At 3:00 am on April 10, 2015 (exactly one week before my due date) I woke up to period-like cramps. They weren't bad, but they were noticeable. I laid there for awhile trying to go back to sleep while also trying to see if there was any pattern to these pains. I woke Joel a few minutes later to tell him what was going on. We laid there together as I the pains continued. After about 5-10 minutes, Joel suggested we get things ready "just in case." So we got up and started assembling our bags and throwing together our last minute toiletries. The moving around must have helped because right away the pains went from constant cramps to contractions every 4 minutes. We called the on-call doctor and told her what I was experiencing and that I had a history of fast labors. She decided we should head to the hospital. Laura Gail came over to stay with Liam (we are so thankful for our friends and family who helped out with him while we were in the hospital) and we headed to the hospital.
My contractions were not too bad this time in the car. Thankfully, they actually slowed down to about 7 minutes apart and I was still casually talking and laughing between them. We arrived at the hospital around 4:20 am. I walked to my room as a woman followed with a wheelchair just in case and I got dressed in my robe all by myself (very different from my last labor). The nurse got me hooked up and checked me to discover I was already 7 cm dilated. Woo-hoo!
The contractions were starting to get more intense. I needed Joel to apply counter-pressure on my back to ease some pain. This time around I was a lot more quiet during my contractions. I tried to internalize what was going on and make myself relax so the contractions could do their job. Around 5:00 I had a strong urge to go to the bathroom. The nurse allowed me to go, although I'm not sure it was such a good idea. While in there my contractions got really intense. I started doubting my ability to finish labor. I started telling myself I never wanted to do this again and I didn't think I'd ever be able to get off the toilet. Apparently, the nurse could tell things were progressing quickly, she popped her head in after about 10 minutes and said, "You better not have this baby on the toilet." That was all the motivation I needed to get up and back out to my room.
The nurse knew I had been standing through most of my contractions and was willing to accommodate my desire to continue to stand as she put in my IV. I placed my arm on the table when a huge contraction hit and I felt the baby's head begin to come out. They abandoned the IV and got me quickly in the bed. The nurse stuck her hand on the baby's head and told me not to push, as she frantically paged the doctor to come in. For about 5-10 minutes (the longest 5-10 minutes of my life!) the nurse and Joel stood by telling me not to push! My body had taken over at this point and was doing all it could to push this baby out, while my brain was trying to get my body to do the opposite as I was being instructed. If you thinking pushing a baby out is painful, you should try NOT pushing when every ounce of your body is doing everything it can to get the baby out.
Finally, the doctor walked in the room and sat down. The nurse removed her hand from the baby's head and said, "ok." That's all I needed to hear. I stopped "not pushing" and out popped our little bundle of joy at 5:21 am. Miles Bennett Cowen entered this world weighing 6 lb 14 oz and 19.5 in long. They plopped him on my chest as I tried to catch my breath. He seemed so tiny and I couldn't believe that he had arrived. My labor with Miles was 4 minutes shorter than with Liam, but there were many similarities between them. I'm thankful to now be at home with our two sweet boys. It is definitely an adjustment going from one to two kids, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Thank you, Lord, for the safe arrival of Miles!