Micah Corban’s projected due date was July 24th, and though the majority of my children were born between 41 and 42 weeks, I was sure this would be different. I had been experiencing prodromal labor for weeks and went to bed most nights thinking “ok, THIS is it” only to wake up shocked that I was still pregnant.
Not only was my growing girth alarming me, but also our timeline. Brace yourself for this roller coaster: Micah Sr (that’s fun to say!) was scheduled to fly to Atlanta on August 6th for his first week of residency at Georgia Tech’s Executive MBA program. And then we as a family MOVE to Georgia Augst 15th. As in 22 days from due date. So you can imagine the looming anxiety as I sat up most nights laboring, eating, showering, repeat. When would this baby get here? Would my husband be here? What if he misses another birth? What if I’m not recovered enough to travel? And when exactly are we packing? So. many. what if’s.
Yet we have experienced much peace as we have entered into this journey. A journey filled with what if’s and unknowns. And we’ve experienced how the next step has always presented itself at the appropriate time. Always.
So on Thursday night (July 28th) as we watched a movie, I secretly timed contractions that I assumed would go nowhere. We went to bed around midnight, and at 1:30 I woke up- for the first time in 5 pregnancies- to my water breaking. Not convinced it actually had, I took a shower and felt nothing but mild cramps. Not convinced I was going into labor, I went back to bed at 3:00 am and- BAM- waves of contractions that were breathtaking. They were 5 minutes apart, so I called my midwife to say we’d stay home for a while, but that this was finally it. Ten minutes later, contractions were TWO minutes apart and brutal.
Enter Taskmaster Tommi. I woke Micah and began barking commands. Poor man; I know he was biting his tongue as I pointed him in ten directions at once. Make the bed. Call the babysitter. Pack the van. Stop making coffee. Hurry up. Encourage me through this next contraction. No, stop talking. It’s not working. Ok, talk again.
Side-note on what worked: looking myself in the mirror and encouraging myself through each contraction. I’ve never been able to pep talk myself like this before, but this time was different. It was very powerful.
We left for the birth center at 3:45 am; Micah was running every red light and trying to avoid every bump as I knelt in the back trying not to deliver a baby in a minivan surrounded by 5 carseats. My cousin Nicole was here from North Carolina to help with the children and attend the birth. She’s studying to become a midwife and also happens to be a great photographer, among other things. She drove to Katie’s house, our 15-yr old family friend who’s also interested in labor & delivery and would be attending the birth. Together they met us at The Birth Center at 4:00.
I LOVE The Birth Center and everyone who works there and had a lovely experience when Judah was born. For some reason, though, when I walked into the bedroom, it felt wrong. Everything felt….off. I was hot and felt like I would pass out. I couldn’t find a comfortable spot and I began feeling like a caged animal. Not to mention the contractions were piling on top of each other before I could get my mind settled. Within 30 minutes, I was at my limit and knew I needed help. Some sort of help. Through one whole contraction I wrestled with my pride- heavily invested in natural childbirth- before I surrendered it and asked, “What are my pain management options. I need help.” The options available didn’t sound right- I didn’t want to be ‘loopy’ or to ‘care less’…I wanted pain relief and QUICK! So I uttered the words I honestly had never even considered before in all 4 births: I need an epidural. Now. And just the thought of it felt wonderful.
After a very brief conversation about “Are you sure” which was cut short by me saying “There’s no time to discuss this. I need help now” we all hustled to the minivan to drive across the street to the hospital.
Funny side-note: my amazing midwife piled in the back with me, and I remember her looking around trying to figure out where to sit. You see, we’ve grown accustom to 5 carseats, but apparently it’s a surprising sight to others 🙂 She knelt down next to me and applied pressure to my back as we made the forever long drive across the street.
The hospital received us at once and I was welcomed by a second midwife/friend who teaches classes with me at the Y. It was lovely to have another familiar face. All I kept thinking was how this labor was so different from all the others, confirmed by the fact that I had become that crazy pregnant lady screaming through the halls as she was being raced through the hospital via wheel chair. I thought that only happened in movies?! This can’t be happening!! Oh, but it most certainly was happening, and I wasn’t sure I could get through it. But within 30 minutes I was ready for the epidural…only to be told I missed the window and, oh by the way, it’s time to push.
Push?! I don’t want to do that!
So I looked to the ceiling and asked God for strength. My husband says that he had to take 3 full breaths to my one, and then, just like that, I was holding a baby! Two fast and furious pushes- maybe all of 90 seconds, and he was in our arms.
A faster labor definitely wasn’t easier. In many ways it was more difficult. Like being dragged behind a galloping horse. But oh I would do it all over again to hold this sweet baby.
He and I spent 2 glorious days together in the hospital, which definitely felt like a Bed and Breakfast. Oh that amazing little “Call Nurse” button, how I miss thee.
The kids came to visit and the amount of giggling and excitement will stay with me forever.
Micah and I even had a bedside dinner date AND breakfast without the kids, during which time we discussed things like “it’s so quiet”, “I can’t believe I’m eating a meal that’s still hot”, and “this is awesome.”
Baby Micah came home with us on Sunday, July 31 to many loving arms and countless kisses from his siblings. Hours later, we learned that Sammy’s best friend, the 5-year old son of my dear friend, was just taken Home suddenly in a tragic accident. Even as we grieve, baby Micah provides a comfort, a peace, a ray of light. Every micro-moment of this life is a gift- even the dark, middle of the night ones. I’m deeply humbled to be given the gift of a fifth child and pray that his days on earth bring light and life to all who have the joy of knowing him.