I love talking about birth stories. I love learning about it and hearing other people's experiences. If you're like me and interested in the topic or are hoping for a natural birth and looking for resources, I have a bunch of info on this. I have two girls now, a toddler and a new babe. I wrote a blog about my first natural birth story here, and now I'm sharing my second natural birth story.
So, I have done something called hypnobirthing with both of my girls. It helps train your mind throughout your entire pregnancy and during the actual birth. Helps you relax and just let the contractions or surges wave over you. The whole idea is to let your body relax and do what it wants/needs. This is good for anyone. Natural birth, c-section, hospital birth, home birth – whatever! It just helps you be calm, prepared, and ready to do whatever you need to do to get your baby here safely.
Ana May's Guide to Childbirth
I also read Ana May's Guide to Childbirth during both of my pregnancies. I would highly recommend this if you're hoping to have a natural birth. Or, if you just want to be prepared to go with the flow, learn a bit about the birthing process, and how your body works. This is another one where I know people who had c-sections and this still helped them.
I convinced myself I was going to have this baby early. Don't do that. If anything, convince yourself you're going to have your baby late. Around 37 weeks, I was like yep, any day now. And, NOPE! At 40 weeks, they started asking me if I wanted cervical checks and after the first one, I was like nope, I know those don't mean anything. With my first, I was half a centimeter dilated for a couple days before she was born. This one, I went in for my 40 week appt and I was one centimeter but they told me my baby was on the side, not in the front, meaning she was not engaging and we needed to get the show on the road. GAME ON.
Okay, so when they told me the baby needed to get engaged, I was so ready to get the show on the road. I did the Mile Circuit which is an hour and a half of three different stretches.
My friend's doula told her that the Mile Circuit can work but nobody ever does it fully through. I was like I. WILL. And I did. It was really boring, but I did it.
So I finished the final circuit and then that night around 11 pm, I was kind of starting to feel cramps but was like whatever and went back to sleep.
Around 1 am, they were starting to get more consistent and I went downstairs and had a little bit of a mucus plug thing, but you know, so many things can be a sign of labor but they also can not be. You might have some contractions but they could just be false contractions, you might never lose your mucus plug or you lose it and that could be a sign of labor but that can also happen weeks before you go into labor. If your water breaks, it's probably coming soon, but some people's water never breaks. So, you never know.
Moral of the story is, there's no super clear indicator of labor. But, my midwife told me to call as soon as I go into labor so a little after 1 am, I called and told her I was having pretty consistent contractions. She told us she's meet us at the hospital. Since I labored at home for about 5 hours before going to the hospital with my first, both my husband and I were like well I don't know that we need to go now. So I took a shower first and as I'm in the shower, my water breaks.
I call my sister (she lives about 30 minutes away) and the hospital was like a half hour away so we were at least an hour away from making it to the hospital. And this is just one more thing you have to worry about with your second, finding somewhere for your other child to go.
So, two hours later, we finally show up at the hospital. I was about 4 cm at this point.
When she went to check how dilated I was, she told me my water didn't break. So I was like umm did I just pee myself in the shower or what happened?! Honestly, probably. Nothing surprises me anymore.
Once they check, I'm like alright, I'm ready to go, so I get in the tub. With my first, they let me start in the tub but then made me get out to deliver. In that moment I was like are you kidding me?! I'm about to give birth and you want me to get up and move and get out of this wonderful serene tub and on to dry land to lay in a hospital bed??
I didn't want to do that this time. I asked if I could do it in the tub. There is something called hydrotherapy, which basically says that a shower or the tub is second to an epidural so either of those helps a lot with paint management. I wasn't stuck on doing a water birth but I just didn't want to have to get out of the tub again if I was really feeling it like I was the first time.
Basically right away I told them that I was ready for the tub and they told me we should wait as it can slow labor down a bit. I thought, going into it that I was going to want to walk around, squat, do stairs. Nope. Didn't want to do that. I just wanted to lay down so I found a comfortable position, used a peanut ball, put it between my legs and was just breathing through my contractions for about an hour.
They asked a few times if I wanted to be checked to know how dilated I was. I didn't. It just felt like a mind game. So she tells me around 4:45 that I can move to the tub.
It took forever for the tub to fill up so I go to the bathroom, and whatever else.
I'm a bit conservative. I'm not one to just be streaking or skinny dipping and be super comfortable naked, but during labor, don't care. I did wear a sports bra but otherwise, I was like I don't care I'll walk from the bed to the bathroom to the tub and really don't care what you see.
So I get in the tub and ask Seth (my husband) if he wants to get in the tub with me and he was like ummm no. Which I get, I wouldn't want to be in there. I didn't even want to be in the water. I wanted to be in the tub, but the water…you know, stuff just starts coming out and then ends up in the water.
Finally I'm in the water and just start doing my thing, I have my headphones in with hypnobabies playing.
Before labor, I told my husband “last time you really didn't do much for pictures and videos” and he was like “are you kidding me? You had back labor and I was applying counter pressure every other minute”. Okay, I'm just sayinggg. So, this time I said I wanted a birth photographer and he said he didn't want another person in the room with us during this intimate time. Which, then I agreed but asked him to take some photos so we did get more photos and videos this time which I liked.
