I didn’t spare the nitty gritty details so…if you want it all…read on!
I’m not sure where to start since I believe so much goes into play with birth stories. Well, the last two weeks of Isaac’s pregnancy were a bit anxiety ridden. Even though I had been carefully taken care of and monitored, I had slight fears about some reason he hadn’t come out. By 41 weeks I had a bit of a talk with him and told him that I loved him, wanted him very much and that he was going to add so much joy to our family.
Part of me was worried that I hadn’t helped Isaac feel welcome in our home and if that was holding the baby in then I wanted to cover my basis. I do believe that feelings affect pregnancy and births a lot and I wanted to deal with any fears or reserves I had. Well, he still didn’t come for another couple of days and I was beginning to get nervous. My midwife (Sue) came on Wednesday and brought a non-stress test machine and checked Isaac’s heart rate (which was perfect the entire time with plenty of variability), said I had plenty of fluid, said Isaac was in the perfect position to be born and guessed that he was around 7.5 lbs or so. My blood pressure was also really steady and healthy.
She told me with such a good report she didn’t see a need to worry at all. She reassured me and told me that some babies just ripen later and that I’d probably have the baby by that weekend since most moms don’t go past 42 weeks.
After this appointment, I had a rush of energy and I felt positive and capable again. I had started to feel like my body was broken and not going to get the baby out and I was getting incredibly discouraged. After talking to sue, seeing how great isaac was doing and how well I was doing, I felt like a new person.
I had also spent most of the day listening to hypnobabies mp3s and paraklesis to the Theotokos. I had the hymn “O Protectress…” stuck in my head all day long. 🙂
Well, Wednesday night I started getting tons of Braxton Hicks contractions with some real contractions mixed in. It was getting late and since we knew that early labor could last a long time, we decided we’d better try and get some sleep while we could. Contractions stopped as I popped on a hypnobabies mp3 and fell asleep.
The next morning (Thursday, March 31) contractions started up almost immediately. Sean went to work since I was talking through them and they were so inconsistent. I didn’t feel like being alone though so I went over to my mom’s house and camped out there with Emily.
Contractions were intense but 15-20 mins apart or more. At times they would get closer but then the intensity level would drop. I went to take Emmy for a walk and while on my feet outside they jumped to two minutes apart or less but only lasting 15 seconds or so. I soon realized that I couldn’t push Emily around and have contractions so I went back to my mom’s and rested while Emily watched veggietales. The contractions slowed to 15-30 mins apart and I just tried to eat some food as often as possible to keep my strength up.
I told my sister Teri what was going on and she was on her way to a park with a water fountain that our kids could run around in and offered to take Emmy. She, Ivan, Em and Lucia went to the park and I went for another walk. I walked for about 30 minutes and came back to my mom’s and had some lunch.
Contractions were still irregular and I could talk through most of them.
I went home when Teri and Emmy came back from the park and put Emily down for a nap.
I had two big glasses of water and more lunch (trying to keep my strength up for labor) and bounced on my ball. I wasn’t tired at all. I had lots of energy. Even so, I laid down and rested knowing this could go on a long, long time.
Contractions seemed to stop and I got a little bummed.
Once Emmy woke up they started up again and she and I played at home until Sean came home. When sean came home, i took a shower. By then, I was getting regular contractions but I was too busy to time them.
We decided that we didn’t want to worry about dinner and kind of wanted some help with Emily so we went to have dinner with my parents. I gobbled down dinner but we weren’t there long before my contractions started getting too intense to talk through and were starting to regularize.
Suddenly I felt fear flow through me as I started needing coaching to cope. I asked if I could just have some alone time with Sean in my old room. I knew it was getting close to time and I was scared. I was sad our time as a family of three was finished, I was sad that I heard Emily playing in the other room and I couldn’t play with her. I was scared of the pain that was to come. Sean listened to me and comforted me and reminded me that I’ve done this before and I could do it again, that we were giving our daughter the best gift we could ever give her – a little brother. I cried a little and I said that I was reminded of that passage in the bible when Jesus asks His Father right before His Passion to take the cup away from Him. I had a similar feeling right then.
