Continuing with the theme from my last post of Bear being a stubborn child, of course his birth was no different. The very fast, water-suddenly-breaking-and-barely-making-it-to-any-medical-facility-birth I expected did not happen. He had his own agenda.
I felt pretty good two days after my hospital stay. No bad nausea, my acid reflux was tolerable, and I was pretty well-rested. Sunday night, I stayed up a bit and monitored my contractions. Still no change from the what they were at the hospital. I was slightly afraid of my water breaking at 1 AM like Jack’s did, but really thought I had several more days before real labor would start. So I went to sleep like normal.
Around 6 AM I woke up to more contractions. They didn’t hurt, I was more annoyed. I was sleeping very well and did not want to get up. Plus, Jack was all snuggled with me. I wanted to stay in bed with my sleeping angel face. Then I felt a weird gush. I was even more annoyed, but knew I had to get up. I went to the bathroom and was very surprised to see a tinge of pink when I wiped. I had another contractions and more pink stuff. I put a pad on and went to tell Michael. He didn’t seem too concerned, but told me to call midwife. I felt more stuff gush out so I checked my pad again. It wasn’t wet like when my water broke with Jack, but stuff was definitely coming out. I called my midwife and told her my water may have broke. She told me to come to the birth center just in case since I was already dilated to 4cm and have a history of fast labor.
The receptionist saw us pull-up and another midwife took us straight back to the birthing room we wanted. Shortly after, my midwife and her assistant came in. They took all my vitals and checked me. I hadn’t progressed more yet. And my water had not broke yet, but my bag was bulging and my contractions were closer together and hurting more.
I spent the next 3 hours progressing steadily in the birthing suite. I started out walking around, then moved to sitting on the couch. Then, once my contractions really started to pick up, I laid down on the bed with some music on to try to rest between them.
Then it started to really get intense, so I decided to get in tub. Oh man, I can’t even begin to explain how awesome it felt. The water takes all the pressure off your body and soothes your pain. I stayed in there nearly two hours.
But as I was getting close to pushing, I needed a little relief to help me stay calm and focused. I originally told Michael I didn’t want to do the Nitrous Oxide, but at that moment I wanted it. The man did not hesitate and got my midwife quickly. It doesn’t stop the pain like other pain relief methods, but just takes the edge off. It was too hard for me to hold the mask out of the water and have a contraction at the same time. So my body said get out of the tub.
As soon as I stood up, gravity kicked in and I could feel his head. I laid down on the bed and clung to the gas mask for dear life. A few more contractions later and my water a finally broke, just a trickle at first. Then my body went on autopilot. It started to push. My midwife asked me to spread my legs because I was baring down and I thought, “I am? Huh..I am…”
Suddenly, I felt the ring of fire. I had heard about it in many other birth stories, but oh man. It’s more than you can imagine. Literally feels like your labia are set on fire as baby crowns. Next my water came GUSHING out, followed by his head. Little stubborn guy got his shoulder stuck on my pelvis and decided that was the best time to try to take his first breath. My midwife quickly jumped in and rotated his shoulder to get him out. Then he slid out just fine and she placed him in my arms.
I pulled him on to my chest and waves of love just hit me. He is here! He’s out. I’m done. The hardest thing I’ve ever worked for in my life. My beautiful rainbow baby. He made little peeps but didn’t scream like Jack. I knew right then this was indeed my quiet, stubborn child.
Then they had me push out my placenta. It came out whole but had long tails from where it burst
open from my water breaking. Took my midwife a bit to pull them out. After it was out, my uterus was “boggy”, meaning it was retaining all the fluids. My midwife tried a uterine massage to help it along, but it hurt way too much. She offered a pitocin shot instead and I agreed.
Bear started rooting so I started to position him to nurse…then I realized no one actually checked if he’s a boy! I was more concerned he came out safely and my midwife was more concerned he was okay for 36 weeker—no one looked right away! But we all looked, he was indeed a boy. He latched on like a champ and I was so happy that it didn’t hurt like Jack’s first latch did. He nursed both sides then fell asleep. The nursing also helped my uterus to contract better and it started to “unbog”.
We had a glorious two and half hours of truly uninterrupted skin-to-skin bonding time. They check our vitals quietly in the bed when needed, but no one really disturbed us. It was truly magically.
This is when my midwife suggested I go to the bathroom. So I handed Bear to Michael, and he smiled ear to ear to hold his second son. My midwife helped me to the bathroom. I walked pretty well on my own, much easier than after my epidural with Jack. However, unlike Jack’s birth, I was not numb down there this time. Sitting on the toilet hurt, everything was so swollen I couldn’t pee, and even the water from the peri bottle hurt.
Then I went back to the bed and my midwife did the newborn procedures. Checked him over, tested his oxygen levels and weighed him. I expected to hear 6 lbs or under, considering he was technically a preemie. But nope! He was 7 lbs 9 oz, only a pound smaller than Jack! My midwife concluded my due date had to be off, he was absolutely not a 36 weeker. She thinks he is closer to a 38.5 weeker. But he was so frail. Like, even the midwife was nervous about handling him too much. He did not act like he was full term baby, so who knows. He was healthy and didn’t need to go to the NICU.
Then my midwife handed us off to the postpartum midwife. The birthing center includes food delivery service, so we ordered from my favorite restaurant, Veggie Grill. One of the biggest acid reflux and nausea triggers this pregnancy was leafy greens. Do you know how much that sucks for a vegan? So when my Crispy Chickin’ Plate came, I dove into my steamed kale. It was amazing to eat without pain. I devoured everything and had no regrets. Best postpartum meal ever.
My parents and Jack came that evening. Jack looked at his little brother, but kinda didn’t care. He just wanted me. It had been a rough week without me and he needed me. I let him nurse while my parents held Bear. He was very happy to discover there was milk once again. He was upset to leave, he begged to stay the night with us. I hugged him, then told him tomorrow we will be home and all be a family.
We rested some more, had a very yummy ThaI food for dinner, and Bear had his first cluster feeding (followed by his first milk coma). I had a very lovely herbal sitz bath that took down a lot of the swelling almost instantly.
I tried to take a big nap while Michael held Bear, but my uterus had other plans. I had started to have contractions so intense that I had to breath through them. The midwife gave me Motrin, Tylenol and Cramp Bark to ease the pain. I don’t recall any uterine pain like this after Jack was born. The midwife said your uterus has to work harder to go back to normal after each baby, so the pain tends to be worse. And of course Bear kept waking up to to nurse, making the my uterus contract more. I eventually got a couple hours of sleep towards the morning.
In the morning the midwife made us a very yummy breakfast, then I took the best shower of my life. I just stood under the hot water and let all the stress from this pregnancy just wash away. Then we asked about being discharged. I could have stayed a second night, but I was ready to go home to Jack. We were both healthy and doing great, no reason to stay. My normal midwife came to check on us and agreed we could go home. After some final checks and procedures, I got to wrap Bear up to take him to the car. I had been dreaming of wearing my rainbow baby in the rainbow wrap I helped design for months. I teared up once I got him in. I will never forget that moment of relief for my heart.
Bear’s birth was as close to perfect as it could have been. I was respected, pampered, and truly cared for. No one argued me and no one did things without my consent. Because of this I never felt stressed or worried—no crying at 2 AM from exhaustion this time. This is what birth should always be, regardless of where you deliver.