I feel so blessed to have had two babies, a boy and a girl. I can’t even believe how lucky I am when I think about it. And… I’m so happy I’ll never have to give birth again. Growing babies and delivering babies to the world is some serious shit. After my first natural childbirth, I felt empowered and strong and proud. After this last one, I feel… traumatized and envious of the ladies who get C-sections 2 weeks before their due date. Let me explain.
I had such little energy during this pregnancy, maybe it was because I have a toddler, maybe it was because I just wanted to sit and meditate on life as I did when I was pregnant with Henrik; maybe it was because I’m even older now than I was the first time. By the final month, I felt so heavy and uncomfortable, I wasn’t able to do much of anything and that can be quite boring for a toddler. My due date (June 21) came and went, I felt huge and certain she would come on time. She didn’t. I waited another 10 days.
Those last 10 days were quite miserable. With visits from the midwife, multiple “sweeps” and a couple of Non-Stress Tests, I was feeling crampy and grumpy. My body was doing some prep work, I was slowly dilating, 2 cm, then 4 cm. I was also feeling stressed, Henrik had been waking at night and having tantrums for a few weeks. I was anticipating the labour because I knew what to expect this time. I hadn’t found any time to just “be”, to take some deep breaths and prepare my mind for the birth. My body was doing it’s thing but my mind was completely off balance. I was certain this was holding up the labour.
The day before I was scheduled to be induced, the midwife came over and I told her how stressed I was feeling. She demanded that I go out on my own and sit somewhere, a park, the beach and just meditate for a while. So off I went, or hobbled, because walking was SO uncomfortable. I stopped at Starbucks and got my favourite drink, Chai soy latte. Then I drove to the beach. I knew I couldn’t actually walk down to the beach because of my waddling condition so I found a bench close to the car and sat down with a magazine and my tea. It was a beautiful day with lots of people around. I took some breaths and did some thinking, after about 20 minutes I felt it starting. My first contraction. It was about 2:00pm on July 1. I got out my handy app to track contractions (Full Term) and I timed the next contraction which was about 15 min later. Then a lovely, chatty, old lady sat down beside me. When I had my next contraction and hit the button on my phone, she asked what I was doing. “I’m having a contraction” I said. She thought I was crazy to be sitting and talking to her and that I should really be going! So I got in the car and drove home, I had one contraction at a red light and another as soon as I pulled up to the house. When I got inside, I told my husband it was starting and we called the midwife.
My first labour was fast (8 hrs) and I was warned the second could be half the time so we called my sister-in-law to come over and look after Henrik and we headed to the hospital. The contractions were getting much more intense, we got to the hospital at 4:00 and I was in active labour.
At 5:00, after the midwife arrived, she asked if I wanted her to break my water, I’m a chicken and said “no thanks” and got into the bathtub. Things really picked up and I wasn’t sure I could handle the contractions. I breathed through them, I moaned through them, I winced and sometimes swore through them.
At 6:00 the midwife asked if I wanted my water broken, knowing that things would speed along afterwards, again I declined, I just wasn’t ready for the intensity and I stayed in the tub. At 7:00 I was ready to come out and agreed to let her break my water. She said that I would have the baby in the next hour and she was right. That was the most intense hour of my life. I was pushing that baby out so hard I could have rolled a mack truck up a hill. I felt EVERYTHING. It was quite awful and a little scary to be perfectly honest. I didn’t have the euphoric feeling I did the first time. Afterwards I asked myself, why didn’t I take drugs? Would this have been a better experience?
I know why I opted for a natural childbirth. It’s better for the baby to be released to the world through the birth canal and because I didn’t have any drugs in my system, both the baby and I were fine and mobile after the birth. I was able to be in the tub and labour in positions I might not have been able to otherwise. I believed in myself and got through it. We women are STRONG and we can do this, knowing all of the generations that came before us. In those intense moments, I could feel the chorus of mothers past giving me strength and courage.
I’m just very relieved I have had two healthy babies and never have to do that again.
I had Vivienne on Canada Day and soon after her birth we heard the fireworks. I thought “Yep, I deserve those!”