So I told you how shocked I was that she made it past our due date at all with how much activity she was having all the time. I had jokingly said right after we found out we were pregnant months ago and knew when our official guess date was that it would be awesome to have a baby on your birthday. Well, my birthday is December 25th. Cindy laughed it off and said something about if we held true to what happened with Harper we would be right on it (we went 4 days over with Harper).
So Friday (December 24th) comes around and still no real activity (I was waking up every morning actually disappointed to have gotten a full nights sleep!). So since she was feeling so good we went and ran errands and went to the grocery store with Christy Martin (dear friend and assistant midwife at Ellington’s birth). While we were at the store Cindy had to stop in the isle a couple times because of more intense contractions so I knew in my heart something was up. She didn’t say anything about it though so we got more stuff done and the house and then put Harper down for bed. We’ve been staying up later recently so we were both up working on different things that night when one of Cindy’s other good friends came over to get a suitcase for her daughter she had bought and had dropped off at our house. She stayed and talked for a few minutes and then headed home.
I went to check on Harper and to shave (Cindy said she wanted me to shave before labor so I wouldn’t give her carpet burn on her face!! lol) and when I came back into the living room she was on the couch shaking really bad and whimpering (12:30 AM). I asked her what was going on an she told me she was having a really intense “side stitch” and pain on her left side of her ribcage in the back. The pain was pretty constant so I helped her draw a hot bath and she soaked in the tub to get it to relax. The tub only helped a little but it was better so we went to bed. But she couldn’t get comfortable and on top of it she was feeling really nauseous. She got really nauseated at the beginning of Harper’s birth too, but I didn’t want to hope on that so I didn’t say anything. The side pain came back again and when I asked her if she thought it might be contractions she said, “Oh no, this is just pain….I don’t feel anything in the front, only this super sharp pain in my side.” But when I felt of her belly she was really tight so I knew she was starting to have contractions. She got back in the tub and it helped but when she came back to bed I adjusted her pelvis and her lower ribs (luxury of being married to a chiropractor! lol), held pressure on her ribs on that side and ran the cold laser on her muscles to get them to calm down. After trying that and then praying over her the muscles calmed down and she felt better so I went to sleep (1:30 AM). I woke up a couple times briefly to check on her but she was fine so I stayed asleep. I woke up finally at around 6:00AM to Cindy getting sick again in the bathroom. With it being after 6:00 AM I didn’t want Harper to wake up early and me have to watch them both so I called Cindy’s mom to come to the house in case he woke up in a little while. Cindy was in the tub and was really REALLY intense so I knew she was laboring. But we wanted to do most of the laboring alone so I didn’t call anyone (midwives, doulas, photographers) yet. Harper didn’t wake up until around 7:00 AM so I went and got him up and took him in to see Cindy. She was in the tub so he watched her intently for a second and then Becky (Cindy’s mom) took him into the kitchen to fix him breakfast. Something told me to start timing the contractions to see where we were because they seemed a little close together at this point. So I timed one and it was 4.5 min apart!! I called Donnellyn Dominguez, our midwife, and told her about where we were and she assured me we were doing good but not to wait too long to call Lynsey Stone (birth photographer). She said she would come as soon as Cindy was ready for support but to remember that second time moms can sometimes progress really quickly so be ready. I thought I might have made a mistake timing the contractions so I asked Cindy how to time them again and tried another one. That one and the next few were about 3 minutes apart!! So I immediately called Lynsey so she could head this way. I waited another few minutes and then sent a double text to Donnellyn and Christy so they could come over and they both excitedly text back that they were on their way.
Cindy and I had really wanted to find a great birth “soundtrack” for this birth so we asked and prayed and were really led to Lindsey Morton’s “Acoustic Hymns” cd that Cindy had heard at another birth. So we had that going in the bedroom most of the night and the next morning when I was calling our team. Each contraction was such a sweet time for us because I would put everything down, turn off the shower (I was trying to fill the birth pool in between contractions!) and would hold light sacral pressure on Cindy and we would just pray and sing together until each contraction was over. At 2 different points from 2 totally different people during Ellington’s pregnancy we had been told that God had said our birth with Harper was all spiritual warfare but Ellington’s birth was going to be all worship and praise. We claimed that and it was really looking to be that way. Cindy was handling every contraction so amazingly well. At one point before anyone got there she got really scared in the bathtub so I sat down beside her an laid hands on her head and prayed for peace and for fear to leave our house for good. Cindy responded, God was faithful and she continued moving through contractions under control and focused on Jesus.
