do not think I’d be able to have medication-free births without Lamaze.

I worked through the contractions with the slow and intermediate breathing techniques. I never use the fast breathing because, for me, it makes me lightheaded. I also find a spot on the wall to focus on and think about what exactly is happening with each contraction and how baby and my body are preparing for the delivery.

With this delivery, I was able to use the birthing ball…and I found that I loved that as well. It really helped with the pressure and pain. I actually did not notice the increase in pelvic pressure or pain until I felt I was about ready to push. Karen checked at the time and I had gone from 4 centimeters to 9.5 centimeters…in about an hour.

At that time, Karen had me turn on my hands and knees to reposition the pressure, but it actually nauseated me. The lavender aromatherapy she had going because to nauseate me at that point, too (and I LOVE lavender normally!). I decided I was ready to push, and Karen was all for it. Instead of stirrups, she had my husband hold one of my feet and a nurse the other foot. I started pushing and became lightheaded. The nurse pointed out that I wasn’t bearing down. I corrected it and focused again on the breathing and felt much better. Three pushes and baby was out! Karen noted the time: 6:44AM…..almost EXACTLY 1.5 hours from when my husband predicted the delivery time. 🙂 Everyone thought that was hilarious.

The baby was perfect…..and HUGE! I was able to hold him right away, while we did the delayed cord clamping. Arthur got to cut the umbilical cord again (that’s 5 out of 5 for him), and I was able to snuggle and kiss my little guy for a little while. They took him over to weigh and check him out. He weighed 9 pounds 5 ounces! I was shocked! I honestly didn’t think he’d be over 9 pounds. I laughed…a lot. 🙂

He checked out perfectly, and I was able to nurse him right away. He did perfectly with that as well. The only imperfect thing was that we still didn’t have a name for him! We hadn’t come to an agreement on a first or middle name yet. We finally agreed on Ethan Oliver (by text after Arthur had gone home to be with the kids) around 1pm….six hours after he was born!

We were able to come home the next day around 3pm. I was so happy to get home right away. The hospital folks always say I should just stay another night and enjoy the quiet time away from home, but I do NOT find a hospital stay to be quiet. I can’t sleep because of all the hallway noise and the nurses coming in to check baby and I every so often. Ethan had low blood sugar (like most big babies), so they had to check his level before each time I nursed him. That became annoying after about the 3rd time. At home, I knew I could relax and would be used to the noise and people there. 🙂

Everyone was glad we were home. My in-laws were a huge help, watching the other kids for us. My family was able to come up on Sunday and have Christmas time with us. So, the girls were ecstatic they got to see all the grandparents over the weekend, plus several aunts and uncles. I enjoyed the company and the help they all provided. I always love seeing my mom after I deliver because I know she knows exactly how I feel, and I love seeing the joy on her face when she holds the new baby. 🙂

So, it’s been a week since Ethan was born. The world didn’t end. We didn’t get any crazy storm. And I had a ridiculously fast labor. No complaints on any of those. 🙂 I am also recovering much better than the last few deliveries, which is not what I expected. My husband has been a HUGE help with everything around the house AND with taking Ethan for his weight and bilirubin checks, since I can’t drive. I haven’t had to do much of anything around here this week, and I can totally tell the difference it’s making in my body’s recovery. I only took one dose of ibuprofen since coming home and no other pain meds for the cramping.

I know I said this after I had Buddy, but if this is my last baby I am SO thankful for the wonderful pregnancy, delivery and recovery. Best memories for a last pregnancy/baby.

I am so thankful for the fast and non-medicated delivery. It is so much more memorable for me to be able to feel every step of the delivery and know exactly what’s going on. I enjoy being able to feel each stage and the miracle of birth. It truly is a miracle. One minute I have a huge belly with a baby moving around inside; I have no clue what he looks like or how big he is. The next minute, I am looking into the face of that baby, who is now outside and staring at me…breathing on his own and moving those hands and feet that for several months poked me in the ribs or bladder. My body grew that baby for 40 weeks and now he is in my arms. God’s handiwork in the awesomeness of pregnancy and birth is so amazing! He truly created something from nothing and it is so beautiful.

I am so incredibly thankful for Ethan and my other children. God has blessed me beyond anything I deserve. I cannot describe how thankful I am. I pray that I honor Him with how I raise my children and that I show myself worthy of being called Mom. I have the best example of a mother in my own mom.

Happy BIRTHday, Ethan!




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