Micah is HERE!!! It’s so hard to believe, y’all!! Micah Asher Schmoyer was born on May 31, 2018 at 5:12am. He weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces and was 19 inches long. His head was filled with sandy blonde hair (with hints of strawberry blonde!) and the minute I laid eyes on him, he changed my life.
Micah is almost 1 month old and I’ve been slowly writing down his birth story between baby feedings, diaper changes and fussy afternoons. Just 30 days ago I was sitting in this very spot praying our little man would arrive… and now he’s here & time already feels like it’s flying by!!! Very late in our pregnancy, we opted to not have a birth photographer but I’ve scattered some iPhone photos throughout this post to give you some adorable baby pics to look at! 🙂
In the final month of my pregnancy, I loved reading other women’s birth stories. Every story is so different and because I’d never experienced childbirth, I liked reading the vast array of possibilities. After he was born, I knew I wanted to write out his birth story like a journal entry for myself, and share it here on the blog. This is post actually has a Part 1 & Part 2 due to the length; I’ll be sharing Part 2 with you tomorrow!
Before I begin, let me share a little background with you: my “birth plan” was fairly simple – I want a medication-free birth. Whether you have a child through vaginal delivery, c-section, adoption, or with or without an epidural, I think you’re pretty exceptional. (Now that I’ve had a baby I feel like I can wholeheartedly say that!!!) No matter how your child arrived/arrives, I believe becoming a mama is a strong, selfless act. For me, personally, I decided that having a medication-free delivery would be my “Plan A” so I worked hard to prepare my body & mind for that in the months leading up to Micah’s birth.
Matt and I attended a birth class held in our area to not only tour the hospital and understand more of the logistics, but to have a better understanding of actual labor & delivery. We were taught about natural pain management, and better able to discuss together what we wanted out of the delivery experience. (I highly recommend a birth class for all first time parents!) I also read a book by Ina May and a book on the Bradley Method (see them here along with my other favorite pregnancy essentials!).
Truth be told, I wasn’t all that anxious about labor & delivery. (I actually had more anxiety about breastfeeding but that’s a story for another day!) I didn’t feel a lot of anxiety over labor & delivery for a few reasons: (a) we were delivering in a hospital & I trusted the medical staff should something go unplanned (b) I truly believe God designed a women’s body for birth and that one way or another, I would meet my son at the end of it all and (c) I had never experienced childbirth & while books & classes are fine & dandy, I didn’t actually know what it would feel like. You really don’t know until you know!:)
Now, let’s talk about his birth story:
On May 17, the first day of my official “maternity leave” & 11 days before baby boy’s due date, I began having contractions at 6am. I took a 2 mile walk that morning with a friend (hoping to spur the contractions on) by 1pm they were consistently 30 minutes apart. I had been going to a chiropractor every 2 weeks throughout my pregnancy and knew that if it worked out, I’d love to see him when I was in Early Labor so he could adjust my pelvis & make things even easier for baby. I called him at 1pm and we decided that if they were still consistently 30 minutes apart at 5pm, I’d go in and see him. (Our thought process was that if they decreased then it was just Braxton Hicks & if they increased in time / intensity then I needed to head to the hospital). By 5pm, they were still just as consistent but not painful, just uncomfortable. We headed to the chiropractor & Dr. Kline adjusted me and touched on a few pressure points to hopefully spur Early Labor to enter Active Labor. Unfortunately, baby boy wasn’t quite ready and my contractions faded around 2am.
After our “false alarm”, I was on high alert in hopes that baby boy would arrive early or on time. Literally every cramp had me stopping to think “Mmm, I wonder if that’s what Early Labor will be like?!”. Everyone told me “Oh you’ll know when it’s the real thing!” but I secretly wondered if I really would. I know some women can sleep through Early Labor or Early Labor can last days! While I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to the pain, I hoped it would be the pain that made me realize it was, in fact, the “real thing”!
On May 18, I had my 38 week appointment. I told my midwife (Anastasia) about the false labor the day before and she decided to check my cervix. I was between 1-2cm dilated, 80% effaced and the baby was at -2 station. She was incredibly pleased with my progress and said she doubted I would be “overdue”. She gave me a few things to do at home to help move him along, and off we went! (Side-note: Started at week 37, I began taking Evening Primrose Oil and drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea daily; I also highly suggest a medicine ball! So comfy for cramping & your pelvis!).
On May 21, contractions began around 2pm. They were more intense then our first false alarm, but I was skeptical. I didn’t even tell Matt that they had begun until 2 hours in because I was afraid it was false again. They continued to increase in length and consistency so that by 7pm they were only 4 minutes apart … but I still wasn’t in pain. Sure, they were uncomfortable but we learned in our birth class that it’s when you can’t walk or talk through them that you head to the hospital… and I could do both. (We also learned the 5-1-1 rule – contractions happening every 5 minutes, lasting 1 minute long for 1 hour.) Because of how close together they were, we decided to call Anastasia. Anastasia confirmed that they should be painful and suggested we wait 1 hour to see if (a) they intensified and/or (b) they became even closer together. Neither one happened. I continued to have contractions 4 minutes apart until Midnight… then they stopped.
