In February, I sat in the doctor’s office holding back tears as they explained to me that my body wasn’t producing enough progesterone to conceive. It was that exact same day that I went home and took a pregnancy test with a tiny bit of hope left and found out that they were wrong. A plus sign. Proof that God’s plans are bigger than test results and science and that He had a plan for this little life. This miracle baby.
We welcomed this miracle baby into the world on Wednesday, October 14th at 7:31pm. Maggie Marlowe Faeh. On Tuesday evening I felt that labor was near. My braxton hicks seemed to be a little more intense than usual and I could tell her head was slightly lower. I fell asleep watching Gilmore Girls only to wake up an hour later with a familiar cramping in my lower back that I had been waiting for all week. This was it. I waited a few more times to make sure it was consistent and around 2:30am I was certain. Because this was my third baby, I had this idea in my head that things might move pretty fast. I got up to take a shower and pack a hospital bag (and mainly try to keep myself distracted). Knowing I had a difficult task ahead of me, I wanted to try and get a little more sleep so I got back into bed at 3:30am…and didn’t sleep a wink. The contractions were just painful enough to keep me awake. As they slowly increased in frequency and intensity, I called my midwife at 8:30am to see if she still wanted me to come in for my appointment at 9. Though my contractions were painful, I was surprised that they weren’t as unbearable as they had been with my previous labors. A part of me was wishfully thinking that this was some sort of perk after being around the block once or twice. Silly me.
The midwife gave me a *very* painful cervix check and said I was 5cm but my cervix was still completely behind baby’s head. She said it could still be a while so go home and hang out until things start moving faster. By this time, my contractions had spread out a little and varied in intensity. This was a little discouraging because I assumed things were only going to get faster from this point on. I went back home and tried to rest. At about 1pm, things were pretty consistent again and because I knew I wanted the epidural, I thought we should head to the hospital in case things started to move quickly. I was very torn on this decision, part of me was worried of getting there too early and then having to labor a long time in an uncomfortable hospital. Looking back, I should have listened to my instincts. After getting checked into a hospital room, the nurse checked me (again, incredibly painful) only to find that my cervix was still very hard to reach and dilated to 7cm. My contractions had almost completely stopped and I felt panicked. I was tired from lack of sleep and discouraged from lack of progression. I started to lose focus a feel anxious. We decided to try some walking.
We did this for a few hours. My contractions weren’t painful enough for me to need an epidural yet so I decided to have them check me again to see where we were at. My cervix was still so far back that they couldn’t get to it without REALLY digging and I wasn’t making it any easier with my moving around and crying out. The nurse, who was very kind about it, suggested that if I got the epidural it would be easier to check. When they left the room to make the call, I lost it. I started bawling like a baby. I didn’t want to do it anymore. It had been such a long day of little progression and the end didn’t feel anywhere close. And even though my nurses were very gentle and understanding, I felt embarrassed that I was losing my cool. I tried to hold in the tears when they came back into the room but the weight of my discouragement was too heavy. In my mind, this was supposed to be a quick labor and letting go of that reality was hard.
After getting the epidural and gaining a little bit of composure, my contractions started to pick up the pace and thankfully I couldn’t feel them. The numbness was a much needed break. I started to feel pressure in my bottom with each contraction and when the nurse checked me she said I was at 8cm and my cervix was very soft. She said with a little moving around things were going to move quickly. By the time the midwives arrived, I was ready to push. My water broke and we were ready to roll. As we waited in between contractions, “Give Me Jesus” by Sara Watkins played in the background. I felt the need to want to make small talk because I hate awkward silences, but instead I closed my eyes and started to cry as I listened to the words. The midwife said “what a beautiful song to be born into the world to.” Through one of my pushing episodes, I noticed that I could lift my legs again which meant my epidural was wearing off. This made me panic a little bit because I have never felt my babies leave my body and honestly I didn’t want to. However, with one last good push, I cried out (louder than I ever have before) and I felt my baby girl enter the world.
I contemplated leaving this picture out because, well, it’s not flattering in the slightest, but it perfectly portrays the moment. I was feeling all the feels. Exhaustion, relief, but most of all complete joy. Holding this movement, this life that was inside of me for so long is an experience that words can’t describe. I guess I made up for it with tears instead.
Maggie’s sisters weren’t too sure what to think of her yet. The hospital was a bit overwhelming for them. My sister and I nursed our babes together. Baby Lea even got to attend the delivery!
Since we’ve been home, the girls haven’t really been too interested in Maggie. June will occasionally come over and rub her head. I can tell this is a little too much for Penny to wrap her head around. She’ll sit next to me with a little distance and hesitantly say “she’s sooo cute!” or “look at her fingers!” She keeps commenting on how red her face is and saying “her face scares me.” It will take a little while to adjust but I am so thankful that we are all together. Our family of five.
What I continue to learn in this life of motherhood and childbearing is that things do not always go as planned. Schedules have to be held with an open fist and we have to be able to adapt. But even through the tears and the discouragement and the desire to give up, God serves as an unwavering rock. Never changing, never leaving.
You already bring us so much joy Miss Maggie Marlowe Faeh. Welcome to the family.