We arrived in the hospital emergency lane at 9:00 am on the dot. August Milton Sundin was born at 9:26 am. I would have never guessed in a million years that was going to be our story…but it was.
I had told a couple people that I thought he might be early. 10 days before the due date; it was 4:00 am when I felt the first pain that woke me out of my sleep. A tailbone pain like none I have known before. I thought maybe switching to the couch would help ease the pain or at least help me go back to sleep. By 5:00 am I had more than one rude awakening from this pain, so I switched on the lights and just decided to be up for the day. “I can catch up on the labor book I have been wanting to read,” I thought. I read bits here and there but kept nodding off. Around 5:30 am I realized that this sharp pain that was rudely awakening me was pretty regular….every 10 minutes or so. “Is this labor?” I must have asked myself that question about 100 times within the next 30 minutes. It was so unlike my beginning labor pains with the other two I thought I better wait a bit more before waking up Daniel. At 6:15 am I woke up Daniel and told him I was pretty sure I was in labor…but it was just so different. He smiled ear to ear. Not a hint of panic…only joy. “Yay! How fun! Let’s do this!” His joy was infectious. I went from worried to excited…. “Here we go!”
The next couple hours were kind of a blur. Daniel and I chatted back and forth about if he should call his mom yet…that he would have to get Dayla ready for school…and whether or not we should tell Dayla I am in labor. I walked around trying to make sense of what was happening, while being distracted by the to-do’s I wanted to get done before the baby came. Strip the bed of sheets, take this out to the garage, then a contraction. Daniel and Dayla went to our blueberry bush to pick fresh blueberries for her oatmeal, I tried to smile through a contraction as Sebastian flagged me over to whatever project he needed me to see. I started the text messages I knew needed to happen, calling on the girls who I wanted by my side once again as my labor doulas. Then I messaged Sarita to see if they could take Sebastian (we just might need you?) By 7:00 am I realized that Grandma wasn’t going to be here quick enough to take Sebastian. At 7:15 am Sarita messaged me back to say that she could come and pick up Sebastian to make my life easier. I thought to myself that it would be easier if Daniel just took Dayla to school and then took Sebastian to Sarita’s house (cause I knew that would be easier for the little guy)…but by 7:30 am I messaged Sarita back …suddenly I had a feeling that I needed that extra 15 minutes.
I wanted to fit in so much more; a breakfast, texting family and friends to ask for prayer, starting a load of laundry…you know…the thing us “doers” love to do. My phone beeped, Kristy (world’s best over-the- phone doula) asked how far apart my contractions were, and I had no idea. I closed myself in a room away from the kids and the messy house and my to-do’s. 5-8 minutes apart, about 1 minute long. “When do I go to the hospital again?” I messaged her back…I was certain it couldn’t be yet. “Just a bit longer. Laboring at home is always ideal…not too soon…not too soon.” I chanted in my head. It was so hard to time my contractions, but suddenly they felt closer. So hungry, so thirsty, text Kristy and ask. All such a blur.
Then I noticed it was 7:40 am. “Must time these,” I kept thinking. I reached for the stopwatch on my phone as the contraction came on. “OUCH. So much worse…this would be a harder labor for sure. I wonder if I will do an epidural this time? Yes, if this is just the beginning, I am doing an epidural.” Thoughts flooded my head.
8:00 am came and I knew the contractions were closer and longer. Suddenly I let out the guttural, deep, “primal” noise during a contraction; it felt so good! Daniel came home from dropping off Dayla. “I think you’d better pack your bag,“ I told him.
I still felt so happy in between contractions; it was easy to hold a lucid conversation, smile and even think a bit. I just couldn’t get myself to believe it was time to get in the car. Then another contraction came….primal noises flew out of my mouth. Suddenly I had flashes back to a nurse saying, “Once they go primal, the baby is coming.” I looked at Daniel, “Let’s get in the car”.
I asked Daniel not to speed, but then secretly hoped he would. About 15 minutes into our 40 minute drive Daniel and I prayed together that baby August wouldn’t come in the car. 5 minutes after that he called the hospital, “Pull into the emergency area,” they told him.
