This is the birth story with our third child, Langtry James. He was born at our home just like our second child (our first was born in a hospital) with our wonderful midwife, Toni Kimpel. There was a song that I heard and fell in love with during my pregnancy that I knew would apply well to the labor/birth called “I’ll Be Your Miracle” by Third Day, and I’ll explain later why with the lyrics.
A contraction woke me up at 1:44 AM, but I didn’t think anything of it other than a Braxton Hicks contraction because I was having them the previous evening too. So, I went to the restroom and went back to bed. A very different and strong contraction woke me up again at 2:45 AM. I went to the restroom again with having to move my bowels also. I realized that labor was maybe starting, and the five really strong contractions in the next twenty minutes confirmed what I was thinking. So, active labor started at 2:45 AM. Once more I had to move my bowels (I knew it was so the baby could descend into my pelvis for his birth) within the next 45 minutes. I woke up my husband, Ace, about 3:30 AM to tell him that labor had started. We had been up late watching TV with the kids and didn’t feel like doing the dishes as we were just relaxing (funny how God can surprise you), so Ace and I were busy tidying up the house (I would work for about five minutes, stop to relax for a contraction, and then keep on cleaning). As I was tidying up our bathroom, I started praying the Rosary. The day was a Tuesday (sorrowful mysteries), and I reflected on what Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary went through during his Passion and Death and what I was going through with my labor.
Our daughter, Trinity, woke up sometime after I woke up Ace! It was so crazy that she got up that early as our son, Briscoe, had done the exact same thing when I went in to labor with her. I laughed thinking about how Elliot and ET were so connected with how each other was feeling because that’s how Briscoe and Trinity seemed to be with me going in to labor. Ha! She watched Dora, and we thought she’d fall back asleep (but she didn’t). I text Toni at 3:43 AM to tell her I was in labor, and she txt me back saying she was on her way! I called my Mom to tell her I was in labor, and I text my sister and sister-in-law to tell them the same. Ace called his Mom to ask her to come over to be with the kids during labor. In between a contraction, I looked at Ace with a big smile and excitedly said, “We’re going to have our baby today!” J Besides this one moment of excitement, I was otherwise serious and trying to be limp and relaxed throughout the contractions which had been causing me to stop whatever I was doing (I was talkative in between most of them).
Toni arrived about 5:20 AM and started setting up and checking my vitals and the baby’s heart tone. I had a contraction on the floor on my hands and knees with Ace rubbing my lower back (he was so great to do this the entire labor at each contraction), and I remember feeling like, “I can’t do this!” I said out loud that I knew I must be transitioning soon since I was starting to feel self-doubt (I had remembered that this could happen in labor from our Bradley Method classes, but I never thought I would ever feel that way since I never did in my other two labors… this one was just that much more intense and quick). I was actually on the floor on all fours for most of the contractions during this earlier part of active labor with Ace rubbing my lower back… like I mentioned earlier, they were intense from the get go and just got more so after Toni arrived.
Toni asked if she could check to see how far I had progressed, and this is the first time in labor I haven’t wanted to be checked (probably because my labor was already so active). I think I was afraid I might’ve had a contraction while lying down that would hurt, but, of course, I complied. She said my cervix was high but complete with the bag bulging. With how intense my contractions were from the beginning, I knew it had to be too. This was all just amazing to hear because just the day before I had my appointment with her, and when she checked me there… I had a high cervix with no effacement or dilation. This labor is living proof that one can go from “0 to 60” in no time flat and that you really cannot gauge labor according to how dilated or effaced you are. While I was on the bed, Toni asked me about where I wanted to push to help the baby come out the best and to minimize tearing. With my previous birth, I had pushed on a labor stool on the floor (but I tore). She suggested that being reclined on my back would be the best (that is actually how I delivered our first child) so I could lift my belly up to help him slide out. I was really not wanting to be in that position as it was not comfortable, but I later found out just how effective it was in achieving the goal that Toni had hoped for.
Her assistants, Joani and Anne, had also arrived to help with the birth. My mother-in-law arrived too to take care of Trinity (Briscoe was still asleep). About 6:25 AM, I vomited (I was now on our bed for the remainder of the birth in a semi-sitting position) like I had done with my other two labors, and I knew that I would be pushing soon since I was transitioning. I felt much better after that (I really didn’t have much on my stomach as Ace had made me some plain yogurt with honey and an Emergen-C earlier). Within five minutes, I started pushing lightly with contractions in a side lying position. Prior to going in to labor, I had wondered what it would be like for someone to have their amniotic sac rupture while pushing and if it would be a big gush everywhere since with our first child it was broken in the hospital and our second ruptured spontaneously prior to transitioning to the pushing stage. Well, God has a funny way of answering our questions because at 6:43 AM, my membranes ruptured spontaneously as I was pushing. But, bless her heart, it exploded all over Toni! Oh my goodness! She said it happens a lot. J I have to admit that was one of the weirdest feelings. Everything got more intense after that.
