This is me holding Lucas Isaac the day after his incredible birth. Chrissy labored like a pro for eleven-and-a-half sometimes peaceful, sometimes very crazy hours on February 24th, two weeks before her due date! Her labor contractions began at 5:30 a.m. and she called me around nine to let me know she was in labor. She sounded amazing--I could totally tell by her tone of voice that she was handling everything very well. She had a little bleeding so she decided to call the doctor's office and they told her to come in. So she did... and she was already several centimeters dilated!!! Dr. Atkins was really shocked by how well she was handling her labor at this stage!
After Chrissy called me to tell me the good news, I met them at the hospital at around 11:30. We got settled into the room and met our awesome nurse, Tara, who would stay with us for the remainder of the day. The next few hours were relatively uneventful, as Chrissy was doing a beautiful job relaxing through each contraction. At one point, Tara said to Chrissy, "we should bring a video camera in here and record you--this is how it should be done!"
At around 2:00, Chrissy was checked and she had reached 6-7 cm in dilation. I suggested a shower, because the contractions were getting more intense and water works wonders for bringing comfort to laboring moms. So she spent about a half-hour under the warm water as she entered the transition phase of labor, which is by far the hardest part. After the shower, she settled back into the bed for some serious hard work. We discovered that moaning with each out-breath helped her to deal with the pain, so Seth and I moaned with her as we stroked her body in rhythm. Chrissy became very serious and focused as the difficulty level was increasing rapidly with each contraction. She decided to go to the bathroom, and afterwards labored standing up with Seth, leaning on him for support. I cannot describe how difficult this part of her labor was. There were tears and moans and cries out to God for help. And he was surely there with us, helping Chrissy through the most physically and emotionally strenuous moments of her life.
She had reached 10 cm by 4:00 and she was ready to be done. "I'm so tired of this!" she said. "I just want it to be over!" By 4:30 she was able to start pushing, and she did an incredible job. During her first few pushing contractions, Dr. Atkins could literally see progress with each push! After she got used to the new and crazy sensations that come with this phase of labor, Chrissy got herself into a beautiful rhythm--pushing, pushing, pushing, and resting in-between. We could see his hair! He was so close! But the doctor couldn't get a good reading on the baby's heart-rate, and there were a few moments of concern... she ended up cutting a small episiotomy because this baby needed to come out. And sure enough, his cord was wrapped around his little neck, which is what was causing the drop in his heart-rate. Dr. Atkins quickly cut the cord, and Chrissy pushed her baby OUT!!! All was well and Chrissy was SO relieved that her labor was over and her baby was in her arms!
What an absolutely amazing day. I feel so blessed to have had the privilege of helping Seth and Chrissy welcome their firstborn into the world. They did an incredible job, working together through the difficult but joyful experience of labor. Seth was such a strong support to his wife, and Chrissy was so strong through it all. We have been blessed.