Asher’s birth was so completely opposite of my first birth. The end result was the same, of course — a healthy mama and a beautiful, healthy baby — but the journey to get there was so different. With Micah I went into labor, but this time around I made it to 42 weeks (or so we thought), so they scheduled my induction for the morning of Thursday, July 12. I was kind of nervous about the whole induction thing and just really didn’t want it to turn into an intervention filled birth. Also my first labor ended up being about 55 hours even though I went into labor on my own so I was worried that if my body wasn’t ready that I could be in for another long labor. David and I had decided to go the hospital route this time and use the wonderful midwives at Charlotte Ob/Gyn and they really respected and supported my plans for a natural birth. The hospital that we delivered at also had 5 new all natural birth suites (in which you can’t even get an epidural), one with a queen size bed and walk in tub and I was really praying for that room.
Isn’t this the most awesome hospital delivery room ever??
So anyways, I tried everything but labor never started on its own and I hadn’t even had any major contractions so we headed to the hospital Thursday morning early. It was nice to able to plan for Micah, know that she was taken care of and to have my parents here already. It felt pretty surreal though, just driving to the hospital that morning knowing that we’d hopefully have a baby by the end of the day (or by the next day at least), but not being in active labor yet. We got there around 7:30 and met our nurse, Jane, who was amazing. She hooked me up to the monitor to make sure Asher was still doing ok and told me that I was having some mild contractions. We chatted for a while and Jane filled out the admitting paperwork and then my incredible midwife, Kathy, came in to discuss our options. We had talked about either having my water broken or possibly starting a really low dose of pitocin and then turning it off once my body kicked in and started contracting regularly. They couldn’t find the portable pitocin drip though, and when my midwife checked me I was basically at 5 cm and she just went ahead and broke my water. This was around 9:15am. I was a bit shocked at the amount of fluid that came out and continued to come out for a while! With Micah it was more like a little trickle, but this was several large gushes (and I do mean large!).
One last picture before meeting our little man and before things really got going.
My amazing birth photographer, Heather, had arrived by this point and we all sat around and chatted while I waited for labor to start. Jane kept monitoring me every 30 minutes or so but I was free to walk around or sit on the ball or do whatever I felt like doing. I started having some contractions not long after they broke my water but I was still talking through them. Heather decided to leave for a few minutes and give David and I some time alone before things picked up. I honestly never really looked at the clock so I’m guessing and looking back at texts to estimate the time. David was still texting my family at 10:37 so I’m thinking that things hadn’t really picked up too much by that point. Eventually though probably around 11:15-30 my contractions really started to pick up and I was having to breathe through them. They started coming about every 2-3 minutes, if that, pretty quickly and before I knew what was happening I was in full active, transitional labor! I got tired of walking and being on the ball pretty quickly and decided to get in the tub. I sat in the tub for a while and David ran the shower attachment over my back while it was filling up. At this point my contractions were coming really quickly and I wasn’t even talking in between them, just closing my eyes and resting in preparation for the next one. I started feeling some pressure while I was in the tub and told David who told our nurse. She mentioned that when I really started feeling pressure that I would need to get out of the tub and she went and told my midwife who was in another delivery. After just a couple more contractions I could feel my body moving him into position and starting to move him down so I told David who quickly got our nurse and we got out of the tub. I remember asking where my mom was because I felt like this baby was coming soon. She came in a few minutes later at about 1:30.
They brought me some warm blankets and wrapped me up and then Jane checked me and said I was at 8cm. I laid on my side through a few contractions and had some ice chips, which were so cold and perfect right then, and then decided to get up and put some clothes on. I put on my gown and then labored a few more minutes leaning on the bed, squatting beside the bed, and then leaning on David. By this point my body was starting to push during contractions and I mentioned this so they quickly got my midwife in there. She was so great. She checked me and found that I was at 9.5 cm and told me that I could push in any position that I wanted. She thought that since my cervix was so soft that I could go ahead and start pushing and the rest would melt away. She was so laid back and encouraging. I was feeling pretty exhausted at this point and decided to lay on my side and push through a few contractions like that, but I didn’t really like that position so I decided to just prop up on my back with lots of pillows into a semi sitting position and push. I loved being in the huge queen size bed because David was literally right beside me on the bed holding one leg while my nurse helped me hold the other one back and I pushed. I pushed for maybe 20-30 minutes or about 8-10 times before his head and shoulders came out. Then Kathy told me to reach down and pull my baby out so I did! We hadn’t discussed doing that, but it was really incredible to reach down and bring my baby up to my chest. I think the first thing I said was, “Look how big he is!” Asher Bristow Stanfield was born at 2:23pm.
Haha my face is a little crazy in this one, but I couldn’t believe that I was pulling my baby out!
My mom watching her first birth!
It was such an intense, fast experience. I started having contractions and then just about 3.5-4 hours later I was holding my baby. David and I got to lay on the bed and snuggle him for a good little while before I nursed him a bit. He latched on like a pro and has done a great job so far! I can’t say enough amazing things about the midwife and nurse that I had. They just let my body do what it needed to do and then respected our time together after he was born. They didn’t even take him to weigh him until about 2 hours after he was born. We all gave guesses on his weight but were all too low. Everyone was pretty shocked when we saw that he was 8 lbs. 14 oz! Micah had only been 7lbs 7oz, so I was not expecting an almost 9 pound baby! They also didn’t think that I was a full two weeks overdue judging by the amount of vernix on his body.
I can honestly say that that this birth was everything I had prayed for and even more. I’m still in shock at how quickly everything went. Honestly I had hoped that my labor would be less than half the time of my last labor, so around 24 hours or less. I never in a million years imagined that I would have a 3.5-4 hour labor! It was literally 5 hours from my water breaking to when I was holding him on my chest. This was such a redemptive process for me. It was amazing to go through labor and have things progress so quickly but yet still feel everything. It was so amazing to feel my body moving him into position and down the birth canal on its own. I never really felt an urge to push with Micah’s birth (until after my epidural so I just felt pressure) so it was crazy to have my body pushing on its own. I had also really, really hoped that I would have him at a time when Micah could come and meet him right away so that Heather could get some photos of them and he was born in the afternoon. All in all it was an incredible experience.
My dad meeting his first grandson. He’s pretty excited to finally have a boy in the family!
Micah meeting her baby brother for the first time
She was really quiet for a few minutes and then pointed and said “baby brother”
Meeting his other grandma
There is a sneak peek slideshow of even more pictures here if anyone is interested in seeing more. Be warned my face looks super fat in some of them!! And they are all viewer appropriate. Yet another thing I love about Heather’s birth photography!
Oh and please check out I Heart Photo for any maternity, birth, newborn, or family photos you might want. Heather is amazing!