My mother got to Nashville on Saturday, the 26th. Sunday evening I debated whether or not I should go to work on Monday. I was feeling pretty exhausted, and the idea of going to work just didn't get me terribly excited. So I decided to stay home on Monday and see if anything interesting would happen. My mom and I spent the day doing a little running around town. We enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch before heading home to rest for the afternoon. I wrote some Thank You notes and then got on the bed to check my email and browse around online. All of a sudden at 2:45, I felt the tell-tale gush of my water breaking. I excitedly informed my mom and then texted Richie, who was at work. He called almost immediately and said he would be coming straight home so that we could go to the hospital. I thought that was a little premature, as I wasn't even having contractions at that point. But he felt very strongly that he needed to come home, and it is a good thing he did!
By the time Richie got home, I was definitely feeling things moving along. I had a couple of contractions 8 minutes apart. Then suddenly they were 5 minutes apart. We finished up packing our hospital bag and headed out the door. We got to the hospital and were shown to a room (a big, beautiful labor tub birthing suite!). The nurses started the external monitor, which measures contractions and the baby's heartrate. They were required to monitor me for 20 minutes before I could get out of the bed. The nurses also put in a hep lock because I tested positive for Group B Strep and had to have IV antibiotics. A quick cervical exam revealed that just an hour after my water broke, I was at 6 cm dilated! After the hep lock was in and the 20 minutes of monitoring were up, I got into the shower. The hot water on my back definitely helped me relax, but the contractions were coming hard and fast. I moved to the labor tub, which felt wonderful. I stayed on my knees for a couple of contractions, but during the first few minutes in the tub I told Richie that I already felt like I needed to push. Luckily my amazing midwife Linda came in to check me and discovered that I was 10 cm dilated and ready for delivery!
Richie and Linda helped me out of the tub and we moved back to the hospital bed. Linda helped me get into the position that would help me deliver with the least chance of tearing and then the pushing began. Linda encouraged me to listen to my body and push when I felt the need. I was timid about pushing at first, and Linda coached me until I was effectively moving the baby down, down, down. At one point the baby's heart rate dropped down and she instructed me to stop pushing to let him recover. She then directed me when to push hard and when to push gently. After about 17 minutes of pushing, our beautiful son was born! He had the cord wrapped once around his neck, so he was a bit blue at first, but he cried right away and quickly turned pink. I am proud and humbled to say that, thanks to the support and guidance of my husband and my midwife, I was able to have the natural birth that I was dreaming of. It was painful and almost overwhelming at times, but it was one of the most powerful, beautiful experiences of my life. It has given me new confidence as a woman and as a mother. I could not be any prouder of my sweet son and the amazing entrance he made into this world.
Below are just a few pictures of Benjamin's arrival...
Taken by Gi Gi on 6/26...two days before Benjamin was born
Soon after arriving at the hospital...trying to breathe through a contraction
My blue baby and my bikini top (from the labor tub). What a surreal moment!
Very happy mommy and daddy at the end of a long and emotional day
Benjamin Branum Lister
8 lbs 9 oz