The pregnancy and birth of William were so very different than Ben’s. I was unable to have the patience and happy attitude in my later months of pregnancy like I did with Ben. I am sure a lot of that had to do with being due in the summer. The heat brings a lot of ‘side effects’ to pregnancy that aren’t there if you are ‘huge’ during the winter months. Anyway, we are told that each pregnancy is different so I wasn’t too surprised by this. I was however, surprised by the stark difference in the birthing experience. I am still shocked as I look back on it.
As a refresher for whoever, my birthing time with Ben was 12.5 hours long. 10 of active labor and 2.5 hours of pushing. It was the most grueling, physically challenging thing I had ever put my body through. And unfortunately I wasn’t prepared for it…physically. I ran a marathon with no training. The awesome part is I did it, I finished the marathon, crossed the finish line and it was completely amazing AND worth it. I had the natural, peaceful birth I wanted (if you are interested in reading about that birth experience go here) But my recovery was hard. My body had been through a lot and it showed it. It took me weeks and weeks to feel even somewhat normal. Breastfeeding was hell. Blah blah…but we got through it.
All I knew about birth was what I had experienced. I knew that I was completely able to relax and have a calm beautiful natural birth. I was told that it would be shorter, maybe by about half. I was told that since Ben was so big (9lb 12oz) that the next baby would be easier to push out. In my mind I thought, ‘great, so maybe an hour?…little less?’
Well Saturday evening, the 6th it started. Clark and Jenna had come into town (Clark is my good luck charm – with Ben he had come into town that same night I went into labor) and we were having a fun day. It started out with going to the Cache Valley car show where we enjoyed watching Ben say ‘vrooom’ at every car he saw. I was miserable of course. It was hot and I was sure that I was going to be pregnant forever. We came home for lunch and decided to take a drive up the canyon to second dam to cool off and enjoy nature. We were almost there and I felt the first pressure wave. Although it wasn’t what I’d call a wave yet. Just a braxton hicks contraction but it was accompanied with menstrual like cramps. I told myself not to get too excited (I’d had these before), I sort of just brushed it off. This was around 5 pm.
We got there and set up the chairs by the water and watched Ben pick up and throw rocks into the water with his dad. Clark and Jenna even braved the freeeeezing temps and went swimming! Crazy people! I felt another one. Still didn’t think anything of it. Eventually we decided to head home and do dinner. I think I felt a few more but they were very very inconsistent and at differing strengths. I really didn’t think anything of it. Once home, we messed around, probably cleaned a bit and I did continue to feel these waves or this pressure. I still refused to believe anything was really happening. However, because I was having this baby at home and my midwife was an hour south and my doula camping an hour north I decided that I should let them know just in case. They wanted to be informed of any changes anyway, I’d say that this was a change, insignificant as I thought it was.
Chris my midwife suggested that I get into a warm relaxing bath and that this should either stop the pressure waves or increase them. So I ran a bath while dinner was cooking and got in. I had 2 pretty strong waves while I was in there. I called David in and asked him to text both Talya, my doula and Chris. I didn’t wait for another one, I was a bit more convinced so I got out and joined the others for dinner. My cute mom was watching me like a hawk by now. She and David were the only ones that could tell when I was having a contraction. I ate as much as I could but was unable to finish dinner completely…I think it was just nerves/excitement. I went inside to shower (my bath was ineffective at actually cleaning me) and as I got up and walked inside I had a really strong wave that forced me to stop and lean on the counter. For some reason at this point I was still in doubt!
Well we cleaned up dinner and I think next we put on a show to pass time and distract. My sister in law Jenna had showed some interest in being present at the birth and I had told her that I had no problem at all with her being there. I could tell she was a little nervous about it all (with reason!) and as she watched me have these continuous pressure waves she would say stuff like, ‘how can you be so calm! I think I am freaking out more than you are!’ She is so cute. I don’t know if I could have done what she did, she was brave to have the curiosity and strength to watch Will come into the world.
