Seamus’s Birth was pretty much everything that we could have hoped for. After the crazy disaster (or near disaster) that was Declan’s birth, we were determined to do it differently should we have a second baby. I did a lot of reading on birth in preparation, and spent a lot less time learning about the pregnancy itself. I read The Birthing Book by the Dr. Sears, re-read Orgasmic Birth, and read Hypnobirthing. We didn’t take a class this time and instead practiced at home when we could. I wrote up a distinct birth plan (will do a later post of that in a couple days) and found a doula to support us for the birth. My doula was a friend from High School who is studying to become a doula and she did such an amazing job – we couldn’t have had better support for this birth!
Back to the Birth itself. Around the full moon in April – A blood moon, I’m told – I started experiencing prodromal labor. It would pick up in the evening and be consistent then die off. I was super happy it was dying off and never got terribly regular! I didn’t want a repeat of Declan’s birth! I started to suspect that I wouldn’t make it to 40 weeks with this pregnancy either.
Thankfully, once the full moon passed, the prodromal stuff stopped completely and we went on with life as usual. Around 36 weeks the prodromal labor returned. Nothing crazy, but present. I timed the contractions, but never felt at all concerned – and I was right! at my 36 week appointment I was effacing, but not dilating at all. Whoo hoo! Maybe I’ll make it after all!
Then, on May 6 I had a little spotting after a morning at the park with my monkey. I knew it was the start of my bloody show, but I also knew that I had show with Declan about 2 weeks before he made his appearance. I let my husband, doula (Chevy), and mom know so they would know that it *could* be soon. That afternoon contractions picked up, but weren’t at all painful and I didn’t think too much of it and went on with my day as usual. Then, at 2am on May 7th, I woke up with an actual painful contraction and a little more show. I was convinced something was happening now, so we contacted my doula and mom and started to prepare for things to happen. As the morning progressed the contractions got super consistent at about 1:20 apart and stayed there for a while. We decided to head to the hospital around 4am. In triage they found me to be about 3cm dilated and while I waited, the contractions slowed way down. We decided to leave, get breakfast, and go for a walk to see if we could get it to kick into high gear. So, off to breakfast and home to the monkey and my mom. The whole gang went to the park and my doula and I set off to walking. Sure enough, the contractions picked up, but I could still stride through them, talk through them and function fully.
We went home and started to putter around the house. Contractions picked up big time. I was having to stop and focus and Chevy started applying blessed counter pressure.
But, before you get too excited… I started to get tired. REALLY tired. It was now around 1pm and I’d been awake and moving since 2am. around 2pm the contractions slowed. I slowed. And then they stopped. I decided to nap. I had a few contractions while dozing, but nothing like they had been. ok. So, we had stalled. Chevy had a suspicion as to why.
I was watching my beautiful boy, wondering how I could do this, change his life so much. Grieving that our ‘just the two of us’ thing would be over. How could I focus on this new baby when my first baby was so amazing? Chevy had me talk to her about what might be holding me back emotionally, physically. I broke down. I wrote letters – one for each boy. Then we tried one more walk and decided things were pretty much done for the day. We sent everybody home and settled in for a normal night. Captain Awesome and I slept like the dead that night. I got about 8 hours of sleep for the first time since I hit the 3rd trimester and that felt amazing. I woke up feeling refreshed and looking forward to another day with my little love and we enjoyed a nice, NORMAL, day. Midwife appointment, grocery store, nap, students, park…
At the 38 week midwife appointment, she informed me I was at 5cm and since I was GBS positive and this was a second baby, we should probably head to the hospital when things picked up again because they could go fast and if I didn’t get the full dose of antibiotics they could make us stay longer at the hospital.
At around 6pm, after Captain Awesome got home from work, I noticed contractions picking up again. Again, I let people know that stuff was happening and that we’d contact them when/if we needed them. Contractions continued to pick up and I decided to shower and go to bed and see if I could get some rest.
I managed a doze, but that was about all. Contractions seemed to be picking up where they left off the day before. We contacted my mom so she could (hopefully) go to sleep and get some real sleep rather than having to switch beds in the middle of the night. Then we contacted Chevy. Soon everyone was assembled and we decided to not wait and just head into the hospital based on my midwife’s advice.
After some here and there (I wasn’t dilating fast when we went in) I was admitted. As soon as I was allowed to stand up, contractions started rocking again and it was decided that we made the right decision. I was in the right head space and we were going to rock this!
Progression seemed slow. The contractions were still fairly manageable with breathing and I was happy to walk around the hospital and experience labor. At one point I took a nap – aware of contractions happening, but enjoying some much needed rest. I went into a strange time warp and was happy to just slip out of ‘real time.’ At some point in the morning, the midwife came in, said I was progressing, but slowly. I was having really frequent and intense contractions that I was barely registering (dubbed ninja contractions by captain awesome), so they didn’t want to send me home, but they were a little concerned about how slow progression was (afraid I’d be sent home and become what the nurse called a ‘stop and drop’) – so the midwife offered to sweep my membranes. I had thought I wouldn’t want to do that before I was in labor, but it sounded like a welcome intervention at this point. Unlike last time, the membrane sweep didn’t hurt at all! It actually TICKLED and I made everyone bust up laughing by giggling and saying in surprise “it tickles!” Apparently the best ever response to a membrane sweep!
