O N E Y E A R
A year later, and I can’t help but remember Judah’s birth story. We plan on telling him every year just how he came into the world.
On September 13, 2014 my “due date” came and went. I had known all along that Baby Mundt (surprise sex!) would be “late,” so I wasn’t concerned. Since I was blessed with extra time, I finished all the little details in the nursery that I could. It was way too hot for outdoor walks, so every day I picked a different store and walked up and down its aisles. I knew Baby would come when he was ready, and not before. I knew that God had a plan for his birth, and that it would be perfect. During week 41, we were still trying to get labor going naturally with homeopathics, herbs, pumping, sex. I went every other day to Touro for non-stress tests, which Baby passed.
According to Louisiana law, I would not be able to deliver at home after 42 weeks, which was making me anxious, so I was excited to lose some of my mucus plug on Friday, Sept 26. On Monday I would have had to be induced. On Saturday at 3 a.m., I woke up with contractions! We called our midwife, Emmy, to let her know that labor might actually be happening! She spoke to our backup OB/GYN, Dr. Lap, who said to continue on with our home birth plans. I started hydrating, preparing little things around the house, and enjoying the time in labor just me and Karl. We called Emmy again at 4:45 to let her know contractions were 2 minutes apart and a lot stronger. At 6:30 a.m. Emmy and Hailey arrived! When they checked, I was already 4 cm!
I spent most of Saturday morning alternating between laying in bed and walking around the house. Around 10 I got into the birth pool for a little, which helped relieve the pain. Throughout labor, Hailey very sneakily and peacefully monitored blood pressure and fetal heart tones. I spent the rest of the day alternating between laying in bed, walking around, standing in the shower, and squatting in the pool. While being in the pool felt best, eventually both the water would cool and contractions would slow, so I had to keep moving around. I spent some time sitting on my birth ball, leaned over the bed (where my water broke!). By Saturday night I was 8 cm dilated! We tried lots of different positions and tricks for a while, and only a couple hours later I was 9 cm, with a little stubborn lip.
For most of labor, I don’t remember the contractions being too painful. My back, however, was in so much pain that Karl held a hot water bottle on it constantly when I wasn’t in the pool. We had a pot of boiling water on the stove at all times, for when it got too cool. Hailey also made sure that I was staying hydrated and eating small snacks; this wasn’t an easy task, because everything was gross to me, and I didn’t feel like eating or drinking anything.
Around 1 a.m. Sunday morning (22 hours since labor started), I was still 9 cm dilated, Baby was engaged, and the cervical lip was smaller but still there. At some point my left side started hurting realllllly bad - worse than contractions and the back pain. Nothing relieved it, and it made it difficult for me to breathe. It was around this time that I requested to go to the hospital.
While everyone was packing bags and getting things together, I laid down, and felt the slightest bit better. I couldn’t imagine getting up, so I told everyone never mind; there was no way I was going anywhere.
Sunday morning went by really quickly to me, and I don’t remember much of it. I remember early in the morning sitting on Emmy’s birth stool and trying to push through contractions and past the lip. We tried pushing Baby out for a couple hours with no success. Emmy had been in contact with Dr. Lap for a while, and we all decided at 11 a.m. to transport to Touro. When we arrived I received an epidural to help with the pain in my side that I couldn’t deal with anymore. I slept for a couple hours, just enough time for my cervix to cooperate and completely dilate, and for Judah to turn a little bit! We turned off my epidural meds and a couple hours later (what felt like 30 minutes), Dr. Lap came in to deliver. Again, it felt like only half an hour, but I pushed for about an hour until Baby’s head was out. His hand was up by his face and got a little stuck, so Dr. Lap reached up to reposition him and pull him out.
J U D A H L E O made his dramatic entrance at 8:05 p.m., Sunday September 28.
10 LB, 15 OZ, 22 INCHES
Unfortunately he was taken to the NICU, and after observation, transported to Children’s Hospital’s NICU. I was unable to see him until I was discharged three days later. I was unable to hold him for twelve days. Although I was pumping for him, and blessed with enough milk, I was unable to breastfeed him for two weeks. We were unable to bring him home for 3 and a half weeks.
Judah’s stay in the NICU was heartbreaking, hard, and unfair. I didn’t have the birth that I had imagined. I never really made a birth “plan,” but ultimately had only imagined the moment of my new, slimy baby on my chest, and being able to cuddle and breastfeed him after birth. These were the moments that I “planned” for and didn’t get. It took a long time to process and reconcile Judah’s birth story with my memory (or lack thereof), the medical chart, and others’ descriptions. Because of the events that transpired after, it took a long time to reconcile Judah’s birth story and be at peace with it. Now, I remember his birth with so much joy. The 42 weeks that he grew safe in my belly were glorious. The forty hours that I worked to bring him into the world were amazing. The moment he was born was absolutely perfect. I am still so thankful for the peace that surrounded me throughout labor; I was never afraid, and completely trusted God, my birth team, and my body. I am still so thankful for God’s healing, and my sweet, healthy, PERFECT boy.
Here are the pictures of my sweet boy's arrival! https://vimeo.com/112189509