I can’t believe how quickly the weeks have flown by with a newborn and a toddler! We are 6 weeks already! Austin is a little dreamboat, I am utterly obsessed with his little dinosaur squeaks and the way he scrunches up his eyebrows!
Before it even started
Long before the contractions started, in fact, closer to the moment that we saw a positive sign on the pregnancy test, I felt anxious about the labour process. Seeing that positive sign, threw me back into the emotions of Huxley’s birth. Even knowing that I would have 43 more weeks to prepare myself, it didn’t seem long enough, so I knew I would need some extra support this time and reached out to Nat from Prepared to birth again… and I am beyond grateful that I did. Nat, Rob and I sat down and went through our birth story with Huxley and focused on what we would do to change our perceptions going into our second birth. I stayed in contact with Nat as the labour progressed and knowing that she was there in the background cheering us on helped as well.
Ok, back to the big day!
I was rather convinced, or possibly trying to trick my body that bub would arrive a week early. It didn’t happen. In the last few weeks of the pregnancy, I started getting acupuncture to support the labour process, reduce pelvic pain (that was beyond magic!) and possibly just to have a nap on the table for 20 mins.
The day before my labour started, it was time for another acupuncture session. I awoke to find that I had a little bit of a showing, I told Rob to keep his phone close, but the day progressed as normal. During acupuncture we worked on deep energy, helping to move bubs down and settling my nerves. The day continued as normal, and we finished the day with a big walk with ALL the stairs I could find. I had a feeling that things were really ramping up so we dropped Huxley off to my parents for a sleepover.
I went to bed early but I awoke in the early hours with very mild cramping. As the sun rose they continued. I had an Ob appointment in the morning so off we went, bags packed just in case. At the appointment they agreed I was in labour, and asked if I wanted to have my cervix checked – I was 1cm. They wanted me to go straight to delivery but I declined (well, more strongly insisted) that I was going home. I wanted to get into my oxytocin flowing to help with labour progression. I did have to promise that if my waters broke, I would go to the hosptial immediately.
On the way home we stooped off for lunch, and went home to sit in the sunshine and relax. By this stage the contractions were regular but still mild, more like period cramps. I decided I wanted to go for a walk, got to the end of our very small cul de sac and had to turn around, stopping to breathe through the surges. It was time to boost the oxytocin! I popped on a rom-com movie, started a puzzle, made out with Rob and decided to take a nap. We had the bedroom as dark as possible, gentle music playing and even though I tried to nap I was just too unsettled to sleep, it was around 3 or 4pm at this stage. The contractions were about 6 minutes apart but increased with intensity.
With my app out and timing the contractions, I decided to get into the shower. The second my body hit the water my contractions went from 6 mins apart to 2 minutes apart, lasting for more than 30 seconds. I was calling out to Rob so he could time the contraction (and I could hear him running around the house packing the last-minute things into the car). He was the one who told me to get out of the shower and call the hospital. While on the phone call, the midwife very calmly informed us that it sounded like we were in active labour and to get to the hospital asap – to which Rob commented, we have another 40 minutes to get there. With being induced with Huxley, I didn’t get to experience the labour progression in this way so we were unsure how quickly or slowly things would progress.
Eye mask and tens machine on I got into the car, messaging our midwife that we were on our way – the contractions were getting more intense, still a few minutes apart but I started to get a lot more pressure which was making it uncomfortable to sit. Rob drove us to the hospital and the 40 minute drive felt like 15 minutes (he assures me he was driving nice and safe, though also shitting himself a little bit that my waters would break in the car and that we would give birth on the side of the road. Probably didn’t help that I was joking with him for weeks that my stubbornness would result in us giving birth in the car! Whoops sorry Rob!)
We reached the hospital, eye mask still on and me trying to breathe through the intense contractions we walked to the hospital entrance… well, what we thought was the entrance. Turns out when we did our run through 2 weeks earlier we found the DAY entrance.. the one that they lock after 7 pm.. so it was Rob trying to open a locked door, me with an eye mask holding myself up on a wall and being rather vocal as each contraction occurred. A lady in scrubs found us and went to get someone who could bring a wheelchair. Turns out it was faster to walk, so I impatiently set off towards the correct entrance, bracing with each contraction and still blindfolded… I do wish I could have seen myself, it would have looked rather hilarious!
Inside the hospital, the lovely man on the reception desk gave me a hand-knitted blanket as I was uncontrollably shaking and off Rob wheeled me off into the lift toward delivery. I presumed it was just us in the lift; it turns out we were not! each contraction the pressure increased and I couldn’t sit any longer, screaming and trying to stand. The lift stopped, and a very scared man got out of the lift and we continued on our journey to delivery.
8pm and we were finally in delivery, I made it very clear that I did not want to labour on my back. I had planned to get into the water but the contractions were too intense. Leaning over the side of the bed and squatting down with each contraction I instinctively started pushing. The midwives wanted to check me; in my birth plan I had written that I was ok being checked but I didn’t want to know what the measurement was. They were also checking Austin’s heart rate, which went from 120 to 80 very quickly.
My Ob had arrived, though im not sure when that happened, but I got up onto the bed, kneeling and resting over the back of the elevated bed. I pushed down and my waters broke, such sweet sweet relief! Austin’s heart rate continued to fall, so I had little choice but to lay down on my left hand side – still so grateful I wasn’t on my back. Using a midwife, the hanging leaver off the bed and Rob I used each contraction to push. The midwives were amazing, feeling my belly for contractions and telling me to rest and breath. Moments later and I felt the intensity of his head coming through, randomly I asked to see but things were moving too quickly so I used my hand to feel him there. One push and his head was out, a second and his shoulders and then the rest of him. It was 8.21pm and our big baby boy was in my warm, resting on my chest and starting to feed.
We were able to have close to 30 minutes of delayed cord clamping while I was getting some stitches and Austin was feeding. And then a further 2 hours to enjoy our new little boy before having a shower and calling the family with the news of his arrival.
The whole journey was so much faster than with Huxley, and in a way more intense but so much better in everyway! I felt more heard and more empowered.
Austin arrived on his birth date, which we were told only 6% of pregnancies actually arrive on their predicted due date. He also put weight on at the hospital which is rather uncommon.
Postpartum so far
Our postpartum journey has been wonderful so far, it is absolutely an adjustment having a newborn and an almost 2 year old.. The toddler is more time-demanding but Hux is rather smitten about his little brother. While at the hospital we found out that Austin’s hips are a little bit loose so we are doing further testing to see if he will need a brace. Austin also has a bit of reflux, and I have a fast let down so we are getting lots of cuddle time as that is when he is most comfortable.
I have been healing very well, though can omit that I have been forgetting to take my supplements as often as I would like but that’s improving too.
For now we are all enjoying the newborn cuddles and adjusting to life as a family of 4.