Friday, January 13, 2012


2:20AM I looked at the clock and was super frustrated to be up and going to the bathroom yet again in the 2 hours I'd been trying to sleep. Aaron woke up when I was crawling back in bed and asked if I was okay. I told him it must be gas that was upsetting my stomach because it felt awful and wouldn't go away... within the hour I realized it was contractions. It's still funny to me that I thought it was gas, partly due to refried beans we'd eaten for supper and Aaron having an upset stomach. Really, knowing they were contractions made it better because I wasn't so annoyed with having to visit the bathroom constantly incase of movement. (Sorry, if that's too much information.) We timed them and they were 10-15ish minutes apart. (Hospital time - Active Labor is about 4 minutes apart.)

So once we established I was having contractions, within the hour, Aaron decided he'd try to sleep while I hung out in our living room, trying to distract myself. It didn't occur to me that this was it, that labor was officially starting. Partly because of a Dr. appointment the previous day and no progress with dialation and also because of our birthing classes, (that we loved!), informing us that first time moms often think their labor is further along than it really is and they get worked up before it's time - I was sure that these contractions were just some kind of early labor. We were told in the case of early labor, drink lots of water, and lay down... I watched a couple episodes of 'Friday Night Lights' on Netflix and tried every position I could think of to relieve the pressure from the contractions. By 6AM, contractions were 7-10 minutes apart. I wanted some encouragement from my midwife, so I called her and I'm pretty sure I convinced her that I was definitely not in labor, just curious if she thought I could take a bath without slowing progress. The funny thing is that I was definitely in labor but I didn't want to blow it out of proportion so I played it down all morning. I thought I was saving all alarm till I "really" needed it. Aaron woke up around 6:30AM I think and I was getting into the bath tub. Contractions were 5-8 minutes apart and strong. They were nothing like I thought they'd be, but I was convinced for some reason that this was just the beginnings of labor, if anything. I tried to breath them out, this may seem silly but it was awkward. And I've found through all of this, that when I am struggling with anything, I tend to hold my breath instead of breath deeply. Aaron was supposed to work at 8AM and when it came around, he was pretty sure he wanted to call into work, but I thought, if this isn't "it", he needed to get more hours because he'd be taking off work when the baby came anyway. So Aaron went to work around 9AM.

He asked me to time and write down how far apart my contractions were. Though I was plenty excited about possibly meeting my babe soon, being tired from getting no sleep the evening previous - I was falling asleep between contractions, that were getting steadily closer. I totally didn't see it. I was texting a few people -telling them to pray for me, texting Aaron -telling him contractions weren't getting closer that I could tell... I was crazy. After everything, we read back all of our text messages to each other and it was hilarious. I kept saying "things are fine here, but maybe you should come home when you get to a good stopping point", or "the contractions don't seem closer but I miss you"... hahah! And everything in between. ... I got a call from a friend from church. She was a week further along than me, her due date was the 2 days earlier. Before I even knew why she called I had to tell her I'd call her back after my contraction that was coming on. I think I called her back and had to hang up again so she texted me asking if she should come over. I checked with Aaron to see if he'd mind her coming by and he said no. She is a doula by the way, totally heaven-sent. She came over some time around 11am. She found me in some cool bath water, aching through contractions. She watched a couple and timed them, I was between 2 and 5 minutes apart. They were pretty consistant but every once in a while I'd have a small one that felt like it was tailing the last. They were so crazy. Nothing anyone had ever told me could prepare me for what they were like. People don't really go into too much detail it seems. ANYWAY, my friend Brianna said "wow" and told me we were calling Aaron to come home and take me to the hospital, and our midwife to tell her we were going. Aaron was clocking out of work when she called so he got home right away, it was about noon. They dressed me, helped me into the car with our bags. I climbed in the middle seat of our toyota and hunched over the bench seat. The next 5-7 minutes were like something out of a movie. I'm moaning and grunting on all fours in the back seat while Aaron is driving like a maniac. He had the caution lights on, layed on the horn at a taxi he claimed was trying to cut him off, and may have ran through a red light. I don't remember seeing much outside of the car, but I remember thinking we were going to get pulled over and Aaron was going to sass a cop and we would never get to the hospital.

