I posted C’s birth story the day he turned 1 year old. In keeping with the second child tradition of slacker-ness, E’s birth story is being posted when he turns 2 years and 2 days old. As a second child myself, I feel for him but eh, what are you going to do?
So here it is.
First of all, E’s birth story starts on a Sunday, November 18 really. I was 41 weeks 3 days pregnant and C had been born at 38 weeks 3 days. So I’d actually been waiting about 3 weeks for this kid to come but it turned out that he of course had other plans for his arrival. My midwife and I were perfectly fine waiting until E was ready to be born, in fact I hadn’t even asked her what the next step would be should he decide to wait until 42+ weeks to come out. For some reason this new little boy just needed to grow in his mama longer than C did.
The only thing I was worried about was having a big baby because (being my last baby) I wanted this one to be tiny and kissable for as long as possible. I was sure I could birth a 9 pound baby which E could very well be after being in me for the length he was. 9 pounds was definitely do-able though I’d love another little 7-8 pounder.
Also, I was still feeling pretty good (for being 10 months pregnant!). I think this was due a lot to seeing a chiropractor weekly for the last half of my pregnancy. C’s birth was long and hard since he was positioned asynclitic and I was doing everything I could to avoid that this time. Though no matter how good I felt, I was getting a bit tired of waking every 2 hours all night long to pee, sleeping upright to ease heartburn, not being able to play easily with my toddler or cuddle with my husband, and just generally ready to meet my baby. I loved being pregnant (to a degree) and feeling my sweet baby moving inside me. But dang, I wanted this kid out too!
So on Sunday November 18, we put up the Christmas tree, invited my BIL over for the day, went on a hike in the woods and hills behind our house, relaxed some, then cleaned the house. Of course I’d been doing strenuous activities like this daily for weeks so I had no idea if it would actually start labor this time but it was worth a try!
Sunday night I went to bed early, around 8:30. Was hitting another “I’m so tired of being pregnant” moods. Sat in bed and read for a little while and realized the baby wasn’t moving. I managed to get him to move a little after a while. Waiting on him for almost 42 weeks was hard and this spell of slow movement scared me. I just wanted him out, safe and sound in my arms. I was getting so tired holding back my worries. My sister and mom both had late term stillbirths, something that never left my mind as a possibility with my babies.
I eventually slept until about 11 pm, and then woke to go to the restroom. Didn’t want to go back to sleep, just wanted a distraction from the exhaustion I was feeling so I took my pillows and went to the couch. I watched some Frasier on Netflix, cuddled C back to sleep a couple of times, then finally fell asleep with him in his twin bed around 12:30-1:00. Next thing I knew, I felt a pop in my sleep! I immediately awoke, my first thought was that was my water breaking! I rolled out of the bed (because at that point I HAD to roll off a bed to get out!) and felt liquid gush when I stood. Hobbled to the bathroom and double-checked. Yep! It was my water! WOOHOO!!!! THE BABY WAS COMING!!!
At that point I was so ecstatic and thrilled that I started to tremble and laugh. This kid was FINALLY coming! I would be holding my new little boy by that evening! YES! Woke up my husband J, looked at the clock (1:50 AM) and we started getting things ready. I called and texted my support people (midwife, doula, sister, mom) to give them a heads up and then tried to sit and rest. This was going to be a long day and I hadn’t slept much. I really needed to try to get some sleep if at all possible. After all, contractions could take a little while to get started and they would be slow for several hours.
Insert: sarcastic laugh.
As soon as I relaxed the first contraction hit, small and easy to handle, at about 2:00 am. The next few were okay and about 5-6 minutes apart, then I started to have to focus and they got 3-4 minutes apart, and finally by 2:30 I was making some pretty loud noises to keep my focus and control during a wave. I laughed to J that I sure hoped his brother, who had ended up staying the night at our house, didn’t think we were having sex this loudly!
During that 30 minutes, I asked J to get me something to eat and to hurry since I didn’t know how much longer I’d be able to hold down food. I asked him to fill the birth tub quickly since I wanted to get in it very soon. I asked him to get his brother to watch C since I was worried I’d wake him with my noises. I asked him to get me water since I needed to stay hydrated. Oh, and could he bring up some of the birthing supplies from downstairs? And poor J was running around getting everything he could together as quickly as he could.
Worked through a few more contractions, mostly alone since J was busy, then I realized I needed him at 2:50. I needed someone to be beside me when the contractions came so I texted Anna the Doula to please come, but not to hurry. Worked through a few more contractions, and told J I needed him to stop working and to help me now. I remember when each contraction hit, I’d get up from leaning over C’s spare mattress (on the floor in my bedroom), grab the bed post of my bed, hold on while kneeling there, and work through it. At this point, due to C’s 20 hour birth, I was thinking, hey! We’ll have a baby tonight! I can do this until this dinnertime! Go me!
