It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a blog post. I don’t recall even writing one when we found out we were having a boy, so I guess that makes it around twenty five weeks since I last wrote. Honestly I just got tired of it. When I’m pregnant I become so miserable that I don’t enjoy doing the things I normally do, and writing is one of those things. Now that I’m not pregnant I still don’t have any interest in writing about what’s going on in our life. Mostly because I feel like if a person isn’t actively showing interest in us and our lives, then they don’t really deserve the details of how things are going. I’m also very busy trying to juggle a toddler and a newborn on next to no sleep. I’m only taking the time to write our birth story because of the few that do want to know, and so that I can process it myself. I haven’t yet decided whether or not I will make this blog a common thing again.
So to the story….
We had, once again, planned to have a home birth, and this time things went according to plan.We had also decided that this time we weren’t going to inform people when I was in labor. This turned out to be a great choice since I labored for several days. I started having contractions on New Years Eve, but nothing very serious. On New Years Day I started having contractions every twenty to twenty-five minutes. Nothing crazy but very regular, so obviously things were gearing up to start. Next day, contractions are even more regular and stronger. At this point my big sister has been hanging out with me, and we’re just waiting and counting contractions…oh and not really sleeping. Later on the 2nd, it was obvious that I was in actual labor. Contractions kept coming and kept getting stronger. My mom had also been hanging out the past couple of days so that she was there to take Nathan when the time came. Well that night the time finally did come. I’d been dreading saying goodbye to Nathan for months. He of course had no idea how his life was about to change. He was just excited to go play with his cousins at my sister’s house (she now lives just three houses down from mine, so he wasn’t going far thank God!) I knew how things were about to change for us though, and though I was excited for Simon to come, I was also mourning the end of my time alone with Nathan.
Nathan and Mom left, and it was just my sister, Clay and myself. The hours passed and the intensity increased, but annoyingly my contractions wouldn’t get closer together, they were just increasing in strength and length, lasting around a minutes and a half at times. (Side note: I’m giving this account as I remember things. At this point I hadn’t really slept the last two nights, and when you’re in labor your sense of time goes out the window). I think it was around midnight when I felt I needed a midwife to come. I honestly can’t remember. At some point my midwife Janelle came to assess the situation. I was 3cm dilated and I think totally effaced at that point, but my contractions weren’t close together, and that’s usually that indicator of active labor. For me that didn’t turn out to be the case though. Janelle left and within an hour I was telling Clay I wanted her back. Clay kept putting off calling the midwives though because my contractions were so erratic. I have no idea how long he waited but eventually midwives Janelle and Sylvie were both there.
From this point until my water broke was the absolute worst part of labor and delivery. I had been laboring on the floor, on my hands and knees, leaning on a giant pile of pillows, for what seemed like forever. The intensity of the contractions were what I experienced in transition when I had Nathan (transition is the point in labor right before your body decides it’s time to get to pushing, and it’s the most painful the contractions get). The contractions lasted like this for hours and hours. I tried to move around and try different positions to cope with the pain, but everything I tried seemed unbearable. My hands and knees was the only position I could keep a handle on myself in, but my legs were shaking so badly from spending hours in that position, and eventually I reached a point where that position just wasn’t working anymore either. I was getting desperate for something to change. My water still hadn’t broken and my contractions were still not close together. I finally decided to try showering for a bit even though I was terrified to because standing seemed to make the contractions even worse. Well thank God I made that choice. After just a couple contractions in the shower, my sister and I heared a pop, and my water broke! At first I wasn’t sure it was my water, but I immediately felt the pressure increase, and the want to push finally kicked in. I was so relieved it broke on it’s own because I really didn’t want to have it broken, and it meant that finally we were getting closer to the good part!
Believe it or not, pushing is truly the best part of giving birth. I think women are often made to fear this part. Pushing a human out of your vagina sure does sound horrific, but it’s really not. Spending so many hours in pain from contractions, where you’re not able to do anything but be in pain, that is awful, but when you can finally be active and push back against the pain, knowing you’re nearly finished and almost have your reward, that is fantastic. People talk about the pain of crowning, and the ring of fire. Don’t be afraid of that bit. Yes it hurts, but the pain is really nothing compared to the contractions.
Okay, so I’m in the pushing stage. At some point my midwife Melissa had arrived (she was also the midwife who helped me deliver Nathan). I’m still on hands and knees, (I deliver Simon in this position just like I’d wanted to) Jenny is on my left and Clay is holding my hand in front of me. It was at this point in labor with Nathan that things went south, so I was nervous every time the midwives would check Simon’s heart rate. They do this with every contraction I think, and each time I (figuratively) hold my breath. In reality I’m taking as deep of breaths as I can possibly managed because I know Simon needs me to get him the oxygen. ( I actually never held my breath, even when pushing. I would take a deep breath before pushing, but then instead of holding it during the push, I slowly exhaled while pushing. I liked this a lot better than holding my breath). Because of my position it was not always easy to find Simon’s heart beat, but every time they checked, it was there, and it was strong. I remember the time it took them the longest to find it, I felt a wave of panic, but as soon as I heard it I felt so strengthened and energized physically, and so proud of Simon for being so strong. I actually looked at Clay and smiled. ( Yes ladies, you can be actively pushing a human out of you and totally able to smile. Delivery isn’t that bad at all). Simon began crowning and I was told I could reach down and feel his head. I hadn’t planned on doing this, but I quickly decided I actually wanted to. It was kind of crazy to feel, but also cool, so I’m glad I did it. When Simon’s head was delivered, his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice. I paused pushing, and they slipped it off him. (Keep in mind this whole time my contractions are still spaced apart further than in a normal labor. I’d push during a contraction and this wait a while for the next, even with a head mostly hanging out of me). Finally, there was the last push, and then the instant relief of Simon being fully delivered…AND CRYING!!!! This was the best part and the thing I wanted most because when Nathan was born he didn’t cry. I didn’t get to hear Nathan’s first cries. With Simon I did though and that was when I started crying. They passed him to Clay and I through me legs and I just leaned back and held my squirmy, slimy, healthy little baby boy. He was born on January 3rd at 9:43am.
After I few minutes like that Simon and I were helped to the couch, where we spent the next hour having skin-to-skin time. Simon found the nursies and latched right away. He spent most of that hour crying, but I was happy to listen to him cry 🙂 Clay cut the cord at some point during this time, and eventually we moved. I got cleaned up and taken care of while Simon was getting all his measurements and such taken. It turns out Simon’s umbilical cord was three feet long! That’s thirteen inches longer than average! I was not only wrapped around his neck twice, but also around his arm and then torso. I’m glad it was so long because I think it made him able to handle the intense contractions for the length of time they went on. I also think this could have been why my body never allowed my contractions to get close together. Simon needed the time to recovered from the squeezing of such awful contractions.
So that is basically the gist of the story. It was so great to get the homebirth we wanted. Knowing I didn’t have to worry about leaving the house in bad weather was comforting. Then not having to leave the house for days was great. I didn’t have to try and sleep in a horrid hospital with nurses coming in and out all night. I got to shower in my own bathroom and rest in my own bed. It was wonderful. I’ll end by giving a shout of to my awesome big sister who basically stayed awake with me for days waiting for Simon’s arrival and even now, four weeks later, is still on stand by for when I need her. Also, a shout out to my wonderful midwives Melissa, Janelle and Sylvie. Such an incredible team that helped me become a mom for the second time. And finally a should out to my amazing husband. Thank you for all the support you always give me, and thank you for making and raising a family with me. Our boys are fantastic and we are so blessed.