Following a move on October 31, I was more than ready to have baby #4 by December 3, my due date. With Simon being 10 days late and Walker and Eden being 12 days late I tried not to get my hopes up. But I was actually feeling that the baby was going to come pretty near the due date this time. I text some friends on December 4 saying I was feeling laborious. I tried something completely different this time. I relaxed and rested and let my body do the work. I slept very briefly on and off that night after resting most of the afternoon and evening. After a few hours of regular contractions we asked some dear friends to come over to be with the kids so we could head to the hospital around 6 a.m. After triage and six failed attempts at getting an IV in my arm for the Hep Bloc my labor basically stopped COMPLETELY by 9 a.m. I was so discouraged. We had already started my Group B strep meds and I was due for another dose at 12 noon. Dr. Bowen just happened to be at the hospital checking on other patients and stopped in. I did something totally instinctual and so totally against my norm. I took a nap. I would have typically started walking briskly through the hallways trying to will my body to get back into labor. But I was determined this time, my fifth and final birth to follow my body's instincts. And my body said it was tired and wanted to rest. Dr. Bowen came back at noon and offered to break my water. That is a no-no to a natural birth plan and I was very torn about it because I did not want to introduce any interventions. One intervention often leads to another and that is not how I wanted to deliver this time around. After texting a couple of doula friends and reconsidering my trust in Dr. Bowen, Eric and I decided to let him. He was fairly certain it would quickly jump start my labor again, especially with this being my fifth delivery. Dr.. Bowen also mentioned a few times that he had his office Christmas Party at Ruth Chris at 5 p.m. No pressure!!!
He broke my water around 12:45 p.m. and I started tracking hard contractions at 2:29 and stopped tracking at 3:56 just before I hit transition. My parents were able to come in to the room just in time to see me push our sweet baby into the world around 4:30 p.m. and Dr. Bowen finished things up and was off to his Christmas Party in hopes of only being a few minutes late :).
And It's a Girl! Two boys and two girls! How completely blessed are we?!?
I could not be happier with Gwen's birth! All of our prayers were answered. Eric and I worked together beautifully, which if you have never had or witnessed a natural birth is absolutely essential. I had an amazing, very experienced nurse who even suggested a different position to me that was super helpful at one point which is nearly unheard of. Natural birthing moms are often an annoyance to nurses and are highly uncommon but I have found the nurses at Bethesda North Hospital to be very supportive of natural deliveries. This one in particular was encouraging, calm, and very accommodating to my requests for a dark and quiet room.
If you do the math, you can see that my hard labor was very short. It was probably around 2 hours of hard intensive labor. I was more prepared for this mentally as I transitioned very quickly with both Walker and Eden. If you've ever gone from 4 cm to pushing in less than an hour you know it is scary because the pain hits you so hard and fast, so fast that I went into shock when delivering Eden. My first natural birth with Simon was long and I experienced hard labor for 8 hours but it built up and was a totally different experience then these last three.
Gwen's birth was quiet. I always say that anyone is welcome in my delivery rooms but I have learned that I need it to be just Eric and me until I am at the very end. It was a very special birth and one that we will always cherish.
There is no one I would rather have as my OB than Dr. Daniel Bowen. I cannot recommend him enough! He is so calm! He is so knowledgeable! His statistics for natural and vaginal deliveries are unmatched. I feel very blessed to have had three babies with his practice. He is excellent!
It has taken me a year to write out Gwen's birth but it is something I treasure and want to keep forever. Her first birthday is in just two days. I always feel sad when my babies turn 1. The first year is so special and maddening, exhilarating and exhausting, mundane and eventful. Gwen is such a sweet baby. She has been so easy and such a joy. Her spirit is very calm and sweet. She's been on the serious side but I sense she is paying attention. Gwen has slept through the night a handful of nights in a year. I'm pretty tired and have more grey hairs popping up but I have had little helpers this time. I have kids that love her and look after her. They entertain her. It is my greatest joy! You have your first baby and wonder how you could ever love another child as much and then you have another and your hearts swells. My heart is so swollen with love right now it carries me right through the trying times. Somehow, I have managed to become a very relaxed Mom. Somehow, after four kids I am referred to by others as "laid back". This is good news folks! The Lord has done a beautiful, purposeful and kind work on my heart over the years. I have asked for more of Him and he gracefully enters. It is my only Hope as a Mother to be able to rely fully on the Lord's strength, wisdom and grace. It is not perfect and I still lose my patience and get crazy. I have limits but I have also learned to take care of myself better. I leave when I need to. I exercise regularly. I rest more than I have ever allowed myself to rest.
And I am now realizing that I never recorded Eden's birth. Shoot! She'll be three soon. Sounds like a good time to write it out :)