The Second Time I Became a Mama | Avery's Birth Story
This story is so… intangible for me. It is almost 2 years later and I am just now sitting down to write the story out for the first time so please forgive me if some of the details are fussy.
Firstly, I had 2 or 3 false alarms starting at 37 weeks which embarrassed me because I didn’t struggle at all with my first birth to know if I was in labor or not. I just assumed I wasn’t. I remember thinking my waters were broken because I had felt some kind of gush of liquid (probably pee) at a chiropractic appointment at 37 weeks. Things were fine except I kept thinking I had broken waters so it’s possible I was having some incontinence issues in retrospect because I wasn’t in labor until I was 39 weeks + 6 days.
Trace had worked all day that day as a banquet server… literally an 18 hour day if I remember right. He got home and I woke up because of contraction pains. I told him to go to bed because it was probably nothing and even if it was, I needed him rested. He slept maybe an hour before I got him up, poor guy! I peed to see if that would put things back to bed (sometimes a full bladder makes your uterus mad when you are in the final stretch!) And as I stood up, I felt a pop and small gush and KNEW my waters had broken for real this time.
With this birth, I was calm. I expected the level of intensity I had experienced with Annabelle and knowing I could survive it made me less fearful of it. I had also taken the Childbirth Ed class, Birthing From Within and I have to say, that utterly changed EVERYTHING for me. The truth is, we were not planning to have a second baby so soon— I discovered I was pregnant when Annabelle was just 13 months old… we had hoped to get to her 18 month birthday first — and that first birth had so much pain associated with it in my mind, I was terrified to do it all over again. I remember confessing this fear to Trace, and he just looked at me, standing behind me in the mirror, hands on my shoulders and said, “I know you’re scared, but I know you can do it.” That was the thing I needed most to hear in that moment and he said it without even trying (reason # 5googly-billion he’s just the best person for me!)
The reason Birthing From Within was so great was because of Nikki (the instructor)… she listened to my story and validated my feelings and gave me tools for working through them before stepping into this next birth. She also gave Trace and I amazing tools for coping with the sensations of labor and not fearing them. So when labor began and I summoned my birth team, I spent less time yelling loudly, and more time focussing on how to manage and make the contractions stronger so I could hurry up and get back to sleep (silly labor thoughts)…
I was SO tired. I had not gotten enough sleep before labor kept me from going back to sleep. We went the cheap route this time for videography (so it sucks and I won’t be sharing it here) and just had a friend set up our crummy video camera instead of having miraculous Brittany there. Monica wore a million hats for this birth and was unable to capture as many photos this time. She was my doula, photographer, and ended up doing the job of assistant midwife this time too!! It was crazy! So she did not get any images of him coming out but we got that on video so I have that. I was so quiet this time, Nikki (my midwife) didn’t know I had progressed as far as I had until I had Monica ask her to check me. By that point, I was ready to push and didn’t know it, I just knew I was DONE! I remember managing one contraction on the toilet and telling Monica, “if she checks and I am not at least at an 8, I am going to the hospital and having a C-section!”
Nikki helped me get on the bed and I wanted to be on hands and knees. She started to check me from that position and I started screaming “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” The second her fingers went to find my cervix, my body started pushing involuntarily. She confirmed I was complete and pushing, haha! And I said, “Well, that’s a great sign!” in good spirits now knowing the birth was almost over. 15 minutes later he was born and in my arms.
I didn’t use water for pain management this time. He was born right on my bed and pooped as soon as he got out! The moment I heard his first cries, I melted into relieved laughter, and my placenta came soon after he was born. My friend Ann made us a DELICIOUS breakfast of cinnamon raisin french toast and scrambled eggs (He was born just as the sun came up) and we all ate and felt better. Little guy was breathing a little fast for Nikki’s liking so she stuck around for a couple of hours longer than she normally might have just to make sure he was OK. I was so tired, I literally could not stay awake so once he was fed and swaddled and calm, I let her take him into another room to monitor him so I could sleep for an hour or so. #noshame
In so many ways, his birth was so healing for me. At one point during the pushing phase, I gasped between breaths , “this is… incredible”… I just felt so connected with my body and my baby and my husband. I can remember him in my ear as I got ready to push calmly but firmly encouraging me, “let’s do this Baby. You’ve got this. You are so strong.” The pain was just as intense as my first birth, but it didn’t catch me off guard this time. I wasn’t afraid of it. And, it was amazing to not have to go to the hospital for my placenta this time! I had no vaginal tears worth repairing… I stayed home with my husband and new baby and rested. Annabelle got to spend most of the day with her grandparents (she had gone to their house the night I went into labor because I just had a feeling about that day…) and she came home to meet her brother after we all got some rest. If you look at my face in the photos of Avery’s birth, you see peace… relief… joy. I was excited to meet Annabelle, but there was also a lot of stress right after she was born, and I felt like having a totally different experience with my second birth really helped heal some of my struggles over that.
Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope it speaks to you in some way or encourages you that you CAN do it… you are powerful and your body is more than enough.