I just went through 200+ pictures that my birth photographer took of Bub’s birth and I still get all emotional. Because ohmigoodness, what an INCREDIBLE birth!
Very rarely do you see words like incredible, life-changing and spectacular used next to “birth” but seriously, y’all…I love giving birth. I love everything about it. I love the mystery. I love how each contraction brings me closer to seeing my baby. I love how if and when I trust my body, my baby and myself, a baby is…born!
I do not love pregnancy, though. Giving birth? No problem. Pregnancy? No. No! NO!!
Bub’s birth differed from EB’s in that I consciously wanted to be calmer this time around. With EB, I did some fussin’ and gruntin’ and mild shrieking and I just didn’t want to do that this time. I tried to be a dutiful second-time mama and attempted hypnobirthing techniques but naw. I got lazy and never kept through with the practices.
I was 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant when my water broke.This was big because I delivered 5 lb EB at 37 weeks. She was healthy and perfect but still, I was hoping that my son would bake a bit longer. And he did. While anxious, I was still so incredibly calm and didn’t have much interest in natural induction methods. He was going to come when he was ready. I was okay with that.
Even though I felt like a whale.
I went to bed around 9pm on Tuesday, November 3rd. I don’t even know why I knocked out THAT early. It was as if my body forced me to get a few zzz’s in.
At 10:15 pm’ish, I opened my eyes and felt my water breaking. I sprung up, dashed to Esposo’s studio to tell him that my water broke and then ran to the bathroom.
Did you know that not many women have their waters break prior to going into labor? How this happened to me a second time is beyond me – but I was grateful. My water breaking is like a SHOWTIME sign and I love knowing that when those waters come a crashin’, that within some hours, I’ll be seeing my baby. It’s exciting!
Esposo called the midwife, I started cleaning up the bedroom and contacted my short list of friends and family members. I was calm and contractions weren’t nearby so I felt in control and relatively happy.
Twenty minutes later, the contractions started. I breathed through them. Esposo called the midwife again and nicely told her to hurry it up because contractions went from being every 10 minutes to every 2-3 minutes.
I was impressed at my strength through it all. EB’s birth was my stepping stone so I knew what to expect. I have a high pain tolerance but still – contractions huuuuuurt. This is what you should know. I am not some superwoman. I am strong, yes, but contractions still hurt. A lot. A whole ‘lot.
People like to think that just because you opt for a “natural birth” that you don’t feel much pain and no, girl…a baby is coming out of a vagina. That hurtssssss.
I walked around and hummed and swirled my hips and breathed through each contraction.
The worst contraction came as my midwife entered the room. She found me on the floor and on my side. I muttered how I understood why women get epidurals. “Because this hurtssssss…!” I was blubbering and complaining which was a sign that baby was getting close. All of my positive and fluffy vibes were slowly dissipating. I kept breathing but knew that I was losing it a bit. The pressure was creeping up on me and when my midwife asked if I could stand up so she could check me, I winced in pain and climbed myself up on the bed.
She checked me. “You’re 8 centimeters dilated.” she said.
Wait. What? Already? How?! I was thrilled. Knowing I was that close motivated me to tough it out. As my midwife and her assistant moved around getting items together, I labored on my side – a position that felt strangely comfortable. The pressure intensified. I hummed. I kept breathing. I felt the need to push. My midwife put a cold cloth on my head and it seemed to chill the inner heat that surged through my body.
That cold cloth was everything to me at that moment.
I went into my own world around that time. I was conscious of the movement around me but it was game time, I was up to bat and I had to bring my baby in this world.
“I need to push.” I told my midwife.
“So…push.” she said.
Esposo held my foot and I pushed. No one coached me. My midwife stood by and was silent. She only uttered “Do what your body is telling you to do.”
Those words meant so much to me. I was so grateful that she trusted what I was doing and stood back to let me do it. I gave in to those contractions. They took over me and I silently pushed them away with each breath. I saw my birth photographer enter the room. I gave her a weak wave and continued.
The pressure built up.
“Push a little past the pain, Brittany.” my midwife said.
“I CAN’T!” I shouted at her.
“Yes, you can.” she said. “You can.”
And so I did. I let my body lead the way and I followed behind. I reached down and could feel Bub’s head.
“Look at all of his hair!” someone said.
I didn’t shout. I didn’t scream. I didn’t moan or groan. I breathed. I just kept breathing.
I returned to my side and took deep breaths. I knew that with one more push, I would give birth to my son. The pain numbed me. It was as if I didn’t feel it anymore. I respected it and let it take control. I looked up at the birth affirmations on my window. I prayed and asked God for strength. I was ready.
With one long push, I gave birth to Bub at 1:14 am. His little cries filled the room and my birth team looked at me in awe.
“That was…that was the most peaceful birth I have ever seen.” someone said.
I smiled and felt such gratitude. With my newborn laying on my stomach and my husband holding my hand, I felt…really good. Joy radiated through my body. I had a son. A 7 lb little boy that was birthed on that night in November.
EB slept peacefully through it all. EB, the little girl who wakes up if you clear your throat 2 doors down, slept through the birth of her brother. Ha!
I was so proud of myself. I did it. Again. At home and un-coached. I gave birth my way with no timeline.
Here’s the thing – I am not a homebirth advocate. I think women across the globe should get the love, respect and tools to birth the way they want. Baby’s health and mom’s health are so important and if a mama feels more comfortable birthing in a hospital (or needs to medically), to the hospital she should go.
Cesareans save lives. Mamas who receive epidurals are strong. That’s the thing, man. There’s no ONE way to become a mother and I refuse to judge any woman for how she brings her baby in the world.
I spent very little time and energy trying to convince people why I wanted my children to be born out of hospitals. Some people didn’t even want to try to understand anyway. And that’s okay. I am grateful to live in a nation where I have these options. Where if something went wrong, I could have been transferred to a hospital that is 7 minutes away from where I live.
Bub’s birth has changed me. I’ve always playfully said that I wanted to be a midwife (and I do…maybe in my 50’s or so) but I now feel this desire to help in the natural birthing community in some way. I’m not sure how but it’ll come to me.
And Esposo? Dude should become a doula because he is an epic birth coach. His calmness was appreciated. He has such a quiet and strong energy and I love how active he was during both of our kids’ births.
Weight of Baby: 5 lbs
Length of Labor from Start to Finish: 5 hours
Place of birth: Birth center
Weight of Baby: 7 lbs
Length of Labor from Start to Finish: 3 hours
Place of birth: Home
And remember my struggles with EB and breastfeeding her? I had to pump for over a year and we never had a “true” breastfeeding relationship. I am happy to announce that Bub is nursing beautifully. It hasn’t come without struggles, frustration and pain (and loooots of pain, y’all. LOTS!) but we’re doing it and I couldn’t be happier.
And now, well..
Bub is just about a month old. I’m hoping time slows down because I am loving every sleep-less day with him.