I am very blessed to say I had an easy, normal pregnancy. It went by so quickly. I participated in my Birthing Center’s Centering program, went to prenatal yoga class at least once a week and read up on all the birthing topics I could find. I attempted to write a Birth Plan but never really felt like I would need it so I just made some notes on specific things that might come up in an emergency and how I would like them handled.
My biggest concern towards the end was what to do with Ethan (2) when we had to go to the Birthing Center. I planned to labor at home until the midwife on call told me it was time to come in so we would just need someone to look after him until my parents could drive the 6 hours from Oklahoma. My labor with Ethan was only 10 hours so I thought this one would be even quicker. My due date was January 13, 2011 so my Mother drove down from Oklahoma on the 7th and took Ethan home with her. I was then able to relax and focus on the upcoming labor and birth.
The night my Mom came I woke with non-timeable, low pain cramps that lasted through the night. I sent Mom and Ethan back to Oklahoma because I knew that the cramps could stop any time or go on for days. I had them off and on Saturday and by that evening they were gone.
Saturday morning I went to a prenatal yoga class. This class was with a different teacher then I normally went to so I went in with the frame of mind to relax and open myself up to the challenge ahead (labor and birth). Some prenatal yoga classes will teach you a meditation/pain coping technique. In this class she taught us “distracted focus”, a meditation I had never practiced before. “Distracted Focus” is when you focus on all the noises that are going on around you instead of focusing on just one. I came home and told Eli about it but never thought I would use it during labor because with Ethan’s birth I was focused internally and didn’t hear any noise around me.
On Monday I had an appointment with my Midwife. We discussed the issue of my Perinatologist wanting to see me if I hadn’t gone into labor by 40 weeks. I didn’t want to go back to him because of an earlier comment he had made about not “letting” me go over 40 weeks. I was seeing a Perinatologist because I have Lupus and the Midwives felt more comfortable if I was seeing a specialist once a month for ultrasounds. With Lupus there can be additional risk in pregnancy. I didn’t want any interventions when baby and I were both healthy. She gave me some advice on how to get my body ready for labor- drink 3 cups of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea a day, walk 30 minutes a day, take Evening Primrose Oil caplets- 2 by mouth, 2 vaginally, per day, and have sex at least once a day (Ha! Like my pregnant self could handle more then that!) She also told me that in her experience the second baby would come a few days before the first baby. Ethan was born at 40 weeks, 5 days and I was at 39 weeks 4 days so I expected a few days to prepare. I declined a cervical check because I don’t feel there is any need for one before labor starts. I went to a natural food store and bought everything that I needed, walked around Joann’s, then went home, started drinking RRLT and took an EPO . (I had been drinking one to two cups a day for the last few weeks.) Eli and I had sex that night and I went to bed early as normal.
Around 2:30am I woke with some cramping. I got up, went to the bathroom, drank some water and tried to go back sleep. If this was labor I wanted to get as much rest as possible in the beginning. I was never able to get back to sleep so I got up to eat some cereal and watch Star Trek. I started timing the cramps and they were 3-5 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds. I timed for about a half an hour and then tried to rest. I made sure to drink water in between each to keep myself hydrated. With Ethan’s birth, I was extremely dehydrated and didn’t want to repeat that.
At 4am I was up bouncing on my birth ball and watching the news. I tried to time the contractions but couldn’t concentrate enough to do so. I did get out my Netbook and looked up ContractionMaster.com but the site was down. By 4:30 I didn’t want to be alone any more. I woke Eli up and told him we were having a baby that day! I told him to make coffee and get in the shower because labor was moving fast and it might be his only chance.
The labor pains were getting pretty hard that I couldn’t talk through them anymore. I really wanted to lie down and have Eli rub my back because I was having some back pain. I got nice and comfy in bed and in between contractions we discussed calling the midwife. I called around 6am and talked to the same midwife who caught Ethan. She asked me questions and listened to me through several contractions. She thought it was time for me to come into the birthing center. I really didn’t want to go there too early so I told her I was real comfortable where I was and wanted to stay home for awhile longer. She told me again that because it was my second baby I may go faster then the first so she really thought I should come in so I didn’t have the baby at home. As much as I am looking forward to having a homebirth some day, I do not want to have an unassisted birth. Eli wanted me to stay in bed while he packed the car but I am too much of a control freak to leave packing to someone else. I think I told him to not forget the orange bag 10 times before he finally put it in the car. That was our food and drink bag and I did not want to forget it. I only had 2 bags this time and we used most everything we took. I learned at our first birth what we really needed and what to leave at home.
