The birth of our first daughter set the stage for the birth of our second. Our first daughter was born in a hospital at 40 weeks and 3 days. I was induced for post-dates, got an epidural, and then had a beautiful baby girl after about 12 hours of labor. It wasn't traumatizing, but I knew I wanted a different experience before I even got pregnant with our second child. I especially hate looking back and realizing how long the hospital kept our oldest daughter away from us, just because a lot of babies were born at the same time, and all needed bathed before they could come back out to their families.
With my second pregnancy I started by reading a lot about natural childbirth. I had kept my same OB from my first pregnancy, but switched to a group of midwives who work with a birth center (the only one in my state!) at around 28 weeks. I am so glad I made that switch!
At my very first appointment I mentioned to the midwife how I'd love to have a doula. It just so happens that while I was in the exam room waiting to see the midwife a doula who needed a few more births to get certified had come in and left her card. My husband and mom had seen and heard her, and they, along with the midwife, were all excited to tell me that a free doula had just been there a few minutes ago! Later that evening I got in contact with her, and that's how I acquired my fabulous doula, Leigh-Ann. She was so awesome through my pregnancy and birth. She shares our faith, which made her even more special to us. It was great to know she was praying with us every step of the way.
On Monday, February 25th I woke up around 6:30am to use the bathroom and realized I was having a pretty strong contraction. I went back to bed, but kept getting woken up by contractions. Around 7:30am I started timing them and realized they were coming about every 7 minutes. I was immediately excited, but a little nervous, because we live 1.5-2 hours away from the birth center. I woke my husband, Corbin, up and he timed my contractions for me for a while. By 8:30am I decided to take a bath to see if it slowed or sped my contractions at all. They didn't stop, so we started getting our things ready for the birth center. Corbin, myself, and our new baby were all packed up, but I hadn't packed a bag for my almost 3 year old, Lilah-Belle, yet. So we scurried around getting Play-Doh and other fun stuff together for her. I tried calling the birth center, but couldn't get through. After trying a couple more times, I called my doula, and we decided to meet there. I knew she's let them know I was coming. We left the house around 9:30am. At this point my contractions were about every 5-7 minutes apart. On the way, I got a huge craving for pancakes, so we made a pit stop to IHOP for some carry out, which I ate on the way. As soon as we got to the birth center my contractions stopped. Like almost immediately. The midwife on call was a gruff woman named Kat that I had never met before. She checked my cervix and said I was 3-4cm dilated, thick, and at a -1 station. An hour later, I was slightly thinner, but really no change. I was so bummed out. I thought the full moon was going to work it's magic and I was going to be holding my baby by that night, now I was just disappointed. Since we were already out, we decided to go to the mall and walk around, shop, and just enjoy ourselves. My mom, husband, toddler, doula, and myself shopped our little hearts out, then our doula decided to go home for a while. We took my toddler to a game place close by to let her have some fun as an only child one last time. My contractions were starting to pick back up. We decided to go have some dinner at Steak N Shake and try to decide what to do. We live so far from the birth center we were a little nervous to go all the way home since my contractions were picking back up again. We decided to get a hotel close by for the night. Plus, I had a NST scheduled for the next day, so we would be close for it, just in case I didn't go into labor. I slept from around 1am-2am, and at 2am when I woke up, my contractions were definitely back! I was no longer able to lay down through them. They were coming about every 5 minutes apart, so I decided to take a shower (which was heavenly!) and then called my doula a little later. She arrived at 4 am. My husband had just informed me that he had a migraine and had started puking as soon as she walked in the door. So, my husband, mom, and daughter all snoozed while I spend the night laboring with my doula in a Holiday Inn Express. I had peed about every 45 minutes all night, snacked, and drank tons of water. Somewhere around 9-10 am I went to the bathroom and lost my mucus plug. It totally grossed me out. I didn't experience that with my first daughter. Corbin called the front desk and delayed our check out time to 1pm. After I lost my plug I got a break from the contractions. Around 11am I decided to snuggle with my big girl and take one last nap with just her. I had a really nice, peaceful rest. When I got up at noon my contractions had intensified so much! We got all of our things together, and decided to grab some lunch at Tim Horton's before heading next door to the birth center. I ordered a turkey sandwich, had one huge contractions, and immediately lost my appetite. With every contraction I was so nauseous and shaky. This is when things started getting really painful. I've heard people say their births never really hurt, they just experienced a pressure. Well, mine hurt, but I never remember thinking it was too much to handle. I packed up my sandwich (I was determined to eat it later!) and we went next door to the birth center. While we were waiting at the birth center for the midwife to check me I was seriously starting to wonder how I was going to be able to handle a contraction while being checked. I hadn't been able to lay down through contractions at all. Someone at the birth center was listening to KLOVE and a Casting Crowns song came on that Corbin sometimes sings in church. I was so comforted and relaxed by this song. I found myself praying through my next contraction, thanking God for His grand design, and for the child I was soon going to meet. I was feeling very emotional. When the midwife was ready to check me, Corbin