Every birth is different. That is a phrase I must have heard about a hundred times while I was pregnant with my baby boy. I thought that since I had gone thru one birth, I should know what to expect with the second. It may be longer or shorter in length but I would be prepared for anything. I could not have been more wrong. My birth with Elias was such a contrast to my first with Alondra.
I tried, without success, to not have a set due date in my mind. If people would ask, I would say Mid-July. My husband had a two week training right smack in the middle of July. So because of this, I always kept two dates in my thoughts. July 10 th and July 15th which were my due dates according to my menstrual cycle plus five days wiggle room that my midwife gives. Joe took off for training on the 8th. Both dues dates came and went with not even the hint of labor. Somewhere between my due dates, my MIL joked that Elias was waiting until his dad came home. When she said it, the prospect of being pregnant past the 20th completely discouraged me. Well, she was right. Joe came home on the 20th and still no baby! So you can imagine my excitement at the first contraction at 1am on the 22nd. Everyone was sleeping. My labor with Alondra was very long and I decided to wait before waking Joe. They continued regularly for about two hours and then just stopped completely at about 3 am. I was so excited that something was happening. I just told, myself maybe one more day. I continued with my regular routine. Then at about 1 pm. The contractions started up again. They felt slightly more intense than the ones before so I let Joe know that this might be it. I waited another two hours before informing my midwife (Beth) and doula (Liz).
We let Beth know we needed to make a last minute trip to HEB before it got more intense. She asked that we call her when we were on our way back home so that she could head over. We ended up at HEB at about 5pm. I had noticed that the contractions were growing in intensity a little bit faster than with Alondra. But thought I still had a lot of time. My first birth was about 27 hours from 1st contraction to holding my little girl in my arms. I didn’t make it out of HEB without having to stop and breath thru my contractions. I remember being in the cereal isle, squatting, and breathing thru one of the more intense ones. I told Joe to go pay while I walked around and that I would meet him at the car. I think I nagged at him on the way home every time he drove over a pothole or slight bump in the road. I just wanted to be home and able to do whatever I could to get thru each contraction. Joe called Beth once we arrived. I changed into my running shoes, and workout clothes. Then I started walking up and down our street. The fresh air and walking movement was so helpful. We had already warned our neighbors that there might be cars in front of our house for the birth. We joked with them not to call the cops when they heard me in labor. It was planned and I was fine. But every time I told one of them that it was time, I got the “Are you NUTS?” look.
Beth arrived at about 6:30 pm and Liz arrived shortly after. I continued to walk while they got set up inside my home. Once they contractions caused me to double over, I decided to move inside. Which was at about 7:30 pm. I changed into my night gown and told Beth I was ready for her to check my progress. I remember being amazed when she told me I was already 4-5 centimeters dilated. I was managing the pain pretty well. My first labor had me on hands and knees, bent over the edge of the bed by 3 cm.
At about 9pm, Joe took Alondra to our neighbors home. I was becoming more vocal during contractions and he could tell she was becoming anxious. I continued to do well handling contractions. My doula, Liz is amazing! She helped me work thru each one.
I do not remember very clearly when I reached 9-10 cm. But that is when I moved to the birthing chair. My water broke while I was sitting. This came with an immense relief of pressure and also a bit of anxiety. I know from experience that my water breaking also means an increase in the intensity of my contractions. That is when I lost the handle I had on pain management. My MIL arrived and broke down in tears the moment she saw me. I lost track of her and everyone else after that.
I began pushing once I felt the urge. Elias would come down but would move right back up after each attempt. I don’t remember how much time passed. Beth suggested we change position to see if it made a difference. We moved to the bed with me on my hands and knees. Just when I thought my contractions couldn’t get any worse, they did. I thought I couldn’t take any more. I pushed with every bit of strength I had but Elias would not crown. I can still hear Beth’s voice in my head as I was pushing. “C’mon baby! Come on out! C’mon!” But every time he came down, he moved right back up.
Then, finally he was out. It wasn’t a gradual, head first then shoulders and body like with Alondra. He just came out, all at once. He started to cry immediately. Beth told us he was sunny side up (posterior) which makes it more difficult and painful to push down the birth canal. I started sobbing and turned unto my back. Beth placed him on my chest and I was so relieved and utterly happy, nothing else mattered. He was perfect, healthy and in my arms at last.
He felt so tiny. Elias was born at a pound lighter and am inch longer than my daughter. So he didn’t feel quite as round as she did.
I held him against my chest and covered him with his blanket. He began sniffing around and opening his little mouth letting me know he was hungry. I breastfed my sweet baby boy while Beth and Liz continued to monitor us. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him and did not pay much attention to what was going on around me. Joe cut the umbilical cord. Then my baby’s nursing triggered the contractions that helped me deliver the placenta. I continued to take in the sight of my new baby as he nursed. That is when my MIL came back in the room with my daughter. I will never forget the moment they finally met. She was so gentle with her new baby brother. I could help but to start crying again.
Beth took him to the end of the bed to measure and weigh him. 7 lbs. 1 oz. , 19.5 inches. Time of birth 11:52pm on Friday, July 22nd. 2011.
I am still amazed by how different my two birth experiences have been. As intense as delivering my little boy was, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. He was definitely worth the wait.