August 24, 2015 was the day we welcomed our sweet son to the world.
Although this was our second time around, his birth was so very different from that of our daughter 4 1/2 years ago.
I woke at 4 a.m. on that Monday morning with very strong, but irregular, contractions. At 6 a.m. I told my husband to go on to work after dropping our daughter off at school. After all, labor with her lasted for 14 hours. No reason to spend all day waiting at the hospital.
But at 8 a.m. he called my cell phone to ask if I was sure I didn't want to go to the hospital. I responded in something akin to a wild animal noise as I was getting through vicious contractions that had suddenly jumped to 3-4 minutes apart.
We sped to the midwife's office, where she confirmed I was already 7 centimeters dilated. We crossed the street to the hospital and I immediately asked for an epidural. It took over an hour to get one, as the nurse who went to page the anesthesiologist was unexpectedly pulled in to a delivery before she could order my pain relief. (I know how hard those nurses work- no hard feelings.)
Instead of teeth-gritting and high-pitched screams, I focused on three L's: Limp, Loose and Low. I found a comfortable position and made it through each contraction while keeping my muscles as limp and loose as I could, letting my head droop and humming or moaning in low tones (sounding like a cross between a cow mooing and a monk chanting.)
Having two people to share these moments was a huge relief. I had one person to hold my hands if the other needed to use the restroom, or one to rub my back while the other went to grab me some water. I was never left without support for even a second.
Once the anesthesiologist placed my epidural, the nurse went to check my dilation and realized the water sac was protruding from my body- the baby's head was so low he was pushing it out. In other words, I was totally ready to push and the epidural had just barely numbed my lower body.
Two quick bouts of pushing later, I reached out and grabbed my screaming, slimy, beautiful boy at 11:59 a.m. He laid skin-to-skin on my chest, and then on my husband's (who also stripped off his shirt for Kangaroo Care, which made my heart burst with admiration.)
We named him Ezra Michael. He was 8 pounds, 20.5 inches of pure joy. His big sister adores him as much as we do. The past six weeks have been sleepless for me, but I can't imagine life without both my babies now.