We got there, Aaron parked at the correct entrance and ran inside, got a wheelchair. Two nurses came out and asked to help. Some odd men were sitting in a huge truck near by and I felt so exposed. The door to the car was open, Aaron and two women and the men in the truck were watching me try to be composed through a contraction in the car. As soon as it stopped, I climbed out and was wheeled in. I advise telling the nurses to hurry if they don't mind cause I didn't have the nerve and they took me on a couple laps around the hospital trying to distract me with conversation about the weather. Again, having contractions in a chair, being wheeled past anyone hanging out in the hallways makes one feel exposed. There's something intimate about contracting and making the noises you make. Haha.

I think it was about 12:30 when I was wheeled into a special area for checking my progress. The nurse dropped me off in a large closet sized space with a curtain and asked me to get undressed and climb onto the table. I think Aaron was helping me because I barely remember getting up there. I do remember ripping off my clothes and putting on a nightgown... that was nice. Before she had time to check anything else, she checked to see how dialated I was. 9 CENTIMETERS. No big deal aye? Things picked up pace all of a sudden. The nurse immediately started wheeling my table out with me on it and told the people at a desk close by to get my midwife because "this is happening". Hahah.. I don't think I understood how close I was, but I was really thankful that we were moving finally.

We were brought into the birthing suite we'd requested, WATER WORLD. I hadn't really felt strongly about it but Aaron had brought it up a few times that I may like birthing in water so we signed up to get a room with a tub. I liked the rooms without tubs better because they still had bathrooms with small bath tubs but they were big, roomy, with large windows overlooking the mountains. Now that I've done it, you don't spend any time looking out windows when you're in labor. Or any time caring about the size of your room. I didn't even notice but Aaron was on top of things once we got in there. He turned down the overhead lights and was helping me with signing papers, and answering nurses questions. Someone even stepped in at some point and asked him if we minded if a student attended our birth. Of course he said no as long as it didn't get too crazy. I missed that, but it turned out that the student was also a massage therapist and she had her hands on me almost the whole time, which was very nice. :) My friend Brianna was there, I'd asked her to come if she didn't mind... what an incredible woman... she had two little spray bottles with essential lavender and orange oils that you wouldn't believe the difference they made. She also had emergen-C packets and a sweet calm presence that Aaron and I were both so grateful for. So, I got into the water, kneeling on towels and perched in the corner of the huge tub, like I was in a boxing ring. At all times, people were rubbing my shoulders, serving me water with straws, wiping my brow, and everyone was taking turns squeezing my hips during contractions. Everyone was surrounding me like a well-oiled machine. I kept getting encouragement about how I was doing and little tips on how to conserve my energy. All I could think about was "you guys must say this to everyone" and "a c-section doesn't sound so bad after all"... I was thinking really lame things but I kept it all in. I know now looking back that I was scared, I still thought that I had possibly hours and hours left to go... and I had no experience to gauge how far along I was. So.... I think the details were, I was in the tub and laboring by 1pm and little Woodrow Bright Buchanan was born at 2:19pm. I'm not sure, but I think that's fast folks. I was sure after everyone's stories I'd heard I would be a long laborer.

Contractions are heavy. They started out so irritating and mild and at some point, it took all my focus just to relax my shoulders and legs during them. I would tense up involuntarily. It's the most intense thing I've ever experienced for sure, but people ask if it was the most painful and it doesn't compare to any pain I've ever experienced.

