She let me down. Liam was healthy and the whole process went seamlessly, so I am grateful for that. But I still felt like an experience had been stolen from me, and that I had failed in some way because I ended up being held down on a bed while pushing for over an hour, despite me telling them in advance I didn't want to deliver on my back (hello, who wants to fight gravity??). My body felt broken afterwards. I was exhausted. I was bullied 24/7 by the nurses after I delivered, trying to convince me to give Liam formula because it was "easier". Trying to convince me to let the pediatrician circumcise him even though we had chosen not to cut off a piece of our child's body without his consent and risk his health for cosmetic purposes. Making me feel like everything I *knew* was so right, was actually so wrong. I left that hospital feeling defeated and tired instead of pumped and elated. When we decided it was time to add another hellion to the family back in December, I was determined things would be different as soon as I got those two pink lines on the stick.
I found a birth center just across the border in SC, and immediately fell in love with my midwife. The entire pregnancy was perfect aside from some of the standard puking the first few months. We didn't find out the gender purposely; we decided it would be more fun to wonder and to have that surprise to look forward to. 2 weeks before my due date I got a phone call from my midwife. The birth center was temporarily shut down due to a tangled web of politics and I was not going to be able to deliver there. So here I was, about to give birth at any time and completely back at square one.
After feeling sorry for myself for a few days, I picked myself up by my bootstraps and thought to myself, screw this shit. I'm going balls to the wall and doing what I wanted to do this whole time. This kid is being born at home. No more drama, no more fighting for something that should happen naturally. I'm a healthy low risk chick with a healthy baby. We're gonna do this.
I worked Thursday and Friday and damn, I worked. Our floor had been getting increasingly nutty by the week and two straight days of running around, not sitting, and doing heavy lifting wore me out. Saturday morning, September 14th, I woke up feeling kind of crampy. I chalked it up to working the last two days and maybe overdoing it. My due date was still 2 weeks away. I got up, got breakfast and sat around. The random crampiness didn't go away. In fact, it was getting more noticeable. It didn't really hurt, and I can't really describe it other than weird. I know that sounds stupid since I'd been through the labor process before, but with Liam I had no signs of anything and my water sporadically busted on the couch, followed by Mack truck contractions that didn't stop till he came out. This was nothing like that, so I thought nothing of it. I decide to take Liam to the park. We hung out for a few hours and the tightening/cramping continued. I had a couple people ask me when I was due and I was tempted to be like, "well maybe right now but I'm not sure". I texted my mom, who was with my dad camping about an hour away. I didn't want them to come back for nothing and me feel bad, but I kind of wanted to give her a heads up. On the drive home, they started getting closer together. I put Liam down for a nap around 1:30. Ate lunch, paid some bills. Liam woke up around 4 and the cramping was actually getting to a point where I had to stop what I was doing and shut my eyes. I texted the midwife:
4:45pm: "I'm having a lot of cramping, but it's sporadic so I don't know..probably false labor…"
5:22pm: "Nevermind, this shit is real"
She arrived and they were pretty intense...Liam was laughing and copying me as I moaned and swayed back and forth while leaning over whatever was near me as I paced upstairs (washer, banister, bed). Shaun texted my mom to tell her they better pack up. I told him to tell them not to rush, I figured I had at least another 5-6 hours. We joked around and played with Liam in the playroom, then when I had a contraction I would bury my face in the futon and she would quietly take notes in the corner. Every once and awhile she would check the baby's heart rate with the Doppler. Two other midwives arrived around then, and Liam was in heaven having all these people playing trains with him. Shaun went downstairs and cleaned the kitchen...guess he figured with the amount of work I was doing at the moment the least he could do was the dishes. Haha. After awhile they asked if I wanted to get in the tub. For some reason it hadn't even occurred to me even though my plan the whole pregnancy was to have a waterbirth. Into the tub I went. Liam at this point had apparently breezed through med school and had taken upon himself to be the resident OB. He stripped off his shirt and sang Spiderman songs to me while pouring water on my back during contractions. He did the Doppler (correctly!) for the midwives. He made fun of my quiet moans. The whole thing wasn't scary to him at all...I had prepared for one of the midwives and Shaun to keep him downstairs but apparently that was all for nothing.
Within about 10 minutes I was getting way too hot and both my and the baby's heart rate were jumping up. I got out and tried to cool down. I sat on the big yoga ball next to my bed and watched Liam do gymnastics on the mattress. I remember thinking to myself during a contraction that I had hours more of this so I hoped I could keep my current calm state of mind and sense of humor. Right about then I decided I had to go to the bathroom. I said it out loud and started to get up to walk to the toilet. The midwife said, "No. Come over here and grip the footboard and pop a squat for me on the floor". I looked at her like she was nuts. Um, no, I am not pooping on the floor in front of people. I said as much, and I got the look of death, lol. She convinced me to just try to attempt the position for her and she promised I wouldn't go to the bathroom on the floor. I was annoyed but did as she said.
Suddenly the urge was so unbelievably overwhelming that I wanted desperately to run to the bathroom but I was literally frozen in place. My body began to attempt to push on it's own, and I remember yelling out loud that I was "puking in reverse". Everyone laughed but I was about ready to cry, mortified that I was going to poop in front of everyone. Then the floodgates opened and my water literally exploded all over the floor. I felt like a deflated balloon. Suddenly I felt this god awful burning and before I could register what it was, Liam leaped out of Shaun's arms yelling, "My baby!! Wook!! It's my baby!! I'm a big brother now mama!!!". Then I felt this immense sensation of pressure relief and I looked down to see a face peering up at me. The midwife was fending off Liam, who was trying to get to the baby, and Shaun was just standing there with a look of shock. Holy shit. I just had a baby. And all I had wanted to do was go to the bathroom.
His cord was short so I couldn't lift him up to my chest till the placenta came out. When it did, I began to bleed quite a bit due to the short cord getting yanked at some point and tearing the placenta away from the uterine wall, causing a bit of hemorrhage. The midwife gave me some Cytotec and the bleeding let up immediately (and caused horrible god awful contractions but they were necessary to stop the bleeding). Liam cut the cord with some help from Shaun and we finally noticed we had another boy.
I took a quick shower and parked myself in bed with new baby.
At that point my parents arrived. Sorry guys, too late. By 15 minutes! The midwife had arrived at 5:30pm, and he was out at 7:19pm. He was weighed (7lbs 5oz), measured (20 in), and examined.
Shaun won the name battle and Declan received his name. We all hung out for another 4 hours (midwives wanted to make sure I didn't bleed again), ate fish tacos Shaun and my dad whipped up, and went to bed. The next day we woke up like any other day. It was perfect and comfortable and easier than I ever could have asked for. I was so comfortable in my own space that I didn't even realize I was in labor till it was almost over. What more could you ask for?
And that's the story of Declan's journey Earthside.