When Lily was about 18 months old Brandon said that she needed a playmate. Until then it really did not occur to me that we might get started on #2. I was just so busy with Lily at the time. So we started TTC. After it didn't work the first month I started researching.... I became obsessed with learning as much as I could! I wish I had read Taking Charge of Your Fertility at the time. After 7 frustrating months we had a faint little positive line on the pregnancy test!
Now on to step two - have a better pregnancy and birth!
I talked to other home birth mamas and did hours and hours of research. After the impersonal at best and negligent at worst OB care I received I decided to see a midwife and have a home birth.
My second pregnancy went much better than the first one. I ate healthier, exercised and didn't gain as much weight. I got plenty of rest and relaxation and didn't have any problems. No diabetes, no toxemia, no swelling. I looked and felt so much better this time. We took a Bradley class which was great. We met nice people and learned a lot of good information about staying healthy and gained confidence through knowledge.
I didn't have any more contractions until the day after his due date, December 8th. I woke up at 6:30 with contractions 2-4 minutes apart, but they were still rather mild. When they didn't go away after we ate, I called the midwife and let her know what was going on and that I probably wouldn't make it to my appointment we had at 11.
I labored pretty calmly without much fuss. Brandon would support me and remind me to relax and he made them so much better when I could lean on him. At 10:45 he called my midwife and asked her to come over because the contractions were getting much more intense. She came over and checked me at 11:30. To our surprise, I was already 9 cm dilated. Wow. I thought to myself. This is going to be a piece of cake! With the ok from the midwife (Toni) I hopped in the bathtub and Toni called her assistant Liz (whom I had by chance met at the grocery store the week before) and they set up the room with plastic and equipment while I labored in the tub. The bathtub made the contractions feel better and I laughed and joked around between them.
When I started to feel shaky and queezy I decided that it was time to get out of the bathtub. When I looked around my bedroom it was an amazing transformation! Everything was set up and ready with supplies and the bed had plastic under the sheets. The pillows were even encased in plastic with the pillow cases over them. They were super efficient. The contractions were much more intense after I was out of the tub. Toni checked me and said I still had a lip of cervix that needed to get out of the way. She gave me some options, wait, stand up during contractions, break water. I said I wanted all three because it was getting quite painful and I was having a hard time relaxing. When the cervix lip was finally gone, they told me that I could start pushing, but I did not like that at all! I screamed so loud the windows shook and jumped up mid contraction. Toni almost got kicked in the head (sorry!) I didn't feel stable on the birth stool, the bed was much too painful, pushing hurt more than not pushing so I breathed through some of the contractions. I was getting very panicky by this time and Toni, Liz and Brandon were all working together to help calm me down. In my head what they were saying made sense, but my body just wanted to say NO, GO AWAY, and RUN myself out of there.
Toni suggested I go to the shower again and have a couple of contractions so we tried that and then I sat on the toilet. I finally got the real urge to push when I was on the toilet and he dropped down almost immediately. They hauled me off the toilet and back to the birth stool. Brandon figured out the best way to support me, with his arms supporting me under my arms and I pushed! Because he was behind me he didn't get to see Ehren coming out but I really needed him there to use as leverage.
As I was pushing I closed my eyes it seemed like I was no longer in my own body, I could vaguely hear what was going on but it didn't feel like it was me there. Toni told Liz to get me some oxygen and that gave me strength (perhaps only in my head like Dumbo's magic feather). I felt a ring of fire which was worse during the break between contractions and then after two contractions they told me his head was out. I figured the rest of him would slide out like the other babies I had seen, but no such luck. I had to keep pushing and felt a ring of fire again (what? Nobody told me about that!) and finally I felt the little legs slither out and a giant blue baby was put on my chest. Liz gave him some oxygen and he turned pink and cried immediately. Toni immediately thanked God for the safe delivery of Ehren. (I'm so glad the spiritualism of Ehren's birth was honored by my midwife!)
He was born at 2:17 in the afternoon after a labor that lasted less than 8 hours.
He laid on my chest until the cord stopped pulsing and then Toni clamped it and Brandon cut it. My mom and Lily came into the room as soon as they heard him cry and I was so happy to see them!
Ehren was cleaned with a towel and wrapped in a blanket while I moved to the bed to deliver the placenta. One little push and it was out (much easier!) I got to hold Ehren and look at him and nobody took him away.
After a while, Toni checked me and found a superficial but long tear along my (unnecessary) episiotomy scar that I got with my first baby. She gave me two stitches which didn't hurt much at all. She had been supporting me with warm washcloths and olive oil while I pushed (which felt much better).
I felt like quite a wuss about the whole transition and pushing and all the whining and complaining I put everyone through, but when they weighted and measured Ehren he was 10 pounds 1/2 oz and had a 13 3/4 inch head (moulded) and a 15 inch chest. OH. Ok, well I didn't feel quite as wussy when I found that out. Toni also said that the giant baby head might have been dragging my cervix down instead of the cervix moving out of the way for it so that would have contributed to the difficult transition and me not wanting to push.
Recovery has been great! I feel good emotionally and physically. Didn't have very much soreness like with Lily with the exception of my back and arm muscles.
|My father and Ehren on his birthday|
Looking back I'm so glad we had a home birth. Ehren was born so healthy and perfect with nobody tugging on him with forceps or trying to section me for a "big baby". It is frightening to me to think about what could have happened at the hospital with the tendency of the Dr.s to overreact and the position I would have been forced to push in. Article about lithotomy position
|Ehren at 6 months old|
I have grown so much from that experience. I used to think in my head that I was in control of my life and circumstances, but labor showed me that GOD is in control. I could not escape the feeling and had to surrender to it and ride it out. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but a valuable one for a mother.
P.S. My home birth cost 1/5 the price of the hospital birth and my midwife must have spent about 10X more time with me. She actually stayed with me and cleaned up afterwards. I was treated like royalty instead of just another patient. It felt nice to be mothered. :-)