On Mila’s third birthday in August of 2018 we decided we would try for another baby. Time was getting away from us and we didn’t want an age gap of more than 3-4 years. Our house was also on the market and showing our house with two dogs and a toddler was so difficult.
After my sister started having children, I found it so hard to live away from her and her babies. Gordon and I found ourselves in the same situation as before; three months had passed and I still wasn’t pregnant. I called the midwife and was told to give it a year again.
We finally found out we were expecting and again it was around Christmas time. This time the positive test was not as faint! I thought for sure we would have two August babies. The first midwife appointment rolled around and it was all new staff and we were given a due date of July 14th! Woohoo!
My pregnancy with Brynn was so much easier than Mila’s pregnancy. We did not find the gender out this time. I was so shocked to find out we would only be getting one ultrasound. I kept up with my strength training schedule. I was still a nanny to 4 or 5 children Monday through Friday. Besides the sickness and normal winter blues, I was rocking the crap out of my second pregnancy! Then Spring rolled around and I started to get uncomfortable.
During my second pregnancy I listened to birth podcasts every night in bed. The Birth Hour was my favorite. I was determined to have the most unassisted birth as possible. I began planning this birth with the midwife team around week 32. The midwife, Heather, showed me some birthing positions that would help me achieve my goal of catching my baby.
They all had warned me that catching your baby on your own outside of water would take a lot of physical control and strength but I was confident in my training abilities. I didn’t think a water birth would be something I would be comfortable with. I didn’t want to sit in a tub full of my body fluids. I took the positioning advice very seriously and even talked to Gordon about it at home.
I was so active during my second pregnancy that I started doing the stairs at Norwich University. It would give me some pressure and I had been having pre-labor like contractions for a straight week but no labor contractions.
I blame it on being so active that nothing I was doing to bring on labor would stir things up enough. I talked with the midwife at my 38-week appointment, and they put me on the machines and could see I was in pre-labor and about 2 centimeters dilated. They told me that by next week, at 39 weeks, if I still hadn’t gone into labor, they could stir things up if I wanted.
39 weeks rolled around, and I was still so uncomfortable. I went in for my 39 week appointment and they told me in three days they could try to do a soft approach to induction knowing I didn’t want to have any Pitocin.
Gordon and I went in at 9:00 am and they gave me Misoprostol, which is commonly used for labor induction but it can take up to three days if you are not close enough to being in active labor. The midwife had me sign a piece of paper which stated this medication wasn’t created for induction but would often times cause uterine contractions if you are pregnant. I could go home at any point if it wasn’t working.
I had the first dose at 10:00 am and the contractions I was experiencing were just as strong as the ones at home. I felt so weird hanging out in Labor and Delivery fairly comfortably- eating the delicious Gifford soup and joking with Gordon. The second dose was given at about 12:00 pm and by 2:00 pm I found myself having to breathe through the contractions.
The midwife, Julia, was on the fence about if she should give me another dose because it was clear I was in active labor by this point. I told her I wasn’t scared of the pain at this point. I took the final dose at 3:00 pm. At 5:00 pm, Julia came in to check me and I was 5 centimeters dilated with pretty strong contractions and a bulging bag of waters. She asked if I wanted her to break my water and I said, “Why not?! Let’s have this baby!”
Gordon was freaking out at the sight of the hook they used to break my water. He kept asking me while she was in the process of breaking my water if I was okay, haha. The following contraction was much stronger and at this point Julia told me I was almost 6 centimeters and she would be right out in the hallway if I needed her.
I hopped into the shower with Gordon and we called our moms to let them know labor was picking up. By 6:30 pm I told Gordon the shower wasn’t even touching the pain of the contractions like it did with my first pregnancy. The contractions were stronger than I remember. Gordon kept asking what he could do to help.
I used breathing techniques from the labor podcasts I had been listening to and it worked pretty well. At 7:00 pm I told Gordon go get Julia, because I felt poop or pushing coming on and that could mean the baby is coming.
Julia came in and asked if I could get on the bed to be checked. I did and it was so uncomfortable. I was told I was still around 6/7 centimeters and might need to go poop. I went poop and hopped back in the shower. Good thing Gordon and I are on year 9 together and wipe a 4 year old every day because he had to wipe for me. That is love, ladies and gentleman.