While we watched the show I was reclining back in the couch and each time a wave came David was right there pushing on my belly or my knees. Most of the time that is what felt the best. I finally talked to Talya on the phone and while I was I had a wave and she talked me through it. I couldn’t believe how much her voice helped me relax. I immediately wanted her there…right away. She packed her things, left her camp site and family and came to my side. The grandfather clock stroked 10. I said, “someone needs to please stop that clock”. Someone went over and stopped the pendulum from swaying. I was certain that I had several more hours to get through and the last thing I wanted was hearing the ding dong of the time all night.
During Talya’s hour drive (went by so fast!) I moved to the front room where the pool was set up and I had imagined giving birth. David nailed up a sheet over the entrance to make some privacy. I lay on the couch and concentrated on relaxing. I started vocalizing more during the waves…ahhhhhhhh. I couldn’t help it. And then Talya was there…It was 11pm. She came in and started doing her thing, she advised me to go potty, she let me choose which oil I wanted diffused into the room, she rubbed my feet and talked to me soothingly. She stroked my hair and rubbed my legs and arms. She gave me confidence that what I was doing and how I was doing it was right and that I was doing an amazing job. There was a time when Talya and David were on each side of me rubbing me from head to toe in a soothing manner. They were my dynamic duo!
Talya was probably there only 15 mins or less and my pressure waves started feeling different. I felt like I wasn’t getting a break in between! I remember voicing this to her and she and David thought that maybe it was because I wasn’t in my hypnosis zone yet. And I realized that I wasn’t either. I was frustrated. So with the next wave I really tried to relax and everyone really encouraged and helped me. Well it was different alright! I went deep into myself to find the strength and courage to allow what was happening inside of me and not fight it. It was sheer power and intensity. I literally felt like I was being opened up deep inside by a force that wasn’t going to be stopped. It was terrifying, amazing and exciting.
So you may be wondering where my midwife is at this point…I was. Well luckily at around the same time we called Talya over, David had called Chris too and she was on her way. She showed up during this time in my birthing time at around 11:47…47 mins after Talya showed up. First thing Chris did was check me. I could not believe the words that came out of her mouth… “There’s no time for that (pointing at the pool), she’s a 9”. Whhaaaat?!!!! And believe me I wasn’t the only one in the room that was shocked. Holy crap. So here I was thinking that I was still only in my active labor time, no where near transition and was having a hard time because I wasn’t able to ‘get in hypnosis’ like I was with Ben. Well turns out I was having a hard time because I was almost OUT of transition and about to push my baby out! Duh!
Oh it was so exciting…it was happening so fast. I tried to stay calm and even joke a bit…I think I even said something like, ‘I feel like I need to poop!’ Talya laughed and said, probably just your baby! Well 20 mins later I was holding baby William in my arms. 3 pushes and he was here. Wow. Are you serious? Could it have gotten any better than that? 9 lbs 4 oz and 20 in long. So perfect.
Pushing William out was, again, so completely different than with Ben. Ben paved the way and because of that it was honest to goodness work getting my birth canal to open up and him to come down. With William I was pushing because I HAD TO…there was no earthly way that I could STOP pushing. I actually had to work at not pushing because he was coming too fast and Chris wanted to help me not tear (which helped, no tear…yay!)
When William was brought immediately up to my chest I couldn’t believe that he was already here! It was just hours before that I was still uncertain that this was the real deal. I honestly had the most incredibly clam, fast and beautiful birthing experience. Yes it was different than I had imagined but fast birthing times = intense birthing times! I can attest to that now! And even though I literally didn’t have the time to get into hypnosis like I wanted to I was still able to use the skills I learned to relax and stay calm. What a blessing.
My recovery has been so different too. Obviously! I already feel back to normal and as I write this, Will is 4 days old. Sure I still have all the postpartum joys that every woman has after having a baby but it’s all about 10X as easy and quick. What a blessing. I am one happy mama. I look around me at my little family, at Ben who is the cutest big brother. He gives Will kisses on his head and pats him when he cries. He hasn’t showed much jealousy which is nice. At my amazing husband who I am convinced is the best father and husband anyone could have. And at William who is so precious I literally don’t mind a bit (for now) staying up all hours of the night with him. And my parents who are so helpful it makes me cry to think about not having them here. I don’t know what I would do without all of them. I am so happy.