So here’s a basic rundown of my birth story. My contractions got pretty regular at six in the evening, which made me think I was probably in labor. So I cleaned house until 10:30 or so, then I layed down to try to sleep. The contractions spaced out enough when I was laying that I could sleep between them, but then around 3 am I had a really intense one and got up to go to the bathroom. When I wiped my mucous plug was there, and it felt like I smeared it all over myself. I woke up Jeremy by exclaiming about how gross it was. Then I ran a bath and called my mom to come. Jeremy and I took a walk at 5 am. Around 6 am I was starting to get tired and things were intense so we had my midwife come then. She checked me but I told her I didn’t want to know what she found. Then I got back into the bath. I could tell she didn’t think i should be there too much because she thought it would slow things down, but I was never comfortable doing one thing for too long so I moved out of there eventually. We did more walking, sitting on the birth ball, stair climbing, hands and knees, sitting on the toilet (which was excruciating for me, but apparently got a lot of work done).
Jeremy and I went on a second walk around the neighborhood around 7:30-ish, which was quite the experience. Everyone was awake in our neighborhood this time and taking their kids to school. One of my mom’s coworkers lives near me, and happened to be driving past and stopped to talk to us! At another point, a man an his son passed us as they were walking to school. When they passed us, he realized what was happening and said “Oh! Good luck!”, which sounded kind of sarcastic to me, but Jeremy says it was friendly. When we were almost home we passed by a house where a man was out watering his flower beds with a hose. He was staring at us, and I desperately wanted to be past his yard before I had my next contraction because I felt so on display. No such luck, my next contraction came right in the center of his yard, and what did he do but move closer to us so he could see what was going on! When we got home, I declared that I was not, under any circumstances, going back out there.
Surprisingly, the idea if eating or drinking anything besides water was disgusting to me. In Elijah’s birth, I was hungry and wanting to eat the whole time. At one point my mom made a Starbucks run and brought me back a hot chocolate, but it never got drank. I felt like I needed to eat at first, but after a while I just gave up.
After a while my midwife said she wanted to check me again and talk about using some herbs to augment labor. This frightened me because things already seemed pretty intense, but I agreed because I certainly didnt want to be laboring like I was any longer than I had to be. She checked me and said there had been progress, enough so that she didn’t think we needed to augment just yet, and I was so relieved. I still didnt want to know how dilated I was, because I feel like it just gives you false expectations. Dilation doesn’t always mean much. You could go from 4 to complete in an hour, or stay stuck at 7 for several hours. Why wig myself out? My midwife needs that info, but I don’t.
My midwife had me sit on he toilet more for a while, then I got back in the bath. While in the bath she told my MIL to take Elijah to the park because it was going to be a while still. Then in the middle of a contraction my water broke. This scared me because everyone was acting like I was still so early in labor, and I remembered how much more it hurt me after they broke my water with my son. But in all honesty, I had been feeling as if I were in transition already before my water broke, I just wasn’t trusting my feelings were accurate because of the way my midwife and my mom had been talking. (I now know that no one had any idea how much progress my contractions were making because they were very short. Never did they get up to lasting even a minute! And apparently I was handling them pretty well – I didn’t feel like it , though. I was a 4 when my midwife first got there and checked me, and because of my short contractions, she thought labor was going slow. When she checked me the second time, I was a seven, and she knew then the contractions were doing good work despite their length.)
Once my water broke things flew into action, though. My midwife told Jeremy to fill the birth pool and my mom to start calling people to come back to the house. It seemed no one thought it was early anymore! About then I started feeling a lot of pressure and some urge to bear down, but I tried to resist it. I still wasn’t totally trusting my feelings. When I got into the birth pool it was better but the contractions were still really intense. At that point, Elijah came running in the room in his swim trunks, excitedly announcing he was getting in the pool too. I remember saying “Nooo!” And him looking disappointed. Then he saw me have a contraction, and looked in the pool and saw all the bloody show, and he didn’t want to get in the tub anymore.
I was starting to get pretty scared and I started bearing down during my contractions because it made them feel better. My midwife was saying that I should try to breathe through the urge to push, to labor the baby down, and I tried but it felt sooo much better to bear down just a little. Then all of the sudden I just knew I had to get out of the tub, so I did. My midwife asked what I wanted to do, and I said “I don’t know but I can’t be in there anymore!” She and her assistant had made me a little birthing area on the floor at the foot of our bed and I walked over there and leaned on the bed and started yelling through my contractions. Then I got on my hands and knees and leaned on my birth ball and started pushing. I was yelling a bunch and dropping F bombs like you would not believe. Elijah was really scared and ran out of the room. He refused to come back in, so he was all alone during the birth. He told me later that he thought I was dying!
I still wasn’t sure if it was okay to push, so I asked my midwife, and she said that I shouldn’t push until I felt like there was nothing else I could do, which I didn’t really process because I needed to push so bad I couldn’t think of anything else. So I pushed. I think she was already in my birth canal because I started bulging immediately, then I felt the burning of her crowning, and I was really scared to push more because it really hurt, but I also wanted it all over. I wasn’t sure what to do until my midwife told me to push through the pain, then I felt her head come out, and I had a really hard time pushing the rest of her out. Pushing her out was a lot harder on me than pushing Elijah out was, but it went much faster. It was only about ten or fifteen minutes between getting out of the birth pool and when she was born. When she was coming out my midwife asked if I wanted to catch but I didn’t see how I could in the position I was in. So I pushed her out onto the floor and my midwife helped me sit back so I could pick her up and check her sex. Elijah finally came back in, after we all pleaded with him. I asked for him right away after the baby came out, because I was so worried about him. I told him that I was sorry to have scared him, and sorry that he had a sister and not the brother he wanted so bad. I told him hopefully next time we would make a boy. Everyone laughed, I was already talking about doing it again! During the birth I had only gotten a small tear, and the placenta took about ten minutes to detach and come out. Oh, I was so exhausted! Those ten minutes were the longest of my life!
After the birth my midwife made me this awesome herbal bath, and showed me a really great, gentle way to bathe the baby (oh, if only I had known that for Elijah, he hated baths so much but probably would have liked this!). My mom made me a sandwich and got me a beer (I had earned it!) but I still didn’t feel like eating much. My midwife was concerned, since it had been so long since I last ate, she had me eat a few crackers and cheese to start with. That perked my appetite up a little but I still only ate about half my sandwich and drank just a few drinks of the beer.
Then my midwife arranged for Jeremy and I to have some quiet alone time with the new baby. We discussed her name (which, really, had already been determined but I just needed time to be sure) and I nursed her, I don’t really remember a lot of that time. Then my midwife finished cleaning everything up, checked me one last time, and left. She would be back the next day to check on us. Before leaving, she instructed me to stay in bed as much as possible. Midwives tend to recommend a lying in period to recover from the birth, but my midwife said it especially crucial for me because of my small tear. While it didn’t need stitches, to heal properly I shouldn’t be moving too much.
The baby weighed 9 lbs 3 oz and was 22.5 inches, just a tiny bit smaller than her brother was. She nurses like she’s been doing it for months, and she’s got so much dark, almost black hair it’s hard to believe she came from two red headed parents. She was born at 11:52, for a total of 9 hours of active labor.
We named her Freja, after the Norse goddess of beauty and fertility.
There will be photos soon!