The shower became a waste of time and I told Gordon I still felt the urge to push and I needed to get in the room and prepare for the baby, because I knew the baby was coming soon. I went into the room and started to feel like I was going to vomit. I turned to Gordon and said, “Go tell Julia I am in transition.” Thank you to the podcasts for this education. Transition is referred to as the most difficult part of labor.
Julia came back in, I was bent over the bed and told her I still felt the need to push. She asked if I could get into the bed so she could check me again and I asked if she could check me where I was. Julia being the badass she is said, “Yes, no problem.” She bent down to check me and said I was at 10 centimeters but still had a little bit of cervix. She asked if I wanted to push it out of the way and she could help.
I was glad to hear this but right as we are discussing the next plan of action, I start pooping on the poor woman. I felt so bad and she told me it was nothing to be ashamed of, and it happens all the time.
I took off my robe like a boxer entering the ring. We were between my bed and the bed they wheeled in for Gordon, which was probably the worst place I could have picked to deliver this child. I was in so much pain- it was radiating through my body and I was shaking and shivering uncontrollably. I felt the baby drop down and knew I needed to push.
I took a knee just like Heather had shown me in the office at my appointments. I told Gordon to push against my chest so the contractions wouldn’t cause me to fall forward. Julia said, “Okay, you got this momma!” The nurse started piling pads and blankets on the floor as a safety precaution and also to help catch some of the mess. I closed my eyes and focused on what I wanted to do.
I carried this baby for 9 months without knowing the gender and I wanted to be the first one to hold my child. Julia listened to my breathing and in the softest voice was instructing my breaths to slow the birth. I slowly let the head come out of my cervix, letting my instincts do most of the pushing and not forcing it. I grabbed the head of my baby and looked to Julia, “I think I’m holding the baby by the eyes. Am I poking the baby’s eye?” She reassured me that no, that’s how to catch them. The baby is okay. She kept my focus on my breathing and with the next contraction I used my hands to feel the shoulders entering the world and slowly coming out of my body. The rest of the baby followed as I moved my hands to the baby’s armpits.
The baby was out and facing away from me. The nurse yelled that the umbilical cord was on the baby’s neck. I tried to get it off but Julia was right behind me and reached over me to get the cord off the baby. The baby was still so silent and peaceful that I looked at Julia in a panic and asked, “Why isn’t my baby crying?” Julia said, “You did it momma! You just had the most peaceful birth and that baby is very happy. The baby is okay.”
I started to rub the baby’s back just like I heard in the podcast and she made little whimpering sounds but still never cried out. I flipped the baby over and looked up at Gordon, who was now standing in front of me with his hands over his mouth. “You are the strongest woman I know. I can’t believe you just did that.”
I wanted to look and see what the gender was but the cord was still so tight between the baby’s legs that all I saw was a big swollen area that looked like a boy. I told them I thought it was a boy but Julia told me to move the cord. I slid the cord over and looked at Gordon with a big grin and said, “It’s another girl!”
Gordon jumped over the bed and started to get emotional because I had told him this whole pregnancy how happy it would make me to give Mila a sister because of the bond I had with my sister growing up. It was so special for me and he had the same bond with his younger brother that I wanted Mila to have the same gender sibling, even though we would have been happy either way.
Julia told us that she wished we had a camera up in the corner of the room because that was the kind of birth she wanted to be part of and that this was the kind of birth that makes her want to live in Vermont.
I was then helped up onto the bed where I delivered the placenta with intense contractions just as strong as the ones I was experiencing for the actual birth. I remember getting my first real looks at little Brynn and telling Gordon she is so tiny, and smaller than Mila. I was guessing she was under 6 pounds. The shock was starting to fade as it set in that I just did what I did. I told Julia that was amazing and just like I wanted to do it. She said she’s had a couple mothers ask if they can deliver their baby but that was the first time she had actually seen someone do it.
I was so happy. I wanted to nurse Brynn right away and get our breastfeeding off to a great start. Brynn had zero issue latching and it was so nice to not need any help or guidance because Mila had me on professional level with my nursing game.
Brynn nursed the entire hospital stay and I remember the nurses telling me they needed Brynn to stay and give nursing lessons to all the little nurslings in the hospital. We finally got to introduce Mila to her baby sister. Mila was so in love from the start but kept telling me she thought it was a boy baby in my belly. Things at home were pretty great right away. The age gap was perfect because Mila could understand there was plenty of love for both of them and she loves Brynn so much.
Gordon and I are so happy to be the parents of two beautiful girls and because I was able to live out my mommy fantasy of a completely unassisted birth, we are all done making babies.