A Labor and Delivery Story (#2)

My second child was born two weeks and two days late. Since my first was 2 1/2 weeks late, I wasn’t worried when we got to two weeks after my due date. I was positive baby two would be born earlier than baby one, and she was. Labor, delivery, and post L&D was a completely different experience between my two children because of not being stuck in a hospital. (You can read about the birth of my first child here)

We tried for a natural birth again, using a midwife and a birthing center, and we got it! At a week past my due date, our midwife set us up for a sonogram to make sure everything was alright. It was. At two weeks past the due date, on a Wednesday, we signed the liability form saying we were cool with waiting for labor to start naturally.

On Thursday night, I woke up around 3 am with major contractions. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I went back to sleep. The next morning, beginning around 8 am I started noticing how regular my contractions were. Again, I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I avoided counting them as long as I could…for about 30 minutes, lol.

By 9 am I was having regular, building contractions, but I was so excited about going into labor naturally and so convinced that it wasn’t ever actually going to happen, that I still doubted it was real. I laid down on the bed for half an hour and the contractions slowed, though they continued to be intense.

When your contractions are 9 or 6 minutes apart, you only have 3 or 5 per half hour, so time seems to fly and also pass at a snails pace while you are counting. The contractions get up to 45 seconds long and are uncomfortable and distracting.

By 10:30 am I was finally ready to admit, albeit reluctantly, that I MIGHT be in labor. I burst into tears both times I said it out loud to another person, lol. I was SO excited but still couldn’t believe it was real. I thought it might stop. I thought I might be making it up because I wanted it so badly. My contractions grew to become painful, but they were nowhere near as intense and terrible as the Pitosin induced contractions I experienced in the hospital during my first labor.

My husband said he was going to wrap things up and work and head home. He was taking the week off after the delivery, so it entailed more than just leaving for the day. My midwife said to call her back when the contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting a minute long. At the time, they were 5.15-6 minutes apart and lasting 45-65 seconds. Steady, but not consistent enough for her.

I called my mother-in-law to give her a heads up because she was planning to leave work and watch our toddler while we were at the birthing center. I had a contraction right in the middle of the conversation and couldn’t speak for a moment. She freaked out, lol-which is her way-and was like “OMG, I’m coming right now. Right now!” So I texted my husband to let him know he might need to hurry, haha.

From 11 am – 1 pm, while all the phone calling and texting was going on, my contractions were very uncomfortable and finally painful. I knew they were supposed to get to the point where I couldn’t speak, think, or do anything else while they were their most intense, but I was pacing through them, breathing through them, rubbing my back, and counting or otherwise trying to distract my mind from the pain. I had gotten into the habit of focusing on my breathing during the peaks, so I thought I could still speak if I wanted to during them. Therefore, in the back of my mind, I continued to believe that it wasn’t actual labor, that it would go away. It was my first experience with natural labor, but I felt like it was my first. Pitocin contractions, being hooked up to beeping machines, and being stuck in a three foot radius beside a hospital bed for hours of intense pain is a completely different experience.

I paced around our house, laboring alone and trying to stay out of eyesight of my two year old. He thought my walking was funny and kept grabbing onto my clothes to go with me. It was cute, but I was afraid I would run him over so I tried to keep to myself.

Finally, my contractions were where the midwife wanted them to be. She said she’d meet us in twenty minutes at the birthing center. Twenty minutes! It didn’t matter anyway though, because my husband still wasn’t home. He arrived shortly after my mother-in-law and had time to shower before it was time for us to go.

It is a 10-13 minute drive from our house to the birthing center. I think we made it in 9. I had exactly two contractions while in the car, about 3-4 minutes apart and lasting over a minute each. They were the worst! I was stuck in a cramped seated position when I wanted to pace. I lifted myself off the seat, arched my back, twisted, pushed my back against my heated seat, and did whatever I could to work through them. Meanwhile, my husband was freaking out and apologizing beside me because he was gone all day while I labored alone, haha! When I could speak again, I told him it was fine. I hadn’t really believed I was in labor so it was partially my fault for not making him wise to the facts. 😀

Now, the story gets even funnier. I had chugged a bunch of water right before I left the house and in the car between contractions, because I had just filled up my water bottles to take them with me to the birthing center and had forgotten to sip all morning. I was in the middle of a contraction when we parked in front of the building.

