Well to say that this whole pregnancy and birth kept me on my toes is kind of an understatement. I had no idea that being pregnant with a girl would be so different than my three pregnancies with boys, so it was no surprise that the weeks leading up to Adalae’s arrival were full of unknowns and some scary moments. Like at 37 weeks when my body had fully prepared to go into labor, and then ended up with a 6 hour stay in the ER for observation because of some [still unknown reason] bleeding. That was scary, but after several tests, we were both cleared and sent home. 38 weeks came and went with no labor, but I was so done by this point and ready to have her. I began to have some major lower back pain, so much so that I stayed on a heating pad almost all week and come Sunday (39 weeks exactly) I actually thought I may be going into labor because I had time-able, not-letting-up contractions for several hours starting at 3:30am. About the time we got ready to leave for church, the contractions started to slack off and I knew that this probably wasn’t labor, but that I’d definitely have my baby girl within the week. We came home from church and laid around all day because my back just would not stop hurting, and that was that.
I woke up Monday morning (39 weeks, 1 day) to some cramping and decided at 5am that I wasn’t going back to sleep so I’d just sit in the tub and enjoy a quiet house. Oddly enough to me, I noticed regular contractions while in the tub, but they weren’t strong or even convincing that I was in labor. I went about the morning as usual, had some homemade cold-brew coffee [which I posted to social media] and then went to do dishes. Around 8:30am, I could tell I was having regular contractions so I started timing them just so I could know if this was labor. I finished dishes, got dressed, did my hair, and makeup, and made sure our bags were packed “just in case” I was in labor. About 10:30am, I called my sister-in-law to talk about what was going on. The first thing I said was, “I think I’m in early labor, but I just don’t know. You’d think after doing this three times, I would KNOW, but I just don’t.” We laughed, and talked for a bit. I decided to text Lance to let him know that I thought I was having early labor contractions, but I wasn’t sure. When he came home for lunch, he asked why I was all dressed up and I told him, “I’m in denial that I’m in labor so I’m acting like I’m not!” By the time he left to go back to work, I knew it was labor. I had been praying for God to make it clear to me, and I just had that moment where it was. I text Lance to let his coworker go to lunch, then come on home so we could head down to Baton Rouge.
I got the car loaded up with our bags, and finished some tidying around the house while I waited for Lance to come home. We left around 2:40pm for Baton Rouge! Contractions were about every 7 or 8 minutes and were picking up in intensity, but it still wasn’t active labor yet. Since we had a two hour drive ahead of us, and I didn’t know how long this labor would last, I decided to just close my eyes and rest while the boys chattered in the back seat. About an hour into the drive, I knew labor was progressing, and that started to make me question if we would make it to the hospital in time or not. Contractions were about every 5 minutes so I asked Lance to pick it up some, and started praying that my contractions would space out and the pressure I was beginning to feel would ease up. We made it into Baton Rouge and hit stand-still traffic. TWICE. Go. Figure. Those seemed like the longest minutes ever, just sitting in traffic while the contractions just kept coming, but knowing we were withing 10 minutes of the hospital at this point was comforting.
We made it to the hospital about 4:45pm, and headed upstairs to labor and delivery. I was just hitting active labor when we got there so it was actually PERFECT timing. After they got a reading on Adalae and me, I was able to get up and move around to labor. My friends arrived, and now it was just a waiting game! (I don’t have any pictures of Corina because she was taking the pictures!) It was hilarious having them there… I think we made Lance uncomfortable with some of our conversation topics!
The nurse told me she had several things for me to sign, and paperwork to go over with me. It just so happened that I was having a contraction right about the time she started explaining it all so I just told her not to mind me while I leaned over to have this contraction and sign the papers for her. She laughed and said it was no problem. I guess they’re used to working around contractions with laboring women!
By this point, labor was starting to get to that point where I had to take a moment for myself to work through the contractions. Leaning over on this little table felt great since I tend to feel most of my labor in my back. Once a contraction would pass, I could walk around and prepare for the next contraction.
My playlist was loaded with Steffany Gretzinger. I sure do love her music, and it was nice to have something to sing along to while laboring. Nothing like worshipping while bringing life into the world!
I had them open the blinds so the sunlight could pour in on us, and so I could see outside. It was kind of weird watching the traffic flying down the interstate, life going on like normal for everyone else while my world seemed to be stopping with each contraction as my body worked to bring a new person into this world.
These two pictures are some of my favorites because they just capture this moment in time so perfectly. Focusing during contractions, and then cracking up and carrying on between them.
Around 7:30, I knew I was hitting transition. The contractions change, and my body seems to react the same way every time: I get the chills and my legs start to involuntarily quiver. I threw my hair up so it wouldn’t get in my way, grabbed a blanket off the bed to wrap up in, and had a contraction that I literally wanted to run from. I laid down in bed hoping that would help me cope, but it was during those two contractions that I realized I was fighting my body. I forced myself to get back up, to stop fighting the contractions. Everyone could tell that transition was intense for me because it seemed like the conversation ceased as they watched me labor. Lance came alongside me, and from here on out, he never left my side. I’ve got to say, he has ALWAYS been super during my labors and births, and it’s like he knows exactly when I need him to come be strong for me.
These next pictures happened VERY quickly. I told the nurse that I was ready to get into the tub so they made sure the water was nice & warm for me. I got in, the nurse told me to call for them when I felt the urge to push, and then she left us all alone again. (Side note, I loved how much privacy they gave us while we were there! It made it feel less like a hospital to me) Ok so the picture on the right was taken at 7:54pm.
This picture was taken at 7:55pm. I knew that once my water broke, Adalae would come quickly after because that’s just how it always happened. I told Lance and my friends, “Let’s see how many contractions I have in the tub before my water actually breaks.” As if on cue, I felt a contraction coming on, and to my surprise, my water broke, and I felt Adalae coming. I told them to call the midwife and tell her my water just broke and she was coming! I announced that I birthed her head as the midwives and birth team came running in the room. It all happened so fast. She asked me if I wanted to catch her, but I told her I couldn’t because I was literally seized up having a contraction while my body pushed my baby into the world. The midwife told me to raise up so she could grab her and when I did, her body just slipped on out. I said, “There she is, got her?”
And that leads us to this picture taken at 7:59pm… exactly 5 minutes after I got in the tub. The midwife was grabbing my baby girl to bring her out of the water to show her off to the world!
Welcome to the world, Adalae Rose Hula!