When a child is given to his parents, a crown is made for that child in heaven. And woe to the parents who raise that child without consciousness of that eternal crown!Fulton Sheen
Silent Waiting – A Birth Story
January is quiet and forgiving
A new, fresh start
A year of possibility
And we sit waiting,
Waiting for new life to emerge
In the cheery cold
A small light to burst forth
And new love to hold
In the wee hours of January 16, I awoke to labor contractions. It was only 2 am so I tried to lull myself back to sleep. Eventually, I was successful, but my dreams were filled with the subtle pain of each contraction. In the morning, I climbed out of bed cautiously, as if I might scare away labor, and I ventured downstairs to begin the day. It was the perfect day to have a baby! Something I’d been saying for weeks at this point… And it was. There were huge snowflakes falling outside that made the January gloom seem cheery. But upon making my coffee, getting Reagan her orange juice and Cooper his milk, I noticed they had stopped. I felt defeated. His due date had been two whole days ago! I was more than over the huge belly that made it impossible to see my toes.
That night I slept well. No contractions or older children interrupted me, and I woke up feeling that today really was the day. To my delight, the large snowflakes had begun falling again, the sun was peeking through the gloom, and steady contractions were causing just enough discomfort to make me feel certain. True bliss. We eased into our morning with the usual routine and got ourselves ready for Church. Sunday, January 17, 2021, was indeed a perfect day to have a baby.
Mass was beautiful as I continued to contract regularly. And, though I was a bit distracted from the readings, it was a perfect start to the day. After Mass, we went to brunch with my family, and everyone looked at me in joyful anticipation as I told them the news. We said our farewells and headed home to get everything in order.
I ran around cleaning the house like a madwoman as Reagan napped and Cooper watched his favorite show – The Lion Guard. Once all the rooms were tidied I took to finally packing my hospital bag and taking a quick shower. Ryan came home from the grocery store ready to go work out, but I told him he needed to pack his bag instead. My mom and sister came to stay with the kids, and we were off! After an unpleasant car ride, we arrived at the hospital to find out I was already 7cm dilated.
Ryan and I made our way to our room and settled in. I spent the first hour (ish, I never have an accurate remembrance of time while laboring) standing, leaning over the bed. This is my go-to labor position. As the exhaustion crept in and my body began to feel heavy, I decided to try a new position that I had just learned from the Bradley Method of natural childbirth. It’s a little hard to explain, but basically, you lay on your side with your top leg propped on a couple of pillows. This position encourages relaxation as you work with, not against, each contraction.
And it actually worked. I began dozing off between contractions when they were at their strongest and farthest apart (a sign you’re close to transition). At this point, the doctor offered to break my water. I knew once he did things would go fast, but I decided to wait because I was enjoying the much-needed rest.
The atmosphere this entire time was peaceful. It was just Ryan and I with my nurse checking in on us occasionally. We chatted casually between contractions, and I was amazed at how aware I was of everything going on. It was well into the evening, leaving our room cozy and dim – the perfect setting.
After the doctor broke my water the contractions quickly intensified. He stepped out of the room only to come back a handful of minutes later as I began to feel the urge to push. I could feel the baby’s head now. I did my best to pause as I felt the burning sensation or “ring of fire” in hopes of minimizing any tearing. That moment was incredibly painful but, funny enough, I hardly remember what it felt like now. Finally, I gave a few pushes and he was out, screaming on my chest.
The great relief I anticipated was hindered by the placenta – a part of birth I’d never felt because of the epidurals I’d had previously. I was surprised at how uncomfortable I still was and found it hard to enjoy those first few minutes with Fulton. When I was finally instructed to push once more, a giant wave of relief washed over me. It was finished.
When Fulton was born Ryan looked at him and said, “Hey little guy!” and the doctor immediately responded, “that is not a little guy!” Our 8-pound 11 oz 21 inches long little man was born January 17th at 6:29 pm. Our celebratory meal was a delicious deli meat sandwich from Jimmy John’s that was enjoyed as Ryan and I gushed over our newest addition.
Welcome to the world, Fulton John! We are so happy to have you here with us ☺️
When is the time for love to be born? The inn is full on the planet earth, and by a comet the sky is torn – yet love still takes the risk of birth.Madeleine L’Engle