July 13, Baby R's estimated due date, came and went. For some reason, I had been preparing myself to go late anyways so I was pretty ambivalent about it. Although I started losing my mucous plug on Thursday evening and continued to do until the birth. I had been having really strong BH contractions since I was 36 weeks so it was hard to determine when the BH contractions ended and the real thing started. On Saturday, July 14, I finally timed them to be consistent. Before I went to bed, they were 25-30 mins apart. No biggie. If it was anything like Lana's birth, I still had over 24 hours to go before anything eventful happened. On Sunday morning, Chris asked what we were doing today and I said, "What we do every Sunday!" So we had breakfast and got ready for church. I admit I was kinda distracted during SS and church because I was keeping time on my contractions which were 5-7 minutes apart. The plan was to go see my acupuncturist after church and head home. After remembering what happened with Lana's birth, we opted to go have lunch, run some errands, get a nap and then have Dr. Bo come to our house later. (With Lana, after I received acupuncture, my water broke immediately and I went into serious business mode.) So we did all the above and Dr. Bo came over at 5pm.
After the treatment, the baby moved around a lot getting into position and she said that the baby would be ready to come after getting some "energy"-food, walk and rest. So I ate, went for a walk around the neighborhood and turned into bed at 10pm. I was having a hard time falling asleep thinking I could be meeting our baby soon. I probably fell asleep an hour later, but then awoke at 1pm to go to the bathroom. Crawled back in bed and tossed and turned throughout contractions. Finally at 4:30am, I woke Chris up and said, I need to eat. It's gonna be a long morning. I'd love to digest some food before my body is ready to upchuck anything. We got up, ate breakfast and then I went back to bed. I woke up around 8am and contractions were still consistent but the intensity was reduced. I decided to lay in bed and try to keep resting since I had only slept 4 hours. By midday, labor had stalled. Contractions were no longer consistent or intense. I went for a walk with Laura that evening and they started back up again. I decided to get back to life as normal until Baby R was ready again.
Laura ran errands with me on on Tuesday after we dropped Lana off at Mother's Day Out and took a long walk around the neighborhood at 10am. Contractions picked back up to 3-5 minutes apart and as well as their intensity. They pretty much stayed that way the rest of the day. By dinner time, the intensity stepped up another notch. I could feel the contractions move from my belly down my back and into my butt. That felt pretty weird and I don't remember than from last time. I went to Laura's for our weekly Nourishing Traditions video series and hung out with some awesome ladies. By the time I got home Tuesday evening, I knew I needed to touch base with my midwife. I got into bed at 10pm knowing I needed some sleep. The contractions were so strong, I couldn't sleep and then the crazy thunderstorms weren't helping either. I decided to eat a light snack and then finally around midnight, I feel asleep and then awoke at 1pm thanks to a contraction. Oy! I kept thinking I should get up and take a shower and let the water run over my back, but I fought the urge knowing sleep was a bigger priority. After an hour of tossing, I couldn't take it anymore and hopped in the shower. Ahhh...relief! The hot water felt so good on my back and made the contractions virtually disappear. Plus, it was probably a good idea to wash my hair and shave my legs because who knows when I'll do that again.
About 2am, I woke Chris up and said I think this is it. I kept timing and contractions were 2-3 mins apart for 1.5 minutes. At 2:30am, I called our midwife, Michelle, to let her know we were ready for her to come over. I continued to lay in bed and try to relax through each contraction. Michelle arrived about an hour later, followed shortly by Debi and Rachel. I continued in my same position for a while but when the waves got stronger, I got back in the shower to get water relief. Chris filled up the tub and when it was ready, I was glad to relax in it where I felt as light as a feather. Almost immediately, I noticed the contractions spaced apart after getting in the tub. I continued to relax, tried to nap and enjoy the feeling of weightlessness in the tub. I started to get hot and decided to get out of the tub and get back to being upright to get gravity working in our favor.
