I shared K’s birth story when she was one, now I am finally sharing T’s and he is more than two! Even though it has been a while I do want to share it as T’s birth was a wonderful experience (and I did write most of this soon after the birth). It was painful, but it was fast and easy, especially compared to my labor with K. This time we decided to have a home birth, and saw a group of midwives that practice home births in our area. I absolutely love them and continue to see them for well woman visits. Here is how it happened:
Thursday, March 12th 2015
I am starting with the day before because, looking back, I suspect I was in the very early stages of labor and did not realize it. I woke up tired and cranky. I knew I was nearing the end of the pregnancy and I wanted to savor it and also the time I had left with just K, but my pelvis was aching and I just felt tired and off.
I tried to take it easy with K that day, although she did make me run after her on our walk (which may have helped jump-start labor…) We watched birth videos, ate cookies in honor of Katie Fisher Day, and I sat on a bench outside while she splashed in puddles. We were planning on having my aunt watch K while Mr. S and I went out for one last date before the baby came, but I wasn’t feeling up to it (probably because I was already in early labor!) My aunt did bring us some dinner from Panera, but I wasn’t hungry and didn’t eat much.
Early morning, Friday, March 13th 2015
Sometime after 1am I woke up to pee – which is quite common while I am pregnant. At that time I was having pressure waves (hypnobabies term for contractions) and tried to go back to sleep, but I was too uncomfortable when lying down. These pressure waves had been happening at the same time early each morning for about a week, and it was a week before my guess date, so I figured they were temporary and sat on my ball and waited for them to subside so I could go back to sleep.
Around 2:30am the pressure waves had not subsided, so I woke up Mr. S. I had him start timing the pressure waves, and spent more time sitting on the ball, rocking and swaying when it got intense.
Around 3 or 3:30am we decided to call our midwives and birth assistant. My favorite midwife from the practice – and the one who lives closest to us – was on call, which made me very happy! She said she would be there around 5am. We then called our support person for K, my wonderful Aunt Jan, and told her to make her way over. (She was staying at a nearby hotel.)
After talking to the midwives, I listened to the Hypnobabies birth affirmation, easy first stage, and relaxation tracks. I found these so helpful during my pregnancy and labor, and though it was difficult to focus on them during labor I think they helped. At some point while I was waiting for them to arrive, I wanted to move around more, so I spent time moving around the room, leaning on things and doing hip circles during the waves.
K woke up around 4:30am and was super excited when she heard her brother was on his way. She did not want to go back to sleep so Mr. S brought her downstairs where they played and waited for Aunt Jan and the midwives.
Aunt Jan, our midwife, and a student midwife arrived around 5am. (When asked if I would allow a student midwife at my birth I had said “of course” – the more midwives the better!) When they got there I insisted to Mr. S that the chocolate chip cookies K and I had prepped and frozen be put in the oven so we could share them with everyone! For some reason, I remember this being extremely important to me at the time.
I remained in our bedroom throughout labor; most of the time standing and doing hip circles and side to side hip sways during pressure waves. During this time they were not regular, but intense (2-6 min apart, but it sometimes felt like 2 or 3 were on top of each other.) While I labored, the midwives checked on the baby and me, then left Mr. S and I in the bedroom while they got stuff together and filled out paperwork downstairs
At some point I felt tired and wanted to lie down, but I knew the waves would be more intense. I finally made my way back to the bed and lay down on my side. I breathed through them – I did not want to be touched during them. The student midwife was sitting with me, speaking soothingly and encouragingly. At this point Mr. S had disappeared (I found out later he had to clear snow out of a parking spot for our birth assistant); I kept asking where he was until the midwives got him for me.
After lying for a while, I felt like I needed to pee, and I knew not peeing during labor could make the pain worse so I decided to go to the bathroom. I didn’t have much of a break (if any) between waves at this point, so it was not as simple as it sounds, but I somehow made it to the bathroom with Mr. S assisting me. (Note: all those boundaries you thought you had disappear during labor!) As I was sitting on the toilet there was a sudden pop and gush – my water had broken – and I felt the baby’s head move down the rest of the way (it was like a thump). Luckily, the student midwife had gone to get her gloves “just in case” when I went to the bathroom, and she and the other midwife rushed in. They must have sensed I was further along than I thought – because K’s labor was so long and intense, I assumed I had a long way to go!
At this point they looked and told me the baby was coming (I could actually feel him moving down pretty fast), and they helped move me to the bed. I was shocked because I still thought I would have to labor longer – sometimes it is a while between water breaking and birth – but he was coming already! It was hard to move as I was not really getting a break; my body and the baby were just doing their thing and I was trying to keep up. I remember whimpering to Mr. S, “why am I not getting any breaks?!” The move was awkward, but I made it to the bed and I climbed onto all fours. This was the most intense 10 minutes my body has ever gone through. I had a few moments of out of body experience; but at the same time was feeling all of the super intense sensations. In only a few pressure waves I “pushed” him out. I put “pushed” in quotation marks because I didn’t mindfully do anything. My body was in control and I was just trying to follow it the best that I could. I felt that it went really fast, but apparently it was 10 minutes, and my midwife told me later that I was in control the whole time. Feeling his head come out was surreal – could this be it? – it was so much easier than the first time! And then I got to hold my new squishy baby on my own bed! Even though it was really fast, I didn’t tear at all.
In the hours afterwards, I got to cuddle in bed with my baby, where we were observed by our midwives. They weighed and measured and checked T, and made sure I was good as well. K got to meet her baby brother, which was such a sweet moment. Unfortunately, I will not be sharing the pictures from that moment because I was still not appropriately covered!
I regret there are not more pictures of the actual labor and birth – it happened so fast that I didn’t think to ask Mr. S to take any, and I will not be sharing ones that are more revealing and private in nature (although I think birth pictures in general are beautiful and I appreciate other families sharing theirs!) Next time I will get dressed sooner – maybe in a pretty nursing gown or pajamas. 😉
This may sound cliche, but it is true – I felt empowered after T’s birth. I rocked it. And now, when I am going through a tough moment I have that memory to look back on and say “I did that, I can do this.” Thank you, T! That is just one of the many ways you have blessed me, my little man.