Friday, August 30th we went in at 2pm for our 41 week midwife appointment. We couldn’t believe we were at our 41 week appointment and were praying for some progress. She told me I was only 2cm and 30% effaced so our boy probably wouldn’t show his face until the following week. She decided to sweep my membranes again (4 times people….help me Rhonda) and we went on our way with a little bit of disappointment but mostly relief that the babe looked healthy and they wouldn’t induce.
Two hours later I started feeling really uncomfortable and crampy. I assumed it was from the sweeping so we went about our day. By 5pm I was cramping but they felt different than normal cramps but I wouldn’t admit it to anyone. I didn’t want to jinx it. Mom and I took Bud over to my friend Mel’s house to swing and play with her kiddos and while she and I were chatting, she saw me breathing funny and pacing her yard. She looked at me and laughed and all I could say was, “Yeah I know, but don’t scare him away!” At 6pm I knew I was in labor so I walked around the block, said a bunch of prayers and came back inside to tell Mom to go get her bag from the hotel because she’d probably be spending the night and looked at Sam with a big smile and said, “I think this is finally it babe.”
So the only rational thing to do was to make a casserole for supper, and coconut chocolate bars with Mama. Naturally.
We all enjoyed a great family meal, and in between bites and hollering at Bud to stay in his seat I would breathe through the contractions. Sam and I took Bud upstairs and did our last storytime as a family of 3 and I squeezed him extra tight.
As soon as we got downstairs I finally let myself experience labor (I wanted to keep it together so Bud wouldn’t get scared or suspect anything). With Bud I had an 18 hour labor so I was expecting a more gradual incline in discomfort but…. not so much. The contractions were pretty intense, pretty quickly. I listened to music, got in the bath, and tried to rest/labor in the bed. Something I wasn’t expecting during labor was that I was really sentimental about my time with Bud one-on-one coming to an end. I ended up sneaking into his room and just watching him sleep until I was afraid I was going to break his guardrail from squeezing so hard during a contraction. But each contraction was getting stronger and stronger. I remember trying to picture them as waves and would just pretend I was floating on each one like I used to as a child.
Then I wanted to punch those waves in the throat.
The contractions were getting hard to walk or talk through so by midnight I looked at Sam and told him we needed to go to the hospital ASAP. We grabbed my bag and kissed my mom goodbye and headed out the door. We had to park what seemed FOREVER away and labor and delivery seemed like the longest.walk.ever. from the entrance. This is when I think I just looked like a plain ole crazy person. The only thing my body wanted to do during contractions was sing. Yall- please picture me in active labor holding onto Sam while singing Come Thou Fount….I’ll let you marinate on that for a bit.
We finally got to triage aka My Living Hell at 12:45a. They said I was 5cm dilated and fully effaced. We told them to start filling up the tub because I could already tell the bed wasn’t going to be comfortable for me at all but we were only planning on laboring in the tub, we weren’t planning on a water birth. We were in triage forever and I was crawling out of my skin being hooked up to monitors and not being able to move about freely BUT I was still singing so at least I was providing comic relief. Then this crazy (ok, crazier) lady checked in screaming, “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! NOOOO!” to which Sam started laughing and said, “At least you’re not like that.” and I tried to laugh but then an intense contraction hit and I wanted to focus on the beauty of bringing my son into the world so I ended up plugging up my ears and kept singing. It was like a mockumentary of A Baby Story in triage that night.
Finally they came and got me and sweet Lord, as soon as I got in that tub it was the greatest relief. After being on that tiny bed in triage with monitors on, I was in heaven. I looked at Sam and told him how much better I felt and even told him I thought the contractions were getting farther apart. Then a major one hit and all I could say was, “Why did I say that?! Why did I say that?!” and we both tried to laugh…… tried.
Here’s where it gets fun. This poor nurse came in to ask all those annoying questions (which I was trying so desperately to answer in between contractions which were about 90 seconds apart at this point) and after a big one, I knew I felt him really start to move down. That’s the beauty in natural childbirth, I felt so in tune with Bennett the whole time and how God had designed everything so perfectly so Bennett could make his way into this world. I kept thinking, Our Creator is not a careless mechanic. Each contraction brings him a little closer to being a part of our family. The last hour of labor things got pretty crystal clear and beautifully intense. The midwife came in to check on us and said she’d leave us alone and it looked like we knew what we were doing and she’d be back later to check on us.
I knew it was going to happen soon, I knew my body. I prayed out loud that my water would break but that it wouldn’t be painful (it was super painful when it happened with Bud) and I felt such a peace wash over me that He heard me and after the next contraction I felt a gentle rush of water and Sam called out to the nurse that my water broke and things were going to get real after that. They didn’t really believe me. That was at 2:15ish.
Sam and I were in the room alone and I was starting to make some crazy noises and knew it was game time. I started wanting to push so I looked at Sam and told him, “You better get them in here I’m about to push!” He couldn’t quite believe it but when I started making pushing noises he made his way towards the door. This is when I got the bright idea to stand up and try and get out of the tub. Poor Sam wanted to grab the midwife but his crazy wife was irrationally trying to get out of the tub while pushing because she hadn’t imagined a water birth again so he helped me out while I leaned against the side of the tub. He ran out of the room and told them to grab the midwife.
They couldn’t find her. She was in the bathroom.
Yall- I wish I could just make a video of what happened next because it still cracks me up but at the same time, makes me take wonder at the beauty of childbirth. I was in full pushing mode and Sam and I were still alone in the room. I reached down to find that I had already pushed Bennett’s head out so I yelled at Sam, “BABE! I have his head! Get the midwife!!” So Sam runs out yelling, “YALL! WE HAVE A HEAD IN HERE!” So they all finally run in…. except for the midwife. This poor brand new OBGYN resident comes in to try and help and just stares at me perched on the edge of the tub basically catching our baby and she ** no joke** starts slowly backing out of the room as if she was hoping we didn’t see her. Poor girl, I officially may have scared her away from the profession…. and childbirth in general. Then luckily, Barb the midwife runs in and just in time, catches Bennett. His cord was lightly wrapped around his neck (just like Bud) but she was awesome and kept telling me to slowly push so that I wouldn’t tear and she could get the cord straight. Within a few pushes our Bennett Rippy had made his way into the world with just as much glory and craziness as his brother. Sam said I yelled, “I think he’s here!” and whipped around to hold my babe. So much love and honestly, we were so shocked that it happened so quickly!
He latched on immediately and nursed so well. His cord finished pulsating and the man of my dreams cut it. They let us have some time with him and said he was perfectly healthy. We made our way to the bed and just stared at each other. We were both shocked that he was finally here and kept saying, “Did we seriously just almost deliver our own baby?”
His birth story is so beautiful and I am so honored to be his mama. To go through something so intense like that is quite marvelous really. I felt so close to God, so close to my husband, and so close to Bennett the entire time. I’m beyond blessed.
Bennett Rippy Metzler, 7lb 11oz, 19.5 inches long totally captured our hearts and came into this world with gusto at 2:29am. May you always joyfully surprise us little one.