August 16, 2011
Birth Partnership Midwives

Here we go, round 2! When I first found out we were expecting another baby, I naively assumed everything would go as it did with our first (See Belen Feb 3, 2009). But that bubble burst with my first of many bouts of morning, afternoon and evening sickness. Belén’s favourite phrase became “Mama are you puking AGAIN?!”  The pregnancy passed quickly though and before I knew it I was in the third trimester. I convinced myself that babe would arrive early. I started maternity leave at 35 weeks to have a couple of weeks at home to relax and be with Belén before baby arrived at 37 or 38 weeks. It was wonderful to sleep in, have lazy breakfasts, make crafts and daydream about baby with the excited big sister. Fast forward to 40 weeks plus 5 days and I am still pregnant - sweating in the heat of mid-August and wondering if I will ever have this baby! I had been in putsy labour for days and it just felt like a big tease.

On August 15th around 5pm, my 2 1/2 year old asks if she can brush her teeth. I say of course and get her set up in the bathroom before returning to my bedroom to rest. A few silent minutes pass, which is never a good thing with a toddler, so I go to check on her and find half a tube of toothpaste hanging out of her mouth. She tells me it is spicy. I take her to my bed and give her a glass of water as I think of what to do. Before I have time to formulate a plan she calls my name, turns green and vomits all over me and my bed. A quick call to poison control tells me that a glass of milk should do the trick. I promptly update my Facebook status to indicate that I will never go into labour if my toddler keeps up with antics like these.

Once again, fast forward to 9.30pm the same day. José, Belén & I are laying in bed. Belen is cutting up toy vegetables to make me soup. I feel a contraction starting, the strongest I've felt in a few days. It continues to intensify and suddenly everything feels very familiar, I know that my water is about to break. As the fluid starts to flow out of me and soak my freshly made bed, I turn to José to tell him the news. His response was essentially “No way!” but with a few colourful words added in. I make my way to the bathroom to get cleaned up while he calls his parents to come get Belén. Suddenly Belén calls out “Daaaaaaddddddddyyyyyyyy!” José comes rushing out of the bedroom to see that she has peed her pants. “My water broke too!” she says with a tear in her eye. We both start rolling on the floor laughing.

I call Patty, our midwife to give her the update. I haven’t had a contraction since the big one that broke my water, about half an hour ago, so we agree that she won’t come until things pick up. My in-laws arrive to pick up Belén and my contractions start at about the same time – every 5 minutes lasting about 30 seconds to the peak.  We have a sandwich and tidy up the house for about an hour and then decide that we both need to rest. José had had a very long day at work and this was the only day in 5 weeks of maternity leave that I did not nap.  So we lay down and I am able to sleep through the intensifying rushes for about an hour. When I wake up it is 12.15am and I am shivering like a leaf in the wind, José tries to bundle me up as I reach for the phone to let Patty know we are close. As soon as she hears my voice she tells me she is on her way.

I am now moaning through the rushes, swaying back and forth as José holds me, visualizing my cervix thinning and opening, making silent agreements with baby that we will both do our parts and meet soon. I am at 6 cm and contractions are 3 to 4 minutes apart, lasting 45 seconds or less to the peak. Then they start to slow down and shorten. Patty gets me lunging on the stairs. As soon as a rush starts I put one foot two steps above the other and lunge until the contraction ends. At first it is incredibly intense but soon I find myself putting my feet three steps apart and lunging very deeply, I switch legs with each rush. I have to pee, frequently, because José is diligently giving me water after each wave. I am annoyed at having to leave the comfort of my lunges to pee. I can feel babe moving the whole time. Patty has essentially left us alone this entire time, she is busy in our bedroom getting her things organized. There is never a question about either of our well-beings. We are in sync me, babe and José. I start to tire and still need to pee often so we move to the toilet. Delicious! I relax, my hard work on the stairs has paid off and Patty can sense that I am ready to move to the tub. But I need to make a bowel movement, José is behind me rubbing my back so I tell him what’s about to happen but that he absolutely cannot leave me. I’m sure it wasn’t the most comfortable moment of his life, but he didn’t even flinch. I think we both laughed a little. The tub is full of warm water so José and Patty help me to get in, the water feels wonderful. Patty tells me that I can start to push whenever I feel the need, I try with the next contraction but it just doesn’t feel right. She checks me and I have a slight lip of cervix. I roll to my left side and the next contraction shakes my whole body – it felt like I imagine a lightning strike must be – energizing and exhausting. “That’s it” Patty says. I begin to push and I begin to get scared.

Memories of Belén’s birth flood my mind. It hurts, even in the water, in the dark, in the security of my home, crowning hurts. I feel erratic, uneasy and unsure. Patty looks me in the eye and says something….I’m not sure what, but it grounded me. She puts my hand between my legs and I feel baby’s head. Yes, there, that is it, that is where all my focus and energy goes. With José beside me holding my hand, encouraging me, giving all of himself to this experience I begin to push again. It still hurts, I still want it to end but I’m present. I hear Patty say, “yes, this is it” and then “oh, what happened?” Baby’s head had essentially come out and then slide back in. I need to push again for the head to come out. I ask for confirmation that yes in fact the head will not go in again. Patty laughed and said we were good. As baby’s body slides through, I can feel the size difference from Belén. Bigger, significantly bigger.

Patty moves baby up to my chest and covers us both in a cozy blanket. José and I peek under the blanket and are thrilled to see that we have a boy! My placenta comes soon after with no problem. Patty’s back up, a Parisian midwife who arrived during pushing so I don’t recall her name, puts the placenta in a bag so we can have it encapsulated. José then takes his son and gets him snuggled up in a dry blanket and hat. I stand up in the tub and have a quick shower before putting on some pajamas and tucking into my bed. José brings me some toast and orange juice and we lay together staring at our beautiful boy. The midwives leave us be for about an hour before coming up to weigh, measure and do whatever else they do. Everyone is doing well so they leave us around 4am. José and I stare for a little while longer before drifting off to sleep, both feeling like we were already in a dream. At noon, big sister Belén arrives with two balloons and a huge smile.

My labour lasted 5 hours and 20 minutes from the moment my water broke to the moment Koen was born. The midwives were with us for about three hours in total. It was a beautiful birth, we loved being at home and being left to labour on our own until it was time for the birth.

Thank you Rhonda for helping us do it all over again!