In the weeks leading up to labor, I’d been feeling increasingly strong and frequent BH contractions. On Wednesday (1/11), at almost 41 weeks, we had a routine midwife visit. Baby wasn’t engaged, and was still posterior (despite my many efforts to flip him into a better birthing position). I was getting veerrrry impatient. Afterwards we went out to brunch at S.A.P. and had a normal day.
Later that evening (around 9pm), we were watching The Office in bed, when I experienced three back-to-back contractions- similar in feeling to my “strong braxton hicks”, but more powerful. I tried to ignore them, but within a few minutes, I was having to focus on breathing through them. Despite my continual saying “just wait and see”, Luke got right to work on his to-do list.
I went downstairs, and paced, swaying and breathing through contractions. Luke called up my mom, and the midwives around 10pm, letting them know my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and about 1 minute long. The roads were very icy (local schools had been cancelled that day), and I remember really worrying about everyone driving over safely. At 11pm the midwives arrived, with a couple suitcases full of supplies. I was managing through the contractions by bending over our bed, and applying pressure to my back. By midnight, contractions were intense, with almost no breaks, and I decided to move to our bathtub. A combination of the warm water, and moaning, allowed me to get to my ‘zen place'. Everything seemed to progress really quickly. At one point Jill even said “you are almost there, get ready to meet your baby”. My water broke a half hour later, which was followed by an urge to push.
The first few urges were strong and involuntary. That instinctual pushing feeling soon faded into a prolonged “transition” feeling, with back-to-back contractions, which only were eased by my intentional pushing through them. I was encouraged to stop pushing, when after a cervical check, it was found I had an anterior lip. A hazy cycle of attempting to reduce the lip (wasn’t working)- insane contractions- pushing, but trying not to- and a lot of swearing...whimpering, perhaps, followed... It felt like no progress was being made, despite my enormous effort, which really started to affect my morale.
I decided to get out of the tub, and spent the next couple hours doing a circus act of position changes while pushing- kneeling, standing, sitting, sidelying, reclining... It is hard to describe how immensely impossible each movement and position adjustment felt during this time. After about 2 hours, there was a point when the collective mood changed. I sensed this, but was focused on pushing, and was only aware that the doppler was being used much more frequently. A hospital transfer was mentioned, which brought about many emotions- concern, relief, disappointment...
During the next pushes, for the first time, I felt progress- an indescribable pressure. Luke saw a dark head of hair. I overheard Sara calling an ambulance in the background. In a very urgent, and ‘we are doing this’ mutual attitude, with a collaboration of Jill’s hands, scissors, and pushing so hard I thought I might break, he was born (face-up!). At 3:18am, our stargazer was finally here! Under a full moon, after 6 hours of labor (3 hours of pushing), he was placed on my chest, and we heard his first cries.
There was a flurry of movement immediately following- but my world was still. Jill controlled my bleeding and started stitching me up (in the dark, with a headlamp- ‘bad ass’). EMS arrived, and kept in the background. Luke cut the cord. My mom stood by my side, beaming. Indigo latched on and started nursing. We finally checked the gender- a boy!
When Juni awoke, he asked to see ‘his baby’ (my mom spent the night calming him, and assuring him my “dinosaur noises” meant the baby was almost here). He was wide-eyed with amazement, touching and kissing Indi’s tiny fingers and cheeks. Luke got a little choked up, thinking about how our Juni now has a brother, a best friend to accompany him through life.
Afterwards, looking at my charts and talking with the midwives helped me better understand all that happened. Indigo’s heart rate dropped, and wouldn’t return to baseline, in the moments before he was finally born. A combination of being posterior + a de-flexed chin + and being wedged in kind of crooked, made for a hard second phase of labor (for both of us). While this labor was only half as long as my first, it was much more difficult, which I wasn't expecting.
Recovery was very different this time around too- both emotionally and physically. After Juniper’s birth, I had a super-woman-type glow...this time around, I was very much humbled by needing to accept outside help (during labor and recovery), and incredibly grateful to my chosen birth team. Physically, I was a hot mess for weeks, and relied a lot on Luke (thanks Super Dad!). And my mom, who somehow knew I would want homemade biscuits after laboring all night. :)
AND a funny outtake...pretty sure half of the city of Menasha's first responders saw my vagina that night. I lost track of the number of people that popped into our bedroom to check on us. At the time I didn't care (the great thing about birth!)...but now every time I see a police officer, etc. I think 'hmmmm...I wonder how well we are acquainted' ;) HA!
Indigo North- 1/12/17- 3:18am- 8lbs 6oz- 20.5"
Indi is now 7 weeks old (how did that happen!?) and is just the sweetest. Juni has been so loving- the best big brother. I'm hoping to get Indigo's name story on here too... and maybe even some of the photos that haven't made it off my camera yet...