Our story begins on Christmas Eve 2008.
Picture it: Christmas lights and decorations everywhere. Holiday music on repeat. Cold, crisp winter air. My mother and mother-in-law requesting that I have the baby on any day – except Christmas Day. #challengeaccepted
First we attended Christmas Eve Mass, then both of our families gathered at my parents’ house in Derby. We left a little after 8pm, headed home, and put Sophie to bed so that we could set up some of her bigger Christmas gifts.
We went to bed around 10pm… and I awoke with a start at 11:36pm, when a painful contraction informed me that our baby was on the way! I waited for the second contraction (seven minutes later) before nudging Brian and telling him I was in labor. He was silent for a moment, then said “really?” We had just gone to sleep and so had the rest of our family members, but we all know babies don’t care about sleep.
I assured him that it was the real thing, and he hopped out of bed and started making phone calls. At 12:15am, my mom and sisters arrived at the house. I remember stopping to grip my dresser and grit my teeth through a contraction. They seemed so close together; I had had enough time to shower while in labor with my previous baby, and there was no way I’d be able to do that again. It had only been 40 minutes, but my contractions were already less than two minutes apart.
After arriving at the Birthcare Center (thankfully only a 4 minute drive from our house), our lovely nurse Cindy seemed surprised when she checked me (“do you want to guess how much you are dilated?” “Um, 4? 5?”). I was already at 7cm and desperate for an epidural. Another nurse had trouble with my IV (she blew two veins before Cindy retrieved a needle, moved to the other arm, and successfully secured it in place). Although I received the epidural, I barely had a few seconds after they removed that (huge 😣) needle before the most painful of the contractions hit. I can only describe it as feeling like being struck by lightning from the inside out. I couldn’t control my physical response or the primal yelling coming from my own mouth. I couldn’t recreate those noises today if I tried. 😳
I had no choice but to push without a chance for the epidural to kick in, and when the doctor noted that the baby’s heart rate was dropping, the sense of urgency in the room intensified. Less than 3 minutes of pushing and my husband was able to announce: “We have a little boy!” Boston weighed 6lbs 10oz and was 19 inches long – only 1oz heavier and 1/2 an inch longer than his sister. He was born 5 days early; she was 6. Even now, those similarities make me smile. ❤️
It was 1:28am, less than two hours after my first labor contraction woke me up. Later, the nurses told us that he was the first baby to arrive that Christmas day in Wichita. Nurse Cindy gave him a handmade Santa hat.
As far as having an unintentionally unmedicated birth goes, I would say that it would have been far less traumatizing if I had been mentally prepared for it. I know I expected to have more time, like I did with Sophie, and it didn’t occur to me that I might not have a choice in the matter. I’m sure it would have helped if I’d taken a class for natural childbirth, even though that wasn’t my “birth plan.” However, I did recover much more quickly with him and I can’t help but wonder if having him naturally helped with the healing process.
What a wild ride. Now approaching his 9th birthday, Boston loves sharing his birthday with Jesus!! Best Christmas Present Ever.
See Part I: My First Born here. And stay tuned for Part III, the final chapter of our birth story adventure!