Sweet Finn Porterfield’s birth story won’t be quite as long as his brothers’ because he made his way into the world fast and furiously. After my 41 week check-up, my doctor Nell gracefully let me know that my fluid was low and I should check in that night to be induced. She knew this wasn’t what I wanted but I trust her and knew she had my and my baby’s best interest of me at heart. So naturally, because I like to keep things interesting, I asked if I could have 24 hours to get things going on my own. She agreed and we made an appointment for me to come in for an induction the next morning, March 9th, at 11am. She said she was going to try a non-medicinal induction first where they would shove a bulb up my secret garden to start dilating my cervix. THAT SOUNDS AWESOME…. no, no it doesn’t.
I left the office discouraged and a bit defeated. I called into work and let them know that I wouldn’t be back in that day because I was going to get my ducks in a row and then have a baby the next day. I thought about putting that in my auto-reply email. *I’m sorry I’ll be out of the office for the next few months because I’m about to push a baby out and there is a bulb involved. #blessed!* But clearly, because I really love my job, I resisted the urge.
I called my mom and asked if she could get the boys that afternoon because I had made an appointment with this masseuse in Greensboro who was known for her “induction massage”. You may be thinking, YOU CRAY. And you’re right. I am cray. I was desperate to try anything. I went to lunch with my mom and Godmother, went to my massage, and then came on home to be with my boys for the last afternoon as a family of 4. The massage was great- but I would use that term loosely. It was acupressure at its finest. And when I got home, the boys, my mom, and I played and then went to La Caretta. Because what says TREAT YOSELF better than queso and fake margaritas. Sam was out of town for work that day and was making his way back from Myrtle Beach so we could be together that night.
He could tell I was off and disappointed but we had a sweet, long talk about how I needed to release my plans and cling onto the Lord’s plan and we can rejoice that in one way or another, we would meet our boy the next day. Basically, he snapped me out of my funk and tenderly talked me off of the ledge with the promise of some ice cream. I felt better and ready to hit the hay but it was gorgeous outside and I went for one last walk in the neighborhood under the moon and went to bed completely at peace.
At 2:30am, I woke up to go to the bathroom and when I got back into bed I thought, “Man, I must have held that too long in my sleep because I’m crampy!” and then after a few minutes that thought was followed up by “OH SNAP THIS IS COMING IN WAVES AND I AM HAVING CONTRACTIONS!” So clearly, since I thought I had until 11am to get stuff together for the boys and nothing was done for them, I popped out of bed and started packing their lunches and getting their bags ready for school. I prepped the coffee so that my dad would have hot coffee when he got there to watch the boys. I came back to the bedroom and started getting dressed. Sam woke up and asked if I was alright and I told him that I was having contractions but to try and go back to sleep so that he could be rested. He looked at me like I was a crazy person and hopped up and started getting things ready. I called my parents to let them know that I was in labor and would keep them posted. This was probably at 4:00am. Sam hopped in the shower and I went into the living room to breathe and by the time he was out of the shower, I was over my birthing ball making my labor noises and he said, “I know what those sounds are. You’re close. Let’s get your parents here and head on.” So we called and dad was about to head out of the door. Sam texted Nell with updates so she could meet us at the hospital. But things were progressing so quickly that Sam called them again and told my mom to meet us at the hospital and we called my neighbor Katie to hang at the house until my dad got there. Thank God for our Broadsword Road Village.
I don’t remember much about the drive there but I remember I kept telling Sam that things were moving quickly and to hurry. We got to triage and the nurse at the check-in was super busy on her phone, I’m sure posting a selfie with something about #ihatenightshifts but thankfully started to check us in. I was in full blown active labor but they still had us sit out in the waiting room while she got us checked in. A big apology to the family coming in with balloons to see their new grand-baby because I was straight Discovery Channel style over the waiting room chair but shiz was getting real.
