Baby J was born March 28th at 4:15pm at 9 pounds 3 ounces and 21 inches.
My entire pregnancy I had prepared for an easy, comfortable, second hypno-babies birth. Everyone, including myself, told me that the second is always easier and since my daughter’s birth was so quick (5 hours and breech!) and I was able to have her at home with almost no pain or medication I really expected to be holding my baby in three hours (or less!). That scenario was not baby J’s plan.
I had always had some ‘birthing waves’ since I was four months pregnant and as the weeks crept by they increased to the point where I would have to stop what I was doing. Even though the baby wasn’t due until March 31rst, on March 3rd I was starting to expect him any minute! The weeks came and went and I was very frustrated always expecting labor to really start any minute. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting. But I knew it was more important for the baby to pick his day when he was most ready.
On March 27th I had true contractions on and off starting that evening. They were 10 minutes apart but after two hours they stopped. I went for a walk but nothing kicked back up and I was again very frustrated! At 3am I woke up with a contraction and decided to time them again. They were coming every 5 to 8 minutes but were a low intensity so I managed to clean the kitchen and living room so my midwives wouldn’t have to trip over anything! I went back to bed to sleep through as much as I could knowing I would need my rest.
At 6:45am I woke up with a contraction that I couldn’t relax through and it was intense and I had to get out of bed. Again the contractions were every 5 minutes but were manageable and I felt like I wasn’t sure I was truly in labor between them. My husband was home and debated going to work so I asked him to stay home until the very last minute. I put on my hypno-babies and TENS unit and by 7:30 I had to stand through each contraction and circle my hips to be balanced. I called my midwife to warn her about what was going on and she said she would be in the area around 11. My husband inflated the pool in the kitchen and filled it (lesson learned from my daughter’s birth, don’t wait to the last minute and use an electric pump not a hand held one!) and we turned on a movie. Jennifer, one of my midwives, showed up around 11:30 and at that point I had to completely lean on my husband for support to make it through each contraction. Vocalizing was the only tool that helped lessen the discomfort. I got in the pool which really helped as well but after a while I couldn’t manage the back pain that was coming with the contractions. The most difficult part was that the contractions never truly let up after they peaked and I was never able to truly rest between or get comfortable and recover. I was exhausted physically and mentally since I couldn’t lay down or calm down.
Jennifer and Barbara, the second midwife, were both coaching me through as well as my husband and they were all amazing. I couldn’t have done it without their support, encouragement, and peacefulness. I moved to the bed and kept feeling that the baby was in a bad position and worrying but they assured me he wasn’t and we changed positions a few times. Barbara only checked me once, because I asked, and I was at 8cm. Usually good news, I was devastated since it had already been 7 hours and I really expected a 3 hour birth. I got back into the pool after trying to walk and lay in the bed and my water broke! It was wonderful since it took off soo much pressure and then I remembered how much more intense the contractions can be once that happens and I panicked. Jennifer was amazing and held my hand and I buried my face in her shoulder and chest. She was like my guardian angel and kept me strong through the whole time. Barbara was rubbing my back and circling my hips for me and that took so much pressure off of me as well. They were an amazing team! On the outside I kept asking for an epidural, to go to the hospital, something to help deal with the pain and on the inside laughing because I knew I didn’t want to go and it was too late. Even Jennifer said it was too late to get an epidural since I was so far along and I knew it but couldn’t help but ask!
My husband should be a doula. He never faltered, stayed with me the whole time, always supported me and never said or did anything that dishonored me. He was amazingly strong and wonderful and I could never have done it without him. Just knowing that he never left my side for over 8 hours, never judged me, kept good humor with me, and loved me no matter what I said, did, or happened was the greatest gift and brings me to tears every time I think about it.
Slowly, I could feel the baby moving down and starting to crown. I was pushing some during the contractions and it took a really long time for his head to emerge. This was the biggest surprise for me, since my daughter was breech I had an episiotomy and she slid right out. Baby J took forever. I tried forceful pushing, exhale pushing, pushing between contractions and then finally gave up and let my body do the work. I know that being gentle with my pushing allowed me to not tear and I am grateful that it took so long now! Finally, he was born and I turned to sit and hold him. I couldn’t believe he was finally here and everything I had just gone through was over and totally worth every second. My husband cut the cord after it stopped pulsing and it was beautiful to see the transition of the cord. We got in bed to deliver the placenta and it took about an hour. The severe pain with the contractions never stopped until the placenta was delivered and then I felt human again, like I hadn’t just given birth. I have no idea why the placenta caused so much back pain or what the real reason was that I had the back pain.
I learned a lot from this birth and honestly I wasn’t proud that I didn’t cope as easily (or at all) as I wanted to and that I wasn’t able to utilize my hypno-babies training. The pain, yes pain that was real and not in my head, was overwhelming in my back and pelvis and with contractions that never truly stopped I know I would have gotten an epidural if I was in the hospital. Overall, I’m thrilled that I had the birth that I wanted: no interventions, no medication, at home and in the pool, with a healthy and beautiful baby.
Through the whole birth I was worried about all the life events that were going on at that time. Who was going to pick up my daughter from school that day? Why is the birth taking so long? Am I doing something wrong? Finances, family, jobs, everything was overwhelming me at that time and I couldn’t focus. I learned from this experience to be more present in my life and in every moment and that has been a wonderful gift. Seeing how the worry impacted my ability to cope and be present during the birth has made me more focused in my day to day life now. I also compared every second of this birth to my daughters. This was so consuming to me during this birth that I never just let my body do what it needed to. Once I stopped comparing the births I also stopped worrying so much about everyone else and comparing my life to theirs. That even though ‘it wasn’t like it was supposed to be’ there is probably a reason for that and it happened just the way it needed to.