Great Expectations II: Luke's Birth Story

Luke decided his due date, September 12th, was indeed THE day he's enter this world. Prompt little guy just like his brother.

Around 3:30 in the morning I awoke to contractions. I began timing them to see how far apart they were occurring. For the next hour I timed them to be around 6 minutes apart pretty consistently, so around 4:30am I awakened Adam to tell him I thought labor had begun. He was not thrilled about the prospect of dealing with the labor through the middle of the night again and honestly neither was I, but what can you do. When the baby says it's go get ready. After timing a few more rounds of contractions I called the doctors office to see when they wanted me to head to the hospital. The midwife listened to me deal with a few more contractions and said not to worry about them getting closer together, but instead to head to the hospital when they were getting more intense. I could still talk through a contraction at this point, so we'd wait at home as long as possible to avoid a long, long labor at the hospital again.

I then called my mom, so she could make her flight arrangements since she'd once again purchased an anytime ticket. She had an important appointment first thing in the morning and then she'd be on the next flight which was early in the afternoon. I then called Julia who planned to come stay with Levi and since she was staying at a friend's outside of the city, I wanted to make sure she had plenty of notice to get into town by the time we were actually ready to head to the hospital. Guess what happened right after I made those guessed labor stalled (again! just like with Levi). So I texted mom and Julia to give them the update and told them I'd be in touch. Then I tried to go back to sleep or rest between contractions that had now spread out to between 12 and 20 minutes apart. They were still there, but things had really slowed down. I didn't mind if it allowed Adam and I some extra sleep, but I felt bad that I had called everyone prematurely. Oh well, what could I do, so a few extra winks I got.

I woke to more regular contractions again around 7:30am and Adam got up with Levi, while I hung out in bed for a bit trying to relax through the contractions. As they began to get more intense I ventured into the kitchen and gave Julia a call. She had come into the city already and was ready to come over. Adam was kidding around a bit with me and Levi until he realized things were getting pretty intense for me as I teared up at the next round of contractions. Poor Levi didn't understand what was happening and he was pretty concerned for me since I seemed to be in pain. I decided to sneak off to the bathroom to deal with the next contractions to avoid scaring him plus my stomach was upset, so it just seemed like the convenient place to be.

At 9:30am, I told Adam I thought things were indeed "more intense" and we should probably get ready to go to the hospital since I'd been warned that second labors and deliveries tended to go much quicker than firsts and many women barely make it to the hospital. I didn't want to be that woman who delivered in the car or hospital lobby, so Adam headed to get the car. Julia entertained Levi and I gathered my bags and continued to deal with contractions hidden away from Levi in the hallway or bathroom.

The film Ted II was actually being filmed right outside of our building, so Park Street was blocked off and there was a huge production crew set up along the street. Adam talked to the church facilities manager Rich, who talked to the production staff about getting a car in and out of the street since I was in labor. They agreed to pause filming so I could get in the car and head to the hospital. Thanks Hollywood for being so considerate.

Jane, our upstairs neighbor and pastor's wife, came down when she heard I was in labor to touch base with Julia in case she needed a hand with Levi at some point. It was so interesting because between contractions I felt so normal and could carry on a normal conversation and then the contraction would start and I could barely talk understandably.

Adam arrived with the car, so I headed downstairs with Julia and Levi since we planned to leave her with the car seat. Once again between contractions I chatted with Rich, Jane and Julia, but I would disappear to the hall and out of sight to deal with each contraction. I had no idea how far apart they were...probably 5 minutes or so, but they were intense!

Adam, Levi, Julia and I hopped in the car to get going. We planned to drive Julia, Levi and the carseat to the car she was borrowing from our friend Katie and then we'd head to the hospital since the carseat would be a lot to haul through Beacon Hill to the car. When we arrived at her parking spot, the car was no where to be found. That's right, it had been TOWED!

Feeling the contractions getting more intense and uncomfortable being in the car, I said we'd all just drive to the hospital and then we'd leave Julia with our car.

We arrived at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center around 10:30am and we got checked in. I had to fill out a couple forms and needed to stand through each contraction. They brought me into triage and I was 5 cm dilated. I wasn't too encouraged by that news though since I'd been 4 cm with Levi and it was a long night/ day ahead.

We were shown our labor and delivery room and within a few contractions I began to already second guess myself. Could I handle this unmedicated?! The contractions were killing my legs but standing was what also felt best for dealing with the pain. Thankfully I wasn't having any back labor this time around. The nurse took my blood while I stood and they monitored the baby for 20 minutes also while I stood dealing with the pain. Again I questioned, this time out loud, whether I would need something to take the edge off or an epidural. I also kept commenting that it was really hot in the room. The nurse assured me it wasn't the room, but that I was working really hard. The midwife came in and assured me that things were going to happen quickly and they'd get me in a shower, which would help tremendously with dealing with the contractions. I figured I'd give it another try (it didn't help with Levi) and I wasn't having back labor this time around.

