I tried to figure out the best way to put this into words, and I came to the conclusion that a timeline would be best. That’s right. A timeline. Because that’s what happens when you have a 72 hour labor. (Yes. I said SEVENTY-TWO HOURS.) Friday: Colby and I were at a Christmas party. Contractions began at around 9pm, but I brushed them off and labeled them as Braxton Hicks. By 10pm, I told Colby that we should head home because I was having a hard time laughing or talking through them. I figured it would be best to try to get some sleep since I knew it could be a long night. I fell asleep at around 12am, which brings us to…. Saturday: By 1:30am, the contractions had woken me up. I started timing them and they were consistently every 5-6 minutes apart, each one lasting at least one minute. I thought, “tonight is the night!!” and called the midwife (Bettie) at around 2am. She came right over, and so did my mom, because we all thought this labor and delivery would go really fast due to Madelyn’s insane birth.
By 5am, nothing had changed and the contractions were spreading apart. Major bummer. Bettie checked me and I was 3cm, 50% effaced. She also informed me that Benjamin was posterior. Since he was facing the wrong way, it was causing my labor to be extremely stop-and-go. She left at that time. Madelyn woke up at around 6am, so my mom gave her breakfast and took her out of the house by 8:30am so I could focus on laboring. I continued to work through the contractions that were about every 6-8 minutes apart until 1:30pm, when I drank a beer, took a Benadryl, and passed out for three hours. (I am SO thankful I was able to rest!) From 4:30-the rest of the night, the contractions remained the same.
I tried different positions to get Benji to flip, but nothing was working. I called it a night at around 10pm, had one more beer and Benadryl, and was able to sleep the whole night through (which hadn’t happened in weeks!) until 6:30am. Sunday: Same old, same old. Contractions were still happening, I was extremely sore from all of the hard work my body had been doing while I was asleep, so I took an epsom salt bath at around 8am. That helped relax my muscles, but then the contractions began spreading out even more. So. Frustrating.
Colby took Madelyn to the park at around 10:30am, and I spent the morning in the Forward-Leaning Inversion Position trying to help Benjamin flip so that the labor would progress. In between positioning, I would pace the floor, crying out to the Lord for strength. I distinctly remember praying “God, please help Benjamin flip.” That very moment, I felt it. Benji did a little roll, and contractions started picking up! Thank you, Lord! It was around 1:30pm when the contractions were every 3 minutes apart. I called Colby and told him to come home, then I called Bettie and she headed over, too. Things were looking up! Bettie confirmed that Benjamin had flipped and that he was in the ideal position for birth! What a huge answer to prayer!! I labored like that until around 4:30pm with no changes. I took a nice hot shower, Bettie left again to give me some space, I went on a long walk around the complex by myself, and shortly after that, Colby took Madelyn to my parent’s house so I could have even more time alone.
Everyone came back at around 8:30pm. The contractions were still 3 minutes apart. I have never felt so defeated in my whole life. I was so exhausted. I could barely stand. I was literally bawling my eyes out, praying to God for strength and perseverance and for Benjamin to COME OUT. It wasn’t until 10pm (Ta-Da! We hit 48 hours!!) that things started to progress some more. Curveball! Benji moved into a different, weird position. Excellent. Bettie helped coach me through some positioning to help encourage him to go back to where he was before. We sifted (yep.) my belly for a while, and then we tried a few things standing. At this point, I was so exhausted that my legs could barely hold me up. I laid down to try to rest and have him rotate from 11:30pm… Monday: until around 2am. I was now in more active labor, and I could almost see the light at the end of the tunnel… lol, almost… I knew that this wouldn’t go on much longer. “Today. Is. The. Day.” The contractions were really intense, about a minute (ish) apart, and at around 2:45am, Bettie broke my water. This wasn’t something that I had anticipated wanting to do, but I could barely move from exhaustion. The contractions began to spread apart AGAIN, so I tried to rest some more until around 4:15am. Then Colby and I took a 20 minute walk around the complex in the chilly air to wake me up a bit. When we got back, nothing had changed much. I got in the birthing tub for a little while to let my muscles relax, then ended up lying down in bed for about an hour and dozing off. Unfortunately, by the time I woke up, at around 6:15am, the contractions had completely stopped. Like. Zero contractions. NOTHING. We tried some herbs to help give them a kick in the butt. What a rollercoaster of emotions. At this point, I was so done. So. So. So. Done… At 7am, Colby and I took another long walk. Contractions were still pretty much nonexistent. I had some more herbs at around 7:30am. Benjamin was still having such a hard time staying in a good position for birth. He was all over the place…
By 10:30am, Colby and I were on another walk. Contractions had still not started up. But the weather was beautiful, and the fresh air was refreshing. So we walked for a long time. Nothing happened. Again. At 11:15am, we had come up with a pretty decent plan of action: I would eat some food, have a beer, and take a nap. If things didn’t pick up on it’s own by 4pm, I would take castor oil to speed things along. If he wasn’t out by 2:30am (24 hours since my water had broken), I would transfer to the hospital… I fell asleep at around 12pm and slept for two and a half hours! The Lord was so gracious in giving me that rest because the contractions started without any need for castor oil at around 3pm, and by 4:30pm, they were brutal! I labored like that, blinded by the pain, so incredibly exhausted, and on my last ounce of strength until it was finally time to push!
I only pushed a couple of times before I was holding my beautiful son in my arms. All of the days of laboring, the moments of feeling completely defeated, the times where I just wanted to give up because I couldn’t see an “end” to this nightmare, and every tear that fell to the ground as I cried out to God to deliver me from my suffering, they all just faded away the second I saw Benjamin’s face. “Praise God!” was the first thing I said when it was all over…
I can’t thank Bettie enough for being an amazing midwife. She drove back and forth between our apartment and her house all weekend. She never questioned whether or not this was the real deal. She fought hard to keep me home, even when we all thought that this birth could end in a hospital transfer. She trusted my body. She was encouraging when I needed to just let out a good cry of defeat, and she pushed me through the toughest contractions by saying things like, “you don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.” She truly was incredible, and I can’t say enough good things about her (Love you, Bettie!!)… Benjamin’s birth taught me so much about trusting in the Lord with all of my heart and leaning not on my own understanding. It showed me just how strong God designed my body to be. I saw His hand constantly working out tiny details throughout the whole weekend. He never left me or abandoned me. He heard my cries. He sustained me. He gave me rest when I needed it the most, and strength when I could not stand. He deepened the bond between me and Colby, who was truly my rock throughout the entire labor and delivery. I’m so thankful for this story. I’m so thankful I get to point people to Jesus through the birth of my son. To God alone be the glory!