At around 7:30 pm the contractions were so intense and 5 mins or less apart so I asked to go home and put Emmy to bed. I was listening to hypnobabies while he put Emily down and the contractions were getting more and more intense.
I was listening to hypnobabies Early First Stage and at around 8:30 things were picking up but Sean and I were still doing well handling them together. We called the midwife at around 9:30 and said that we were laboring but didn’t know if she should come or not. Within minutes of that call, I decided that I wanted the whole birth team there. We called everyone and by 10 everyone was there. By the time they all arrived, I started getting uncontrollable shakes. I knew that this could mean transition and wanted so badly for it all to be over since the contractions felt so horrible. I remember feeling dread in between contractions, telling Cybil (doula), Sean, my mom and anyone who would listen in between contractions that I felt like I couldn’t do it. Of course I was constantly reassured that I could do it and even though I knew in my head that I could, I still needed to hear people say it a billion times to me. “you can do this. You’re doing great.” I felt like a 6 year old who needed constant reassurance that I was doing well and it would be over soon.
Upon reflection, it was partially the pain but it was also the amount of work it took to work through them. It was SO hard. I had anxiety between contractions, worried when the next one would start, dreading the feeling, dreading the amount of work it would take to relax and not let the contraction control me. It was HARD.
I was clear with Cybil that I needed her to talk me through contractions. Using visualizations like “riding a wave” and how these are taking me closer to my baby. Also, having Sean and my mom remind me which muscles I was tensing so I could relax them helped a TON. I wouldn’t realize that my face was tense or that my shoulders were raised and I remember that they would touch them and gently remind me to relax them and that helped me to let go. I also had a mantra in my head from hypnobabies that went through my head the entire time, “With each pressure wave, I keep my face, my hands and my pelvic floor completely relaxed.” Before almost every contraction, that went through my head. Especially keeping my pelvic floor relaxed.
Still at about the same time, when I was having signs of transition, I asked Sue if she thought I was in transition. She said I could be but could only know for sure with a cervical exam. I hadn’t had any bloody show so I was concerned that she would check me and I would only be at 3 cm or something. I declined.
Funny enough, at around 10:20 or so, I went to the bathroom and lost a ton of my mucus plug. I was thrilled. Absolutley thrilled. After that, i got into the tub.
It felt great to be in the water but I still had feelings of dread coming between contractions as I anticipated the next ones. Sue offered me a homeopathic for stage fright. I took some, still not sure if it helped.
(every time we checked isaac’s heart rate during the birth, it was fantastic)
At one point, in between contractions, we were discussing American Idol. Im not exactly sure how that happened but it distracted me from the dread I felt in between contractions for sure. It was kind of nice and I liked having something else to think about. Weird, I know. The only drawback was that sometimes I would only tell Sean and Cybil when a contraction was coming on and people would continue to talk and laugh and it irritated me. So I shushed them. Haha
Everyone kept telling me how in control I was. I think I responded, “that’s hilarious.” at one point because I felt totally OUT of control. But I am proud of the fact that I never screamed once through this labor. I was able to breathe and stay calm. Especially when I realized that the worst part was the beginning and the peak. I kept telling myself that so I wouldn’t freak. If I felt a contraction starting and I felt too nervous to do it myself, I would tell Cybil to make sure to talk me through it. Which she did amazingly. And when I would do well, it felt great to be praised by everyone there. Sometimes that helped me want to do better.
I don’t know what time it was, but I started to feel like throwing up. So I asked for the bucket. Here’s where 5 months of severe nausea and 4 months of morning sickness have made me a pro. I was fine to throw up. Didn’t bother me in the least. I actually got excited as that can be a signal of how close you are and being a birth story junkie I hear so many women say it helps the baby move down. Cybil said that to me also to remind me and encourage me.
After that, I was emotionally wanting to push right away. I was DONE waiting and wanted it all over. I didn’t want to work hard anymore. I didn’t want the pain. It sucked. I said so a bazillion times. Haha
I just had to let go at that point. I stared at the icon of the Mother of God in childbirth and prayed. Even if it was only “oh God.”
