I thought I should hurry and get this online as soon as possible because my baby bliss is starting to fade. Instead the intimidation of going from one child to two is settling in right next to the crazy hormone surges that accompany baby blues.
In case you’d forgotten, my pregnancy this time around was absolutely miserable and I was in so much pain I had tried every form of natural induction from home known to the internet. Last Friday I was crampy all day. I was still living life as usual, just a little uncomfortable. Around 9:30 pm I started to have painful contractions about 10 minutes apart. I went ahead and told Hutch about them, but didn’t want to raise anyone’s hopes because I had assumed I was in labor twice before earlier in the week. Around 11 the contractions varied, but still persisted and turned out quite painful. I sent Hutch to the store to buy bottled water and granola bars just in case we were in for a long night. My friend Arianna has been here anticipating my son’s arrival, so she tidied up my house while I gathered birth supplies and put them all in an easily accessible place. When Hutch got home we took a walk around our community pool for a few laps and I got the contractions to come 2-3 minutes apart. They were still short though, so I decided to go and get some rest.
I called my doula, Amy, to let her know that things were warming up. She had a wedding to go to Saturday afternoon and I wanted to give her a heads up in case she decided she wanted to attend my birth despite her blacked-out schedule. (I would go into labor the one day my doula wasn’t available…) I still didn’t feel like the contractions were super serious, so Amy and I decided I should try to sleep and see what happens from there. Hutch had already laid down just in case, so I laid next to him to try and get some shut eye. I tried to ignore contractions, but it got to the point where I couldn’t sleep through them. In between contractions, the baby would move so much that it was annoying, so I had no choice but to lay in the dark and time them. After an hour of 6 minute apart contractions, I decided it was pointless and got up to get in the shower.
My hot water heater is busted (pending maintenance for 3 weeks now), so the hot water only works for about 8 minutes. It gets really hot, but you have to constantly adjust the temperature to keep it perfect. In the 8 minutes I was in the shower I had 4 contractions. I got out, dried off and called my midwife, Kim.
It was about 2 am at this point. I told her that they would come regularly regardless of whether I was resting or vertical, but they were still generally only 30 seconds long. She was aware of my water heater situation and since I wanted the AquaDoula birth pool she was going to go ahead and head over. I sent a text to my mom and dad to let them know there could be a baby very soon. Then I called Amy back. She decided to head over. And I called my friend Jennifer, whom is working on getting certified as a doula and wanted some birth experience other than her own (she has three lovely little boys).
Once I completed my phone calls and everyone was on their way I tried to wake Hutch. Poor guy only got an hour of sleep and was totally delirious for like 2 minutes while I explained I needed him to get up and help me to remake the bed. We put clean sheets on, a waterproof pad, then our dirty sheets back on top. I grabbed some string cheese while I still could imagine eating anything (I don’t eat during labor out of preference… my appetite just goes out the window). I had several contractions in the bedroom and found my perfect spot while we waited for everyone to arrive.
Amy got here first. I was standing in my room leaning against my dresser when she came in. She right away noticed I had not opened a bottle of water yet and ran to get some. She engaged me in conversation and she was very comforting to have around. Kim came next. She checked my vitals and recapped the last few contractions. She said that my son had turned posterior. I asked her if that is why my legs burned so badly during contractions. She said sometimes instead of back labor the pain radiates like sciatica to the lower limbs. I can’t decide if I would have preferred the back labor as it’s something I didn’t experience with Gaia. All I know is that it was really painful and almost distracting since my legs seemed so far away from my belly. She had me laboring on my hands and knees in my bed, which I have to say didn’t last long because it was very uncomfortable.
The midwifery student, Emily, came shortly after Kim began setting up the pool. Jennifer came right after and brought her 4 month old, Silas, along, It was actually really motivating to have little baby noises in the background. I kept saying “Awwww… I want my baby boy too!”
The pool took 2 hours to fill. We had to supplement pots of boiling water to get it hotter faster and full. I kept thinking how lucky I was that I happened to have an abundance of large soup pots on hand for such an occasion. And as a line of women came in holding pots of boiling water and dumping them into the pool I imagined that my Omi would be super proud. (Omi used to boil pots of water for her baths because her hot water didn’t reach the temperature she desired.)
It was around 4 am when I last looked at the clock. By this time I was reaching the point where in my normal routine I would have to go pass out if I was up playing video games or stupid internet stuff. So I was laboring sitting on the edge of my bed and contractions were coming less frequently. The pool was full enough to get into, but Kim said she didn’t think I was ready. I was astonished because I had a couple contractions that made me break a sweat and nearly cry. Amy suggested I didn’t make enough noise and that she wouldn’t have thought I was in active labor either. So I spent the next 20 minutes standing, leaning on my dresser. They came quicker and harder and I wanted in the pool even more so I asked to be checked. I was 8 cm dilated and given permission to get in. What a relief!
