As the story would go for most women, the second birth is faster and more furious, and well… we are old pros at this point. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious, I mean, with my first delivery I was embarrassingly naïve about what to expect, but this time I had all the horrifying expectations fresh in my memory.
None-the-less it didn’t stop me from choosing a drug-free birth, and (much to my husbands dismay) insisting on another attempt at a home birth. I still didn’t talk as excitedly about this birth, this time around it was much more business-like and I decided I wanted to have it quiet with just Shane, myself, and big brother Elliott close by. I hadn’t talked much about my plans with my family, mostly because I wanted this birth to be a bit of a surprise, and I kept my plans of going through the process alone quite quiet from everyone.
As it happens, I went into labor in the middle of the night anyway, so we didn’t call our families until the morning. It really all started with a conversation with my best-friend Melissa on the eve of Big Ollies birth-day. Melissa had previously given me four naturopathic remedies for labor induction which I safely held onto three parts fearful of the bunch, and one part curious. We were texting back and forth, our conversation went something like this;:
Mel: “Any inkling of labor yet?”
ME: “Not a thing”
Mel: “How many days overdue now”
ME: “Five days…. I probably have another two weeks to go (insert sad face)”
Mel: “Do you still have the naturo stuff I gave you”
ME: “I do… but I am really not sure”
MEL: “I took them, and gave birth just a few hours later”
ME: “Ugh. I’m just not sure if I am ready yet”
MEL: “Just Do it”
ME: (googling each individual remedy, which btw all had unpronounceable names) “Ok took them”
ME: “Am I going to die? I don’t know… maybe I shouldn’t have” (googles symptoms of death)
ME: “Ok I am going to try to lay down…. If I am going to die, Id rather die in my sleep”
MEL: “You will be fine!! Keep me posted, Love ya!”
ME: “Will do, love ya too”
Obviously I survived, but that’s not the point here. NEVER, NEVER take medications your friend gives you that comes in little vials with what look to be homemade labels and have practically unintelligible names… consider this a FAIR WARNING!!!
So I went into labor, just like that! Less than an hour after consuming these pills from hell. At 10:30pm I was rocking happily -albeit emotionally stressed- in Olivers freshly decorated nursery and by 1200am I was lying on the couch with my feet in the air, on the verge of tears convinced I was dying. I woke Shane and we agreed it was emergent that we call the midwife. She talks briefly before coming over, because, I am most definitely in active labor +++. She shows, takes a look and leaves with the instruction to call back if I progress. I am apparently only 3 cm at this point, but I am uneasy, because my body feels a lot worse for wear. My midwife probably didn’t even make it home before I am paging her again, and she agrees I need a midwife, however, she is unable to accommodate because she was already at a birth for the past 30 hours and needs rest of her own. So I wait for what feels like an eternity for my newly appointed midwife to show up.
As I wait I play all my worse case scenarios in my head, and I am absolutely convince that I will be giving birth before my midwife arrives. I am clutching my phone in my hand as I consider calling an ambulance to rush me to labor and delivery, and I stand out on the porch and check to see headlights coming up the road. “Ok I will give her two more minutes and if she isn’t here, I am calling EMS” this is what I decide in my head, while my husband is sleeping soundly after climbing back into bed for a few. Luckily, she shows, and I am now at 7cms with urges to push, except I don’t tell my midwife about that, because I am not prepared to push at 7cms, so instead I continue to utilize my kegels and cross my legs while I stand, and counteract the pressure with each contraction. I also don’t tell my midwife, Debbie, that I have taken some sketchy medication to induce labor, so no one understands how serious I am when I report to them that I am in fact dying, that I will not be giving birth tonight, and that they need to rush me to the hospital because I have broken my back.
I can’t even begin to describe to you how intense my back labor was with this labor. I either had an exceptionally painless experience with Elliott, or I had really just signed my life away with those damn pills. “Why was I so careless?!?!?!?!” (palm to forehead). Regardless, no one believed me and they succeeded at keeping me home despite my greatest protests to get the H-E- double hockey sticks to the hospital. At some point my water was manually broken but I was in far too much pain to recall when.
We made it to 7am… a whole nine hours after throwing back a concoction of naturopathic torture. Elliot wakes as if on cue, our tiny little sixteen month old was gloriously unaware of the situation and stood like a stunned deer as he took in our current surroundings, medical gear sprawled across our dresser, mom near tears on the bed, and two strange woman he’d never seen before (well actually Debbie was our baby/back-up midwife when Elliott was born). We gave him hugs and kisses, and he was proudly introduced to the women who were trying tirelessly to bring his baby brother into the world. Dad and I took that as our cue to call family, because we were going to need family to entertain our nugget while we were otherwise occupied.
My mother-in-law, and two of my sisters arrived a half hour later, and were instructed to keep Elliott entertained. They popped into my room briefly to see me, give hugs, and check in. They were instructed that we were close, though I was only 7cm, my cervix had shortened appropriately. Moments later, when my siblings and son were down stairs, We reached the conclusion that I had a strange and unexplained lump or swelling, and when that was pushed behind Olivers head I was instantly 10cm dialted and pushing. I grew much wiser this time, and knew that I could push hard and fast to get this babe through my pelvic bone with much less pain. He was out in a minute or two laid on my chest and we had a brief cuddle, meeting each other for the first time. 0930am, October 17th, 2014.
Elliott heard his brothers cries from downstairs and immediately called up for “mama”.
We had a mere handful of breaths together, Oliver and I, before discovering I was apparently hemorrhaging. My midwives were screaming down to my family “CALL 911, We need an ambulance NOW”. It became frantic and scary. Shane immediately went into the terrified place he was weary of when he tried to convince me not to attempt another home birth. I felt great, though. I was finally free of the debilitating back pain I was suffering with the last 10 hours. Oliver was taken from me, wrapped in warm blankets and brought downstairs to meet my family. I didn’t know when I was going to see him again, or feed him for the first time.
When the paramedics arrived, I was stripped of all modesty when they walked into my room. There I was, lain on my bed, legs spread eagle, a puddle of blood between them. Much to my increased embarrassment its two men, that have NEVER responded to a post-birth, EVER. I remember clearly my response when they assessed me and asked how I felt, with full enthusiasm I responded; “I feel like a Million dollars!” and I meant it! I just gave birth to my second son our surprise and a treasure, I was immensely blessed! Aside from that, I also knew that how I presented, and how I was feeling didn’t add up. If I was in fact hemorrhaging I would be weak and faint, possibly even passing out, but instead I was full of energy and even offered to walk to the ambulance, which, of course, they declined. I was strapped into the ambulance, and Oliver was secured in his car seat to take the ride along with me.
I laugh to myself when I recall arriving at the hospital and being escorted through the halls with a newly born child on my chest. I could see all the staff and guests assessing the situation as if thinking “Did this girl just give birth on the way here, or in a street somewhere. Did she know she was in labor or was this a totally unexpected thing.” I was assessed immediately after my arrival, and (deep breath) I was perfectly fine. This was just a weird thing my post-birth body does (as you may recall it happened after Elliott too), I know to expect that now.
My eldest son met his brother without me, but, hours later, we were all reunited, and our family hasn’t looked back since. I love love love my family of four! But we will be working on the trifecta… one day 😉
Oliver Ares ~ 9lbs 3oz