It looks like I haven't updated this personal blog in almost a YEAR. I'll add more posts later, but in the mean time here is the birth story of our newest daughter Emery Beatrice!
We found out we were expecting baby 2 on Ellis' first birthday! Crazy thing, I just knew I was pregnant but dragged my feet to take a test. We were traveling to visit friends in Missouri and a few friends threw tests at me to take! Sure enough, Pregnant!
I immediately texted my midwife to see if she would be off her maternity leave in time for baby 2! I knew we would do a home birth again, and that I wanted the same birth team. This pregnancy was a breeze. I purposely stayed active and kept up walking and working out as much as possible. I joined the YMCA during the summer so I could walk the indoor track and not die of heat exhaustion. We went on a few hiking trips during this time! Once to Rocky Mountain National Park and then a week in Banff, Canada.
My due date was New Years 2016! I prayed and hoped this baby would come late, though I would've accepted her to come early. She didn't come early, she didn't come on time, but just like ellis, she came at almost 41 weeks! Around our due date, EVERYONE in our house had a cold. I felt awful, Ellis was a snotty feverish mess, and Jimmy was a sniffly mess. So we stocked up on vitamin c, drowned ourselves with water, and rested a lot! We finally knocked out the colds in time for a baby to come.
Tuesday, January 5 I had my midwife appointment. I had been at 1cm for about 3 weeks now, but finally the baby was dropping. My midwife swept my membranes and that was that. I took Ellis to the kids museum, and like normal went home and napped. I had been having early/prodromal labor for over a week now.
Wednesday, January 6, I woke up with contractions and started having all the other signs of labor that are gross. I texted my midwife to give her the heads up that I started having contractions. She encouraged me not to encourage contractions and take the day to rest since she wasn't feeling 100% with mastitis and I totally was ok with that. I needed the day to get ready for the birth any ways. By the evening the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I gave her the heads up, but by 1am the contractions slowed down and went away and I slept. I learned my lesson last time with an all night birth. I did NOT want to be deliriously tired during the pushing portion.
Thursday, January 7, Again I woke up with contractions that were still far apart. I texted my midwife to see if I could come up and get checked to see where I was and what was going on. She got to my house around 11:30/12ish, and I put Ellis down for a nap. When she checked me I was about 4cm! Which after a full day and half of contractions I was relieved to have gone that far! So we started on the breast pump to get the contractions going closer, and some herbs and essential oils. I also decided to start baking a birthday cake as well. Nothing takes your mind off contractions like stirring batter, taking care of a toddler, and getting the house cleaned up. Around 4pm my birth team had arrived and we were just sitting and waiting for my contractions to get closer together. I was still able to breathe through the painful ones, which still were at about a level 5/6 on the pain scale (10 being ripping nails out pain). The pain never really got too much. One of my midwives joked and asked if I was even in labor. I was pretty quiet and focused during contractions, which helped with pain management. Around 7pm, we put ellis to bed (which surprisingly helped me to get labor going again). I got checked, and sure enough I was 7cm. We were all a little shocked as I had not really expressed that I was that close to active labor.
My contractions stayed steadily apart for most of the night. We checked again at 9pm, and I was still 7cm. I looked at my midwife and was like HOW THE HECK DO WE GET THIS KID OUT?! So my husband and I went and walked our block a few times at 10pm. I walked through contractions, probably some strong ones. We needed at least an hour of strong contractions that came steady. We never got that hour. We did the rebozo, watched Greys Anatomy, I cracked jokes, I laughed through a few contractions, ate dinner, paced our house. We kept waiting, resting, me moving and trying to talk contractions into happening, squatting, walking, changing positions constantly. To no avail, contractions stayed 7mins apart. At this time, my water still had not broke but my bag was bulging and I could feel the pressure. I realize now that a big thing during this labor was I was distracted and worried about taking care of those around me. I still felt like I needed to be a hostess, which was not necessary.
Finally, around 3:30am I got checked again and was at 9cm. We thought I was fully dilated, so just to double check we had another midwife come and sweep and see where I was at. As she was checking, my water finally broke. My water breaking was a sensation I had never felt! I think for ellis, it was a slow leak and not the gush we had with Emery. Once my water broke, I sat up and felt just a sudden relief of pressure. It was the oddest thing, I thought once my water broke baby would be coming soon. I sat up and sat criss-cross applesauce, and found comfort in that position through a few contractions. I was eager to start pushing, so we started to push. Then they checked again and we found that I had a cervical lip. So at 6am we stopped pushing immediately so I wouldn't cause swelling.
At this point I was FRUSTRATED, tired, and just over it. So we rested for an hour, and talked about a timeline of waiting another 90 minutes before we reevaluate if we needed to transfer. By then I'm in tears and just at the point where I really really was overly emotional. I didn't want to fail. So I hopped in the shower to have the water help me relax and pull myself together. Which took about 20 minutes. I really didn't want to fail. I don't know exactly what I didn't want to fail at, since no matter what a baby was coming out. Once I pulled myself together, still emotional, I checked my phone to see a few texts, checked the baby monitor and saw Ellis was awake. Immediately I texted my friend Kate that baby wasn't here. Could she come pick up ellis who's still in PJs and needs breakfast, and would she come in and pray with me? I had been stuck at 9cm for over 3 hours. Thank you Lord for amazing friends who happen to be practically neighbors. She was there in less than 10mins.
Once Kate prayed with me and took Ellis, I think I was finally able to give it 100% because my body started doing what we had been hoping for. The hard, toe curling, body writhing, contractions started and never stopped for what felt like forever, really was only 90 minutes. We checked at 7:30, still a 9 with the cervical lip, so by 8am I was finally feeling the urge to push (something I don't remember really having with Ellis). I can only describe the urge to push as its that moment when your body knows relief comes from pushing against the pressure of contractions. Now, pushing with a cervical lip is absolutely awful. When I had the urge to push I was sitting up, and honestly sitting indian style was the only way I was managing to get through the contractions... but you can't push a baby out sitting on its only exit. My sweet midwives had to lead me to lay flat on my back to push effectively. I also knew that when I pushed, my midwife's hands would have to be inside me holding my cervix open. I begged her not to put her fingers inside... Im glad she didn't listen but slowly snuck them in during pushes. Once emery's head had been pushed past the lip, she could take her hands out. After only about 25 minutes of pushing, Emery's head started crowning.
One thing I had told my team was that I wanted to catch and pull her up to my chest. At that very moment, they told me to reach down and get ready for her. I said no you just do it (hello exhaustion), but again they didn't listen to my crazy self and guided my hands to where they needed to be. What a surreal experience to feel the head of your new baby as they're leaving your body. Once her shoulders were out, I pulled her up to my chest. (Side note: a fresh baby feels like a warm raw whole chicken. that is seriously the only way to describe how slippery they are). Sweet Emery Beatrice was 8lbs 3.5oz and 21" long. She was born with some dark hair and a complexion darker than her older sister.
Crazy to think we've done 2 home births now. While during that last 90 minutes of intense pain I said never again to kids, homebirth, labor, life, I would do it again. I love that once Emery was here, we just were in our own little world for the day. This time around we told a few people that she had arrived, Kate brought ellis back for naptime (Jimmy took care of that), and we officially were a family of 4. We took the day to rest, recoup, and I was looking forward to when ellis woke up. I missed my first born. Her first reaction was just giggles. She's a toddler of no words, so her smile and giggles were enough to warm my heart! She still is like that with Emery.