I think there was an attempt and at cervical exam which I couldn’t relax through and brought on a contraction and it was so painful that I said that I didn’t care to know. Haha
At around 12:00 am, people told me that Isaac was definitely going to be and April fools baby. I laughed a little and had a sense of relief knowing that today was his birthday. Pretty fast after that, during contractions I would feel my body push. I thought I’d like it, I liked pushing with Emmy. Nuh uh. Not this time. It was not relieving. The pushing contractions were much much more intense at the peak. And I wasn’t getting much relief in between pushes because I had tons of pressure and achiness in my lower back. When I mentioned that and told Sue, she smiled and said “Good!” it really made me feel like this was starting to end. Although, I was nervous to let myself feel done because “what if it isn’t?!??” that really scared me.
I basically just put up with the contractions and did my best to work through them. Commenting to the team how tired I was and how “over it” I was. Especially with the contractions picking up in intensity.
I remember I loved holding sean’s hand, cybil’s hand and having my mom rub my head. I felt so supported. I especially felt supported by Sean during this whole time. He was there for me and I loved looking over at him, and he was so impressed with me, it felt wonderful.
I tried grunting and bearing down during contractions and I started to feel him coming even further down. I would try to see if I could feel his head and would be sad when I couldn’t. A few more contractions and I felt his head! Surprisingly I wasn’t excited, I was bummed out I wasn’t further along. I so wanted to be done. My water broke then with a clear “pop!” and suddenly I felt him starting to crown. I didn’t remember this hurting me as much with Emmy but it was horrid.
I thought I was screaming but according to Sue and Sean, I was just bearing down and vocalizing. I felt totally out of control and like I was freaking out. Sue said I was slowly letting my skin stretch but I didn’t believe her at the time. I thought for sure I was overdoing it due to the painful sting, the awful awful sting. I asked how many more pushes she thought there’d be. She said a couple.
I was freaking out in my head but I suddenly realized it was almost over and was DETERMINED to get there. I even declared to everyone that I was almost finished a few times. I also told them that while I was bearing down, to remind me that the pain was normal so I didn’t get scared through it. I looked up at the birthing icon and started saying, “Oh God!!” again. I remember Sue saying that He is holding me and helping me through this. And even though I’m cringing from recollecting as I’m writing this, I felt the head slide out and less than a few seconds later it seemed that Isaac was in my arms. At 12:29 am.
He was adorable, perfect, pink, sweet, and I didn’t know how much could love another child until that moment. I held him in my arms and asked everyone if they’ve seen how cute he was. Also, as an aside, I was in the water and when he came out, the water was completely clean! :-O
I held him a while and felt contractions again.
I was able to try to nurse and he latched on right away, ten minutes after he was born . As i felt more contractions, they reminded me that I had to deliver the dang placenta. I was irritated upon remembering this. After they cut the cord, I pushed it out reluctantly with the next contraction. It was over.
For being almost 42 weeks, the midwife said that my placenta looked like it was 38-40 weeks old and healthy and great. Plus, Isaac was born with a ton of vernix. He came when he was ready, I guess haha. He was also 7 lbs 12 oz and 21 inches long. Almost the same size as Emmy.
I told everyone I felt great. Like I was on drugs or something. When I was out of the tub and checked out, I hadn’t teared. I was overjoyed as I had torn with Emily and was hoping beyond hope I wouldn’t tear again.
Conclusion? I remember feeling like I never wanted to give birth again after Emmy was born. I had a great experience and I still felt that way. Within a couple of hours of giving birth, I realized I didn’t have that reservation this time. I still dont enjoy that hard work and pain. I’m getting around much better this time around too which is a major plus. The afterbirth cramps are worse with this one but I’m getting through and it’s almost over.
I also have now experienced the joy of two children and realized that my fears of not being able to share my love were gone. I feel like the Grinch, and how his heart expanded on Christmas day. Haha that’s the only way I can think of to explain it. I feel blessed.