Birth Stories

Miss C is 6 months today.

Six! Whole! Months!

Wow – time sure flies. I remember how the days seem to draaaaag when Miss A was that age – but with 2 (and granted, Miss A was pretty colicky and I was pretty PPD’ed – it does make a difference 😉 ), there’s no time to think about that! I feel very fortunate, as both my girls seem to love each other very much. No jealousy issue from Miss A! She absolutely ADORES her sister! Sure, she gets cranky and throws tantrums,  but they are more because she sometimes gets bored than because she is jealous.

But in any case! I thought I would celebrate C’s half year by posting her birth story, seeing as I haven’t done so yet. And since I didn’t have this blog with A was born, I might as well share her’s too! She is, in any case 2 and ¾ years old (since March 12th). That’s a milestone too!

.
A’s Birth Story
Miss A arrived at 38 and a half week – after a false scare of threatened preterm labour at 24 weeks followed by a bed rest, she was right on “time” 🙂

A night or so before, DH and I timed contractions for about an hour. But nothing came out of that. No baby. Then in the night between June 11th and June 12th, I woke up at 3 am, needing to, well, pee. As I was debating getting up or not, I heard a loud POP! and thought: either I’ve had the most massive biggest gas ever, or my water just broke… Sure enough, it was my waters.

Wake up the husband, he starts packing the car while I send a quick note to our in-laws and call my mom who is supposed to come to the birth (our in-laws live 5 hours away, my parents about 2 hours away). At this point, I haven’t had any contractions yet – none at all. I’m just very… leaky.

The hospital is a good 35 min away across town, and we arrive there around 4 am. I had maybe one contraction in the car, but that’s it. I’m feeling pretty good, in fact I’m just hoping they won’t be sending me home 😉 But turns out I’m at 4 cm and 90% effaced, so they keep me. I get my second (first-ish) contraction at about that time, around 4:30 am.

And it just really snowballed from there. They prepped a birthing room and we move in there – our doula arrives. By that time (say, about 4:45 to 5:00 am) I’m working HARD. The contractions decided they were ready to start coming, and they were COMING. We go in the bath tub for a while, it was nice, but frankly, it was pretty intense and I hated not “moving”. My mom arrives around 6 am.

I move to the birthing ball, sitting on it and resting on the bed. That turned out to be my favourite position – anytime I moved from there, it hit hard and bad. I didn’t really walk around much – I was really happiest rolling back and forth on the ball. 😉 We do that for awhile – mostly on the ball, sometimes trying to move – and the contractions keep on coming, each one stronger than the last one. I lost track of time at that point, but basing it on when my daughter was born, I’d say that around 8:45-8:50 am, the nurse checks me and declares I’m at about 7 cm, so we decide to try the tub again.

As I’m waiting for it to fill (we were the lucky recipients of the one leaking tub in the hospital so we had to keep refilling it), I sat down on the toilet and had a contraction – and had to PUSH. Right there, right now. I also felt I had to get UP so I wouldn’t have this baby on the toilet..! A quick on the spot check and the nurse said she could feel the baby, so we went back to the bed.

I pushed for maybe… 15 min, on my knees, and then turned over. 2 more pushes, and Miss A came out, screaming as soon as her head was out, without waiting for the bum to follow… And then she peed on me.

And that was our first meeting, on June 12th 2008, at 9:27 am, at 7 lbs 1 oz – a mere 6.5 hours after my water broke, and 4 hours after I had my first contraction. No wonder it felt intense!

.
C’s Birth Story
C’s pregnancy went smoother than A’s, primarily because I did not have preterm labour and had to consider bed (ahem, part time, with a toddler around) rest. That sure helps 😉

This time around, we went with a midwife. I have absolutely no complaint about the hospital and the OB we chose for Miss A’s birth. The hospital is extremely mother-baby friendly, highly supportive of breastfeeding (they helped me a LOT with A, who never really latched on – but that’s a whole other story for another time), practice rooming-in (they don’t even have a nursery, except a small one for sick babies), and are respectful of your birthing wishes. The first thing they told me? “Ok, I see you have a birth plan here. I looked it over and I want you to know we’ll do all our possible to follow your wishes.” Awesome.

BUT. A hospital OB is a hospital OB. Appointments are 5 minutes long, and she’s always running late. She is not the one who birthed A, as she was not the on-duty OB that day (though she was in and she popped by to say hi). I wanted the continuity of care a midwife team would offer, and the more personalized appointments.

And I also wanted a homebirth.

Part of the reason I went for a homebirth was because A’s labour had been so fast, and statistically, second labours are twice as fast. 4 hours means… 2 hours. Hospital is 35-40 min away (the hospital my midwifery group practices at is the same at which I had Miss A). Of course, I could have gone on to have a 15 hours labour. But, the risk is still there, and you’re safe to have a baby at home, or at the hospital, but not quite on the highway, halfway in between, on the backseat of your car. No thank you!