Everyone just 'knew' I was gonna have a quick birth, especially after being present at my first one, and given I had been having contractions for 5 days, surely this was going to be quick once it got serious. When daylight broke, I was starting to doubt myself. I had only slept 1 hour and was just exhausted. I laid down and tried to catch a few zzz's to get some energy. Lana woke up at 7am. Chris got her breakfast and Nana Laura came over to get her until my Mom arrived. Around 845am, Dr. Bo had called us and I considered it providence that she had called to check on me. Chris let her know that I was in active labor but that it had started to get random. She said she could be over in about an hour. She got there after 10am and did some acupuncture to give me energy and things got going immediately. In fact, the contractions became unbearable again. I got in the shower. I walked around the house, stopping at doorways to make it through the waves. I walked up the stairs. I leaned on the exercise ball. Got back in the shower and it appeared that my water broke and started a small leak. In hindsight, this was the outer sac, not the amniotic sac. Michelle reminded me that I needed to get out if I started to feel like pushing. The contractions got so unbearable and I decided to get out so I could lean on Chris more and have some more physical support. Oh, that next hour seems like it lasted forever. I felt like I said the same prayer over and over. "God help me." I knew I was in transition but why was it taking so long?! Sheer exhaustion made every contraction awful. There were so many times where I said, "I CAN'T DO THIS!" to which everyone in the room yelled back, "YES, YOU CAN!" So far, this birth was so completely different than Lana's and I didn't have the composure and was losing confidence as I became overwhelmed with weariness.
Michelle asked me if I thought I was ready to push. I didn't know. With Lana's birth, I knew. I let her check me to make sure I was fully dilated. Then suddenly, I was ready. I started pushing standing up leaning on top of the ball (which was my only pushing position in Lana's birth). That exhausted me. So I switched into various positions for several different pushes from all fours, laying on my side to an elevated back position. Honestly, I didn't like any of them but ended up elevated on my back for the duration. I felt like I pushed for 2 hours but they told me it was less than 20 minutes and very few pushes. I just remember that I was so tired and with each push, I didn't feel like I was making any progress. But apparently, I was making some. We got comic relief when the amniotic sac burst all over myself, Chris, Debi, and Michelle as they hovered over me holding my legs and checking the baby's heart rate. We all laughed and then quickly got back to business as the next wave was coming quickly. I just remember that I heard the most primal noises coming out of my mouth with each push, again totally unlike Lana's birth where I never got above a low, deep grunt. But in some odd way, I felt those primal noises were in sync and essential to bringing the baby out, kind of like not being able to talk without using hand motions. Finally, the baby's head was out and I could hear soft cries. Michelle encourage me to reach down and feel the head. It felt so tiny but it did NOT feel so tiny while pushing it out. I just needed one more good push and we'd know if the baby was a boy or girl. Gave it my all despite really wanting someone to pull the baby out for me. Lila was born at 2:10pm. I tried to lean forward to pick her up but couldn't. Someone helped the baby into my arms and I spread the baby's legs to get a view. I exclaimed, "IT'S A GIRL!!!!" With a full head of dark hair, we knew her name would be Lila, which means dark haired beauty. I loved that I was the one that got to proclaim that. I was suddenly overwhelmed with waves of emotion. I was relieved it was finally over. I was ecstatic to have a baby girl because that guarantees me a shot at baby #3 (despite some of the crazy talk I was spewing during the last hour about not having any more babies). No labor/delivery talk can be held against you and the midwives guaranteed they always have birth amnesia. ;) I held her on my chest as she was rubbed down and she was ready to latch on immediately. I was ready to deliver the placenta pretty quickly but I dreaded the thought of just one more push. It was pretty uneventful compared to my previous birth. I was tickled that Debi said, "Oh you can do it. There aren't any bones!" She was right.
I nursed and held Lila for a while. Chris got Lana to introduce her to Lila. She was so sweet and enamored by her, doting on her with kisses. When I was ready, I passed Lila to Chris and enjoyed a warm herbal sitz bath and Lila joined me after a while. She got wrapped up so she could be held again by her Papa and adored by her Nini and big sister. I continued in the bath until the water started to get cool and felt I was able to pee on the toilet. This is a huge accomplishment compared to my last birth. I got back in bed and Chris, Lana and I sat together to watch the newborn exam. She is a healthy girl, weighing in at 8 lbs, 8 oz, 20.5 inches. Lila was so calm and laid back during her exam. I hope this is an indication of things to come. I did have a small tear and was sutured up and ready for a nap. I was tickled that I didn't vomit this time despite eating twice. And was equally grateful that I had several bowel movements during labor so that I didn't poop on anyone. This was a tougher birth than Lana's but I believe most of that was due to me entering the birth process with only an hour of sleep. But I wouldn't change a thing. I got to birth exactly the way I wanted and that is my wish for every woman no matter what she chooses.
Thank you Lord for this amazing gift that was so wonderfully and fearfully created. You're workmanship is marvelous!
“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” – James 1:17
Extra special gratitude to my husband/coach, my Mom for taking care of Lana, Nana Laura for taking photos, my birth team, Michelle Ray, Debi Church, and Rachel Jimenez.