After my birth wasn’t everything I had hoped for with my oldest daughter, I was determined to do it differently with Allister. I researched for hours upon hours to figure out my options. I had originally started going to a birth center in Colorado, but halfway through my pregnancy, my husband and I separated and I moved home to temporarily live across the country with my parents on their little farm until we could work things out.
I was so depressed because of the state of my marriage, and we were staring divorce right in the face. I struggled to gain weight, find employment while 6 months pregnant, and be a present mom to my then three year old daughter. Thankfully, and only by the grace of God, by the time my due date was rolling around my husband and I had begun to work things out. I had been seeing a wonderful CNM (certified nurse midwife) and had planned a water birth at the hospital; my only concern was timing labor with the arrival of my husband via airplane.
When it was getting close, we booked a flight for my husband to come out. That morning I had a midwife appointment, and so while I was there, she stripped my membranes in hopes of kick-starting contractions. Afterwards I went to pick up hubby from the airport, and we went to eat some spicy wings. We went home and put Z to bed at my parents’ house, and then climbed into my bed to watch the Wedding Singer- the first movie we ever had watched together, and the movie that contains the song we danced to at our wedding. Needless to say, in a fit of passion, we were able to jump start labor.
My contractions started around 10:30 at night. We started timing them, and then texted my midwife, Colleen. She said that she had a few other ladies in labor and to only come if I felt like it was absolutely time- the hospital was also 45 minutes away. I wasn’t in a hurry… I packed a bag slowly, took a shower, and dried my hair, put on some makeup. Meanwhile, my mom was rushing around the house absolutely freaking out that she was going to have to deliver a baby in the car on the way there. I ate an otter pop on the way out the door.
We were admitted to the hospital but both of the water birthing rooms in the birth center area were taken, so we got a standard hospital room. I was put on the monitor for 20 minutes or so, and then was approved to get off of them. We put some essential oils around, turned on my extensive Jason Mraz playlist, and I bounced and rocked my hips on a birthing ball. I walked the halls, trying to help the contractions get closer together. After a while Colin fell asleep in my hospital bed. My mom soon after fell asleep on the couch in the room. I was all alone- but the quiet was nice.
I walked those halls as if my life depended on it. I bounced and rocked some more. Then Colleen, my midwife, came to visit. It was her birthday! Also a full moon and she had EIGHT patients in labor at the same time! She decided my labor wasn’t progressing quickly enough and gave me the option of A) going home or B) allowing her to break my water. The idea of going home sounded awful, as it was probably around 6 am and I was emotionally invested in the fact that my baby was coming soon. Despite my prior feelings about any more interventions, I consented.
The nurse brought my birth pool in a box into the room and started filling it up, as Colleen crochet-hooked my bag of water. I remember giggling like crazy about the awful flood of amniotic fluid that kept seeping out of me. It was like peeing nonstop, and not being able to control it. Shortly afterwards, I was at 6 centimeters and my contractions became extremely intense and close together.
I was allowed in the pool and it brought a certain level of comfort, although I wouldn’t be one of those who call it an aquadural. I had not taken any birthing classes and my previous epidural birth did not require any sort of inner pain management or concentration, so I didn’t really know what I was in for. I was trying to breathe as the contractions got much stronger and closer. I stared hard at the thermostat box on the wall. I tried to rest on the side of the pool in between contractions but my contractions were barely giving me a break in between each one. I started feeling some pressure, and one of my worst fears was beginning to come true—I was going to poop in front of everyone. I was terrified and screamed that I was going to and that I didn’t want to do it.
There were two nurses in the room as I was laboring, one was a petite older lady with dark short hair, and the other was a taller, larger blonde woman who barely said one word. The older nurse said that this was the blonde nurse’s first water birth experience, as she had just gotten hired at this hospital. The blonde nurse was annoying and useless.
I labored in the pool and completely out of my control I had a super embarrassing bowel movement in the water. It’s a normal, natural part of labor, and I know I shouldn’t have been so embarrassed, but I couldn’t help it. I was trying to swim away from the floaters, screaming that I pooped. I’m sure everyone in the room was giggling to themselves because of the ridiculous fuss I was making. I was in so much pain as I was pretty much in transition, but all I could think about was how embarrassed I was that I pooped in front of my husband. The blonde nurse just silently stood there and stared! My mom grabbed the handy dandy fish net and scooped up the offenders and handed it to the nurse and said “YOU take care of this.” Thanks mom.
My mom and Colin sat poolside with me, and held my hands as I squeezed them both tight. My mom encouraged me to push if I needed to, and she was trying to help me stay focused by copying her breathing. At one point the dark haired nurse told me I was breathing wrong. I could have decked her. At that point, I let go of Colin and was staring at my mom’s mouth at each of her breaths. Sorry hubs.
At this moment, I remember screaming “I’m going to die!” and the dreaded “I want an epidural, NOW!” I even asked desperately for gas and air (a recommendation from my friend in New Zealand) and was met with really confused looks. They knew I didn’t want drugs, told me I didn’t want drugs, and encouraged me to keep going.
A little while later, out of a deep desire to be done and go to sleep, I gave a couple of short “test” pushes, even though I didn’t actually feel the need or urge to push. I didn’t want any vaginal checks after my water was broken, so we were just playing it by ear. Right afterwards, my midwife came in, put long plastic bag-like things on her arms, and told me to flip over onto my back. 4 intense yet effective pushes later, Colleen caught my precious middle daughter and she guided her as she floated up into my arms.
Colin remembers this more clearly than I do, but I was vocally making (a dying whale) noise to cope with the intense pain. However, the second that I held my baby, my voice instantly changed into a motherly, soft and quiet tone as I said hi to her for the very first time. I felt like I was in a field of butterflies with fairy dust shimmering all around. There was sunshine in my face, and the smell of wildflowers in the warm breeze. Nothing was ever more ethereal to me than the first moment I held Allister.
A little bit later, my body wanted to release the placenta, and I wanted it out of me. Allister was wrapped in a warm blanket and handed to her daddy while I was helped into bed. I had one tiny little stitch, which made a huge difference in recovery compared to my first birth. Allister was born on May 11th, at 8:52 in the morning. She weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces, was 19.5” long, not too much bigger than her older sister. She had a lot of wavy blonde hair and a very chubby soggy and sweet face and the same little toes as her big sister. She was estimated to be 38 weeks gestation and was covered in vernix- so we let it soak into her skin. She had no signs of jaundice and latched right away like a little champ. My milk came in a couple of days later, and we had a successful breastfeeding relationship for 18 months.
I felt SO great after our birth! I felt empowered- I am woman, hear me roar! I saw the calmness in my baby. She never screamed and never cried except for when the nurse came to give her a bath (I was so mad because I wanted to do it- but I was curled up in bed dealing with sudden horrific afterpains.) Zoelie was three and walked over to the warmer where she was getting cleaned up and started singing twinkle twinkle little star to her. Allister immediately stopped crying and turned her head to her big sister and just listened calmly. It was such a magical moment. A little while later, daddy gave Allister her middle name, Colby.
I was so happy with how our birth turned out. The positive (although painful) experience helped me to heal from the disappointment and defeat I experienced with Zoelie’s birth. I hope and pray that baby 3’s is as gentle for the new little one as Alli’s birth was for her.