About an hour after they started, at 3:15, I got a contraction that felt different, stronger, it felt SERIOUS. I felt like pooping. WTF?!?! I knew what that meant! Really, I felt like PUSHING. Oh my freaking gosh. Already???? I was thinking all of that mid contraction, while also yelling to J: CALL THE MIDWIFE. CALL HER NOW. TELL HER TO COME NOW. Things were moving really fast and I knew what I was feeling meant I was a lot closer to having this baby than a normal birthing timeline would predict. Okay, maybe a baby by lunchtime? I could work this hard until lunchtime.
We moved to the bathroom for a few minutes and I threw up in my pre-designated puke bowl. I tried so hard not to throw up because when I did, I leaked more amniotic fluid all over the floor. J, being sensible and not in labor, put a towel under me so I could vomit freely while leaning over the sink. And wham, I was officially in transition. So I decided to stop recording contractions on my phone at 3:15, about an hour after they started. Wowie.
At this time, I started to go into laborland and things get a bit fuzzier. My mom came around 4:00 am to watch C and began to carry up all the birthing supplies. My magical doula Anna arrived and all I remember was that in my dim bedroom, she was a sweetly calming light. She held my hand, checked me quickly, and then I vaguely remember her asking my mom to bring in the baby blankets and hats from our supplies. What in the world? I wondered, why? Later she told me that when she got there, I was fully dilated with only a cervical lip. She said she was pretty grateful for that lip since without it, she would have had to help me deliver our baby!
Somewhere during this time I got in the pool after insisting to J that I needed more water in it faster, faster! I had reached that point in labor where what I wanted was the most important thing in the world and if it wasn’t delivered within seconds, I became anxious and half crazed. Also somewhere in there I needed (just as I did with C’s birth) to be holding TWO hands during each contraction. When my midwife got there occasionally the hand would be gloved, but most of the time it was J’s and Anna’s comforting grip that carried me through contractions. Also I needed a lot of hip squeezing, just like with C’s birth.
The strength of my uterus and body was overpowering! I hadn’t experienced this with C’s birth. With C I wanted my body to work harder than I was working and this time it happened that way. I could control my voice and keep it low, I could control my feelings and stay focused, but I couldn’t stop my uterus from pushing, pushing, pushing from the top down, all over. It was mind-boggling how strong it was! I would be leaning my head on the pool wall, resting and dozing, feel a contraction slowly beginning, and would call for hands. Then wham!, it would hit and WOW, I had to just climbclimbclimb it as fast and strong as I could, pushing along with it, working with it to stay together.
I think it was at this point that they told me to feel my baby’s head and dang, it was so tiny! That awful tiny bit of a head that I thought was giant and ALLLL the way out but really was only just starting to peek out. Kinda depressing and I told them so but they apparently thought it was awesome progress. I suppose for having been in labor for only 2-3 hours it actually was pretty wonderful but in the moment it was just disappointing!
I labored in the birth pool for a while, and then moved to the bathroom for a position change and to try to pee. J says I was in there for an hour but I think it was more like 10 minutes… Crazy how I lost my sense of time when in labor. Of course J has a bad sense of time anyway so we’ll settle on 30 minutes. ;) All I really remember is trying very hard to keep my voice low and deep every time I worked through a contraction. If I lost control when the pain and intensity got to me, my moans would go higher and louder but I was able to keep things under MY control by staying low and loud. As much control as I was able to have with birth!
In the bathroom I stood over the toilet backwards (it’s pretty dang hard to sit when you have a baby’s head coming out your vagina btw) and in between contractions I had this urge to look outside at the window in front of me. I wanted to see, to memorize the moment, to be able to connect this wild ferocity in my body to real life again one day. I saw my front yard in the darkness then slammed my eyes shut again as a contraction hit. It was still early, still dark outside. So we would have our new baby here by breakfast maybe?
Soon after that moment, during a rest, the oddest sensation I’d probably ever experienced happened when the baby started turning inside me. It felt like he was crawling and curling inside me, threatening to start another contraction, making me panic and cry out. Everyone around me (no idea who they were!) assured me that it was just the baby moving into position, getting ready to be born.
Oh shit, I thought. I’m not ready to actually PUSH this baby out! That’s going to hurt so freaking badly!! I don’t want to!
