Laura Carolyn Jackson was born at 12:22am on Monday, November 20, 2017. She weighed 7lbs 11oz and was 19.5 inches long. She shares a birthday with the labor and delivery nurse that was with us. But her birth story really starts on Tuesday, November 14.
After weeks of contractions I hadn’t felt a single one for an entire week. This was a huge blessing because it helped Andrew and I feel really okay about him taking off for Washington D.C. on Sunday. About 4pm Tuesday evening I started having decently strong contractions. Andrew called to let us know he was at the airport and going to hop on a plane in about an hour. The plan was for him to land in Chicago around 8pm and then fly to Indy arriving at 10pm. He would then take a shuttle home and walk in the door around 1:30am.
As he was en route to Chicago the contractions started really picking up. I called a friend that had jokingly offered to pick up Andrew from the airport if I was in labor and asked if they were busy that night. Since we had until 9 before they would need to leave I tried everything I could to determine whether I was really in labor or not. A neighbor came over so I could go on a walk (she did this every night while Andrew was gone so I could stretch and sleep!). The contractions seemed to get a lot stronger. I took a hot shower. I laid down. I panicked for a few minutes.
I called our friends and figured it was better to have Andrew home three hours earlier. They came to the rescue. I had contractions all night but never felt like it was time to head to the hospital. They continued through Wednesday. At 11:30pm I woke up with strong contractions. We called a friend from church and she rushed over, sounding very chipper. I couldn’t even tell I woke her up!
When we got to the hospital I was dilated to a three. It looked like labor was really picking up for a couple of hours, then totally stopped at 2:30am. We were home and back in bed by 3:30am, now Friday morning.
This ended up being a HUGE blessing. Emily woke up sick. She threw up a few times and was generally miserable all day. I’m certain Laura was looking out for her big sister. I was so grateful Emily wasn’t at peoples homes feeling miserable and sharing germs. I’m glad we could spend a quiet day at home together.
Saturday I woke up ready to have a baby. At this point I was pretty exhausted with the whole business of contractions. I went on a walk in a torrential downpour for 1.5 hours and chatted with my mom. I was in good spirits by the time I walked in the door, completely soaked through. Andrew had come up with a huge cleaning/organizing plan for the day. We decided to set up the Christmas tree and stockings as an added bonus.
I had steadily strengthening contractions all day. It was perfect that we had a huge list of things we wanted to get done so I could push through them. They continued getting stronger during the night. I went to church on Sunday completely exhausted and still experiencing steady contractions. When we got home I called the midwife and asked about coming in just to get checked. I was hoping/worried that I had been progressing and wanted to know how far along I was so when things did pick up we would know how fast to get to the hospital. I figured that if I wasn’t in labor we would be home in time to get the kids tucked into bed.
We dropped the kids off at a neighbor’s house and arrived at the hospital around 5. The very disappointing news came that I was still at a 3. Literally days and nights of contractions and seemingly no progress. We had to stay for a couple of hours to monitor the baby. Before we left the nurse gave us a direct number to the midwives office that would guarantee us an appointment the next day and instructions for me to take some Tylonel and a hot shower to get some sleep. She also told us about all the options for induction. Andrew and I left feeling confident we would wait for this girl to decide when she was ready to be born. We made plans of fun things to do each day as we walked out to the car.
About three minutes down the road I felt a little pop and told Andrew it kind of felt like my water broke, except no water. We joked about how funny it would be if my water had actually broken and we were back at the hospital five minutes after we left.
As we continued to drive the contractions were becoming unbearable. I couldn’t wait for the hot shower and to get some sleep because I was so tired. Andrew walked over to get the kids and I headed up the stairs. I barely made it to the top before I felt the gush of water and labor really begin.
I had just told our friend that were going to come spend the night with the kids not to worry about coming. I now sent another text with a very different message. They were ready to go and came directly. I took a shower until we were out of hot water while Andrew did the bedtime routine. I jumped in to finish. Andrew gave Emily and I a blessing before we hopped in the car.
We arrived at the hospital at 8pm. I was quickly becoming miserable. I was totally sold on the sleep plan and this was a rough development. I was praying for some very specific things by this point: please let this labor be short (Emily’s was 26 hours and Nathan’s was 12); please please please don’t let me tear/need stitches; this pregnancy has been just about as hard as it gets and it would be really nice if labor doesn’t have to be; please let this be a good experience for us.
With my water broken they didn’t want to check me until I felt like pushing. I headed straight for the hot water in the shower. Andrew stayed with me for every contraction. They were coming hard and fast. I was quickly loosing my ability to cope. I felt like time compressed and this labor was compounding upon the time I labored with Emily and Nathan. As I said yet another prayer I had the clear thought, “Get checked, and if you are at a 4.5, get an epidural.”
I told Andrew I wanted to get checked and get an epidural if I had a ways to go because I was just too tired. He was completely supportive while I freaked out and explained to the midwife I knew literally nothing about epidurals. I never paid attention/read/listened to/thought about it as an option. She checked me at 10:30pm and I was at a 4.5. The epidural was in place by 11:00pm. I was fully dilated by 12:00 and Laura was born twenty minutes later.
The epidural was the most wonderful answer to prayers. My labor was short. It was painless but I still had feeling and control over the entire process. I actually enjoyed the birth experience and was calm and present. I was able to follow the midwives guidance and didn’t tear. And no afterpains (well for the first few hours anyway – that might be my favorite part of the epidural!!!!) Oh I am so so so so so so grateful that God answers prayers and can give us such clear direction and guidance.
Here is sweet Laura at 1.5 days old.