Why am I sharing my children's birth stories? I believe birth stories impact women. Reading positive birth stories helped me in all of my pregnancies. It helped bring me peace and comfort to know that women have experienced a wide range of births and that my experience would fit into the mix. I will have separate posts that go into detail about my prenatal and postpartum experiences.
On a Saturday morning in early December I awoke to contractions. I did not get too excited, especially because I was only at 38 weeks, but laid there and timed them for awhile. After about an hour I let Jordan know that they were happening about every 8-10 minutes. Second labors, so I was told and read, are usually half the time of first labors, so that would mean this one could be 15 hours.
Around 6am the contractions were getting closer together. At about 8 we were going to call the midwives but decided to call my dad and stepmom first and have them come and take Rico for the day. We went to the grocery store to buy a few things and they picked him up at 9. After they left, the contractions stopped. I had sporadic ones throughout the day but nothing great and we were confused. We had also let my mom know earlier in the morning and she was on flight that morning and arrived at 2pm.
Jordan and I spent the day alone, which we had not really done since Rico was born. We had a nice day and went and bought a Christmas tree since we had planned to go cut our tree that day.
That night was another night of contractions and just when the sun came up they stopped again. We were exhausted and confused and decided to call the midwives. She said that it was pre-labor. Some women go through it for days or even weeks before actual labor begins. We were both tired and sad that it was not real labor and that it could continue for weeks. She suggested taking a Benadryl to help me sleep that night. We went for a long walk, had a good dinner, and went to bed.
I woke up at 1 a.m. again with contractions and started timing them and they were about 8 minutes apart. I let Jordan sleep until 2 and then we started timing them because they were more intense than the previous nights and when I got out of bed they did not stop.
We called the midwives at about 3:30 when they were about 5 minutes apart and she told us to call when we felt like coming in--at about 3-5 minutes apart. That way, we could also be a little more sure that I really was in labor. About 30 minutes later we called and let them know we were coming in. Jordan peeked in my mom's room to let her know we were leaving.
When we got to the birth center the midwife checked me and I was 5cm dialated and she could "safely say" I was in active labor. I paced the room, sat on the birth ball and listened to music for quite awhile. Then the contractions started getting a lot longer and I could not hold back the tears. I was not crying for pain. In fact, I am not sure why I was crying. At that point Jordan was holding me through each one and that helped immensely. It seemed to make the surges much more bearable.
I decided to get checked once more to see how far along I was because I had had a few contractions that made me want to push. I was not quite ready for that (only 8cm) so I got in the tub. The water helped much more this time and Jordan held my hand the whole time. I cried for what seemed like a really long time as the midwives came and went a couple of times. The baby's heart was sounding great--I sounded like a woman in transition. I made deep moaning sounds. I joke that I reach new low octaves while I labor.
While I was in the tub, a student midwife I had never met came into the room. Pretty quickly one of the midwives realized that I had not met her before and asked if I wanted her to leave. At that point she had already seen me naked and crying and moaning so I did not think it mattered. Now, though, I wish I had asked for her to leave. It was uncomfortable for me to have this woman I did not know staring at me while I was pushing. Ah, hindsight.
After that I got on the birth stool and it was about time to push but my cervix had a little lip on it. I laid on the bed and cried some more, then finally I was given the okay to try pushing. Each time I pushed, one of the midwives would push the cervix back over his head. Then, when the contraction would be over it would come right back down.
I decided during one of the contractions that I was tired of that game and gave a very big push and my cervix stayed put after that. A couple of contractions later and I decided I was ready for my water to break and to get him out...and it broke. It was not very long after that Jordan had to move from supporting me from behind to the catching position. One midwife took his spot behind me on the birth stool. Although I could not stand anyone but Jordan in that close of a proximity to my face, it was so nice to have her behind me and I felt so incredibly supported.
I do not know how to describe this next part other than to say that I did not notice anything really that was going on around me. I kept saying, "I don't want to suck him back in" because it felt like every time the contraction was done he went back up. Then, I could no longer hold back and I just had to keep pushing. It felt like I was tearing and I kept saying that over and over but the midwife next to Jordan assured me I was not. I did not believe her. Then I was hearing "push the rest of your baby out." It did not seem like it was time for that already. After his head was out I was worried for a millisecond that I would not be able to get his body out...then it came out and Jordan caught him.
He handed him to me very quickly and all the midwives were talking about "her." Calm, cool, and collected Jordan had the bright idea to check and make sure she was a she and found out otherwise. Then he said "It's not a girl. It's a boy!" We both looked at each other and said "we knew it!" It was such a wonderful moment to realize that our feelings that it was a boy were real. My placenta delivered within 10 minutes of his birth. The entire labor was 8 hours.
After, the three of us laid on the bed together. We ate a little and rested. Fredhead nursed easily and we just really wanted to be home. We stayed there for only a little while and then headed home to be with our sweet boy...who was dressed in girly pajamas.
Next up, how I was led to free birth our two daughters.