First – A note to my conservative readers.
- Thanks for being here! Below, you’ll find images of me in a bra top, similar to a bathing suit. You’ll also see images of me in the birth pool. My legs, hips, and belly are shown in dark water. All private parts are hidden. Whew!
- If words like “placenta” and phrases like “bloody show” make you uncomfortable, you might want to skip this blog post.
The days leading up to labor and delivery are always a challenge. As with Carolina, I had many nights of contractions that just wouldn’t stay regular. Scott and I took to walking the neighborhood at sunset each night. I’d grab a popsicle to help me stay cool and off we waddled, slowly, around a few blocks by ourselves. This time became one of my favorite parts of my last month of pregnancy. Just the two of us, our thoughts, and something sweet to eat.
On Tuesday, June 16th, I was 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Scott, Carolina, Aden, and I (Ava was at church) headed out to see Quincy (our amazing midwife) for a checkup. By this time, I was very uncomfortable and felt like I was going to burst. I was having contractions on and off each day and night and generally felt like I couldn’t move. At the end of my appointment, we kicked the kids out of the room and Quincy performed my first cervical check. I was 3 centimeters and she could stretch my cervix to a 4. PRAISE! I was so happy to hear that all of these contractions had lead to progression. Quincy also stripped my membranes, which is a great way to naturally induce labor.
My contractions intensified throughout the day but they weren’t regular. I had a good amount of bloody show and pressure but no official labor. Scott had planned for a friend to come over that night at 8:00 PM to have a drink with him on the patio. Once Dave arrived, we joked that tonight might be the night and I reserved the right to kick him out whenever I needed. The boys poured their Moscow Mules and headed outside while I dove into bedtime duties. While I was putting the girls to bed at 9:00 PM, I noticed a drastic change in my demeanor. I was anxious and irritable while we said our prayers and shared goodnight kisses. By prayer time with Aden at 9:30 PM, I was breathing through strong contractions and needed to be alone. I labor really well independently and just needed to be done with these sweet, little people that call me mom. At 9:45 PM, I became sick to my stomach and as soon as that episode passed, things picked up quickly. At about 9:50 PM I texted Scott from our bedroom, “I think it’s go time!” Dave left right away and Scott was back inside, rushing around, filling the birth pool, getting supplies out and such. I called my mom and the midwife to tell them it was time. We were having a baby!
The house was dim, we had a candle lit in our bedroom and I had turned on my “Labor and Delivery” playlist. I had written Scott a letter over the course of several weeks leading up to labor and gave it to him before anyone arrived. We shed tears, we prayed, we danced to my playlist and sang “It Is Well” in one another’s ears. It was the sweetest time of the entire night. I’ll never forget it.
Aden was the first to make his way out of his room and into ours. With squinted, sleepy eyes and a goofy smile on his face, he said, “Are you in laaaaaaaaabor?” All of our commotion had woken him up and he knew it was time. He was so kind, staying near me (but not too close!) as I let my body do what it knew to do.
My mom arrived at about 10:30 PM. She quietly woke Ava and Carolina up and brought them into my room for a quick snuggle between contractions. Having her there was invaluable! We wanted the kids to be present but also wanted them to have the option to retreat with someone if my level of pain was making them uncomfortable. Grandma to the rescue.
I spent most of my labor standing, swaying side to side through contractions. At some point, I joined my mom in the living room and bounced on a birth ball through a few strong swells. I quickly decided that was not working and back to walking/standing I went. I didn’t realize it, but as I labored, I was slowly making my way closer and closer to the water, to my little master bathroom cave – the place where no one was allowed to be unless I invited them in.
Our birth assistant, Karen, made it to our house first. I was likely in transition when she arrived. We said a quick hello and then she quietly went to work, setting out supplies. Scott helped me into the pool shortly after this. The warm water was incredible! I was really hesitant to give birth in the pool. I delivered Carolina in a squatting position next to the birth pool and had gravity on my side. I didn’t want the water to slow my labor. However, I quickly learned that once my baby was ready to come, nothing was going to slow him down.
Our midwife arrived and I was already fighting the urge to push. I remember saying to myself, “There’s nowhere I can go! I can’t go anywhere!” As in – this pain is overwhelming and I can’t get away from it. I had been in active labor for about 90 minutes. I knew what was coming, having delivered my last baby at home without an epidural. I didn’t want the pain. I didn’t want to push. I didn’t want to tear. I was afraid to meet our baby for so many reasons. I was literally holding him inside because of these fears. I felt slightly panicked as the baby descended and I had no choice but to push.
“I think I need to push!” I shouted as I clutched the side of the pool.