had to pretty much undress me from the waist down, then he said a prayer for me. Man, did that prayer help! I had about 3 contractions while laying there, and they were no where near as bad as my others. The midwife, Vicki, checked my cervix, smiled, and said, "Yeah, I'd say you are definitely in labor. You are at a 7. A 6-7." I ignored the 6 part and rejoiced over the 7. I was terrified that I was going to show up with no progress from the previous day. I had renewed strength! Everyone was telling me how awesome I was doing, but I just thought they were being nice. Inside I was a mess. I just focused completely on breathing with every contraction. If it was really bad I'd say to myself, "This will no last forever. It will end." Kim, the midwife on call, came and introduced herself. Not long after that I asked for the birth tub to be filled up. Up until this point walking was really helping my contractions, but that was out the window now. Leigh-Ann lit some flameless candles for the birth tub area, and then put some peppermint oil in my water to help with my queasiness. I was in so much pain, but I don't think my husband realized. He was going to leave to call his grandma and ask her to feed our fish. Somehow between contractions I managed to say, "Just put the phone down, babe." He did, but later I heard him whisper to my mom for her to call for him. He gets obsessed over weird things sometimes. I was really just thankful his migraine at let up at this point. The midwife was in and out checking the baby's heartrate and trying to offer help with getting her out of my back, which is where I was feeling every contraction at this point. I remember once she came in to listen to the baby. I was having an absolutely horrible contractions. She took the doppler off my bell and said, "I'd like to listen during a contraction, okay?" Now, inside I was like, "What!? Seriously, you couldn't tell I was dying there!?" but what I said was, "I just had one." She kind of chuckled and said, "Oh, thanks for letting me check you, then!" Apparently I really was pretty calm. The tub was making me feel too hot and annoyed at this point. I was so nauseous. I also needed to pee. Corbin helped me out and onto the toilet. I sat there through a contraction, then he helped me waddle into the birth room where I sat down on the rocking chair. I sat down, had the most intense contraction that seemed to never end, and then my water broke. I was vocalizing, so it went like this. "Ohhhhh, mywaterbroke,OHHHHH." Corbin and Leigh-Ann both said, "Really? It did!" It was such a strange sensation. I remember pain, pressure, a small gush that relieved the pressure a bit, and then the most intense pain ever. Mom and Lilah-Belle had come to check on me as my water broke, and I kicked them out. I was in so much pain and didn't want to scare Lilah-Belle. Once I could stand I hobbled over to the bed, where the midwife checked me. She said, "Hmm, do you feel pushy at all? You are like 9, well 9 1/5 +1 station." I was so relieved to hear that. God bless any woman who has to labor for more than 30 minutes with her membranes ruptured. After a contraction or two I said, "I feel like I need to push." It was barely a whisper, but somehow they heard it. I remember Vicki came in at one point and asked if she needed to change her shirt. At the time I had no clue what that had to do with anything. Apparently, though, the birth nurse wasn't there, yet. The next time I saw Vicki she was in scrubs and it all made sense. I started pushing, testing it out. It didn't hurt worse, but it wasn't a huge relief, other than I knew each push brought me closer to the end of this pain and to seeing my sweet new girl. My prayers became a bit selfish at this point after my water broke. I was praying for just a small break in contractions, because they were right on top of each other. Once I started really getting into the pushing everyone was telling me how awesome I was doing. Kim was so calm, and just waited patiently at the bottom of the bed while I did my thing. Once her head was there the midwife asked if I wanted to touch it. I did and remember thinking, "Slimy!' I pushed a little more and her head came out. Kim maneuvered her some, because she had her hand up by her face. I remember dreading the "ring of fire" but it honestly wasn't that bad at all for me. Within about 15 minutes of pushing she was out and on my chest. I remember saying two things, and I can't remember which was first. "You actually look like me!" Our first daughter looks exactly like her daddy, so I expected this one to, too. and, "Thank you, God. Thank you, for this child!" My husband was crying his eyes out. Even our doula was crying. Sadie was so calm, and really just wanted to rest her eyes. Corbin cut the cord once it stopped pulsing. I delivered the placenta, which felt really weird. Sadie Elowen was born at 4pm on February 26th at 40 weeks and 5 days gestation. The midwife very apologetically took her to be weighed and measured across the room, because she had to rush to another birth. She weighed 8lbs 9.5 oz and was 21 inches long. I had no tearing, only a little nick. After I got cleaned up, Corbin went to get Lilah-Belle to meet her little sister. It was a sweet moment that our doula got on video for us. Soon after my doula left us to be a family. She was so excited and said my birth was her favorite she's attended. Lilah-Belle asked to hold Sadie, but as I reached her over, she saw her cord and withdrew her little hands. She said, "Oh, she pooped!" The cord really freaked her out! It wasn't much longer and I was asking for my turkey sandwich. I ate it laying in bed with my two sweet girls, watching Finding Nemo, which Sadie bought for Lilah-Belle.
I felt so good after my delivery. It was just a wonderful experience. We left the birth center at 9pm. Sadie hadn't been bathed, or poked, or prodded in any way. She had already nursed and pooped a little. Both girls slept the whole way home. It's like my heart always knew there would be a Sadie, because as soon as I saw her, she fit so perfectly there, just like her sister.
I was afraid that having a wonderful birth experience would taint my first daughter's birth, but it hasn't. It is still such a special memory.