I think I started actually pushing around 1:45 or 2pm. It wasn't long but again, once I started I had no idea how long it'd last and I was a little terrified it'd be going on for hours also. I was really scared too of tearing. I had heard everyone's thoughts and experiences on it but never asked what it was actually like. I thought there'd be a scary pop and the baby would bust out. I thought I'd scream or something. Anyway, this may be too much but it's all just so powerful and you're so stimulated that one thing doesn't really stick out from another. .... My midwife told me at some point to feel his head and all the hair. That was wild, cause if she hadn't told me, I wouldn't have known he was that close to coming. STILL, I thought it could take forever. I really wasn't giving myself a break. Within minutes, his head was out and the midwife was telling Aaron that he'd be grabbing him, her hands would stay on the baby as well, and they'd tuck him under my legs without lifting him out of the water and I would receive him and bring him to my skin out of the water. I have a picture but it may be too much to share... Brianna somehow caught this moment when we're staring at our little one. I felt nothing like I imagined I'd feel. No tv moment for me. Time did stop. He was staring at me, his eyes were huge... there was no sound, no crying. I may have been shaking. I was staring at him thinking "hello little human", "this doesn't look like either of us", "oh my gosh a baby", "he's so sticky", "I'm so glad it's over!", and "oh my gosh, it's a baby!". It was amazing. You don't get those moments back. It was so sweet and in the weirdest way, unexpected. Some part of me didn't believe it was real. I guess I still don't.

Kaki said to me the other day, "it sort of feels like someone just dropped this baby off for you to take care of for a while". Well, someone sort of did. Haha. ... The only thing making it feel real is getting familiar with him. It's so strange to not know him better than anyone when he first came and to less and less forget how much I like him when I'm not looking at him. If that makes sense. For example, when I would sleep at the hospital, I would forget what he looked like, then when I'd see him again, it'd be new and perfect all over again.

Once he was born, I fed him almost immediately, time was still. Everything was so sweet. He didn't feel like mine but it was amazing. He was 8 and a half lbs. His hair, oh his hair! was dark, wavy, and greasy with vernix. The vernix was even really sweet to me. ... We stayed 2 days and 2 nights in the hospital. It was a lot like a vacation. We had lots of friends from church come visit. I loved that. We were so proud. We're still so proud. I rarely say "thankyou" when someone says how sweet or pretty he is. I forget it's a compliment. I think of it more as facts.

So... here he is. We love him. And we're learning what it's like to not sleep, to think through screaming, to wear baby throw up and pee as an accessory, and hopefully learning how to love unconditionally. So much is hard but obviously so much more is good. Actually, it's all good aside from the times we aren't thankful. It's so incredible to see God working through this new life in our home. I don't know how to be disciplined and have intentional alone time through this. I forget that instead of my decisions whether I should use a pacifier or feed him on demand, what will shape him is how I love his daddy and the way I pursue the Lord. .... It's all so incredible though. There are many ways that I feel cliche and unoriginal. I can't multitask better than everyone I've ever known like I thought I would. I can't get out of the house as quickly as I thought I would. Aaron and I keep finding new ways we're being humbled and it's so good! We know better than anyone else how much we need it believe it or not.

Hooray life!

Aaron just got home from a really long day of work and we're making grilled chicken, feta, and walnut salads for dinner. Yum. We're probably going to watch obscene amounts of Parks and Recreation on Netflix too. And stare at our baby. Good day.


  1. oh my goodness grace!! he's incredible!! congratulations :D

  2. so, i was over at christen's apartment & we were chatting about baby stuff. she said, "have you seen pictures of grace & aaron's baby?" i told her i had only seen your first post, and she said you had written out your birth story & posted a bunch of pictures. we immediately got up and went to the computer! haha i loved reading all the details of your labor and delivery. it's nice to hear such an honest telling of your experience! he is SO BEAUTIFUL! i'm glad that rev radio onesie fits him already! i wasn't sure if he would need to grow into it :)
    sorry for the long comment haha i'll try to write you a long winded letter soon! looks like you're doing well. best of luck to you and aaron's new life!

  3. I love love LOVE this post! Your birth story is so beautiful and so is Woodrow! He's even sweeter in person! These pictures are absolutely precious and it's so neat to see you guys as a family. I love y'all!

  4. Grace, I love him and I love you. This made my day so so good.


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