“You can push.” our midwife happily replied.
“What if I’m not 10 centimeters?!” I exclaimed.
“You’ve done this before. Listen to your body.” Quincy encouraged.
And with that, I bore down to sort of “test the waters” and gave a small push. Oddly enough, I pushed out a bubble of my amniotic sac, freaked out internally, and stopped pushing entirely. It was bizarre! It felt like a small water balloon
“I feel SAC! I pushed out the sac!” My water still had not broken at this time. I pushed with all my might during the next contraction and delivered his head…EN CAUL! This means I delivered the baby’s head while he was still in the amniotic sac. We couldn’t see it as I was on my knees and my belly was blocking our sightlines. I reached down and could feel how smooth the sac was, how firm the baby’s head felt underneath it, and the lumpiness of his facial features. It was the most incredible thing. My sweet babe, half with me and half in this world, still safe and cozy in his little bubble.
After that amazing experience, the next contraction hit hard and I felt the sac rupture (which relieved a ton of pressure). One more give-it-all-you’ve-got push and out popped his shoulders. Scott helped me guide him up and out of the water. He was here! Our Scotty boy was here. All fear was gone. All pain was gone. All hesitation was gone. God fulfilled His promises the moment we met our son.
My mom brought the kids in one by one and we all just marveled at the newest member of our family. The words that come to mind as I reflect on these first few moments are joy and wonder.
A few things I want to remember forever…
-The way I screamed him into the world while I pushed, the way I cried when I held him, and the way it all quickly melted into the most intense JOY and LOVE.
-Scott, so calm under pressure, catching one last baby in the comfort of our home. The way he held me and danced with me and told me I could do this. A constant pillar of strength when I needed it.
-Scotty was covered in vernix. I think he was our “cheesiest” baby, leaving little bits of it floating all over the birth pool. He was a slippery, little guy!
-He latched on right away and we have had the best nursing experience together since our first try. Praise Jesus!
-He came out with the cutest, grumpy scowl and what we call “Papa Scotty’s eyebrows”.
-My mom’s face when we told her his name. Scotty is named after Scott, but also after my mom’s dad…Papa Scotty.
-Aden, Ava and Carolina. So in love with him from the start. Also, so caring and supportive of me during labor and delivery.
-Sitting in the warm water and taking in the soft, squishy little boy that the Lord had given to me. The way Scotty squinted his blue eyes to look up into my face when he heard my voice.
I delivered the placenta in the pool and handed Scotty (and said placenta) off so that I could get up and out of the water. Just like with Ava and Carolina’s births, I had some extended bleeding that needed to be managed. Quincy and Karen were so kind and calm as we kept having to waddle back and forth to the bathroom to change pads, bed lining, mesh undies, my clothes, towels…you name it, I bled on it. I believe at one point, I was on the toilet with my face hooked under Quincy’s arm as she took my pulse to make sure I was OK. I was lightheaded for 24-36 hours after birth and pale as a ghost but we survived and once again, our midwife proved just how skilled she is at her job by the care and expertise she showed in those moments.
Quincy and Karen tucked me into bed, Scott fed me peanut butter, crackers and vitamin water and Scotty’s newborn exam began. Carolina was fascinated by all of this. Aden and Ava went to bed around 12:30 PM but Lina stayed awake until 3:30 AM. Not only did she stay awake but she threw a massive kicking, screaming tantrum when Scott finally took her to bed. Another detail of the night I want to remember…my overly tired, feisty girl.
Once the house was tidy (thank you, Quincy and Karen!), the baby was swaddled and the big kids were asleep, Scott and I turned out the lights to rest. Scott fell fast asleep. I did not sleep. AT ALL. As in – I had just given birth to a baby and had so much adrenalin that I stayed awake for over 24 hours after I had him. I just stared at him all day and all night. Carolina was back in our room by 7:00 AM, ready to resume her new role as “big sister”. Needless to say, we were exhausted on the first day or two! Carolina and the baby kept us on our toes 🙂
Once he was here, I couldn’t believe I was ever afraid to meet him, but that’s a story for another time. He’s now one month old and we’ve spent this past month falling more and more in love with our sweet Scotty each day. Aden has surprised us all, standing out as the kiddo who spends the most time with Scotty, is the first to pick him, rushes to him when he hears his brother fussing, and more. What a gift it’s been to watch Aden open up and love a baby in this way.
Now, we get to spend the rest of our lives loving this boy like crazy, showing him that while he was quite the surprise, Jesus saw him coming, and he belongs here. To God be the glory!
Scotty Rhett Glenn McGihon
June 16, 2020
9 pounds, 7 ounces