That practical reason aside, I also wanted a homebirth for personal and ideological reasons. I believe in the woman’s ability to birth babies. Sure, there are emergencies. But we also have to keep in mind that midwives, contrary to OB’s, are trained in normal labours. Which means they are highly efficient at noticing when something is NOT normal, and transferring care. And they usually see it much sooner than a hospital OB would since they are with you all the time, and from Day 1. An OB waltz into the room at the last minute when the nurses yells that the baby is coming, catches the baby, and waltz back out – and it’s not even the OB you saw throughout your pregnancy.

I don’t want to generalize – some people see out of hospital OB’s, who are also the ones birthing their babies. Some (most) OB’s are excellent doctors and surgeons. And some pregnancies do require the more medical follow-up of an OB. But for normal, low-risk pregnancies – homebirths are absolutely indicated and totally fine. (I’m not an expert though, and these are not expert opinions. If you are considering a homebirth,, I would suggest you do your own research on the matter. Mothering would be a good starting point.)

What about pain medication, you ask? Well, I didn’t take any with A. Didn’t want to, and frankly, it was just too fast anyway for it to have had time to have effect, let alone THINK about it. I tend to be naturally inclined anyway, and if I can avoid interventions and drugs, I prefer to do so.

So this being said, we opted for the homebirth. It’s not as complicated as one would think, and was quite enjoyable, really 🙂 Especially the part right after birth where I could stay on my own mattress, in my own home, not have to move or get in the car, and Miss A could be right there with us from the start too. Bliss!
.

On to the birth story –

At 11:45 pm I was reading my book in bed and fell asleep on it, so I closed the light and went to bed. At about 12:15 am, I woke up needing to, again, pee. Except that it wasn’t “pee” – again, my water had just broken (though I didn’t hear the “pop” this time).

I wake my husband and we prepare the mattress in the living room, were we chose to labour and birth (tip: you put clean sheets, over that plastic sheets – we used plastic table cloths from the dollarstore – and above that, old sheets you don’t mind ruining! When it’s all over, you rip the top sheets and plastic sheets and voilà, bed is ready for you!) I got him to call the doula (same as the one with A) and our midwife – I could NOT talk on the phone. I felt like pushing right then and there.

Our doula lives close by, she arrives a few minutes later. She didn’t tell me then, but she thought: “Ok midwives, I never had to catch a baby and I don’t want to start today. You better get here soon!” Yea, I was working hard 😉

Midwives arrived around 1:45 am. Usually your main midwife will get here first, and call the second midwife when you approach transition. Except in my case, they knew I might go fast, and so they had planned to arrive together from the start. Good thing they did…

By then, I really feel like I need to push, so the midwife tells me to go with my instincts. But it doesn’t seem to be doing anything, so we change tactics: birthing stool, all fours, walking, tens machine for some lower back pain. At around 3 am the need to push was intense again, so we gave it another go – by then I was standing up, leaning on my doula. After a couple of pushes, at 3:37 am on September 21st, little Miss C was born, right here at home, at a whooping 9 lbs 8 oz! I kept measuring small for my dates, so no one was expecting that – goes to show how precise these “estimates” are 😉

Total time of labour: just about 3 hours (I had NO contractions at 11:45 pm when I went to bed!) And according to the midwife, the only reason it took that “long” was because the baby was bigger, and needed more room – if it had been a 7 lbs baby like her sister, she would have probably been born much sooner, perhaps the first times I felt I needed to push.

.
I don’t waste time in the labour process it seems 😉 Granted, fast labours are INTENSE though. There’s no time for transitions, or for contractions to find a groove. It’s Go Go Go, with each contractions significantly stronger than the last one. Add to that a symphisis pubis (ligament in the pubic bone swollen and stretched from the pregnancy; nothing serious, pops back into place, but still quite painful) and lower back pain from laying in bed all day before due to a cold, and, yep – intense. I never felt I was “in” it, it was all rushed and then it was over.

But, at least, it’s short lived! And then – beautiful baby 🙂

.
I was very satisfied with my homebirth, it felt good and empowering to be at home in your own things. A did wake up during labour, but we had previous arrangements with a neighbour for them to watch her. Around 4 am they brought her back and visited the baby a few minutes, and we could introduce A to her little sister 🙂 She went back to bed around 5 am, and we were able to rest a bit too – with no outside distractions. At 9 Miss A woke up – and wanted to go see her little sister right away! By the afternoon, she was playing around and watching a video, DH was doing the dishes, and I was sitting in the recliner nursing the baby. How’s that for comfortable?

.
.
HAPPY 6th MONTH, MISS C!
.
.