Long overdue, here finally is the story of my second son's birth.
Julian Hugo, born July 10, 2009, weighing 9lb, 11oz.
July 9, we went out to eat at River's favorite thai restaurant. My due date was July 13, and I wasn't feeling like anything was going to happen anytime soon.
I finally laid down to bed around 11:30 that night, and turned out the lights. I felt a contraction that felt strong, and so i glanced at the clock: 11:42pm. A few minutes later, I felt another one, then as it eased off, it felt like I had peed myself. It was just a tiny trickle of fluid, but I jumped out of bed to go into the bathroom to see what was going on. With the light on, I wiped and saw specks of white: vernix! Before I knew it, another contraction started, my 3rd one, and it was really intense!
I got up to tell Walter what had happened, and he muttered something about wanting to get at least an hour of sleep, as he was thinking it was going to be another long labor like it was with our first son. I was fine with that at that moment and went back to sit on the toilet. My contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes right away, and I was pooping like mad, as my body started clearing everything out. Within a few contractions, I was needing to vocalize loudly with each contraction. I knew soon that I did indeed want to call my friends over. This was something that I had considered while pregnant, and I had even sent the three of them an email explaining that if I called them when I started labor, that they were to enter through our side door, not talk to me, and go quietly to another room. They were to also do nothing to me unless I specifically asked. (they are all midwives).
So, i called them. I think i texted P first, then texted A, then called T. When I was talking to T, I had to put the phone down and moan loudly through a couple of contractions. About 20 minutes had passed since my first contraction.
Then my noises woke up River, who was crying. He has a tendency to vomit when he cries hard, and as he was crying in confusion at having just woken up and odd things happening, that's just what he did. So, Walter was occupied with calming him down and cleaning up the mess, and I felt I had made the right decision to call my friends over, as I wasn't sure if Walter would be able to work on getting the pool filled. But, River soon calmed down and Walter got the pool going. I think he was a bit upset about not getting any sleep, as he was still thinking the birth was many hours away. :)
As soon as there was some water in the pool, I got in. At some point, Walter said that they were all there, and I told him to tell them to come over to me. i really needed to talk to them, to complain and tell them how much it hurt.
I want to discuss the pain for a moment here. Let me say that i was in labor with my first son, who is now 6 years old, for a day and a half, and had intense back labor. I never felt anything down in the front of my belly, it was all in my back. I was hoping to not have a repeat of that this time around, and indeed, I didn't have one back-pain twinge. However, the pain of the contractions this time around were just above my pubic bone, and it was like nothing I'd ever felt before! The only way I got through each one was to moan/yell. My son, I learned later, had said that i sounded like an elephant. Those contractions HURT! But between contractions, I felt no pain whatsoever, which was very different from the constant dull back pain during my first labor.
So, i was there in my living room, in the birth pool, with my husband somewhere close by, my son playing in the other room with P, and T and A sitting near me as well. I felt so angry about how much it hurt, and the fact that the water wasn't helping the pain at all. I kept telling them how much it hurt, how they were crazy to have more babies, etc. At one point I remember thinking that I couldn't be a midwife anymore, because how could I tell women to go through with this when it sucked so much! haha! Of course, at that moment, i also thought I had hours more of laboring to go. P made a comment, I think, about how it wouldn't be long and that I'd be meeting my baby before sunrise. I scoffed at that, sure there was no way. At some point, i asked one of them to check me. I could feel my baby's head and some cervix, but couldn't reach well enough to know how dilated i was. The midwife in me knows that dilation means nothing. But, it felt important to me to know that i was close, whatever that really means. They asked me if I was sure I really wanted to be checked, asked if I just wanted them to talk me out off it, asked what i wanted from the exam. I snapped that, yes, I wanted it, and that I wanted them to tell me I was nearly complete and not 4 centimeters or similar. I found out later that there was a silent argument in the hallway about who would do it, as they knew I wasn't happy and didn't want to have to be the one to tell me what i may not want to hear. In the end, T checked me, and I could tell in the way she looked that I wouldn't like the news. I was 6 centimeters, which was so disappointing!
I'm a little fuzzy on time, but I think this was around 2 hours after my first contraction. At some point, my body started to bear down involuntarily. After the first time it happened, I remember yelling out that I wasn't pushing! (even though I obviously was, I was still convinced it would be hours more and I didn't want them to think that I was pushing already.) He was born at 3:03 am, after 3 or 4 pushes, into my own hands in the water, with my older son and husband looking on. About 3 hours and 20 minutes of labor in all. It was amazing!
The placenta took a while to come and was finally born while I sat on the birth stool. We did a lotus birth, meaning we didn't cut the cord. It fell off on its own when Julian was 3 days old.