I made a promise a long time ago to write out my reflections and thoughts regarding my son’s birth, and ten months later, I’m finally getting around to it.
Here is what I do remember.
I struggled and still do with how fast my labor was. In case you’re reading this for the first time, I arrived at the birth center in raging labor, with contractions right on top of each other (convinced I was in transition) and my midwife let me know I was four cm. I honestly thought I would have to leave and get an epidural because I had no idea how I would manage if the contractions worsened. The good news is that the pain of the contractions never got worse, only the pressure below intensified. I should mention that we arrived at the birth center somewhere between 5:35 and 5:45 and I was 4 cm when we arrived and I birthed my son at 6:13 pm. That means that active labor, transition, pushing - and kablamo – babe in arms was less than 45 minutes. That’s crazy fast. CRAZY!
Which leads me to say something that might shock you.
I think it was too fast! I didn’t enjoy it. (Let me be clear, I liked the environment of my birth, and the people who supported me.) But laboring that fast is not something that I would ever choose to do again. In fact, if given the option to choose between my ten hour labor with my daughter (OP with back labor) and my four hour labor with my son, I would choose the ten hour labor. Laboring as fast as I did prevented me from getting a mental grip on the contractions; they blew through me. Labor just kind of happened to me. There was no meditative thinking, or reflections in between contractions, there was no connecting with my baby in labor, there was no quiet peaceful moments in between – I was full blown hanging on for dear life (I’m talking about once I hit active labor at the birth center, the three hours before that point while I was at home, up until about thirty minutes before we left for the birth center, I was still wondering if I was even in actual labor).
The tub helped immensely. I am so glad and grateful that I had the option of laboring and birthing in the water. I do remember that for the very brief time I was in the water that I did have a few moments in between contractions where I could rest. In fact, I remember my co-worker and friend ( fellow birth assistant that was assisting with my birth) was taking pictures. She snaps one of Jean, the midwife, and Lynne, the co-owner of the birth center, where they give big smiles and thumbs up, I happened to look up from the tub at that moment and I decided it would be funny to photo bomb the pic (since I was in the background) and I gave a big huge smile and thumbs up with them- I was 8 or 9 cms at that point. I guess I’m just trying to prove the point of when you’re not contracting, you’re pretty normal…and so those breaks are nice. I’m glad once I got in the tub, I had a couple.
Because when it was time to push, it was TIME. I think I had three pushes. One big push the bag of waters broke, another big push his head emerged and the then one more big push and he was born. The ring of fire this time was really painful. I still clench just thinking about it. When I asked Jean why this time it hurt so much more than with Zoe, she suggested it may have to do with the fact that my 2nd stage of labor with Zoe was longer (about 25 minutes of pushing) and so my perineum had time to stretch and with Noah that wasn’t the case. I pushed for about three minutes and he shot out like a rocket.
I could barely believe it. I mean, didn’t I just get to the birth center, and now I’m holding my son. I looked up almost in disbelieve and that’s when I saw that I was surrounded by faces that were smiling and supporting me. My midwife, my friends, my mom, my husband. They were all quiet but just exuding love. It was this perfect moment that I will always remember - the sense of being encircled with love and honor and feeling completely safe – that moment was really powerful.
Once I caught my breath from that crazy labor ride, I looked down and took in my son, the son that was shaped and formed inside of my own body. Noah. I held him in my arms and gushed about how I loved him and would always love him. I wish I could remember my exact words – (this is when I wish I had a video of my birth), but it felt like a I was saying my Mom vows in the same way wedding vows are spoken. I was spontaneously ignited with love and commitment and in front of my husband, my family and friends I spoke out my vows of love to my son.
Then reality hit – and I started contracting. What? Didn’t I just have my baby? Shouldn’t this be over with? I was holding my brand new son in the tub, his cord still pulsing, and I actually asked my midwife if she was sure that there wasn’t another baby in there because the contractions were unbelievably strong. Even after birthing the placenta, they continued with a lot of strength and momentum. I was in pain for several days postpartum – especially when nursing. Of course, we know that this is to be expected with multips, and that it is within the range of normal, but I was still taken aback by it.
Two hours after I gave birth, Noah and I were given a clean bill of health and went home! Awesome. And here’s something that was really cool. I was glad that I got to go home and put Zoe to bed that night. That was a big worry I had about labor, if I had a long labor and we were gone for hours into the night, how would Zoe respond to someone else putting her to bed? (only Peter and I had ever put her to bed at night) Fortunately, my labor was so fast we were home by 8:30pm and so I got to read Zoe her stories and say prayers and kiss her goodnight. That was a special memory for me. I don’t know how to describe it, but it was like…hey, yeah, I gave birth two hours ago, but no sweat, I’m home and putting my daughter to bed…that’s right, that’s how I roll. (C’mon I was on a natural birth high.)
My recovery was awesome. Easy in fact. I barely tore, a first degree tear that didn’t require stitches, (Zoe had a nuchal hand, and that caused some 2nd degree tearing and stitches.) I barely had postpartum bleeding, which was another benefit of drinking red raspberry leaf tea and ingesting my placenta. My milk came in Friday morning (I gave birth on Wednesday evening). Noah gained weight like a champ. It was a success in so many ways.
And there you have it, that’s the gist of what I’ve wanted to put on paper. I may take part in The Birth Interview Project, and If I do, I’ll link it up to this post.