Then we moved back to triage- aka my worst nightmare. We got there at shift-change so I had a grumpy nurse in triage who needed me to “lay still” for AN HOUR AND A HALF while she could see if they could find a room with a tub and get a good reading on the baby. They told us that the birthing tubs were only for midwife patients which bummed me out but I just wanted to get into a room where I could have some privacy and move the way I wanted to move. My water broke and poor Sam was trying to let them know that I was close and to get me into a room. I remember muttering over and over “I know my body, tell them I’m close!” and poor Sam was trying so hard to be as assertive as possible without pissing anyone off. We finally got into a room but they wouldn’t let my mom or my friend Kristin Boone back until we got settled. We told them to simmer down and bring my people back so she and Kristin came back and immediately started helping. My mom filled the tub….. which we realized was filled with rust so the tub was not happening. She drained that thing 3 times and tried to get clean water, bless her.
The same mean nurse was in there and told me AGAIN that I needed to lay still for 20 minutes because she needed to make sure the baby was handling labor ok. And I think right when I couldn’t take it anymore and was about to start swinging at her, my friend Santos came on call and relieved her. Then Nell got there. Both were like manna falling from the sky.
They took the monitors off and let me move freely. I remember Nell rubbing my back and seeing Santos brought a smile to my face. My mom let me know there was a little bit of clean water in the tub and out of complete pride and principle, I got into those 3 inches of water. I looked like Shamu trying to submerge itself in a shotglass. I wasn’t getting a break in between contractions and we knew he was about to be here. Nell told me she didn’t bring her wet suit that day and she was not about to deliver the baby in a tub so I needed to move back to the bed. I didn’t want to move but Sam leaned down and told me that it was time, and he’d help me. So he helped me out and I made it to the bed. About 2 minutes later, he was coming. I told them he was coming and to get ready. Nell was trying to find another glove and get the pediatrician because Finn had graced his womb with some meconium and the pediatrician might have to take him in case it had gotten in his lungs. She asked me to hold on and breathe through those pushing contractions and as my mother told me, I politely told her “I’m so sorry yall, but I can’t. He’s coming. Get ready.”
And while I was up in the crab-walk position (yeah, I’m a weirdo and just can’t deliver a baby on my back like the majority of America), he plopped right down in her arms and onto the bed. Praise God he came out crying so he didn’t need to go to the pediatrician right away. She suctioned the meconium out of his nose and mouth and then put him on my chest while the cord finished pulsating. I was in heaven. And exhausted. And so happy. I remember I raised my hands out and praised the Lord for bringing him into the world safely and on his own and then I kept saying, “ I can’t believe he’s mine!” Then I looked at Sam and said, “That’s it. That’ll be the last child to come through my body.”
At 7:14am, Finn Porterfield Metzler came into the world at 7 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches long. His daddy cut the cord and I told Finn that I know that must’ve been hard on him and we didn’t ever have to do that again. But for real, I felt good about never doing that again. It was great and I’m so grateful I was able to have one last natural labor but it was a bit too fast for me. I couldn’t get my head right between contractions like I had with the others. We done son!
Aside from the long stay in triage and no tub, I am beyond grateful that by the end, I knew everyone in that room. Santos (I’m sorry I called you a devil-woman when you had to push on my belly afterwards), Nell, Kristin Boone, my mama, and my sweet Sam who kept cheering me on and telling me that he was covering me in prayer.
I’m pretty sure there was someone else in that room as well. Not in body, but in spirit. March 9th is extra special in our family because it is my Grandmother’s birthday. She passed away a few months ago and I’m convinced that she and God were up there waiting to give Finn the green light. I can just hear her now was soon as March 9th came around whispering “Ok sugardoll, you can go on now.” Did I mention that Porterfield was her maiden name? I’ll try not to hold it against her that she made me wait 7 days past my due date…
Our sweet Finn is so perfect and I am soaking in all the sleepy snuggles that I can. He is so lucky to have his amazing big brothers to walk with through this life. Praise be to the One who allows us to love like this because He first loved us. Amen and amen.
** A huge thank you to Kristin Boone, my soul friend and mentor for being there capturing these beautiful shots. If you need a family photographer or birth photographer, look no further! Her website is https://kristinboonephotography.smugmug.com/ **