“Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!” The Doxology was running through my head soon after giving birth to little Benjamin. It was as smooth of a birth experience that I could imagine and we had a healthy baby and I just wanted to thank the Lord for his great blessings! Here's the story of Benjamin's birth – if you are not one of those “Birth Story” people, I totally understand! Feel free to just scroll through the pictures and skip the story!
I'd had encouraging news from the midwife on Tuesday morning that I was 4cm dilated and 70% effaced. My midwife recommended trying castor oil to get labor started considering how far I'd come already. I decided I wouldn't try it until I was actually overdue on Saturday. As the afternoon wore on I saw further signs of impending labor (I'll spare you the details) and I started to get antsy. I asked Jon to come home a little early from work and we decided that maybe castor oil was worth a try. Yeah, not so much. Maybe technically it worked, but it was not worth it and I should have just sat back and relaxed because of all the other signs that labor was near.
I started the castor oil at 4:30, but didn't actually begin contractions until 2am. I waited awhile before waking Jon up – I wanted to let him get as much sleep as possible. At about 2:35 I gently nudged him and said, “I think we should get up and get all our stuff pulled together. No rush, but I don't want to suddenly be frantic.” He said okay and went back to sleep. Less then 10 minutes later I nudged again and said, “Okay, we really need to get up and go.” It ended up being maybe a little more frienzied than I had anticipated, complicated by the lingering effects of the stupid castor oil, but overall it went smoothly. Our neighbor came down from upstairs and camped out on the couch so we didn't have to wake Jonah. I left her with the phone number of a friend down the street who could pick him up around 8am. I think we made it to the hospital around 3:45 – having four contractions during the less than 10-minute trip.
I was quickly admitted and brought up to the maternity ward where I met my nurse and midwife. How refreshing it was to only have two people involved in the entire birth process compared to our experience with Jonah when countless people were coming and going all day (and all night) long. The only hitch in my idea of the perfect birth was that I wasn't able to receive an epidural as quickly as I hoped. The anesthesiologist was occupied in surgery and I didn't get my relief until about 7am. That said, Jon and I both felt that I dealt with the hard contractions fairly well. I used my breathing and “singing” techniques – deep inhale, then a long “ohhhh” sung louder and higher as the pain increased. Shortly after the epidural the midwife broke my water and labor continued to progress.
Once I was comfortably settled with my epidural Jon headed to the cafeteria for breakfast, which made me quite jealous as I was hungry and hadn't had much for dinner (stupid castor oil again). I flipped on the TV for a few minutes while he was gone and was easily reminded of why we don't have a TV. It did feel ironic, though, to flip past “A Baby Story” and watch someone in labor as I was in labor. By 8:15 some contractions were still bothering me enough that I couldn't rest, so I got a booster to my epidural. Man, I must have hit the epidural mother load! I catnapped a little bit and by 10am I was fully dilated and ready to push, but I couldn't feel ANYTHING. I decided to just wait and let my contractions do the work of pushing Benjamin out without wasting my energy on pushing. By 11 I still didn't feel the urge to push at all, but I could kind of feel contractions on my right side and I decided it was time to get the party started. Wow, what a “night and day” difference from my experience of two hours of pushing with Jonah! I officially started pushing at 11:06. I pushed through four contractions feeling absolutely nothing and Benjamin arrived (face up!) within 17 minutes. I didn't even break a sweat! It was unbelievable! I had three small stitches (still feeling nothing) while I held and examined our new baby boy.
In less than half an hour of his birth he was nursing and nursed well for 45 minutes before they took him to the nursery to perform more tests and give him a bath. He nursed again after that, but he was having some problems with low blood sugar. They ended up giving him a bottle of formula in the nursery while I rested.
Jon left at 12:30 to pick up Jonah and take him home for his nap. It worked out perfectly. They came for a short visit in the evening and introductions went very well. Jonah was so excited to see Benjamin and wanted to hold him right away and give him hugs and kisses.
The Taylor boys.
Jonah and Benjamin's first moments together.