So I didn't even notice in the moment, but watching back some of the videos that Seth took, I saw that they had some flameless candles set up, they were rubbing me with essential oils, Seth was leaning over the tub applying counter pressure. And I realize I was the one giving birth, but he seriously did that for every single contraction. I could not ask for a better partner. He is amazing.
I was in the tub for about an hour and my midwife said that after about an hour she usually likes to check how far along we are and make sure we are still progressing. And depending, she likes to break the water which will make it a lot more intense and get things ready to go down.
I was like, I don't want that, that sounds terrible plus I don't want to get out of this tub. I thought things were moving along well. So I was just like yeah okay, and then when she left, I was like “Seth, I do not want to do that”. So when she came back, he told her “hey, she really doesn't want to get out of the tub and have her water broken” and the midwife said no pressure.
Now this is weird, I don't know how to explain this other than comparing it to poop. But, you kind of get to the point where you're like yep I should push now. I don't know how you know that, but you just do. It's kinda like being on the toilet and you just get that feeling like yep it's coming.
At some point Seth turned on the camera at like the perfect PG angle and started recording. It was perfect. And what he didn't know was that it would automatically turn off at 30 minutes. And he caught it at minute 17. Dude was just tuned in. So in the video, you see a couple of my really intense ones and then there's this pop that I felt and heard and my water broke. Seth was pushing on my back and he pretty much did it and felt the pop too. It was wild.
Again, my midwife is like “okay it's about to get a lot more intense”. I'm like, stop. saying. that.
I just wanted to do my things and not sike myself out, but I love, love my midwife. Like if we had another (which I don't think we are), I would ask her again. But it just was not what I wanted to hear in the moment.
So I start to push a little bit and she's coming out. I reach down, thinking she's about half way out, but now. She had like half of her head out, meaning she basically had a halo. I was starting to freak out a little bit, but my midwife reassured me that she was fine, it was stretching my skin out a little, and I needed to breathe and let my body do its thing.
So, I was just breathing through contractions. I told them I wanted to let my body do its thing and just assist it as needed. I didn't want to aggressively push and force things. All of you have pooped before and know exactly what I'm talking about. You try and push that poop out when it's not ready, you're just gonna strain and nothing's going to happen. If you let your body be, it will work its way mostly when it's ready and you just need to do a little to assist at the end. That's how I wanted to birth my baby, like a very calm poop. And that's exactly what I did.
So, I'm sitting there waiting for my skin to stretch. Panicking a little, then reminding myself to catch my breath and I calm myself back down. My butt at this point was still against the wall of the tub. They told me I needed to be on my back so they could see what was going on and make sure everything was happening safely. My midwife is trying to start to help me turn and I'm like “I'm gonna poop, I'm gonna poop, I'm gonna poop”. They're like okay, it is what it is. You can see this in my YouTube but they just quick come in with a little fishnet and quickly remove it. So that happened.
Then they try again and ask me if I can turn. I'm like no. No way can I turn right now. They said, if she doesn't come out on this push, we're gonna have to get you to turn. I said challenge accepted.
Pushed her right out, the midwife caught her, her cord was super short so they told me I needed to stand up. I couldn't believe it, I just got up because that's what I had to do.
I had wanted to do delayed cord clamping, but the cord was super short and they were trying to syringe things out and Seth was like we need to do it now. The midwife asked if I was okay cutting the cord then and I was like “do whatever you think we need to do”.
They detach the baby from me and now we have the placenta. They said I couldn't deliver that in the tub which was fine, I don't think I would want to do that anyways. The water is disgusting.
I get out, we do skin to skin contact and breastfeed. If you plan to breastfeed, try to do it as soon as you can. Right after delivery, your boob releases a hormone that makes it smell like amniotic fluid so your baby is attracted to it right away. But if you can't it's okay, just try to do it as soon as you can.
And then I deliver the placenta. I consumed my placenta. Not with a fork and knife, but we had it quickly packaged up in a cooler, it got picked up, and encapsulated into pills. If you're in MN, HOW2MOM is amazing. She's the one that did this for me.
Then I just got to bond with my new little babe. With my first, we had one name picked out. It was Aliya. That was the name. Even though I love it and now totally think it was the right choice, I kind of wished I had gone in with a couple of options. Seth never questioned it, but for months after having Aliya, I would wonder, was it the right name? Now it fits her perfectly but at first I wasn't sure.
With this one, Romy. Romy was the name. I loved it. Was on it 100%. I still came up with my handful of names but was convinced I wouldn't need it.
When she was born, I was like Romy just doesn't feel right. It really hurt my soul because I was SO excited for this name but it just didn't fit her and knew it wasn't right. So Esme was the other one that I did like and kind of seemed to fit her.
At first I was like let's not tell anybody yet but let's start calling her Romy just at the hospital and see. Seth wrote Romy on the board, then the nurse came in and was like “how's Romy doing” and my brain just stumbled over it. I was crushed in the moment, but I knew Esme fit her so much better.
So Esme it is and now we also call her Esie, I call her Es all the time. I love it and it's so fitting for her.
Postpartum with this babe has been so different than it was with my first. It has been NIGHT AND DAY. Better, wayyyy better. Little to no tears this time.
The first time was a struggle. If you're struggling or pregnant and wanting to prepare for postpartum, I give some tips for your toolbox in this video.
I hope this was either interesting or helpful. I have SO many things I want to share with you about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. It's one of my favorite topics, check out my other blogs on this topic and you can find me, @heyshayla on Instagram where I share a lot more.