With C’s birth I don’t ever remember cussing. J said I did but I don’t remember it at all. With this little dude? I let loose pretty dang often, many time during a contraction. Sorry to those at my birth who don’t particularly like the words “Oh fuck” groaned in a long and drawn out way but that’s what helped me through.
After the baby repositioned himself, things grew even more intense and I made myself push harder. I was helped back to the birth pool even though I reeeeally didn’t want to move at all. I had previously told all my support people that the most important things to me with this birth were to birth in the water and to catch my own baby. And I guess they really listened because they were trying to convince me to get in the pool!
I managed to make it to the pool but then had to LIFT my legs to get in it! Shocker! And at that moment, getting in the pool was the hardest thing to accomplish in the entire world. No one in their right mind would ever attempt to do it so why were all these people telling me to?!?! Didn’t they understand that there was a baby coming OUT of me and it really freaking hurt! The burning! The stinging! It was so sharp and fierce! But they helped me and I did it, I lifted one leg, then the other and got in! WOW! Achievement of a lifetime! I was so proud of myself and the fact that I got in a pool.
Yeah. Being in labor changes everything that is important in life J
I was trying to go slow with pushing now, to let my body do the work so I wouldn’t tear (yeah, that didn’t work) but that baby’s head just kept coming. My body was pushing and nothing could stop The Head of E so I just decided to get it over with, after a while. I roared and I yelled and I worked. I pushed and didn’t push then pushed gently, then pushed as hard as I possibly could and after who knows how long, they told me to reach down and feel his head. No way, I wasn’t falling for that again but everyone called out to me to do it and HOLY CUHRAP, there was a HEAD!!! The entire head!!! All the way out!
That was one of the most fantastic and surreal moments in my life. There I sat, leaning back against J in the pool, a baby’s entire head sticking out of my vagina and me cradling it in my two hands.
I had done it! I had finished the worst part of birth, I had pushed the entire giant head out!!! And what a big HUGE head! (He did end up having a 15.5 inch head so it was pretty dang big.) I had this picture in my mind of an oval shaped head but oval horizontally not vertically. All of this rushed over me in a flash and all I could do was laugh! Laugh and cry and laugh that my birthing was almost over! My sweet boy was almost here! I was almost done with my last birth ever and the hardest part was over, I had DONE IT!! I could totally finish this job. I could push the rest of this baby out with the next contraction!
So I laughed and cried and laughed some more, holding my baby’s head, calling out to my support people. It was such a joyful moment, something I will never forget.
And then the next contraction hit and I thought, hey, my baby will slide right out this time! Um, no, it took another enormous effort on my part to squeeze out those shoulders and chest (little dude ended up being 10 lb, 13 oz). But once the chest was out, I felt his little hands, legs, and feet slither straight and slip out and, still holding his head and with my midwife’s help, I pulled my sweet boy up to my chest.
Yep. I did it. I had caught my own baby. I had lifted him onto my chest. My body had worked, it had worked damn hard and oh so amazingly and I had DONE IT! I birthed my boy in the peace and calm of water, lifted him out, and hugged him to me.
I had DONE IT!!! I laughed and kissed him and cried in astonishment. What a moment of sweet bliss.
And our sweet boy just laid there, gentle and quiet, not opening his eyes but just relaxing (and probably relishing not being squeezed anymore)! Both my babies have been very calm and quiet at birth, just laying there and taking in their new world. Of course I marveled at him, kissed my wonderful husband, thanked my marvelous support team, and marveled at myself and my body’s ability to bring a new person to my world.
Baby E was born at 5:53, about 3.5 hours after my first contraction and 4 hours after my water broke. What a busy, busy 4 hours!! And hey, it was still so early that the sun wasn’t even up and my baby had arrived! What I assumed would take all day got shorter and shorter as things progressed and there I was, holding my new kid on a Monday morning before most people were even up and eating breakfast!
After a while we cut the cord, I delivered the placenta with a small push, and got out of the tub. Then we were busy for a few hours as I tried to pee, got stitched up (3 stitches), ate and drank, nursed and examined our new boy, and talked to my birth team. When we weighed him, after he had pooped all over himself and me, he was 10 pounds, 13 ounces and 23.25 inches long with a 15.5 inch head. Wowee! And I thought it would be tough to deliver a 9 pounder! I had birthed an almost 11 pound kid!! I felt amazing (and very tired).
Finally, when he was about 3-4 hours old, we called our family and friends to tell them about our new baby. After that we relaxed, named our new little person, napped, and then loved on our new little family.
E’s birth was mind-blowing, one of the best days of my life. Later that night though, the worst day of my life began. E is happy and healthy now but it was a rough start that I’ll post another day. Makes us extra grateful for our little red headed darling!