I’m a little behind getting this update posted. I ended up having a baby before I could post this last month and well, that slowed things down a lot.
The last month of my pregnancy was actually pretty great. Physically, I needed naps almost daily and my hips and back started to act up a little as my joints loosened, but overall I felt awesome. I worked out up until two days before I went into labor which I think contributed to so few aches this time and to a relatively quick healing time after delivery. The last few weeks when I was pregnant with Silas were so taxing on me mentally. My dates were off and I ended up delivering a week after my second possible due date. I really was convinced that I would be the first woman to stay pregnant forever. I was in such a better place emotionally this time. While I was excited to meet this new baby, I was in no rush to do so. I knew that as wonderful as it would be with him here, so many things would change and become more difficult. I was too busy soaking up the time I had with just one kid to stress out about when I would go into labor.
Around 37 weeks, I noticed an increase in the frequency and intensity of Braxton Hicks contractions I was getting. I drove myself crazy with Silas, anticipating labor with every change in sensation, so this time I chose to ignore the increasing BH contractions. I welcomed them because I knew that it meant my body was working toward labor, but I also knew that they would give me no information about when I would have my baby. Out of my mom’s nine kids, my sister’s three and my Silas, only one baby came early on his own. The babies in my family just like to stay put until after 40 weeks and I was prepared to make it that long or longer this time too.
Early morning on July 29 (39 weeks + 4 days), I woke up with some cramping and had a few contractions that felt a lot stronger than I had been having in the weeks prior. While I was taking note of these changes, my mom was on a plane on her way to stay with us for 3 weeks. I started to worry about my husband making the 2.5 hour round trip to pick her up from the airport later that morning, but convinced myself that labor was probably still days or weeks away and I fell asleep. By the time my husband left to pick my mom up at 6:30am, I was still having sporadic contractions. I made the executive decision not to work out that morning just in case I was going to be pushing a baby out later and showered and drank a hot cup of coffee in silence instead. My mom and husband were back home around 10 and by that point contractions had basically stopped. Reflecting back on that day, I believe my mind/body was simply waiting for everyone to be present and ready. My husband had to go into work for a few hours so my mom and I just talked while Silas dug around her luggage for gifts. Throughout the day I had more irregular contractions, but I continued to ignore them. Nothing seemed to be changing at that point, so I continued to doubt anything was going to happen that day.
At around 2pm, my mom finally went to take a nap because you know, jet lag. Almost immediately after she went upstairs, I had a contraction that was much stronger than the ones I had been having. Ten minutes later I had another and after ten more minutes there came another. From 2:30pm-3:30pm contractions were 6-7 minutes apart, but still totally manageable and only 30 seconds long. From 3:30pm-4:30pm contractions were 3-4 minutes apart, but still totally manageable and only 35-40 seconds long. By that time, my husband had come home from work and my mom had woken up. When I was around both of them and Silas, talking and trying to function as normal, my contractions all but stopped. I went upstairs to listen to one of my Blissborn (hypnosis for childbirth) tracks to see if they would pick up and after doing that, they were 3 minutes apart, but still only 40-45 seconds and still manageable. I had a prenatal appointment scheduled for 7:15pm that night and we waited until 6:45pm to call and tell my midwives I wasn’t going to make it in. I still didn’t feel like I was in active labor, but I knew that sitting in a car would be really uncomfortable and at that point, I needed to breathe through the contractions. Based on the information we gave her, my midwife said she would stop by to check on me.
My midwife arrived at our house around 7:30pm and checked my blood pressure, baby’s heart rate and my dilation. At 7:45pm I was 4cm and fully effaced. She said she would check me again in two hours to see how I’ve progressed and that she could stay at our house or go back to the office (only 10 min away) during that time. Since I already knew that being around too many people made my contractions slow down, I sent her on her way. She left by 7:50pm and almost immediately after she drove away my contractions doubled and then tripled in intensity. I started to think that I couldn’t do it anymore. That deciding to have another baby was the stupidest idea I had ever had. I immediately recognized these thoughts as those that come with hitting transition, but I also knew I was only 4cm. I had to have several hours ahead of me still. A couple contractions later and I started to feel intense pressure. I told my husband I felt like my water was going to break. I started to moan to get through each contraction and my mom heard me from downstairs. As a midwife, she knew what the sounds I was making meant. At 8:10pm, she told my husband to call the midwife back.
When I was still unsure if I was going into labor that day, I had my husband set up the birth pool. We were waiting to fill it until I was in active labor, but by the time I was sure I was in labor, it was too late to fill it. Since I was still in denial about how fast things were progressing (I was still 4cm, right?), I told my husband to put some water in the bathtub so I could sit in it until he filled up the pool. My mom had to step in and tell us both that the baby was going to come before that. Meanwhile, Silas, who had been sleeping in his bed in the next room, woke up crying because I was being too loud. My husband tried to negotiate with him to get him back to sleep and I had to remind him that I was in the middle of something a little more important. Silas could watch Spiderman and eat all the chocolate and never go to bed. Just give him all of your money and get back over here.
At 8:20pm, I was sitting in the bath when my body started bearing down and my midwife arrived. She quickly checked me and I was 10cm. The tub was too narrow to find a comfortable position to get in to push, but it would have taken everyone lifting me out of the tub to get me to move to the floor or bed. In between contractions I remember telling my mom that I wasn’t ready. I was in the middle of pushing my baby out and I still wasn’t sure if I’d actually be giving birth that day. After pushing for a couple of contractions, my water broke at 8:25pm and after the next contraction, I reached down and pulled little Arlo up onto my chest.
After we Skyped with family, I spent all night staring at this little boy and smelling the top of his head, waiting for my brain to catch up. This birth was completely different from Silas’s in almost every way possible. My biggest worry for this birth was that Arlo would be in a poor position during labor like Silas was (asynclitic presentation with a nuchal hand). After Silas’s birth (40 hours from the first contraction and 3 hours of pushing), I felt weak and disappointed. I had a successful home birth, but I still felt like I could have done it better. I felt like I wasn’t strong enough to deal with the intensity and pain of labor effectively. I felt like I did it all wrong. I also had a hard time bonding with Silas right away because I was just so exhausted and still in pain after labor ended. I was a hot mess. Arlo’s birth was exactly the birth that I needed. I felt strong and in control. I felt better prepared this time with continuing to exercise through my pregnancy, committing to the Blissborn course and making sure my husband, who missed Silas’s birth, had the tools necessary to help me when I needed him. I feel like I could have 30 more kids after the way this birth went.
Happy Birthday, Arlo Reinier!
8lbs 3oz, 22in
July 29, 2015
The final product!
You can find my past updates from this pregnancy here.
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