Several weeks ago, a special little guy entered my world. And now he IS my world (shared, of course, with my husband and daughter.) And so I happily wait on him day and night – responding promptly to his every beckoned call (and, of course, my husband’s and daughter’s too.) No king ever had it as good as a newborn has it with his/her mother (…just saying!)
But I digress…
This is his story (and mine too.) It’s a doozy, but HAD to be told. (You’ll see why…)
Prior to the birth of my daughter, a friend of mine explained labor like this:
“Basically, it’s like dying. Except that you don’t…”
Yup. That is a pretty good description in my book.
I had a natural birth at a birth center with little B. Might I add that it was a 25 hour labor? Okay, okay, I totally know that women have
endured conquered longer labors, but I would ask them: HOW??? Everyone tries to convince me differently, but I am a WIMP when it comes to contractions. I totally freak out and lose control of myself during them.
And yet, insane as it might be… I signed myself up for another natural birth when I found out that I was pregnant with my son. (Isn’t the definition of insanity to repeat the same action and expect a different result? *sigh*) Of course, all of the people closest to me assured me that second labors are easier first labors. (Just for the record, please don’t use the terms “easy” and “labor” in the same sentence. Ever. Maybe just say, “The second time is less like dying than the first time.” Yeah, that’s a better way of putting it…)
For me, waiting on a child’s birth is one of the most challenging exercises in patience. Once I reach 37 weeks, I am SO DONE, and I can barely stand waiting any longer. Of course, this time around, I managed to get myself sick on my 39th week. I could hardly tolerate the thought of being in labor again (I was in denial for quite some time,) much less that of being in labor and sick! Fortunately, when the Monday prior to my due date rolled around, I (finally!) felt much better.
Up until then, all I had been experiencing were very small Braxton hicks contractions. They were (only?) about the intensity of mild menstrual cramps, but, already, I hated them. Uggggg! (Have I mentioned that I’m a wimp about pain?) Anyhow, they were pretty frequent that evening, but nothing else was happening; so off to bed I went! (For the record, it is an absolute joke that pregnant women should try to be well rested prior to their delivery! Between the pee trips, vivid dreams, and inability to get comfortable, nature seems determined to prepare a soon-to-be mom for the newborn days of no sleep!)
At some point in the midnight hour, I stumbled to and from the bathroom for my nightly ritual (You know…) Once I was back in bed, I tried to go to sleep again, but of course, my body decided to again put me through another minor contraction around 12:45am. Suddenly, I felt a gush of water and realized that my water had broken! Now anyone who knows me knows that I hate messes. Having my water break IN THE BED was not a part of my plan! (Let’s just say that labor is never convenient!)
I paged the midwife and told her that (as of yet) nothing else had happened. She recommended more sleep, and I was happy to comply! (This is just one difference between a first and second birth.) Yet about 15 minutes later, the real contractions started…
I’ll spare you the terrible details and just say: my poor husband! (Who am I kidding? POOR ME!) I actually couldn’t tell you the details because there truly aren’t words that adequately describe contractions (Have I mentioned that I’m a wimp during labor?) and I can’t often remember many interesting details other than the fact that I was freaking out…
A quick side note – Because this was the second time I had experienced labor, I had strategized a few mental reminders for me to dwell on during the contractions:
“I’ve been given the grace I need for this contraction.”
“Relax and release tension. My body is trying to open for this baby.”
The first mental phrase was immensely helpful. I am not as sure about the efficacy of the second (It certainly didn’t hurt!) I repeated these phrases to myself as long as I was able to focus during contractions (Hahahaha! …whoops, not supposed to be a joke…) I suppose it would have been helpful to have someone repeating them to me; maybe I will plan that for a future labor (
whenif that happens!)
After watching me struggle through several contractions, Hubby suggested that we leave for the birth center. I quickly and emphatically told him, “No.” Because little B’s labor had been so long, I had determined that this time I would stay home as long as possible before making the 30 minute drive to the birth center. (Little did I know that I had made a very wrong decision!)
I endured several more contractions in bed, and then I decided to use the bathroom again. I had heard that filling and emptying the bladder helps to move labor along more quickly. (Hey, I’ll do whatever works to get it over faster!) At this point, I had begun to realize that I would not be “going back to bed to rest.” Yet I was not quite sure what to do with myself since it was the middle of the night! Two contractions later, I suddenly realized I had (TMI alert!) pooped in my pants (yes, SUPER EMBARRASSING!)
Of course, I quickly returned to the bathroom to “finish that business” in its proper location. Then it happened: THE PUSH. (You mamas out there know what I’m talking about!) I was no longer taking care of business on the toilet. I was pushing! And it was the kind of pushing that only delivers one thing – a baby.
Did I freak out? If you mean yelling at my husband to call the midwife, then yes. (I think freaking out was totally appropriate at that point!) After Hubby had paged the midwife, along came push #2, and along with that push came my moment of truth: I wasn’t going to go anywhere before my little man would make his debut. Ready or not, he was coming!
In between pushes and as his head was crowning, we called in the cavalry (aka: the paramedics). My midwife also called back around this time too – unaware of the fact that I was about to birth my child on the bathroom floor! Thinking quickly, she FaceTimed me (thank you, Apple!) and coached me through my remaining 2 or 3 pushes.
So there we were: me – kneeling on the bathroom floor, Hubby – answering the door for the EMTs, my midwife – calmly directing my delivery from 15 miles away, little B – obliviously sleeping in the room next door, and little man – entering the world and taking his first breaths. At 2:23am, I reached down and pulled my new son onto my chest, and I was in awe. It was one of the most significant and special moments of my life!
At that moment, the paramedics burst into the room and took over…
But I will never forget those precious seconds after I delivered my son. Labor is the hardest experience I’ve ever endured, but there is truly something incredibly miraculous about it!
This post has been a long time in coming… Originally, I had not planned to share something as personal as my birth story on this blog. However, after the unusual delivery of my son, I knew that I had to write about it! I have told this story many times in the past few weeks, and now it is such a special memory for me! I hope you enjoyed reading!
It is always important for me to remind myself that pregnancy, labor, and birth are natural and normal processes. They are not illnesses but are rather states of wellness in a woman’s life when uncomplicated. In this post, I approached the topic with humor and sarcasm, but truly, I am very happy with the decisions we have made to pursue natural births under the care of midwives at our local birth center. Hopefully my telling of this experience won’t scare anyone away from similar decisions… Sometimes it seems that hard and challenging circumstances could use a bit of lighheartedness! ♥
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