Whelp. It’s been a hot minute since I blogged. But life, and toddler, and birth.
Speaking of birth.
Here is Little Anne’s birth story! Disclaimer because all birth stories are kinda a lot. So if you’re squeamish stop reading now.
Unlike Maria’s pregnancy, Anne’s pregnancy was way fast (not really, but having a toddler can make time go sooooo much faster), and yet way more emotional. We thought we lost her at 5 weeks, but praise God we didn’t.
The rest of our pregnancy was an absolute blur of constant first/second trimester nausea, and third trimester nesting. We found the most amazing birth team, led by our rock-star midwife, Jeanine. We felt SO confident, and safe, and cared for!
Then, we found out we were breech. Ohhhhhhh so many tears, and exercises, and laying upside down on ironing boards (Thank you to our awesome friend/would-have-been-birth-assistant, Theresa, for that!). All I could see was C-section in the future, and was heartbroken. Mark, my ever voice of reason, reminded me during that time that a safe birth with a baby at the end was the goal. That, coupled with the countless safe options presented to us by our midwife, I came to terms with it… but spent every waking minute trying to turn this super chill little girl. No exercise had flipped her, and we had an ECV scheduled with an amazing doctor set for the Wednesday after we reached 37 weeks…
…so days before reaching 37 weeks, I sat on a birthing ball sobbing while holding a frozen bag of berries against where I knew her head was (because COME ON LITTLE GIRL, it’s SO NOT comfy laying sideways in there!), and then I felt her actually FLIP. All the praise hands!
After all that adventure, we just waited on little girl to be ready. My mom and brother were visiting, Maria would be taken care of day or night, Mark was working from home, so we asked our midwife to examine me just to get an idea (because I had tried and couldn’t find my cervix, which was weird since I’m a pro at it usually, thank you NFP). Right away, she goes “Oh! That’s the head! It’s sitting so low it’s blocking your cervix.” Meep! We were 3-4 cms, and she told my mom to make sure we had a good meal and slept well because we’d probably have the baby the next day.
Sure enough. We woke up in labor at 5am (the morning before our due date, just like Maria!), and we went in to the birth center at 6:30 (by way of McDonald’s because we were no where NEAR active labor. They were at BEST 12 minutes apart, but we didn’t want Maria to see us leave), and were met there by our midwife as well as our super awesome birth photographer and doula, Megan. So we did what anyone in labor does…
…we watched a movie and laughed while I squatted and bounced trying to speed things up (I will never watch Harrison Ford’s Sabrina the same ever again).
Active labor still hadn’t started, so I told our midwife and Mark we were trying to power walk (I was deTERmined we were having this kid today!). So Mark and I walked around the block, and laughed, and held hands…and just did NOT look like a couple in labor. We stopped into the Adoration Chapel next door to the birthing center, and I started to be so afraid of labor stopping. I can’t count the times I worried I was just inconveniencing everyone. At 9:40, back from our walk, I told our midwife how worried I was that my contractions were petering out. She suggested nipple stimulation, and that she could just massage the membranes and that we were absolutely having our baby today, so not to worry.
Around 10am, in a matter of minutes thanks to very basic nipple stimulation, I went from this…
Within minutes we were fully in active labor, contractions very strong, and at most two minutes apart. I very quickly had to stop talking and chatting between contractions, and just focusing on relaxing and staying on top of the pain. I had my labor intentions in front of me, and I just held my rosary and breathed.
I really stopped paying attention to time around 10am…but I’m guessing around 11 something I started transitioning and wanted to get in the tub because I felt myself starting to lose control.
Omg. If you can birth in a tub? Do it.
Mark (with his bad knees and bad back), was my rock. I pulled and leaned on him for every contraction. At one point I said “No! I’m afraid I’m going to hurt you!” And everyone laughed and Mark (trooper that he is), laughed saying “Don’t worry about that, you aren’t hurting me.” (Lies. Because apparently I very much was. Because apparently I’m incredibly strong. Meep. Three cheers for you, Mark!)
As soon as I got in the warm water, I started experiencing so much doubt. My hospital birth with Maria was the only birth standard I had, so I felt so much guilt for doing what I wasn’t “allowed” to do in the hospital; listen to my body. My midwife listened to every single doubt as I blurted them out (Even in hindsight, all my doubts were reasonable, but not at all likely…and she answered every one with how we’d handle each one. All while I’m actively baring down, and headed towards pushing. Because she’s just the best!)
All the doubts gone, and encouraged to listen to what feels right, I felt my water break and I suddenly flipped on my back, and just pushed. And by golly, it felt right.
With Maria I was too scared to reach down when everyone started exclaiming how much hair they saw (because no WAY was I that far along). This time I totally didn’t believe it, but I reached down and felt the softest little head. Oh my goodness, I can’t even write about that moment without tears. I was meeting my little Anne right there. And she had more hair than Maria. I just kept my hand on that little head and cried/talked to her the rest of our labor.
I had told my midwife the entire pregnancy that I didn’t want to tear, oh please help me not tear, OMG I JUST DON’T WANT TO TEAR! (Can you tell I tore with Maria?? Lemme tell ya, Maria’s postpartum suuuuuuuuucked. No thank you.) So Jeanine’s assisting midwife, Adrienne, coached me through crowning. Wowwwwzers painful but SO worth it. I breathed, screamed, shrieked, clinched, but gosh darn it, I did not push. And this chick barely tore (Thank you, Jesus!!)!
And after maybe minutes of pushing (although it felt much longer), at 12:59pm, out flew the cutest little chunk. I grabbed her to my chest and she didn’t even feel the need to cry. Of course after Maria’s birth that made me panic, but Jeanine just told us to rub her little, slathered in vernix, back. And she cried the prettiest, healthiest meows.
There it is. We snuggled, we laughed, we nursed (guys. She’s the BEST nurser. Thank. Goodness.), and then after we were ready and done being monitored, we went home and cuddled with Maria and Anne (who have loved each other fiercely from the start!). I have a feeling Anne’s birth will always be my best birth because I just can’t imagine anything topping it.