I’ve only had people asking basically for three months to hear Benjamin’s birth story, so here it is (finally!). There’s not a whole lot to it…
Friday, I had my usual appointment with my doctor. “Don’t have the baby this weekend!” he said. “I’m away.” The baby said, IS THAT A CHALLENGE???
Saturday morning, I woke up feeling some contractions. I was kind of surprised because it was still a week until his due date, and that would make him the earliest of our babies. Hazel was our first “late” baby, so I had no expectations of Benjamin arriving before his due date.
The contractions weren’t going away, though, so I told Ryan and got to work on the biggest thing I was hoping to accomplish in the following week before he came: my business taxes. Because what better way to relax through the contractions than doing my taxes, right? I sent Ryan out to get a few things for me, including a birthing ball (yeeeah, I was hoping to find my old one. No luck) and a treat. He got me a pack of fun size Kit Kats. I ate the whole thing (sharing some with the kids & him). While he was gone, the kids always seemed to pick the worst time to come into my room (i.e., during a contraction, while I was trying to use my hypnosis).
However, by about 1 PM, the contractions had kind of trailed off. Since that was what happened when I first went into labor with Hazel, I accepted it and (eventually) went downstairs to do the usual mom thing.
I still had one or two strong contractions every hour, though, which was really annoying. Because if I’m not going to be having this baby today, I said, I deserve a rest!
We got the kids to bed around 8, as usual, and settled down to watch a movie (Galaxy Quest, which we’d never seen before). And right about then, the contractions picked up again. I’d brought my ball downstairs just before bedtime for a couple contractions then, but all of the sudden, we meant business again. I was sitting on the ball, but lying back (on the pile of clean laundry) on the couch, and using my hypnosis for a long time.
When it really set it in that this was happening, we had a problem: it was about 10 PM on a Saturday night, and we had nobody to stay with our four kids. (Every other time, my mom had already arrived at this point.) We called one of our home teachers and asked for help. He and his wife were more than happy to come over and sit with the kids. After Ryan hung up, it hit us: we’re having a baby. Like now.
We rushed around to gather up the last few things to pack—after four kids, I have a very minimal hospital bag. It actually took me probably over a week to figure out even one thing to put in it other than toiletries. Fortunately, I’d finally figured something out (PJs, bathrobe, etc.). So we gathered up my toiletries and things. I couldn’t find the earbuds I’d used for my HypnoBabies practices, so we ended up getting my over-the-ear headphones.
We got to the hospital at about 10:30 and had to figure out where to go. We went one entrance where I thought my OB had said to go afterhours, but I wasn’t sure. They said we should go to the other entrance—not the best news for a lady in labor. Fortunately, one of the desk clerks got me a wheelchair and wheeled me over to the women’s center.
They got us to a triage room and I was at a 5. Disappointing for someone who usually is much further along when she gets to the hospital! But good enough to keep us there. I’d started my HypnoBabies in the car and kept it going. We got moved to a room and I kept going with the HypnoBabies. The doctor on call from my OB’s office came by and I got to meet her. She asked if I wanted my water broken, but I declined. She was fine with that and left me to work.
I kept doing my HypnoBabies. Ryan watched the rest of Galaxy Quest on his phone (!!!) and, I don’t know, played games. I was kind of busy.
After midnight, the contractions were getting really intense. I came out of hypnosis (middle position on the lightswitch if you know what I’m saying) and told Ryan. He asked if I wanted the nurse to check me when she came in next. I said I did. I was at an 8—encouraging but discouraging at the same time.
Back to hypnosis. I don’t really know what to say about the time I’m in hypnosis. From the outside it probably looks like I’m “chilling,” to quote Ryan. My body is relaxed, I’m breathing pretty normally, and I’m quiet. My mind is basically somewhere else. I have to focus VERY intensely on the HypnoBabies recording I have playing in a loop (I hate the minute or so at the end before it loos around again). Focusing on Kerry’s voice is really what gets me through.
My contractions are kind of weird—when one starts, it has peaks and valleys, but it doesn’t stop for a good long time. The nurse would try to wait to ask me questions, but eventually she’d just have to ask. And I’d wait to answer. Kinda funny. I’m pretty sure the nurse must have checked me again, but I don’t remember that now.
After I don’t know how long, the lights flickered on overhead. When the contraction plateaued, I opened my eyes (middle position, of course) and saw the doctor was back. “What’s going on?” I asked.
“You’re complete. It’s time to push.”
This is the good part, because you’re almost done, you almost have a baby and you can finally DO something. We waited a few minutes until I felt the urge to push, and then I started pushing. My water broke on the first push. We didn’t count pushes, but we did time how long it took: two minutes of pushing. Benjamin was born at 1:50 AM.
We got to hold him for a minute, then I asked the doctor not to use cord traction, so we just kind of waited around while they cleaned him up. He had a little trouble breathing. He would cry a bit but was kind of gray. We were still waiting to finish up so I checked the time on the computer next to me—3:00. I was really concerned that more than an hour had passed since he was born—it didn’t seem that long!—until I remembered what day it was. Daylight Saving Time.
My son, Benjamin Franklin McCollum, had the first hour of his life stolen by the government.
(See the second paragraph here if you don’t see the irony above.)
Just when they were worried they’d have to take him to the nursery for oxygen, Benjamin suddenly started breathing much better and immediately pinked up, so we got to keep him. After a couple hours, they took him to the nursery and me to my recovery room. Ryan finally returned home around 6 AM to relieve the home teacher and his wife, and catch some sleep before 11 AM church.
I was pretty bored for the next two days because my kids couldn’t visit and therefore my husband couldn’t come much either. A friend watched the kids for a couple hours after church so Ryan could visit, and my mom changed her flight to come in the next day (two days earlier than her flight had been). She got to visit with us in the hospital, and Ryan got to spend some time with us too. The kids finally got to meet their brother when I got home Tuesday.
In the weeks after I had Benjamin, I read 37 novels, and in them there were a dozen or more birth scenes. Not a one of them was anything like any of my births. I realize that my births aren’t the same as the experience we’re conditioned to have by the media, but #1 screaming makes it MUCH MUCH worse and #2 there’s a huge variety of experiences, not just the freaking out screaming option (and #3 if there’s frank blood (it’s a medical term, Mom, who knew?) before the baby is born, something is probably wrong).