On Saturday, January 19th, Chance's parents decided that they would fly into Dallas 'early' since the original plan was for them to fly in when I went into labor. We enjoyed spending time with them and anxiously awaiting the time when we'd get to meet Hudson. We prayed on Saturday that I would go into labor that night and have Hudson on Sunday, but alas we awoke Sunday morning and I was still not in labor. That afternoon I called my doula who had told me I could try a 'natural remedy' prior to my induction to see if it would cause me to go into labor and so avoid medical induction. She prescribed 1 tablespoon of castor oil to be taken right before bed. This was my last hope, if I was to avoid the induction, since I only had one day left before the procedure. Around 9:45pm on Sunday evening, after Chance went off to work for the night, I took the castor oil and tried to fall asleep. I was too excited and too anxious to get much sleep at all. I woke up at 1:30am, with slight stomach cramps, but nothing too abnormal. But, at 2:50am, I woke up again, this time due to a popping sound and feeling. "My water broke!", I thought, although I didn't feel any wetness. I got up and went to the bathroom and sure enough as soon as I got in there a gush of water confirmed that indeed my water had broken! This was it! I called Chance and told him that I thought my water broken and to come home. He told me he was on his way, and by 3:30am he was at home with me just as I started to feel contractions.
Contractions are a funny thing. I always wondered what a real contraction felt like, having heard them described as menstrual cramps but different. Well I never felt the menstrual cramps, only intense pressure, mostly in the upper part of my legs. I called my doula and told her that my water had broken, and she suggested that I shower, eat breakfast, and rest as much as I could. After attempting to lay down, the contractions began getting stronger so I got up to shower and eat breakfast. By 5:00am the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, so I called my doctor's office and they informed the hospital that I was on the way there. Baylor University Medical Center (the hospital I planned to deliver at) happens to be located right across the street from DTS and our apartment. So as we grabbed our bags to head across the street, Chance and I made the decision to walk. Three contractions and about fifteen minutes later we were checking in to the labor and delivery unit. It was 6:00am. I met the nurse, Katie, who assessed me and seemed very excited when I gave her my birth plan and told her that I wanted to do this naturally, without medication. She asked me a million questions and monitored Hudson's heart rate and my contractions which were consistently 5-7 minutes apart. At 7:00am, Katie left and a new shift of nurses came in to take care of us. My 'head' nurse was Charlotte. She was bubbly, cheerful, and very excited to assist us with our natural delivery. The doctor on-call came in shortly after and measured my cervix: I was 4 centimeters dilated!
Chance and I left the room once we were all checked in and assessed, and began walking the halls. Chance was amazing throughout the whole process. I honestly could not have done this without him, and I am so thankful for his constant encouragement and support the entire time. He would constantly say, "You are doing a great job" or "You can do this!" We walked and walked and walked. During each contractions I would stop by the wall and hold onto the railings while I breathed through the pressure. The pressure was intensifying, but I was able to keep walking. I never really had a thought about pain medication, but there was one time, as Chance and I walked the halls, when I spotted a man in a sterile gown going into the C-Section operation room. I said to Chance, "A C-Section sounds really good right about now." I was half-serious. Around 8:00am, our doula arrived and Chance went to the waiting room to see his parents, while Melissa and I walked the halls again. Due to the pressure I was feeling in my legs, Melissa suggested that I do some deep squats during each contraction because she suspected that the baby's head was stuck on my pelvic bone as he was trying to descend. The squats were difficult, but they seemed the help. After getting tired of squatting/walking, we went back to my room where I sat on the birthing ball, used the birthing handles on the bed, and laid in a very uncomfortable position while Melissa guided me through the contractions to lessen the pressure on my legs.
At 10:00am, Melissa suggested that I get into the tub to relax my legs muscles. This was a great idea. Chance sat with me the whole time and helped me breathe through each contraction. We grabbed the iPad and turned on some worship music. The warm water, music, and sweet words from Chance all seemed to relax me. After about an hour, I decided that I had had enough of the tub and told Chance I wanted to get out. He helped me onto the toilet. As soon as I sat down I said, "I think I want to push." He went and told our nurse, Charlotte, who said that she could check me if I'd like. I moved slowly to the bed, where she examined me. To my surprise, I was 9.5 centimeters dilated! Praise the Lord! She said that she would call the doctor and get the nurse team ready for delivery. Melissa had me do 3 contractions on the toilet, and then a few more in a kneeling position over the back of the bed. These were the most intense contractions because I was essentially "breathing away" the urge to push until I got to 10 centimeters. I heard something about 9.5 centimeters "with a lip" not really knowing what that meant, but feeling determined to get to 10 centimeters so that I could push this baby out!
Before long, the doctor came in and began to get prepared for the pushing. I sat in the bed as Chance and Melissa each grabbed one of my legs. They told me to wait until I had a contraction and then push with all my might. The contractions seemed like ETERNITY apart! As I pushed the first time, Chance told me that he could see Hudson's hair--he was almost here! I waited for the next contraction and then pushed again, as hard as I could. I felt him moving down and out; this was it. I kept my eyes on the clock to see how long this was taking. All the nurses, my doula, our doctor, and Chance were encouraging me along and I could sense that he was so close. As I pushed the last time, I thought "I just want him out!" I didn't scream or yell, but tried to direct all that energy into the pushing. The doctor worked her magic and as I continued to push, push, push, I felt a horrible burning feeling and then HUDSON ARRIVED (at 11:20am)! Chance immediately burst into tears of joy as they hoisted Hudson up onto my chest. I was elated. He was perfect.
The nurses were cheering, and congratulating us. Chance made his way back to the bed to see his son, with tears in his eyes. It was the greatest feeling in the world. I didn't shed a tear, but kept smiling and thinking, "I can't believe you are my son (and I can't believe you just came out of me)!" Our doula snapped a bunch of pictures, and the nurses took Hudson after a little while to measure, weigh, and assess him. God had answered our prayers for a healthy, safe, and natural delivery. More importantly, Hudson was perfectly healthy and had safely arrived--in God's perfect timing. I have been overwhelmed by God's abundant grace in giving us Hudson, and have felt immense gratitude to the Lord for working everything out according to his will. I am thankful for our family, for the nurses, the doctor, the hospital, our doula, and my dear husband. I truly could not have gotten through the pregnancy, labor, and delivery of our son without Chance's support. God is so kind.
Perhaps one of the funniest parts about the labor and delivery, was that somewhere along the way it was told the nurses that I had run a half-marathon at 29 weeks pregnant. They seemed to get a real kick out of that and began saying, "Wow, you are superwoman!" I don't know about being superwoman, but I do believe that my continuous exercise throughout all of pregnancy and my experience as a runner greatly assisted me in being able to endure the pain of childbirth.
A verse that I had been thinking about in the week leading up to Hudson's birth is Psalm 126:3 which says, "The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad." I can claim this truth as my own, because indeed God has done great things for this Sumner family, and we are immensely glad.