I gave birth to our second daughter last week and I am so happy with how the labor and delivery went this time around! Prior to our oldest daughter’s birth, Keith and I took a class on Husband-Coached Childbirth AKA The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth. We knew we wanted to welcome our baby into this world without medication and with as little intervention as possible from medical staff, and the Bradley Method really helped us accomplish our goal 🙂
I woke up in the early morning of Anja’s birthday with mild contractions, about 30 seconds long and 3-4 minutes apart. It was around 2am, the same time I started labor with our oldest, so I had a feeling this was the real thing.
I got those butterflies in my stomach, feeling so anxious to meet our little girl and curious as to how this labor was going to go.
I ate some dates, drank some water, tidied up, did some last minute packing and attempted to doze, but nothing was slowing the contractions down. They don’t call this the “putzy-putzy” stage for no reason!
I woke Keith up a little after 3am and he immediately went into game mode. Packing, trying to feed me, calling his parents, calling the midwife. He was ready to go.
Had this happened the night before, he would have been a whole lot more stressed. Anja really was very polite in her timing. Keith had been working on a huge company-wide project for months and was stressed that the baby may come before the project launched – but she didn’t, she patiently waited and came to meet is the very next day.
Keith’s parents planned to watch Liesl during the labor and delivery. The same day as Keith’s project launch, they said goodbye to two foreign exchange students they had been housing.
On top of that, we had been without a washer and dryer for nearly 3 months and my one wish was to buy a washer and dryer before the baby arrived. Guess when we got the new washer and dryer? At 7pm the day before Anja’s birthday.
She’s already so considerate!
I digress…after talking to the midwife, we decided it would be best to make our way towards the birth center to avoid heavy labor in the car.
Then it hit me that this was the last time I was just going to be Liesl’s mama. When we woke her up, I held her and cried, knowing our relationship would never be quite the same.
The tears stayed in my eyes the whole way to Grandma’s house, where we would be dropping look off for the day. When we got there, we said our goodbyes, I endured a couple of contractions and we were on our way.
We stopped for caffeine and nourishment for Keith at Cruisin’ Coffee, where the young barista asked me if I wanted anything right in the middle of a contraction.
We arrived at the birth center around 6am. They had a warm bath waiting for me and I was anxious to climb in – but first – the check. I was thinking “I’m going to be really disappointed if I’m only a two” and a few seconds later, my sweet midwife exclaims, “well, looks like you’re about 7 cm dilated”.
This is amazing news! Keith and I just looked at each other, both of us shocked. At this point the contractions were still very manageable, I had to concentrate, but I was able to stay relaxed if I closed my eyes, took deeper breaths, and swayed my hips back and forth.
“I feel like we’re cheating,” Keith said, referring to how much easier this birth was going.
We hung out in the birth room for a while, me in the tub, talking and joking with our midwife.
About and hour later, Keith and I decided to go on a walk in the neighborhood. It was a warm, sunny morning. Everyone else around us was just starting their day, driving to work, catching the bus.
I was starting to feel nauseous and was terribly afraid that I would throw up in someone’s yard (thank goodness that never happened).
This part of the birth was pure bliss. Keith and I walking together, getting ready to welcome our new baby girl into the world. It was so sweet and intimate. Sometimes we would kiss as a contraction started, I would lean on his shoulder and he would rub my back whispering encouraging words into my ears. We we’re so close and connected in those moments.
When we got back to the birth center, they checked me again and I was 8 or 9 cm dilated. Everything was still very manageable, so the midwife brought up the option of breaking my water to speed up the process. We talked pros and cons and possible dangers and ultimately decided to go for it.
At 8:30am, the midwife nicked the water bag with what looked like a crochet hook and I climbed back in the tub.
The next contraction was noticeably different. It required deeper concentration. I started making intense eye contact with Keith during each contraction and moaning in low tones to try to keep calm.
Then I was in transition – throwing up, bleeding, feeling out of control. Keith and the two midwives were with my every step of the way, cheering me on. I didn’t feel like pushing for what seemed like a long time and I wanted to cry every time I felt another contraction coming on.
They encouraged me to move about a lot – all fours on the bed, leaning on the birth ball, standing up, sitting on the birth chair. The birth chair is where I really started pushing. I kept asking the midwives “Can you see her? Can you see her?” as I was starting to get discouraged.
Eventually one of the midwives said that I could probably feel her head if I reached up and sure enough, I felt her soft, fuzzy head. That was all the encouragement I needed, I was ready to push her out. I gave a couple big pushes and they said “slow down! You’re going to tear!” Her head was out but they told me to take quick shallow breaths and avoid pushing until my skin stretched a bit more.
They moved me to all fours and found that her shoulder was stuck. I could push again, but the midwives had to reach in and help that shoulder get out.
And then we had a baby! I secretly thought that this baby might be a boy but I looked down and saw that it was a beautiful baby girl.
I sat up and they placed my little girl in my arms and helped me walk to the bed. I was shaking like crazy from all of the hormones and they told me I had a tear, but they would be able to repair it at the birth center.
For the next three hours we held and bonded with our girl and then we went home. The next day we decided on her name – Anja Primrose – our little wildflower.