The morning before I went into labor I had my 40 1/2 week appt. I had expected my dr. to be eager to discuss induction, because he has intimated he prefers this method of delivery due to its convenience (for him.) However, I was surprised to find out that I was actually LESS dilated than they originally thought and that the baby’s head, while engaged, was still very high. I left the dr’s office crying and wondering when baby Ellie was going to be here and very nervous about eventually having to be induced rather than go into natural labor.
This appt. began a few desparate prayers to God from both Jacob and myself. We have continually prayed that Ellie is healthy and strong and that I would be healthy and strong, but now our prayers turned a bit inward and we began to ask God if Ellie could come NOW. So we went on with our day. We walked a while around Target and we bought a surplus of cleaning supplies. Then we took the kids to gymnastics and went to Village Squire for dinner (the “restaurant with the Lion!”) as Cohen requested. Afterward, we decided to break routine and have a movie night, but mama got to pick the movie: The Sound of Music.
At about the time when Maria and the Captain are beginning to realize they’re in love, I’m beginning to take note of what I think are still braxton hicks contractions. When the Von Traps begin to start singing as a family, I’m beginning to realize that these are somewhat painful braxton hicks contractions. Meanwhile, Cohen has requested to go to bed (“This movie is boring” he said) and Sophie is requesting to play her new favorite pretend game (“You wanna play tea set with me mama?”). Since we were hoping this was the real thing, we just let Sophie play and play (still inquiring at 11pm if “we would like some coffee”.) I took a shower and the contractions continued, and then we watched our DVR’d episode of “The Middle” and the contractions continued. We decided to go to the hospital around 11:30 pm and arrived around midnight. I was 3cm dilated and 100 percent effaced.
The labor itself was somewhat strange and sporadic. There was a time between 2 and 3 am when I even questioned whether or not we should stay at the hospital because I hadn’t felt contractions in about 45 minutes. The head was still quite high. I asked Jacob to pray that labor would continue, so he held my hand and prayed and I began to feel another contraction. As further contractions would come, the pain would actually make me feel happy because I knew that it meant that Ellie was finally arriving. When the Dr. arrived around 3:30am, I was 7cm. I quickly progressed and felt the need to push even before I was fully dilated. About 4-5 contractions later, Ellie was born at 4:48am, weighing 8lb 12 oz and measuring 20 3/4 inches long. The dr’s and nurses commented about her big head and commended me for not using the epidural for a head that large.
Since then, memories come to mind in the blur that exhaustion can bring. I remember Cohen’s laughter as I talked to him on the phone to tell him about his baby sister (significant because he managed to summon this natural joy even when a tv show pulled his attention away in the background.) When he came to meet her in the hospital he immediately started to make silly faces at her because he wanted to make her laugh. When Sophie met her little sister, she would repeat (and still does a few days later) “She’s so cute and tiny.”
Tonight as I was cleaning the kitchen and then later bouncing Ellie even though I was encouraged to go to bed early, I realized that God shows us how much more we ever thought we were capable of through parenthood. “Did you know you could love like that?” he whispered to me, “Did you know you could have that energy even after such little sleep?” he continued to ask, “Did you know you could feel this deeply?” he whispered as I watched Cohen blow a kiss to Ellie. And he told me “Look at the depth of the Life I have called you to.”