hi! so just a warning, this might be a long post. ;) i wanted to write all this down before i forgot. i know some people aren’t comfortable with sharing their birth story. it’s personal and intimate…but it’s also amazing and surreal. before i had penelope i remember reading other people’s birth stories and it really helped and inspired me, so i thought i’d share my story too. i won’t go into graphic detail, but if you have more specific questions please feel free to email me and i’d love to share some answers! i’m clearly no expert in this but i have done it twice. ;) so here it is…
oh where to start? i would say that on tuesday night (the night before the birth) i felt a little different. no contractions or anything worrisome, but i just felt different. lol. to the point where i went into hardcore nesting/cleaning mode and for 2 hours straight was cleaning the most random things…even on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. ha. i didn’t do this to help bring on labor or anything…it was just my instinct to clean and get ready for a possible birth. and then comes 4am and i am woken up by some small contractions. (i knew it!) i remember smiling through those contractions because i knew today was the day. i was really excited. i was secretly hoping this baby would come before thanksgiving, which was my due date. (her birthday is 11.14.12).
so i’m having contractions. i knew they were real…i have been having braxton hicks contractions for the past 4 weeks and these were different. the mister and miss P were in the bed with me and i didn’t wake him up until about 6am to start helping me time the contractions since they were getting a little closer together. they were about 10 minutes apart, lasting about a minute each. i thought about doing the “trick” but since i was already sleeping in between each contraction and i had already gotten a decent amount a sleep then i didn’t. (my midwife’s trick is 2 ibuprofen, glass of wine, and a hot bath. totally works. i did it with P. you do this when it’s late at night/early morning so you can get some sleep…because you’ll need it!) anyways…we got up around 8am and literally just went about our day. since we were planning on a home birth, and hadn’t deep cleaned the house yet (oops!), we got to work and started scrubbing. my mother in law randomly called us that morning and she decided to change her plans for the day and come help us clean. (thank you!!!)
so lots of cleaning and playing with miss P for a few hours. throughout this time my contractions were about 7-9ish minutes apart and about 45 seconds each…but not getting stronger. to be honest i was a little discouraged at this. i had an idea that by this time my contractions would have been stronger, longer, and closer together (since usually second births are faster…and i had a pretty short labor with miss P). so i just tried to keep myself distracted with miss P and was calling/texting people giving them some updates. i had spoken to my midwife at this point but she had a couple of other appointments already scheduled and went ahead with those since i told her i didn’t need her then.
miss P needed to take a nap and i wanted to get things going (because i was determined to have this baby that day) and so my mother in law joined us for a walk outside. it was such a beautiful day. a beautiful day to have a baby. :) about 20 minutes later, with a sleeping toddler in the stroller, we went back home. my midwife showed up about 20 minutes after that (around 2:30pm) and i was excited to get an update on what was going on. i greeted her in the driveway and she told me that i didn’t look like i was in labor. lol. i just want to say that i am so very thankful and blessed to have had such an easy labor. don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t “easy” but i had it easier than others. so she checked me and to my surprise (and my midwife’s) i was already 8cm dilated and 100% effaced. she said i’d have this baby in a few hours. you don’t understand how excited i was to hear my progress. i didn’t think i would be so far along since my contractions weren’t stronger, longer, and closer together…but yay!
i am a firm believer that labor is not just a physical thing but a total mental and spiritual thing as well. if you know me i will put so much emphasis on the mental/spiritual aspect rather than physical. well anyways, as soon as i heard how far along i was my contractions immediately got closer together (about 4-5 minutes apart). crazy how our minds and bodies work. so things were picking up quickly. i had planned to use my tub like i did with miss P but i never felt the need since walking around was doing the trick. i had one of my favorite pandora stations playing throughout the house, “explosions in the sky,” and was just walking around chatting with others and still texting people updates. by this time i had the mister, mother in law, midwife, two midwife apprentices, and a dear friend of mine with her daughter (buddies with miss P) over at the house doing their thing.
after two hours my midwife checked again and i was fully dilated and ready to push. it didn’t feel like it but i was ready to see this baby. since i had such an easy labor up to this point, the pushing part seemed to catch me off guard. i guess i had forgotten what it felt like with miss P. ha. the pushing is hard. of course it is. my midwife always says you have to push through the pain and push harder than you think you can. man.that.is.hard. but really, it’s all mental. you have to mentally prepare yourself to really push HARDER, knowing that it’ll hurt more, but also knowing that the harder and more you push the faster this baby will come out. so clearly…you just do it. there’s no other choice. so i did. ;) i did the whole squatting in between contractions part until the baby was pretty much ready to come out. so i got on the bed and pushed some more and waited….this was probably the hardest part. you know how usually you push the head out and then wait until the next contraction to push the rest of the body out?! well i couldn’t do that. because my contractions only got as close as 4 minutes apart my midwife didn’t want the baby’s head sticking out and waiting for those 4 minutes to go by then push the body out. so yes…i had to wait the longest 4 minutes of my life while the head was fully crowned. it was intense let’s just say. haha. i remember asking/begging for the next contraction to come. lol. deep breaths and amazing people encouraging me were getting me through this part. (i had my mother in law and the mister holding my legs at this point).
next thing i know (at 5:31pm) the baby started coming out on her own and about 5 seconds later the mister caught her. they immediately put her on my chest (we didn’t know that she was a she at this point) and just looked at God’s miracle. oh my goodness was i ever glad that was over with. ;) i kept saying that over and over with what felt like the biggest smile on my face (but looking at photos it didn’t look that pretty of a smile). about 20 seconds went by and we finally got to find out….it’s a girl!! what a feeling. she was beautiful. she was here. she was ours. to be honest i was surprised, i thought she was going to be a he. but i was so excited. i couldn’t believe i had two girls!!! that’s when we announced her name too! (we kept that a surprise as well…not so sure my family liked that idea) ;) ruby esther. in love.
throughout all this time my mother in law and my sweet friend were watching the girls. i loved that penelope was there at the house the whole time. i wasn’t distracted by her at all. as soon as ruby was born the mister got penelope and brought her over to see us. she seemed very interested and kept asking if i was okay. lol. such a sweetheart. i was sooo excited that she was able to be there and bond immediately with her sister. after cleaning ruby up and nursing her we were able to get some family photos in with penelope holding her. those are some sweet memories i will never forget.
words cannot describe how thankful i am for everything and everyone who had some part in ruby’s delivery. all the cleaning, prepping, entertaining, encouraging, listening, picture taking, praying, and even just the being there part. gosh. i am beyond blessed and i do not take it for granted. i have some pretty awesome people in my life and i couldn’t have done it without them. i am so grateful for a loving family and friends who have supported me through this home birth. not everyone is a fan of midwifery and all that jazz. i know it’s not for everyone, but man….it sure is an amazing, indescribable experience. and of course i give all credit to God who gave me the strength and this little miracle. she completes us. it’s crazy to think that this little girl was growing inside me for so long. it was so fun not knowing she was a she. i didn’t even get an ultrasound done! so we had no clue to what she looked like or anything. we just trusted God (and my midwife) that she was healthy and growing strong. praise the Lord.
here we are now…almost 12 weeks later (finally got around to writing her story) and we are doing great! took us awhile to find our routine and get settled in this new life of 4 but we did it. ruby is such a great baby. a great little sister. i can honestly say that penelope adores her and is so sweet to her. it’s fun to watch her with ruby, especially when she doesn’t know i am looking. i know they will best buds. can’t wait for them to play with each other. sisters for life! ha. i could go on and on here but i’ll stop now. ;)
yay for babies! (you can read about penelope’s story too!)