I started really pushing at 6:55 AM (so, this is when the second stage of labor started). I was really trying to remember what we learned from our Bradley Method classes to take two deep cleansing breaths and then to push on the third breath with my chin to my chest, and it was so helpful! I tried to push as many times as I could through a full contraction to make it productive. Joani reminded me not to fight the contractions as one I tried to as I just wanted to “run away from it.” I looked up to see a sign on Ace’s desk that read, “Let go… Let God!” I knew that’s just what I had to do!
Toni had me reach down and feel his head which is always so encouraging that we are almost done! During the pushing stage, everyone was so great! Ace was on my right side rubbing my back, encouraging me, and put a cool rag on my head (that kept falling in my eyes when I was pushing- LOL). Toni and Joani were at my feet taking care of me to help the baby come out, and Anne was fanning me as I was hot since the ceiling fan was turned off because the baby was so close to crowning (so it wouldn’t be cold for him). Everyone was so sweet and encouraging to me! A few times I said, “He’s coming soon, right?!” knowing I knew the answer but was looking for reassurance. This is when I started thinking about the Blessed Virgin Mary being in labor with Jesus and when the song I mentioned earlier (“I’ll Be Your Miracle”) really applies because of the lyrics:
“When you’re down and you’re falling fast, and you’re feeling like your hope won’t last… You know I’ll be your miracle! When you find that your faith is gone and not sure if you carry on, you know… I’ll be your miracle!”
So, I knew that God was right there with me even though the contractions were so overwhelming. I had pushed for almost an hour, but it seemed like forever in the moment. It is just so indescribable how wonderful it is to have a Christian birth team who has faith in the Lord to bring us through hard times, and I called out several times, “God, please help me get him out,” or “Baby, please come out!” It was really hard work lying on my back semi-reclined pushing while lifting up my belly to help him come down since the way I carried him so far out in front (having a diastisis didn’t help either).
His head crowned at 7:24 AM, which I think is the most painful part of birth since there is some burning. I just wanted to push him out, but darn if my contraction wasn’t over! So, I had to wait until the next one to push his head out, but that was probably for the best since it allowed everything to stretch slowly, After I pushed his head out, then his body followed as I pushed again (that part was so much easier). So, within one minute (7:25 AM), Langtry James Blankenburg was born into this world! What a wonderful and joyous occasion! He cried immediately and was placed on my chest. Toni said that he looked “old” (he tested out to be about 42 weeks) as his skin was peely and with how mature he was. Joani remarked that my placenta looked “old and worn out” too. LOL, this was the first time in labor where I wanted the baby out NOW! This was also my quickest labor, so maybe that’s why. I know what a relief it feels like to feel the baby pushed out (placenta too), so I just couldn’t wait to get to that feeling of relief.
Within five minutes and the next contraction, I delivered the placenta (which we froze to plant under a tree like we did when our daughter was born at home). Just like his sister, Langtry was so alert that he wanted to look around first before he started nursing, but when he started… he was great at it! He had meconium on him from birth, but none was in the sac. The time after birth with a non-medicated mom and baby are so worth it (I had an epidural with Briscoe and things were just no comparison to how things were after birth with Trinity and Langtry). I asked for orange juice like I knew I needed from our Bradley Method classes, and I just rested and we bonded with Langtry while I nursed him more. My sitz bath was prepared as the birth team got me prepared for how to take care of myself postpartum, I took my sitz bath with Langtry, and Toni gave him his first bath.
My total time for this labor was 4 hours and 45 minutes (the quickest by far for me as my other two were about 7 hours each)! I had to admit afterwards that this labor was the most overwhelming because it was so fast, but now looking back… I wouldn’t have changed anything about it because it was also such a great relief to have it happen so quickly and felt so blessed that everything went so well! I was also so thankful that I did not tear but slightly with this birth like I did with my other two, so I did not have to have any stitches! I was so glad to hear everyone there say that it was a good birth and that I did a good job because it seemed to me like it was really hard work! But, it was all so worth it! Our oldest child, Briscoe, finally woke up after Langtry was born, which was another funny thing that God answered as I wondered how it would be to go into labor while the kids were asleep! Langtry James is such a blessing and a precious addition to our family! J