After that, I went on a walk with Captain Awesome. It was so nice holding hands and walking kind of like we did back when we were dating, except in hospital corridors with doctors and nurses and the occasional newborn cry.
Around the time we returned to our birthing suite the midwife who ended up delivering Seamus came in to introduce herself. We were delivering at a hospital where you get whoever is on call. We were prepared for that and found that every midwife we saw in the journey was truly amazing and we loved them all!
After the ‘tickling’ membrane sweep, things picked up a tad. It was getting progressively more intense and I was having to vocalize through contractions, whereas before I could just breathe through them. At this point Chevy, C.A. and I had an impromptu dance party. I had asked for some music and, as I could feel baby low in my pelvis, and the contractions were aching, I began walking like an old, saddle-sore cowboy. Which turned into awkward cowboy dance moves. My dance moves had the other two in hysterics and we’re pretty sure the nurses kept dropping in to hang out because they liked the laughter! Really, it was because I was on intermittent monitoring and they had to pop in to check things outMy soundtrack for this part of labor was Crazy Frog, I like to move it, and other classics along that line! :-P . I guess between the low squats and dance moves plus the sweep, I developed a leak in my bag of waters because I started spontaneously leaking!
All of a sudden the surges got ‘real.’ I found the best way to get through them was by bending forward or dropping on the floor in child’s pose and having Chevy apply counter pressure on my lower back and hips. A little later we utilized Captain Awesome as a ‘support tree’ – He would hook his arms under my armpits and support me so I could drop my weight into his support completely and vocalize through the contraction. The child’s pose on the floor was my preferred position at this point, but I still wanted music! In fact, I was singing in between surges and low vocalizing when they hit. Captain Awesome found a couple ‘new’ tracks to play for this part and at one point the three of us were sitting on the singing (harmonizing – we were all choir nerds at some point!) along with the tracks. My favorites at this point were Straight No Chaser’s In the Jungle and Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy.
Around here I decided I really wanted to give the shower a go for pain relief. I had crawled onto the bed with a heat pack for a couple contractions, so we had to snatch moments in between to strip me down and get me into the shower. Captain Awesome snuck off and got into his suit and into the shower with me. The water was AMAZING. I happily labored in the water for about an hour then crawled back in bed… just in time to hit transition.
Part of my brain – the part that wasn’t in control and had stepped back to watch the show – knew that I had hit transition. All of a sudden I felt a contraction coming and knew that it was followed by a bunch of nonstop contractions and I flipped out! The true give away was me yelling “ALL DONE!!!” like my little monkey does. And the tears. I was a wailing child and contractions were on top of each other hitting like strong waves in a storm.
At this point I definitely went into the animalistic part of my brain and I had no concept of much of anything – just small moments that pop out. At some point the midwife came in and was applying counterpressure with my doula while Captain Awesome was stroking my head and our amazing nurse was also hands on. And she must have checked me (which I wasn’t aware of) and I heard her say “9-10 and a lip” and then she had them roll me over to the other side. People telling me I can push if I want to and it might feel better if I do. My body doing ‘pushy’ things that felt off, so me crying and panting through the contractions. A sudden release that felt like a water slide and suddenly feeling the baby crowning. A couple monster pushes, spaced out somewhat. The midwife saying “reach down and take your baby”
and suddenly, I had a squalling, blue and red squalling boy in my arms, on my chest. And he peed on me. But it was perfect. He was perfect.
I got to hold him for an hour, skin to skin, while they delivered my placenta (stubborn and sticky again – so they also brought in an ultrasound to make sure they didn’t miss any. Interestingly the Doctor who did the ultrasound was the one who did my D&C after Declan.), stitched up a small first degree perineal tear, and dealt with some hemorrhaging (totally taken care of by pitocin and some kind of suppository). I lost a little blood, but nowhere near what I lost with my first birth! He nursed before they took him away from me (across the room to the baby station!) and he latched like a pro on his first try!
All of a sudden, my doula, midwife, and nurse looked at each other and one of them said; “He was face up.” Holy Cow, I just delivered a baby in Occiput Posterior position! Completely naturally with no assistance (vaccum, forceps, etc). I guess it also explained why it took as long as it did for me to progress from 7cm to full completion and why my contractions were hurting pretty intensely!
This Birth was everything we had hoped for and then some. Natural, supported, and uneventful! A completely healing experience – in the same hospital! Baby S and I were doing so well that we were released after 24 hours. We knew what we wanted this time and went for it. We had support (our amazing doula), a solid birth plan, and our voices ready to go to defend our birth plan – which we didn’t even need to do!