Up until this point I remained fully clothed. As I was getting undressed Jennifer says “I’m surprised you managed to keep your clothes on this long. I could never keep my clothes on in labor.” My reply: “You can barely keep your clothes on not in labor.” It was a great laugh. My room was full of everyone at this point. Everyone on my bed and around me just talking and conversing about normal life stuff between contractions. I welcomed the distractions, the stories and the laughter that accompanied them.
I got in the water on my hands and knees at first and tried to open my legs wide to allow him room to turn. I honestly just did not like being on my hands and knees during my labor! It’s gasp-worthy, I know. It was just so terribly uncomfortable. I tried for a while anyways though, and I admit it was the best way to connect with Hutch and have him support me to the fullest.
Emily came in every 15 minutes to check the heart rate and take vitals. Hutch asked why and Emily said it’s because they considered this transition, which surprised me because although things were intense I still felt in control of my mindset. However I did make an ugly cry face with each contraction. It wasn’t long before I decided sitting was best and decided no matter what position my baby was in I needed to be comfortable. Emily came in once more and said if I felt like pushing go with it. I said I didn’t feel the need to push just lots of pressure. But shortly after her announcement I felt the urge come on. There was a point where I announced that I had no control over it and couldn’t stop pushing even though the contraction was over. “This is good,” Jennifer told me.
My midwife, Kim, and her intern, Emily, were both very hands off. Kim was standing behind me and said I could reach down and feel his head if I wanted to. I did, and I felt the bulge from the bag of waters right at my vagina. I pushed on it and felt a cute little baby head in there. It was very motivating.
Amy asked me how the water felt. I told her it was wonderful, but I was so very hot. She ran and got a cold towel for my neck. She kept that towel cold for me for the rest of my labor until I threw it off during my last push.
I announced I felt burning, but it was in the front. Kim said to reach down and apply pressure to reduce the stretching and avoid tearing. I felt his little head sliding past and he literally just popped out! The water broke as his shoulders hit my pelvis, so he was pretty much a caul baby. Kim said “Whoa birth!” and her and Emily began shuffling around gathering things and getting ready to assist if need be. Kim told Hutch to move around and reach down to catch, but I was kind of one step ahead and still pushing in one swift movement. By the time Hutch was prepared to catch the baby was half-way out and ready to just be pulled out the rest of the way. I couldn’t really push anymore at this point and was kind of waiting for Hutch to pull. Kim reminded him he’d have to pull a bit, and he did and he caught the baby and his eyes were such a beautiful glaze of pride and happiness. The one of his face is my favorite picture of the birth, by far…
And so Anders Orion arrived at 6:02 am on March 23, 2013.
Anders passed meconium as soon as he surfaced, so I decided to get out of the water pretty soon after the birth. I stood up and as I hiked my first leg over a clot plopped right out. I reached down to make sure it wasn’t my placenta pulling on Anders’s belly button. Then I looked up and said “Um, I think I dropped something…” which sparked some pretty hefty laughter.
Gaia slept through the entire thing. I was so focused on birthing my baby I forgot to have someone wake her up and bring her in. When Anders was born and began to cry she came out all drowsy and confused. She was more interested in the blood bath in my bedroom than the baby at first, which I find amusing. She’s just like her mama in that way… trying to figure out the science behind it all.
Post partum was a little scary. My placenta wouldn’t detach from my uterus and a transfer was mentioned. Anders was not interested in breastfeeding to help me out, and although I wasn’t feeling bad my history of hemorrhage from my birth with Gaia was a real concern. So I took some homeopathics and we went ahead and cut the cord. It detached fine and I delivered it normally. Still, kind of scary for a few minutes there.
Amy made me eggs and got me some frozen grapes. Gaia was all up in my grapes and totally into helping take care of me. Arianna was a doll finally putting pants on her and keeping her out of the blood puddles. I got Anders latched around 7:30, and then I showered. The midwives cleaned up, packed up, and by 9 am It was just Hutch, me, Gaia and our new baby Anders. (Arianna was there too, as she’s staying on my couch currently. She actually went to go get some beer to celebrate and called everyone for me and made announcements and was totally living the post-birth high.)
My dad came over around 11 am and kept Gaia company all day while the rest of us slept. Hutch’s parents came over and brought us dinner. Everything was right with the world.
He’s a super efficient nurser, goes to sleep so easily, and freaking poops a ton. He is so precious and we love him so much. And so that’s what I’ve been up to… breastfeeding and sleeping. I’m regaining lots of energy these past two days so I hope to resume some kind of normal routine soon.
Peace, love, and light!
Find more stories like this in Natural Birth Stories, a book launched in October of 2013 filled with information and encouragement for all expecting mamas.
Natural Birth Stories is available as a paperback, eBook, or PDF for however you like to enjoy your reading.