The shower was a huge relief. The warm water definitely provided some much needed relief as I worked hard to relax and breathe through the contractions. The midwife and nurse checked on me periodically and I was even checked for dilation in the shower. Within an hour I was already 8 cm! WOW I thought, now that WAS wonder things seem more intense this time around. The midwife also told me I could deliver right there in the shower if I wished. I wasn't so sure about all that, plus my water had yet to break. I continued to labor in the shower, and I kept trying to bare down a little in the hopes of breaking my water since I knew that would continue to move things along quickly. My water still didn't break and I asked the midwife if she could break it soon. She said she'd let me labor a little longer or maybe an hour more to see if it would break naturally unless I really wanted her to go ahead and break it.

After a couple more rounds of contractions I decided, let's do it, let's go ahead and break my water. We all headed back to my labor and delivery room, so she could go break it. I was already 10 cm when she went to break my water on the next contraction. Adam says I have water of steal! Crazy!

I then started feeling the natural urge to bare down and I kept talking about "the pressure". Gosh I don't like that feeling and yet it's what gets the baby born isn't it. After my water had been broken it was so strange to feel like I was peeing myself with each contraction since I was still laboring standing up. The midwife also encouraged me to try and pee on the toilet, so I dealt with a couple contractions in the bathroom, but I could not pee for the life of me.

I came back into the room and really started the feel the urge to push, so I went ahead and climbed in the bed to push like I had with Levi. I hoped and prayed it would take as long to push him out this time around. The pushing was much more painful this time around since things were happening and needing to stretch so much more quickly. There was a moment that I have very little recollection of but Adam remembers well where I froze in the pushing because of the pain and the midwife and nurse had to coach me to "get it together" and "finish the job". It was INTENSE and I definitely felt like my body my rip apart this time around.  Well, I literally gave another long push and he was here! I had pushed for two minutes and he had arrived and was placed immediately on my chest. I couldn't believe how quickly it had all gone, that the labor was over and my little boy was already resting in my arms as we waited for his cord to stop pulsing. I had hoped for delayed cord clamping with Levi, but he needed to be checked out immediately, so it hadn't worked out.
I looked up at Adam who had sweet tears in his eyes. I think those teary moments from both boys births are ones I'll never forget!

Adam was also overjoyed that we had not had to labor through the middle of the night and that everything had gone quickly and smoothly. He was such a great encouragement during the labor telling me I could do it each step of the way. Putting counter pressure on my back from outside the shower when I asked for it. Reminding me to start breathing as each contraction began and keeping me well hydrated with apple juice since I was so nervous to get dehydrated like last time. He was my rock!
We also both really liked the midwife that delivered Luke. She was very calming and reassuring that I could do this. She and the nurse kept telling me what a strong woman I was and even though I had moments where I wasn't sure whether to believe her, she helped me deliver Luke without any interventions.  She kept saying the labor was progressing quickly, but I wasn't sure if she was just saying that to keep me motivated or if she could truly tell since my midwife with Levi kept telling me how quickly he'd be pushed out and it took almost three hours. Thankfully my midwife this time around was right on the money when it came to how quickly Luke would indeed be born and since we didn't have a doula this time around, our midwife was present through much of this fast labor and delivery.
Adam got to cut the cord and we admired the newest addition to our family as the midwife wrapped things up with me...delivering the placenta and a couple stitches. I had the option of whether I wanted the stitches or not since my one tear wasn't too bad, but I figured that would help things heal well and my mom assured me it was the right decision. Then Luke gave breastfeeding a try and thankfully that too seemed to go well.

Adam messaged and emailed out the news of Luke's arrival. Luke Everette Herndon was born at 12:38pm on September 12, 2014. A little while later he measured 8 lbs 4 oz and 20.5 inches long (length just like his brother) and he had quite the head of dark, thick hair!
Family and friends were pretty amazed with how quickly the news of his arrival came since we had just emailed and messaged a couple hours earlier that we were headed to the hospital. My midwife was right when she said second births can me MUCH faster!
Our new little family of four could not be happier and Levi got to meet Luke just a few hours later. Levi was so excited to meet him and could not wait to hold the "baby". I will never forget Levi holding out his arms asking for "baby" with an "I've totally got this mom" attitude as he sat in my lap in the hospital room waiting to meet Luke. Photos of those sweet moments are probably some of my favorites from the day! Such cherished memories!
Both my sweet boys!

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