By Jennifer Lynn
If you missed Part 1 of Jen’s story check it out here.
My sweet second boy was born on March 22 at 6:30 in the morning, after a week of podromal labor. Every evening, I would go into labor and count my contractions all the way down to two minutes apart. We would drive our toddler to our friend’s home, then head on to the birth center that was now 45 minutes from our house. By the time we would get there, my labor would stall and then stop completely. This happened for a week. We had no idea what was happening, other than this type of labor was actually very normal though often missed as there are so many tools and medicines out there to keep labor going or intervene altogether. My birth center, on the other hand, did not have any issues with telling me to go home and rest. “He’s coming soon.” He was already over a week late.
This pregnancy was much different than the first, though few things were similar, like my random cravings for Panda Express’ chow mein (which I never eat otherwise!). Chasing a toddler with a huge belly was so hard. My energy levels always seemed depleted, but we would both go nuts if we didn’t keep up on regular activities. Thankfully, I was able to drop him off with friends here and there. That was a lifesaver on days I couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything.
I did not test positive to GD this time around, but had many telltale symptoms that I respected with blood-glucose checks and a strict diet. I was still nursing my big boy and would spend every single nap with him, knowing that we probably wouldn’t have this time again. My husband and I both realized that we were still traumatized from our first labor experience and wanted to do things differently. We gained some amazing skills through Hypnobirthing, and knew that if we had been left alone to labor without intervention, I could have had a healthy, natural water birth. We procrastinated for about eight months until we realized that our little guy could technically come any day. I had to prepare myself.
We hired a doula that believed in us. We brushed up on hypno-techniques using my friend’s Hypnobabies series, at night after our son fell asleep. I would listen to the affirmations while driving and fall asleep to the scripts to allow myself to relax and really internalize everything they were saying.
My body is capable.
I will have a beautiful baby in my arms soon.
I will not listen to anyone who tells me that I cannot have a peaceful birth.
I struggled with these affirmations after feeling like a failure with my first birth. People will try to brush off the experience and say all that matters is a healthy baby, but really, mom matters just as much. We are going through huge changes, struggling with post partum hormones and body issues, and also trying to care for this little being who just became the love of our life. Of course, we want to do what is best for our baby. No mother would put themselves before the well being of their little one. But, we need to feel important, too. However it was going to happen, this birth would be redeeming.
My due date came and went, and I was so sick of going into labor multiple times without a baby to show for it. I was just ready to deliver him by any means necessary. My desire for a natural, unmedicated, uninterrupted birth went out the window. I tried every natural induction technique possible. Nothing was working.
My birth mother was in town visiting friends, and we decided to get together for a little while to catch up. I had also had a dream about going to the beach, where my baby told me that he was ready shortly after, but didn’t really tell anyone. I asked if we could meet at the Huntington Beach pier in Orange County for some fish tacos. I remember standing barefoot in the sand, something I hate doing (I hate sand!) while watching my toddler splash in the shoreline. All that I could think about was how I was afforded this last day with my small family before one more was added, and how I was doing what I dreamt I would do before truly going into labor. We headed home for dinner and late that evening, I went into labor again.
This time, I was convinced he was coming. We called our doula and told her to meet us at the birth center. When we arrived at 3 AM, I let the midwife check for dilation (something I swore I wouldn’t let anyone do (because it is not necessary and can interfere with birth, but I just wanted to know!) and I was at 9cm and fully effaced. He was on his way! I labored in the tub while my husband and doule took turns massaging my back and bulling my hips. My doula explained everything my midwives were saying to me and made sure that my needs were met. At that time, all that mattered was mommy and baby. I was treated like a goddess and not a patient, and I truly believe that every laboring mom be treated like that way- whether in a hospital, birth center, or at home. The respect and encouragement kept me motivated when my labor stalled.
He wasn’t moving any lower, so we moved to the toilet so that I could push in a different position. This baby still was not coming. We moved to the bed where my midwife found that he was stuck behind an extra pocket of water and an anterior cervical lip. I let her push down on the lip to get the baby’s head over, and with the help and encouragement of my doula who kept telling me “You’re doing it!” When I wanted to give up and said that I could not push any longer, I felt my baby’s head crown. A few moments later, the rest of his body followed and he was placed straight on my chest. I did it. He was in my arms!
Three hours later, I was at home on my couch at home, enjoying some skin to skin time with mynew little guy. My husband went to pick up our toddler and a double-double and fries from In & Out. Even though I had just given birth (and was lounging around in adult diapers), I called my friend to come by for a visit because I was so excited to share our baby with someone. She couldn’t believe that I had just given birth. I couldn’t, either! I had so much energy after. There was no back pain from an epidural, like the time before, and being at home undisturbed instead of in a hospital room for two days was so freeing. I remember just laying on my couch, nursing our child as he curled up into the most precious fetal positions, and thinking about how I felt so healed by our experience. The respect I received from my husband, doula, and care team are still strong in my memory to this day.
My body was capable.
I had my beautiful baby in my arms.
I am at peace with my birth.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Jen is a work-from-home-mom who currently resides in the Nation’s Capital, though she calls Los Angeles home. Even though her two boys keep her busy, she tries to find time to cook, write, and visit unique restaurants. You can find her natural deodorants and baby products at two for joy www.etsy.com/shop/twoforjoynaturalcare