Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Second Birth Story

This birth story is directed at my daughter, written for her.

Just as I was getting ready to leave work at about 7:00 in the morning I felt a strong pain deep in my belly.  I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions on and off for weeks, but this one took me a bit by surprise. Since I was 5 days past my “due date” I thought ‘this could be it’ but also didn’t want to get too excited. I left for work without telling your dad.

On my way to work, l couldn’t help but notice that I felt that same pain 3 more time, exactly 10 minutes apart each time. A couple more hours went by and my contractions were continuing to come in regular intervals, increasing from every 10 minutes to every 7 minutes. Around noon or so, I called your dad to tell him I had been having regular contractions for about 4 hours. I told him I was feeling fine but very hungry so I was going to eat lunch. He sounded surprised and a little doubtful, even, but I just told him I would call back in a bit.

Around 2:30 p.m. (7 and 1/2 hours after labor had started) the contractions were continuing and I asked your dad come to pick me up at work. As soon as I was with your dad I felt for sure my contractions were suddenly getting closer together. Even I doubted it could be that easy, though, and we decided to go to the grocery store to buy eggs to make your first birthday cake. I know it sounds silly, but we wanted to do that activity to help distract us during labor. While we were in the grocery store I had to stop in the cat food aisle to take a few deep breaths to get me through the ever-increasing contractions. 

We headed home and I finished packing the last few items for our hospital bag. Around 4:00 p.m. we were all finished with the packing and I was not feeling like baking anymore. The intensity of the contractions was increasing and I just needed to get in the water to ease the pain. As soon as I was in the bath tub with the water surrounding me and the shower pouring down on me, I had an immediate decrease in the pain. I brought the iPod into the bathroom and listened to my hypnobirthing affirmations. After about an hour in the tub and shower I decided it was time to call the midwife

I had a contraction immediately before calling her. During the call, I informed her of how long I had been in labor (about 10 hours) how far apart the contractions were (every 5 minutes according to your dad) and that my plan is to have a natural labor. The midwife suggested that I give it another half an hour then and call her back to see how things are going after that time. Seconds after hanging up with the midwife a very strong contraction came on and I told your dad that I needed to get back in the water right away. Once again, I allowed the shower water to fall over me as the tub filled and my pain was certainly present but significantly decreased. I rested and time went by quicker than I could ever have expected. Your dad told me that it had been a half an hour and I told him I was beginning to feel the urge to push as he helped me out of the tub. We knew it was time to go. Your dad made a few quick calls and helped me into the car.

As we pulled onto the highway interchange, the cars were at a standstill

It was around 6:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, after all. I let out a loud groan. Outside of the tub, the pain was intensifying and I was quite certain those contractions were coming at least every 2 minutes. Your dad was sure that they weren’t that frequent but I was starting to feel desperate to get to the hospital.

Your dad pulled into the hospital parking lot at 6:35 p.m. The pressure as I stood was almost unbearable and it was getting harder to walk. I’ll never forget the look on the receptionist’s face as she pointed us in the direction of delivery, indicating to please not stop and talk to her. We headed into triage and I think I may have told them I was in labor. I’m pretty sure it was not necessary to actually say this. I was shocked to learn that they were allowing me to skip triage and sending me straight to a delivery room. They said it was because I had requested the birthing tub so they had already selected my room. 

As I entered the room I was surprised to not see the birthing tub. I needed to get in that water! I told the nurse that was admitting me that I was getting in the shower while I waited for the tub. She looked at me in surprise since she hadn’t done any of my vitals, or started an IV or any of that stuff. As I undressed, I told her I needed the water now

The shower was arranged so I could sit right on the side of a ledge while the water ran over me. Your dad had enough space to be in there without getting soaked. The second I was in the shower my water broke (talk about perfect timing!) and it was most definitely the image you see on the movies.  And then…I felt pressure. I reached down and felt the top of your head as you were crowning. “The baby is coming!” I told your dad. He asked me how I knew and I told him because I was touching you. He ran out of the bathroom, expecting to find the nurse in the room. It had been no more than 2 minutes since we had seen her last but she had left the room. Your dad came back about a minute later and said he couldn't find anyone. I screamed, “The baby is coming NOW!”

“The baby is coming RIGHT NOW!”
There was absolutely no way I could stop you from coming as my contraction was doing the work of pushing you out. I heard the nurse yell from the door way, “What?!” She rushed into the shower to help be an extra pair of hands.  And I delivered you

You were born at 6:57 p.m. Twenty-two minutes after we parked the car. Almost exactly 12 hours of labor, over 7 of which I spent at work. The nurse had pulled the emergency cord just as you were being born so the room soon filled with all sorts of surprised and concerned looking medical people. The midwife, Stacey, asked if I would like to go to the bed. I told her I wanted to sit a moment. I, too, was a bit shocked. I never expected for you to come so quickly or without me having to push even ONE time.

A few moments after you were born I carried you over to the hospital bed and laid down. Stacey and the nurse did a few necessary things as you began to breastfeed for the first time. The nurse didn’t rush us at all and told us to take as much time as we wanted. A little over 3 hours after you were born you were weighed and we found out you were 9 pounds 7 ounces! 

Several days after you were born I looked at the first phone call I had with the midwife. It turns out it lasted about 2 and a half minutes. I had a contraction immediately before and after the call. The contractions were MUCH closer than your dad had thought. It must have been he was mistiming them because the water was easing the pain so well that he wasn't realizing the contractions were starting much sooner than he thought. I also now know that I was likely doing some light pushing during the time that I was getting out of the tub and while we were stuck in traffic when I was feeling the urge to push. It's just not possible to resist such a force of nature. I'll fully admit that 22 minutes from hospital parking lot to your birth was certainly cutting it close and it would have been preferrable for the midwife to be present. I wouldn't have planned it that way on purpose but now that I know we're all safe I couldn't be happier.

Your birth was truly perfect. No lengthy and annoying triage questions. No vital signs, no blood work or IV. No contraction monitor or fetal heart monitoring and not a single cervical check. Not even the midwife. Nothing. Only the nurse to help guide you into my arms, your dad, me and wonderfully healthy and beautiful YOU.  

You can read about the birth of my first daughter in The First Birth Story which included much more intervention, was twice as long and required a lot more pushing. This story goes to show just how unique each and every birth is, even to the same mother.

Both of my children's birth were done through a natural method called hypnobirthing. This method uses relaxation and self-hypnosis as well as trust and understanding in yourself and your baby during labor and delivery. I have written about some of the things I have learned using this method in Labor Choices and the importance of skin to skin in Moments Right after Birth. Be sure to check out if you're interested in learning more about this method of birthing. 

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