The birth of my second child, my first daughter was a very beautiful one and I’m excited to share it with everyone. It was very unique and different from my first son's birth and it holds a special place in my heart.
Her story starts early. I had Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks before her birth, we also had concerns with her turning. She was in the breech position until I was 36 weeks. I know babies can still turn after that, but my midwives were going to schedule an ECV if she hadn’t flipped by 36 weeks, but luckily she did it on her own.
The week before she was born, I could feel my body getting ready for her birth with more contractions each day. They weren’t very painful, but definitely annoying. Sunday, Nov. 27th I was 38 wks 5 days along. We went about our day as usual. At church that afternoon I was having some pretty consistent contractions. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to get excited if it wasn’t the real thing. They continued through the evening, but died off when we went to bed.
On Monday, the 28th I had an appointment with my midwife. I was already 3- 4 cm dilated, but knew that this didn’t really mean much. I could stay that way for 2 more weeks. With my first I was 2 cm dilated for 4 weeks.
Tuesday/ Wednesday, my 39 week mark brought an eventful evening. That night at around 11pm I decided I wanted to take a nice hot bath after working all day to finish plans for the substitute during my maternity leave. I was pretty tired and wanted to relax. While in the tub I started having contractions about 3 minutes apart and these were hurting more than Braxton Hicks. I had contractions like this for about 2 hrs (it’s now 1am) and decided to call my doula- one of my closest friends, and my midwife. The midwife wanted me to head to the hospital because I was already 3-4 cm and they anticipated a quick labor with this being my 2nd child. We only live about a block away from the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital and did all of the normal admittance stuff. They monitored me for 20min and said, “Yep, looks like you’re in labor.” I was very excited! Contractions at that point were about 5 minutes apart and starting to hurt a little more. I was about 4-5 cm now. Yay! We were making progress. I was already half way there. I decided to walk around the hospital hoping to make contractions more consistent and stronger. Hospitals are quiet at 2am. Then we tried the birth ball,and then the Jacuzzi tub. The contractions weren’t very painful yet, just more uncomfortable. When I got into the Jacuzzi it was about 5am I think. I was getting very tired and even starting falling asleep. At that point I felt the contractions lessen and spread out. My body was just too exhausted. We went back to our room and I really wanted to rest. I actually fell asleep and my contractions pretty much stopped. My body knew that I was just too tired. Instead of trying to do anything to start contractions again, we decided to go home and sleep. We got home around 7am. My husband had to be to work in a few hours so he slept as much as he could. I napped on and off on the couch while my son played and watched his favorite show on Netflix.
Wednesday and Thursday passed. I spent those days resting. Friday morning arrived and we knew we were going to have a baby when my water broke around 7:30am, waking me up. I became very excited. I was going to get to see my little girl. I was also glad that the same midwife that attended my first birth would be there for this one. I was secretly holding out knowing that she was on call for the weekend. She’s my favorite midwife out of the 3 that I see. We went about our normal morning routine because contractions hadn’t started yet. It actually took a few hours to get them started.
Our son seemed a little apprehensive. He could sense that his life was about to change. We had been preparing him for a while and he was excited for his sister to arrive, but when we told him that she was coming today, he told me he didn’t want a sister. We decided to try and get him excited about it so we took him to Wal-Mart and let him pick out a toy to give to his new sister. He was excited about this. We walked around Wal-Mart for a little while- knowing that walking helps with contractions a lot. I had a few while at the store, but nothing I couldn’t handle. After walking around Wal-Mart we decided it might be a good idea to head to the sitters. I wanted to be able to focus and relax and I couldn't do that much with the munchkin around. He was excited to stay and play with friends and was totally fine once he saw their huge Love Sac to play on.
After dropping him off we decided to call the midwife and see if we could go into the office and she could check me there instead of having to go to the hospital. It’s much cheaper and easier than going to the hospital. They told me just to go in and they’d fit me in. I was 5 cm. She stretched my cervix a little to try and get some contractions going.
We left the midwives office ready to do more walking. We walked around just about every large store in this small town for about 3 hours. It did help me gather some ideas for Christmas gifts though. Walking really helped the contractions get going. We went to Great Harvest for lunch and after eating they were really starting to hurt more. I was having to breathe and concentrate more. At this point I decided it was time to head to the hospital. I let my doula know and she met us there.A nurse at the hospital even called me to find out where I was. They were trying to figure out staffing. They weren't very happy when I told them that I was out to lunch with my husband and I would be in when contractions became more regular and more intense. I kind of chuckled to myself.
We arrived at the hospital and got checked in around 4pm. I was ready to have this baby, but I knew I still had some work ahead of me. At this point I was 6-7 cm. Contractions were coming. They weren’t too consistent, but they were getting stronger. I used the birth ball a lot. That’s what felt good to me. With this labor my back was hurting a lot. My midwife recommended heat and luckily we had brought my rice sock. The heat did wonders for me. My husband, my doula, or midwife constantly held heat on my back. It made my contractions a lot easier to handle. Through the afternoon/evening I changed positions every once in a while moving from the birth ball to sitting on the bed, to laying down, to sitting again. In my mind I was hoping to have her around 8pm. To me that sounded like a good time. 8pm came and went. I wasn’t too disappointed because I knew I was getting close. Contractions were close and I had to breathe and concentrate hard to get through each contraction. I think it was at about 8:15pm when I started to feel the urge to push.
The hustle and bustle began as the midwife and nurses prepared. I was allowed to push when I was ready and as my body directed me to. That’s what I love about natural, intervention-free births; I am able to listen to my body. For both births now, I’ve pushed laying on my side. To me, that is what is most comfortable. When I started to push, it was more of my body doing the work. I kind of felt like I had forgotten how, but it took about 2 contractions to figure it out again. As her head got lower and lower I wanted to push as hard as I could to get her out as quickly as possible, but my midwife knew that I wanted to do everything possible to avoid tearing. As her head started to crown and come out, my midwife had me stop pushing and breathe to allow her head to slowly come out. This would allow my body the chance to stretch more instead of tear. I think this was the hardest part of the whole thing. At 8:36 I became a mother of 2 and our beautiful daughter was born!
She was immediately placed on my chest where she cried a little, but was actually very calm. We enjoyed our time cuddling and getting to know each other. We could tell immediately that she had red hair. The nurses did all of the tests/checking while she was on my chest. It didn’t take long for her to want to nurse. She latched on pretty easily and we enjoyed that first breastfeeding together.
I only needed a few stitches and after that was done we were left to enjoy our time together; mom, dad, and baby. We are now enjoying life as a family of 4.
Wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. A passionate birth doula and childbirth educator.
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