On the drive there Eli asked me if there was anything I wanted to tell him before I went into my “birth zone”. The only thing I wanted to tell him was “I love you.” During Ethan’s birth I was pretty much out of it, focusing inward and he thought I would do the same during this one but I never did. We arrived at the birthing center at 7am. After one contraction in the parking lot we got in the building and into our room. The Midwife checked all my vitals and I was only 3cm dilated. That was a bit disappointing to me because I wanted to stay at home longer this time around. The midwives had a shift change at 8am so she told me she was going to call in the next midwife Charlotte. She said if I had been further along she would stay. I understood. I had met Charlotte several times and was happy to have her at our birth.
By this time I had thrown up and really didn’t want to eat anything. Eli gave me water in between each contraction that kept coming harder and faster. I tried to get back in to my comfy position on the bed but that relaxing time was over. I labored on the birthing ball and relaxed with my head propped up on pillows on the bed. During contractions, Eli would apply pressure to my lower back while I would vocalize with a very low moan. As I labored and tried to relax my body I remembered back to my last yoga class. I started to focus on all the sounds around me instead of the pain. I heard the train going by, the clock on the wall ticking and even the sounds of people arriving to work in the offices overhead. I used “distracted focus” the whole time I was on the ball. I even wished for another train to come by just so I could listen to the sound.
Around 9am I was ready to get in the water. Charlotte wanted to check me and do vitals. I was 7-8cm so I had dilated 5cm in 2 hours. As I was getting on the bed the pain was so intense I started to lose it. Charlotte said one word to me and it ended up being my focus work for the rest of the birth: Control. I wasn’t able to use “distracted focus” after I got in the water because the contractions were so strong but I had my focus word to repeat to myself and remind myself that I was a strong birthing woman. I believe this was when I moved into transition.
In the tub I was on my knees and holding on to the side. In between contractions Eli continued to give me water and wipe my face with a cool, wet wash cloth. I jokingly asked Charlotte if it was too late for an epidural. She said by the time we got to the hospital it would be too late. So I asked for a shot of Demerol, she said no, so I asked for vodka. She said yes, if we had some I could have it. Too bad we didn’t bring any with us.
After I had a few contractions on my knees I needed to stretch out my legs behind me when suddenly, during the middle of a contraction, my water broke. The pain doubled as soon as it happened and I yelled out “My water just broke and there is poop in it!” There was Meconium in the fluid but it did not cause any complications. I had been feeling very “pushy” for awhile and when the membranes broke the need to push increased by about 100. Charlotte jumped into action because she knew things were about to start happening. She ran and pressed a buzzer to call for the assistant. (The birthing assistant was called in but did not make it in time for the birth because things moved so fast. Thankfully the office was open and the wonderful Viola came in to assist.) I turned over into a semi squatting position. Charlotte told me I still had a bit of cervix and she could push it out of the way while I was pushing. That did not feel good but she only had to do it a few times before I felt the “ring of fire”. I pushed a few times more and could feel the baby’s head move down and out. With Ethan I felt a lot of pressure. This time around was so much more. I could feel every part of her face- her nose, ears and chin- as it left my body. My moans started to get higher pitched so I focused on keeping them low to help with pushing out the baby.
Once her head was out I leaned back to relax and wait for the next contraction so we could meet our baby. I started to think the next one would never come but I never had that “Oh, no, She’s stuck!” feeling. It was very weird to have her head hanging out of me like that but because we were in the water I wasn’t worried. As soon as I felt the next contraction I told everyone it was starting and my body pushed our baby into the world. At 9:46am Lillian Dawn was born in the water in the same room her big brother Ethan was born just 2 short years earlier. Charlotte set her on my stomach because her cord was a too short to reach my chest and started wiping her off. She gave a couple of soft cries which worried me because Ethan had come out screaming. Right then the birth assistant came in shocked that the baby was here. We cut the cord and handed the baby off to her so I could get out of the tub and onto the bed.
The placenta came out with very little bleeding unlike with my first birth. With the help of a Latch Assist Lily began to nurse quickly and stayed on for about an hour. She has since proved herself to be a great nurser and is still nursing at 2 year old. From start to finish my labor was a little over 7 hours with only 27 minutes of pushing. We were all doing so great we were able to go home 6 hours after her birth.
Lily’s birth was much different then Ethan’s but the experience was just as amazing. The labor was harder, faster and I was much more aware of it all. We are so happy she joined our little family and can’t imagine life without her.
Read my First Birth.
Read my Third Birth.