Here is his birth story:
At about week 28-30 for all of my pregnancies I get "extreme nesting" as Chuck likes to call it. I clean, I organize, I paint walls and furniture, I redecorate and build big projects. This pregnancy was no different and sometime near the end of July, I decided to redecorate our house. Since then, we've been working non-stop on different projects. Just keep that part in mind.
At about 37 weeks, I started having a few contractions, usually just after workouts and nothing consistent or intense. On September 29th, I went to the gym in the morning and had a few contractions after, per usual. I assembled our new entry way table and had a few more contractions, but nothing consistent. That night after the kids were in bed, we hung the barn doors in our nursery/guest room/playroom. After we got them hung and the room put back together, we sat down and finished watching a show (Designated Survivor, anyone??) while I made a very (read: INCREDIBLY) long to-do list for the next day. We finally crawled into bed at about 1am.
At around 1:15am, I heard a "pop" sound and assumed that my hip or knee had just popped. Until a minute later I realized that my water had broke. My first thought was: I promised myself that last time I was going to sleep before my baby was born. Sigh. I rolled over and said, "Chuck, my water just broke." To which he responded, "I think I was asleep for 15 seconds." (Chuck edit: I had some premonitions that day that the baby was coming soon, I spent most of the day at work making plans with people at church to help out over night in case the baby came because grandparents were all out of town. Turns out Leah was able to do it all herself! I was grateful for the promptings to prepare.)
But since my water didn't break until I was well into labor with the other two, we weren't quite sure if we had to go in immediately or if I could labor at home for a while. So, while I hopped into the shower, Chuck took a family vote from his siblings on what we were "supposed" to do. We packed up a bag and Chuck got the car seat ready. I was so exhausted, so I got back into bed to try to rest a little.
The contractions started to come more quickly, so once my sister got to our house at around 3:30am (Thanks, Leah!) we headed to the hospital. But of course, I wanted a little food before going in, so we swung by Steak and Shake on our way to the hospital :) We checked in and I asked for a room with a tub in it, to which the nurse said, "Are you going natural?" a little incredulous. Needless to say, they gave me the room with the tub, with the express condition, that as soon as I felt pressure I needed to get back in the bed.
From about 4-5am, I had to be hooked up to the monitors, which meant laboring in the bed. After my nurse got a good read on my contractions and the baby's heart beat, she checked me and I was at about 5-6 cm. Then, she let me get out of the bed and labor how I wish. I wanted to try the tub so we started there. The water felt great and I was really grateful that they let me use it! The water was pretty hot, so I had a few contractions in the water and then would have a few contractions walking around or sitting on the side of the tub.
At 6am, my nurse wanted to check the baby and the contractions again. So, until about 6:30am I had to labor in the bed. During this stretch the nurse checked me again and I was at a 7 and Max had dropped a little. At this point, my back pain was getting pretty bad. I was still breathing through contractions, but it was getting more difficult. When she let me get out of the bed again, I wanted to get back in the tub. It was the only place where I could get a little relief from the back labor. (Chuck edit: I will add here that Emily was incredibly focused throughout the entire laboring process, she would get into her "zone" during the contractions and breath through them in a way that looked almost painless to me. The nurse made quite a few comments like "it's people like you that make me want to go natural" or telling the OB on the phone "she's breathing through contractions like a champ." I think what I'm trying to convey is how impressed I am with ANYONE that has a baby in ANY way, but I am especially proud of Emily and how well she did in having the baby the way she had chosen. She was incredible.)
This is where I started to doubt my decision to go natural. I didn't want to feel another contraction. I told Chuck that I wasn't going to make it. The pain was so bad that I threw up my beloved Steak n' Shake. The very next contraction, I all of a sudden felt the massive need to push. I immediately said, "He's coming now! He's coming!" Chuck ran to get the nurse. When she walked in and took a look she said a few choice words as she saw the baby crowning (read: expletives) and ran and got the doctor. In about two contractions, Maxwell was here! The doctor made it just in time to grab him out of the water and pull him out without any gloves. I was worried about him. (Chuck edit: she kept apologizing to me and the doctor and anyone who could listen because she wasn't supposed to deliver in the water and everyone had told her not too.) I couldn't hear him crying and I've read issues about water births, which I hadn't intended to do at all! Chuck kept reassuring me that everything was fine, that he was just fine and everything was okay.
The doctor had me climb out of the tub (much easier said than done) in order to deliver the placenta and get stitched up on the bed. Once I got on the bed, I finally got to see my little guy and hold him. That moment is always the most amazing feeling. The first time I've held each of my children is the closest I feel to heaven. I'm overwhelmed with love and responsibility and gratitude. Becoming a mother all over again carries the same weight as it did the first time I felt it.
The recovery this time around has been even easier than the last. I only took motrin a couple of times during our stay during the hospital and it was for the uterine cramps as opposed to my stitches. I feel so grateful for such a quick recovery - it definitely makes going natural completely worth it.
Watching the kids meet Maxwell for the first time was awesome. Watching them love him makes my heart burst.
Max has been a complete joy to have in our home. He's a calm baby who rarely fusses. The kids absolutely adore him and ask to hold him and hug him and kiss him multiple times a day. As I write this, Jackson is currently singing "twinkle twinkle little star" to him completely unprovoked. While having three kids feels mostly like chaos, there are a few moments each day that feel like heaven.