I can feel the soft rise and fall of Max’s chest as he lay sleeping snuggled between Tony and I that early spring morning. All is quiet. All is dark. Jack is one day past his due date, mere hours rather, and now at nearly 2 am I wonder if he’s on his way.
I had been experiencing braxton-hicks contractions for a few days now, and with this pregnancy, they came with some pain. So I lay there, ignoring periodic pain because I did not want to get up for false contractions. I gauged them, seeing if they were regular at all and eventually had to get up and walk around because that usually was what would cause them to stop. They hurt worse, causing me to stop in my walking. This was different.
“Tony,” I said, waking him, “I think I might be having real contractions”.
I didn’t really want to wake him up. Still unsure if this was the real deal, I asked him not to call anyone yet.
There was no grogginess in his voice as he and Max sat up. As I went downstairs I heard him happily telling Max that his baby brother may be on his way.
There was more room to walk freely downstairs, but by now contractions were really becoming painful and quick and wanting to have energy, I scarfed some healthy food and drank lots of water. I learned from my first experience that I wanted to be hydrated with plenty of food energy for what could be hours of work ahead. Once back upstairs, I asked Tony to call the midwives and our friend Sandy who agreed to pick Max up when Jack was on his way.
As Tony texted family and friends and readied Max for an over-nighter with Sandy, I lay on the bed upstairs trying my best to focus on just one contraction at a time. But, they were coming so intense and so fast I was having a hard time coping. Things seemed to be moving so fast I began to feel slight panic. It wasn’t this intense this quick the first time! I could hear Sandy’s voice downstairs and relieved that she was getting Max, I attempted to call Tony and hurry him upstairs. I needed him. I was losing my focus and it was all to much.
The next thing I heard was a loud POP! The next thing I felt was a torrent of warm water (which later I realized was nothing more than a small puddle). My water had just broke and it scared me to death! When Max was born my water broke first and that without any sound at all.
And then there’s Tony. His voice telling me he’s now in the room, his touch telling me I’m alright. Much more at ease now, I let him know how fast and hard it was going and I’m not keeping focus as easily as the first time. He reminded me and I did my best to follow his words. And suddenly I wanted to push!
Push!? Now!? Already? Is this wishful thinking? I haven’t been doing this for more than an hour yet have I? Convinced that I was now playing head games with myself and that there was no way I was really ready to push so soon, I did not get out of bed. And staying laying down in bed during the push phase of birth hurts MUCH worse than squatting. Focused on relaxing all my muscles and allowing just my uterus to do its work, again the sure desire to push came again and I was unable to ignore it. No head games. Push time was really here.
When those few seconds of rest between pushes came, Tony eased me up and quickly helped me over to squat next to Max’s toddler bed in our room. Gravity helps so much with pushing. It was at this time I began thinking about our midwives. Where were they? I was not afraid. I knew Tony could catch Jack, but it really seemed like there was a good possibility they’d miss his birth. I had waited too long to call because I didn’t want to wake anyone up for a false alarm!
FIRE. Familiar fire that sent me back to the day Max was born. It provided that same encouragement to muster all the energy I had left and bring this little one into the world. I pushed and I screamed. I screamed because I’m just a loud birther. It’s an outlet for the pain for me.
“Don’t scream,” I heard Tony say, “I will hurt less if you don’t scream. Put that energy to pushing.” He was right. He’d remember what the book “Husband-Coached Childbirth” had said.
I heard Nina, our midwife, rushing up the stairs. I heard her voice as she spoke to Tony and busily got her supplies in order, although I don’t remember any of what she said.
I knew Jack was crowning and could keenly, sweetly feel his little head come through. Here he was everyone!
“I see his head!” Tony exclaimed. Later on he would tell me that about that moment he actually watched as the girth of my pregnant belly completely descended, deflated I guess, when Jack passed out of it. So weird. I would have liked video of that, ha ha.
One. More. Push.
Out he came into Tony’s hands. Somebody, maybe both of them, helped me to sit on the floor, taking care not to tangled the umbilical cord. Jack was placed in my arms, white and furry and splotchy red, and OH SO SWEET!
I was in euphoria. I felt ecstatic to point of hysteria. I praised and thanked God out loud. Two! He’d given me two boys! I laughed and was amazed, overjoyed that I was done already. We could enjoy him the rest of the day. I didn’t have to work so hard anymore! And the love for my husband…the father of our two who was my partner not only in creating them but bringing them into the world, my coach, my support, dependable and confident who makes me confident…I am so grateful for him.
Nobody made it for Jacks birth. He came too fast! Even Kelley, our second midwife, didn’t make it to the house until moments after Jack’s birth. Labor was only 2.5 hours long. They say the second child comes faster, but wow. I prayed for a short delivery, and 2.5 hours was what I had been thinking if I could choose. God knows our thoughts, but I also want to say be careful what you pray for, ha ha! A very short labor is nice, but it is also INCREDIBLY intense on the pain scale.
SOME FUN FACTS:
Jack was born 8 pounds 12 ounces and 20 inches at 4:33 am on March 5, 2013
The cord was cut by his daddy at 6:05 am
His head measured 36 cm
His chest measured 36.5 cm
Very superficial tearing. No stitches. No pain. I wonder if I really did at all
I lost a total of ½ cup of blood (quite a bit less than last time which was 3 cups, yay!)