NATALIE & HUGO
My second birth was very different, which took me by surprise. Once again, other than some pretty wicked heartburn and SPD (symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) I am blessed with great pregnancies. Oddly I was going into this birth with more fear than my first. Fear that it would be too quick and that the midwives wouldn't get there in time. We had moved house and our midwives were now 30 minute drive away.
Between my first and second pregnancies I had taken the HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator course and I had been employing those skills to do a lot of work on fear release and positive visualisations, affirmations and self-hypnosis.
Once again at 40+4 I had a sweep. I had also again been preparing by taking EZ Birth , drinking red raspberry leaf tea, doing abdominal massage with an ‘induction’ essential oil blend I had made, diffusing Clary Sage like it was going out of fashion. eating a whole pineapple, and...err..ahem..the other thing! We were ready for this baby.
I felt a twinge during supper at around 7:30 pm but put it down the Braxton Hicks. I hadn't really had any with my first so assumed this was it. When once again we laid down to sleep and and I wasn’t able to stay still due to these waves, I informed my husband that I thought I might be in labour. The waves were mild, irregular and infrequent, but given my birth history we had agreed with Hillary that we should call straight away. I called Jamie, our amazing final year student who was taking the lead on our birth.
“I don;t know if you need to come yet” I said “They’re only every 10 minutes or so and not very intense”
“I’m leaving now” she replied.
A few minutes later Hillary called “I’m on my way but here’s traffic and ice on the X22, so it might take me a bit longer than usual, but I’ll be there as soon as I can”
This is Canada and giving birth in a Canadian winter can mean unpredictable weather conditions.
Thankfully this was our second birth and we had this down. My husband immediately went downstairs and started filling the birth pool, turned on the fire, dimmed the lights and put on the meditative music I’d picked out. Jamie and Hilary arrived within minutes of each other and I was quickly assessed: “6-7 cms” Jamie informed us.
As I walked through the kitchen my mum gave me a hug and squeezed me tight. We had asked my parents to come over from England at the last minute in case my labour happened during the day and we wouldn't have time to call someone to look after our daughter. We thought that she would get upset seeing me ‘in pain’ and had therefore decided not to have her at the birth.
After I don’t know how long I felt like I was transitioning, and my body was pushing involuntarily. This time my waters hadn’t broken and so with each surge I felt enormous abdominal pressure: my body was trying to give birth but the waters were holding things back. Or that’s how I felt anyway. It was making me vomit a lot and I was feeling that overwhelmed feeling again. I asked the midwives to do an ARM (Artificial Rupture of Membranes) having explained how I felt, and they agreed. One ARM and an enormous surge later, I practically vaulted back into the birth pool! 2 surges later and his head was out. When with the next surge I couldn't birth his shoulders I saw, and felt a momentary flicker of panic from everyone in the room. Was this a shoulder dystocia? Not something you want at a home water birth (or anywhere for that matter).
Panic over. Jamie had extracted his arm which had been twisted behind his back and preventing his shoulders from abducting; with the next surge he was out and we are once again in awe of and enthralled by this incredible little person we had created.
This time we had opted to hire a birth photographer to capture these special moments since the first birth was such a haze. I am forever grateful for those indelible memories
For those of you who are curious, this birth was 2.5 hours with all midwives in attendance, so I needn't have been fearful after all.
I only have two regrets about labour. The first is telling your cat to “F@$k off” when he nuzzled me during the peak of a contraction in my first labour. The second is snapping at my dad for pouring hot water too close to me during a contraction during my second birth! I think those are pretty great regrets!