We had been quite anxious over the holidays with thoughts and (yes I will admit) worries about this baby coming early and what a December birthday would bring. I was term on Christmas Day. We would be alright whether it was a 2016 or 2017 baby, but sitting in the unknown was a challenge. I see this challenge as a glimpse of true reality, a moment to moment experience where we have no choice but to live in the present. This is foreign to me since a lot of my life and thoughts are spent living outside the moment, in the past or future, thinking I have control over all that happens. The days leading up to birth taught me about living in the present as no other life experience has, and the moments within birth did the same.
After New Year’s Day passed, we breathed a little easier, knowing this baby would be the oldest of his or her grade and their birthday wouldn’t be plagued by the holidays. I spent the days continuing to check things off my to-do list, and although we suspected this baby would be early like our last, we were prepared to wait and wait and wait.
I wondered a lot and asked a few of my friends with two or more babies what their birth experience was like. We were excited, and held great expectation and wonder. We anticipated the incredible and we kept our hearts waiting. I trusted in the fact that birth happens when we’re dwelling in the parasympathetic response of the nervous system, praying and hoping our first child would be asleep and this baby would come in the nighttime.
It was Thursday January 5th in the morning and I noticed some bleeding followed by light cramping. I said to my son “Your brother or sister might be arriving soon!” and he said: “baby coming out of mommy’s tummy!” So I promptly put him in the stroller and we went on our traditional trip to the bakery for a croissant followed by a walk around Value Village, since it may have been our last for a while. I savoured the moment.
After our stroll I had an appointment to see my Naturopath for some acupuncture to naturally encourage birth to start. We decided to do all the pressure points to spur on labour while we shared our previous birth stories.
After this my son and I came home and I called my husband to keep him updated, telling him to stay at work until I called again, encouraging him to get as much work done as he could.
He came home for dinner and we proceeded to get our first son off to sleep and the house cleaned up. I still wasn’t convinced I was surging, but just then I received a call from my midwife who had a feeling I was in labour. I had shared with her a few days previous that I had been cramping on and off, and so she was checking in. Around 8pm I called her back, it was official that I was definitely in labour! “Megan, you will have your baby tonight!” she said. This truth was almost unbelievable, another human being will arrive into our home tonight?!
I showered and then went upstairs to lay down and see if I could sleep a little. My husband was downstairs watching the World Junior Hockey Championships while setting up the living room which was to be our birthing place. I was thankful he had just done a big grocery shop and we had plenty of tasty, nourishing food in the house.
I laboured well on my own in bed as long as I could with frequent visits from my husband. We both were incredibly excited at what was to come. By 10pm I moved down to the living room as the intensity built. Eventually I felt like the game wasn’t letting me progress, so we shut it off. I was surprised to feel my contractions quite strong but still seemingly far apart, still about 7 minutes between. We tried the birthing ball, draping my upper body over it, but it didn’t feel right. The best position was standing, to prevent my hip flexors from contracting. This was a sensation that arose fiercely as it did in my first birth.
We called the midwife again at 10pm, she arrived at 10:30 and said I was around 7cm dilated. Right away she called the back-up to get ready, the backup midwife arrived an hour later.
After labouring for a while longer, our oldest son woke up. My husband went into his room and got him back to sleep within minutes. Labour stalled as I waited for my love to return, on a primal level I didn’t want this baby to arrive without him.
When my husband returned, I felt “the urge to push”, a feeling I never felt in my first birth. I was happy and confused and afraid. I was worried about my hip flexors and what position would feel best, and I was afraid of how long I may be pushing. I encouraged myself to stay in the moment, stay in the moment. Be as present as I could for the arrival of this child.
The main part of my water had not yet broken, so my midwife offered to go in manually to break it. I said yes, trusting her. It was unsuccessful, and I continued to search for the right position to push in. All fours? No. Side-lying? No. Birthing Ball? No. Back? Not even trying. I ended up standing again to fend off my hip flexors, and eventually moved to a squatting position with my arms around my husband’s neck.
After 4 solid pushes, the main bag of waters burst and baby flew out along with it. I exhaled a loud sound of relief and everyone cheered; another beautiful baby boy! Our oldest woke again in perfect timing, my husband retrieved him and he met his new baby brother right along with us. Everyone was calm and happy and present. Baby was healthy and also seemingly small. I revelled in his presence; a miracle.
We all sat together on the couch as the midwives continued their work. Baby was on my chest, and we snuggled under a blanket. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 8 ounces. By 1am I was nursing.
This tiny boy is small but powerful. I feel like everything is going to be okay since he is around. He gives us assurance and peace. He brings love.