If our first “false alarm” wasn’t enough to make me question the “real thing” then the second one definitely was! I woke up on May 22 and just cried. I was so frustrated. I felt like we were getting teased… our sweet baby boy was dangling in front of us & yet we couldn’t get to him!! With false alarms happening left & right, labor was forced at the forefront of my mind. I wasn’t anxious over the pain of birth, I was anxious over not knowing WHEN it would happen! The planner in me wanted to prepare. And while I felt like we were as prepared as we could be in terms of all the baby supplies & a clean house, not knowing the actual day of his arrival left one HUGE question mark on the calendar! I can work up to running a marathon because I know the exact date I will do it; I can plan a wedding because I know the date all the details need to be ready. But there’s an aspect of childbirth that is completely unpredictable & that fact alone was terrifying to me. I spent that week taking long walks with Knox, listening to worship music & praying. I knew I needed to ask for peace, acceptance & hold our son with an open hand – palms up – letting the Lord lead the way.
On May 25, we went in for my 39 week appointment. I had been doing some research on “natural” induction and asked Anastasia about stripping my membranes. Because of the progress my body had already made, and the false alarms we were having, she said she’d be more than willing to do the procedure that day even those I wasn’t quite at 40 weeks. She also checked my cervix and we determined I was moving along at 2-3cm dilated, 90% effaced and he was still -2 station. She stripped my membranes & told me to continue walking & using my medicine bal & that she was hopeful she’d see us in the hospital over the weekend.
If you know about membrane stripping you know that typically the procedure “worked” if you go into labor 24-48 hours afterward. We past the 24 hour mark, then the 48 hour mark and all I was having was random contractions, lots of cramping & a very, very grumpy attitude (poor Matt!).
I woke up on May 28 (our official due date) and decided enough was enough. I was determined to stop being grumpy & to try my hardest to enjoy every last minute of this pregnancy – even if I was uncomfortable & hormonal (the hormones really spiked for me in the last few weeks of pregnancy!). It was a rainy day so Matt and I stayed inside playing Ticket to Ride, watching The Office and had our own Memorial Day meal with hot-dogs, pasta salad & watermelon. We were determined to make the most of our wait!:)
On May 29, I began having contractions, again. Like last time, I didn’t say anything to Matt until a few hours in. I had gotten up early & taken another long, prayerful walk with Knox and because it was the first “nice” day in a period of rainy days, we decided to take a field trip to a local park. We also walked through a model home (we love looking at houses!). I remember loving that we were out of the house & enjoying the sunshine together. That night my contractions became much more crampy and I went to bed trying my hardest to not feel defeated.
On May 30, I woke up at 6:00am for a bathroom break … I had been losing my mucus plug slowly over the last week so I slept with a pad on. I realized my pad was very wet and tinted pink. I changed it & went back to bed. I woke up at 8:00am to more pink-tinted-water-y fluid on the pad; I called Anastasia and she said she wanted me to head into the hospital to see if my water had broken.
(Something I didn’t realized prior to pregnancy is that the majority of women begin having contractions prior to their water breaking. I always thought your water broke first but that happens to a smaller percentage of women! Since I wanted a medicine-free birth, our “plan” was that once contractions began I would labor at home until my contractions were closer together. If my water broke first, Anastasia would give me 6-8 hours at home to “get contractions going” before heading to the hospital. Since this potential water breaking incident happened in the middle of the night & we weren’t sure when it broke, I was having to head to the hospital right away.)
We showered, grabbed out bags, did a quick house check & headed to the hospital. I was not having contractions, just cramping. I was skeptical as we walked into Labor & Delivery, but trying to be hopeful that this was, in fact, the real thing. 2 hours and 2 negative tests later we were sent walking out of Labor & Delivery.
Really… negative?! What was going on with my body? I think Matt expected a full breakdown on my part, yet I didn’t shed a tear. I laughed and said we would not be coming back until our boy was coming & I needed some ChicFilA to cheer me up! We enjoyed spicy chicken sandwiches & drove home for a quick work call and more of The Office on the horizon.
At 3pm, I was standing in the bathroom washing my hands and I felt a rush of liquid … this had to be my water breaking, right?! I told Matt and we decided rather than calling my midwife (for the second time that day), we’d go with our initial plan of waiting 6 hours to see if contractions started, then head into Labor & Delivery.
Thankfully, contractions began just 1.5 hours later!
(…Part Two coming tomorrow!)