Donnellyn got there first at about 7:45 AM and set up her command center and went straight in to check on Cindy and to take vitals on her. She was doing good so she prayed with her and began getting out her gear. Christy arrived shortly afterwards and after taking some time for Harper (he loves his Aunt Risty!) she came in and helped me fill the birth pool. Two of Cindy’s closest friends were going to be at the birth so I called one of them at 8:00 AM and told her to come whenever she was ready but “no rush” if she was busy with the kids. She assured me she’d be on her way shortly. Christy called the other friend and told her she thought it was going fast and to hurry. Cindy transferred into the birth pool somewhere around 8:15-8:25 and continued laboring. I stayed close by her side praying with her and talking in her ear. Probably the greatest moment of the entire labor was about 8:30 during one of her contractions, Cindy (leaning forward on her knees on the side of the tub at this point) rose up on her knees, lifted her hands high and started weeping as she praised God through the contraction! I lost and together we cried our way through one or two more. Harper was having a ball the entire time with all these people over. Becky was on Harper duty and was playing with him but we really wanted him to be a part of the process so he would come in and out to check on Cindy and talk to everyone and then would be back out playing in the family room. At about 8:45 Cindy started grunting more with her contractions and Donnellyn looked at me and said, “Jim Bob, I think it’s time for you to get in the tub with Cindy.” So I got in behind her to help support her and hold her through the contractions. By this time everyone was here: photographer, 2 friends, Donnelyn, Christy, Becky and Bob (Cindy’s parents), and of course my main man Harper Joe!
At this point Donnellyn asked Cindy if she wanted her to check her for progress and Cindy reluctantly said yes. With Harper’s birth, progress was slow and at one point she digressed because he had positioned his hands up by his head. So we were both so nervous for her to check her. I prayed harder right then than I have ever prayed I think because I knew that if she wasn’t very far along she would be devastated and we would have a long road ahead of us. Donnellyn checked her and immediately said, “There’s no cervix left at all…..YOU’RE COMPLETE AND READY TO PUSH!!!” Cindy and I both exclaimed, “Thank you God!!” and literally less than 10 minutes later my gorgeous daughter, Ellington Grace Haggerton was born!! 8 lbs 4 oz, 21 inches long!
So from the time I started timing the contractions and the time I was holding my daughter was less than 3 hours!! God is so good and is sooooo faithful. I wouldn’t say we learned more necessarily with this birth than with Harper’s though. Harper’s birth was long and hard but it welded our marriage together so strong that nothing could shake us after that. It also really re-focused on God and his covering, protection, and will for our family. Ellington’s birth was total confirmation of God’s love and redemption. It truly was a worshipful birth from the very beginning to the very end.
Sorry for the wordy recall of the experience, but it was just so amazing…. I learned new things through this experience though. I learned that EVERY experience is a chance to worship God. The Lord calls us to focus on Him and His righteousness. He says in Matthew 6:33 that if we seek His kingdom FIRST then he’ll add everything else in for us. That was true for both Harper’s and Ellington’s births. I learned that my heart is big enough for more than one child! I had a real fear about not being able to love my second the same as Harper. After everyone was gone and it was just our little family of four, Harper had woke up from his nap so I brought him into the bedroom with Cindy and Ellington. He wanted to touch her so I sat down on Ellie’s side of the bed and sat Harper beside me. Harper laid down next to Ellington and nuzzled up to her until his nose was touching hers and he kissed her really softly and stroked her forehead and said, “I love her!” At that moment I felt like the Grinch when his heart grew so big it burst out of the little box in his chest!! I couldn’t stop crying and hugging on both of them….MAN! And to think that my heavenly Father loves me so much more than this. And that he loves all of you the same way….I just don’t know how he does it.
So starts our journey with 2 kids. We will have our share of struggles, but again, God is faithful and he is who we lean on for our strength and our support. We also happen to have the best friends in the world and a great family to help us out when we need. Thank you guys for praying for us and with us through this process. The best is definitely yet to come!!