One year ago today I snapped the photo above. It was the day before my due date. A few weeks before this photo, I didn’t think you were going to stay in so long. I had been having contractions for weeks and even went to the hospital once when they got really bad. I’d had none of that with my first labor. My first signs of labor had been on the day I went into labor when I had Max. You on the other hand were constantly letting me know you were ready to come out between 33-40 weeks, especially when I had bronchitis at about 36 weeks. I thought I was going to have you with every cough. Your Dad had been out of town in the Boundary Waters and not even available by phone. I was so afraid that you would come when he was gone. I did not want to go through through labor without him. I also remember having this feeling of not wanting anyone else to see you until he had. Luckily, you stayed put.
By 39w6d and your Dad back in town, I was so ready to have you but also nervous. Maybe more nervous than I was with Max. All those questions. How would Max handle this? How would I balance loving you both? Would we adjust to being a family of four? Would I go into labor on my own? Was I crazy for trying for a VBAC? I was terrified to have another 36 hours a labor and then end up with a second c-section. I think that was my secondest biggest fear (first being your safety) with trying for a VBAC. I would have been fine with having a planned repeat c-section or having a VBAC. My fear was to labor again for so long and then end up needing a c-section again when I was exhausted emotionally and physically.
I went into labor on my due date and had you 12 hours later. I remember waking up to contractions and letting Chris sleep because I figured it would be a long process again. It built a bit quicker though and I hopped in the shower to try and ease the pain. I started timing my contractions and thinking I had to be doing this wrong because there was no way they were close enough together that we needed to head to the hospital. I tried to wake Chris and told him we needed to go to the hospital. He kind of looked at me like I was crazy since he didn’t even know I was in labor. He rolled back over and fell back asleep. In his defense, I labored at home for the first 18 hours with Max. It had only been three hours at this point. I did not realize how serious I was until I woke him the second time with a little more urgency.
We headed in and I had progressed enough to stay. Everything from there went great. I will say, never judge a women for getting epidural. Everyone experiences pain differently and every labor is different. I had an epidural at 26 hours with Max but with this labor I asked for one at 5-6 hours. Ny contractions were so much more intense this time. Through the whole process, I had a phenomenal nurse and a great doctor. They coached us both through everything. We couldn’t have asked for a better team in the room with us.
As it got close to pushing time, we had a slight scare (meconium in my water) and thought you might have to head to the NICU. We brought my mom in just in case you had to head with the NICU team, so Dad could go with you and she could stay with me. I think you just wanted her in there for your birth. Luckily, your were born with a good APGAR score and after a few seconds we heard the sweet sound of your cry. A successful VBAC and most importantly, a healthy baby boy. You were 9lbs 6oz. and 22 inches long. Almost a full pound bigger than your brother was at birth. I’m actually very glad I didn’t know that before hand.
You were so loved. Instantly I was a mom of two and it just made sense. All those fears seemed so silly after the fact. Of course I could love you both equally and for all your uniques quirks. We spent a quiet first hour with you and then brought Max in to meet you. Seeing him meet you and you meet him was a moment I will never forget. I hope that bond continues to grow.
While I think my first labor taught me something about what I could handle and showed me I was stronger than I thought I was; your labor taught me a lesson about not letting fear decide my future for me. There will always be unknowns and only so much we can control. While fear is something to pay attention to and assess, it is not the ultimate deciding factor in how to move forward.
Liam, you truly are a joy. You are tenacious. Joy-filled. Easygoing but stubborn. Playful. We affectionately refer to you as “Tank” because nothing seems to stop you. I cannot wait to celebrate the first year of your life this weekend. I look forward to watching you grow more and more into who you are. I am honored that I get the privilege of helping you become who you are meant to be. May you always know you are loved unconditionally. Happy Birthday Baby Boy.