A Jettson Birth Story
This wasn’t the birth story I would’ve written. After five weeks of very emotional prodromal labor and 16 hours of labor to bring Caelan into the world, I was praying for a “redemption” story. For a short, easy labor. For nursing to be a breeze. For no contractions until the real deal. For baby boy to arrive a little earlier than his due date, instead of late like his big brother.
My pregnancy was full of twists and turns. Illness sent me to urgent care. Gestational diabetes had me pricking my finger four times a day and labeled as high risk. And we can’t forget about my bladder prolapse. I reminded myself that we live in a world tainted by darkness and I couldn’t expect my pregnancy to be perfect because this isn’t Eden. And I just knew a picture perfect labor and delivery was going to be the beautiful end to this tale. But that’s not the story I get to tell.
Around 37 weeks I began having contractions every 8-10 minutes for a few hours each evening. They’d stop by morning and I knew they weren’t the real thing. Then on my due date, I was strolling through a bookstore when a contraction made my knees buckle. I kept track of the timing but they dwindled by that night. This pattern continued for three days: contractions every 5-6 minutes then nothing. I was exhausted when I went into my appointment three days past my due date. Because of my GD, my midwife didn’t want me to go past 41 weeks so we started talking induction. I couldn’t believe this was happening and I began to feel so discouraged. After a terribly painful membrane sweep, we left the appointment, walked at the mall for an hour, then got ice cream. I was pretty uncomfortable but no contractions. We walked 1.5 miles that evening and I went to sleep feeling defeated. At 2am, a contraction woke me up and I knew it was the real deal. It felt different. Five minutes later, another one. This continued for a couple hours and I gave up trying to sleep anymore. I woke Vincent, called my midwife, and we headed to the hospital around 5am. As they were monitoring me in triage, my water broke.
We finally got settled in our birthing suite and Vincent was helping me through every breath. He and I were left alone for hours, with only a few interruptions to monitor heart rates and check my blood sugar. I tried laying on my side, waking, squatting, kneeling, swaying, sitting in a warm shower. Nothing was easing the pain and my whole body was shaking uncontrollably. I was scared. It was so much more intense than labor with Caelan. I didn’t think I could do it. Vincent held me through each wave of pain and fear. I was leaning on him through transition when I suddenly knew I had to push. He helped me down on a birthing ball while he called my midwives and nurses. (Don’t ask how many times he dialed the wrong number… They should definitely make that an easy button!) By the time they came rushing in, my body was pushing on its own and I was on my hands and knees. I crawled over to the mat they laid down for me, rested my head on Vincent’s shoulder, and pushed our baby out right there on the floor, 8.5 hours after I woke up with that first contraction early in the morning. Vincent and I both wiped tears from our eyes, overwhelmed from the intensity of the labor to the sweet relief of those newborn cries. He says he’s never heard me yell that loud. I’ve never heard me yell that loud!
Jettson spent some time on the warmer because his body temp was too low and it took me two more hours to stop shaking, but we finally moved to our recovery suite and got to soak up the snuggles. I knew from the first try we’d have nursing issues again. We’ve seen several lactation consultants and I’m praising the Lord for each day we keep going and truly taking it one week at a time. We’re at six weeks today and I’m so proud of how far we’ve come!
As I’ve been processing these moments, I’ve found myself battling bitterness. I did not get the redemption story I’d been wanting so badly. He came four days late, after so many false alarms. It was so intense and painful and, while it was half of Caelan’s labor, it was still EIGHT AND A HALF HOURS. And then breastfeeding was a struggle. Meanwhile, I felt like every one of my mom friends was getting the birth I wanted. Why couldn’t that happen for ME? But then I was so sweetly reminded, just like my pregnancy, I’m asking too much of my birth story… it’s all broken because we’re all waiting on the Redemption of all things.
Little did I know, when we chose the name Jettson, how much I’d cling to it during these first few weeks of his life. Jettson means “compassionate” and I’m constantly being reminded that every part of his birth story was laced with the Lord’s compassion.
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:22-23