With every prayer I had, I asked God to keep that baby inside for just a bit longer, with every word I could voice, I begged August to wait just a bit, with every spare moment, I tried to encourage Daniel that the baby wasn’t coming out just yet. I kept asking him how far apart my contractions were, “2-3 minutes” he said. I looked for signs of worry on his face, but none arose. His words of, “You are doing great babe,” flooded my ears and my thoughts….I suddenly felt so excited, so calm, and simply overwhelmed with love. Realization of how truly amazing my husband is flooded over me. I felt so excited to be welcoming another baby into our lives….another little boy for him to shepherd and guide….another adventure for us to do together in this crazy life. In a strange way, time was both fast and slow for me, in a strange way, it was the most beautiful car ride I have ever had.
I think we both let out a huge sigh of relief when we pulled up behind the ambulance at the hospital. I rolled down my window and told the security guard that I was in labor and about to have a baby. “Do you need a wheelchair?” He asked me, “Yes, yes please.”
As someone wheeled me into the emergency room and I said out loud what I thought was important details, “I am about to have a baby, this is my third, the contractions are 2-3 minutes apart,” the woman smiled calmly at me and asked me my name and if this was my hospital. “She has seen this before,” I thought, “so calm”. They asked me to get onto the gurney and calmly noted to each other that I needed to be brought up to Labor and Delivery. I felt a contraction coming, “Just a minute please…I am going to have this contraction before I move onto the gurney.” Primal. Breathe. Groans. It was over. I looked up and saw that what was once a calm woman and a nonchalant young man was now a team of 5 or 6 people with urgency on their faces. The questions started to come at me like bullets, fast and hard. I noted I had another contraction and asked for a brief pause. When I opened my eyes again I saw another 3 or so people had joined in the party, and the once calm female voice said anxiously to me, “That was less than a minute apart.”
Urged onto the gurney, everyone around me was a blur. I asked if my husband was there and suddenly I heard my favorite voice. Relief and calm washed over me. We were here, we were not having the baby in the car, and the man who is my tower of support was at my side.
I remember having contractions on the gurney and laughing and smiling at all the people around me in between the contractions. I was just so elated not to be in the car and felt the relief of being surrounded by such support. Up the elevator, through the halls, into a labor room. Waiting for me in the room were 3 nurses and a midwife with a big smile named Christine. They helped me out of the wheelchair and told me they would give me an IV. A contraction came and I asked to stand… “Can I hold onto you?” I asked the nurse. “Of course,” she smiled. After one contraction I looked over at Christine and said, “I felt the urge to push,” but even as I said it, I couldn’t believe it. Could I be that far dilated? It was so hard to believe it, I was afraid to hope. Christine assessed me, “10 centimeters,” she said, “You are ready! You can go ahead and push when you are ready!”
I couldn’t believe it. Part of me still felt like it was impossible. Part of me still felt like I needed to wait and have a few more contractions….but then in a moment of clarity I realized I didn’t really WANT this to go on any longer than it had to….”Let’s push!”
I held onto Kari, the nurse with the biggest smile and most encouraging words, as another contraction came. I felt like I wanted to deliver standing up, so I asked, and they gave me the go ahead. I remember one, two, three pushes, then I felt that familiar relief and joy of a baby sliding into the world. “Grab him,” I heard Christine yell. Baffled and confused that this was my job, but not in the state of mind to question it, I reached down to hold that slimy, sweet little life. Surreal. August was here. I lay on the bed and felt that familiar warm slimy little life slide onto my chest. August was here.
Just as I lay down on the bed, I saw my friend Jen walk into the room, catch a look at brand new August, and a smile came over her face…I might say she was glowing. A few minutes later Kristy came in with the same smile…glowing. Two of my girls who were planning on coaching me through the labor again, made it in time to see August’s first minutes of life. Late…but also perfect. August didn’t wait…but he had perfect timing. His timing.
August Milton Sundin….10 days early….5 hours of labor…and only 20 minutes in the hospital before making his way into the world. A story I never thought would be mine to tell…but it couldn’t have been more perfect. We love you little guy and can’t wait to get to know you and adventure with you in this world.