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I motioned to my husband that I couldn’t get out of the car until the contraction ended. Then I hurriedly pushed open the door and threw up all the water I had just drank on the side of the street, lol. After that, I felt 100% and was able to cheerfully walk up the steps and into the house.

The labor rooms are on the second floor of the building, but there is a bathroom just inside on the right. I went to the bathroom, and as I went to stand up, I started having another contraction. I wasn’t timing them anymore, but you can see how short of a walk it is to the inside of the building. The contraction started with a popping sound and a gush of water. My water broke OVER THE TOILET! How incredibly convenient and mess free was that?!

I leaned on the wash basin directly in front of the toilet to finish the contraction. I was probably moaning and taking forever, so my husband knocked to ask if I’m okay. I somehow managed to tell him my water broke, and then suddenly, he and our midwife were both there.

“Yep, you’re crowning!” she said.

“Do we still need to go upstairs?” I asked, because I wasn’t sure how serious ‘crowning’ was in that moment.

“Unless you want to have your baby in the bathroom.”

Lol! I doubt I laughed at the time. I was in too much pain. The two of them helped me get upstairs between my next contractions. I got to the bed just in time for more pain (a contraction), and the midwives told me to push!

This next part is a little blurry to me because aside from the crazy pain and chaos involved in pushing (being instructed on what to do and trying to do it all while intensely suffering), I also got a crazy messy nose bleed! I was given an oxygen mask. I don’t know if it was the extra/dry air that helped contribute to the nose bleed or if it was the intense pushing or what, but it was a bright red, bloody, gore-filled scene on MY half of the bed too, lol. My husband was sitting on the bed beside me, and I totally bit him on the side at one point too, to which he jumped and shrieked “don’t bite me!” LOL! I think that was before the nose bleed, lol. Man, it was all so hilarious.

Anyway, according to my husband, once I got upstairs,  I had two contractions (pushed twice) and the baby was born! We were at the birthing center for 15 minutes from our arrival time on the street to the time of birth!

Baby girl was immediately put on my belly, sticky, slimy, bloody, umbilical cord attached and all (very different from the hospital). They wanted to leave the cord attached as long as possible and have her close to us (skin to skin) as soon as possible. The midwife and midwife-in-training who were there magically did everything they needed to do while little girl was crying on my belly. Once the cord was cut, I nursed her and they left us alone.

So there we were, husband, baby, and me, alone in full sized bed and snuggling in peace and quiet. They ran an herbal bath for us and WE got to give baby her first bath! It was amazing. She never left our side.

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A few hours after delivery, they checked her again, weighing her and doing all that. Then we were cleared to leave! They made sure I had fruit, snacks, water, and rest first of course, and that baby girl was fine.

She was born at 1:55 pm and we left the birthing center around 5:30 pm. We went and picked up Freebirds for dinner and went home. My mother-in-law was blown away that we got home so soon, lol. We left our house after lunch and returned around dinnertime with a brand new baby!

We all got to sleep in our own comfortable beds that night. Since we were responsible for monitoring baby girl’s temperature, we didn’t have to have additional wake ups every four hours to make that happen. We worked around our natural rhythm of feedings and diaper changes. I got to eat full, balanced, and delicious vegan meals instead of relying on junk food to fill my stomach while being stuck in a hospital for two days.

The next day and the next Monday, we had appointments at the birthing center and with our pediatrician for baby, instead of being seen by whatever strangers were on shift at the hospital like during our first experience. Check out my First Labor and Delivery Story, for more points of comparison.

All in all, the birthing experience was way better the second time around and much funnier. It was more laid back, relaxed, and more peaceful afterwards. I wasn’t on an IV or given any medication during my second labor and delivery. I only threw up the one time, and it was due to chugging too much water. My labor started naturally, my water broke naturally, and I didn’t get an epidural.

With baby number three, I fully expect to run two weeks past my due date again because apparently, that’s what I do. We are using the same midwife and birthing center again, and I expect to have excellent results and a happy experience.

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