Baby Max's Birth Story

The arrival of baby Max came with many mixed emotions. It was a very different experience than with my older son, Alex. From pregnancy, birth, to postpartum. His pregnancy and birth were both physically and emotionally difficult for me. Physically taxing caring for an active infant turned toddler. Emotionally it was difficult ending breastfeeding with my older son.

It wasn’t all hard though. Pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn information was still fresh in my head. I didn’t have to relearn anything. Also, my friend heartburn didn’t come to visit me as often. She visited everyday with Alex. And my postpartum transition was much smoother.

As my expected due date approached, I began getting excited about baby Max’s arrival. I had missed caring for a tiny baby. 36 weeks I started my herbs and potions to help ease this baby into the world. From about 37 weeks on I experienced daily cramps and contractions.

September 7, 2015 – My expected due date. That day all the signs of baby arriving seemed to go away. Of course. Late that morning we attended the Improving Birth Rally and go about life as normal. My husband Sean resumed his normal work schedule.

Sunday, September 13, 2015 – Sean is at work and I am at home wrangling Alex. I had scheduled a massage for me and arranged for my parents to watch Alex. I knew in these final days I needed all the help and rest I could get. That afternoon I experience steady contractions for a few hours. But they never got intense enough were I couldn't Facebook so I didn't take them too seriously. I go about my regular scheduled plans. My parents arrive and I head out for my massage. After my massage, I finish my cup of water and head to the restroom. As I am wiping I noticed a tinge of blood. Hooray! I started to lose my plug.

When I arrive home, I quietly tell Sean what I had observed. We finish dinner and I gave my mom a brief warning that baby might come tomorrow. I did not want to give her too much detail as my mom is easily excitable. That evening I tossed and turned all night trying to get rest but those contractions were not going to let me.

Monday, September 14, 2014

1:00am – I gave up on trying to sleep. I moved around the house breathing through my irregular contractions.

4:00am – I tell Sean he needs to get up. I feel my contractions getting stronger and closer together. Sean took charge of making the arrangements and timing my contractions. I give our doula, Natalie a call to come over.

6:00am – Natalie arrives. Sean is packing Alex's bag for his adventure at grandma and grandpas house. I watch out of our upstairs bedroom as Alex leaves. My energy changes. A few tears rolled down my face. I was sad that he had gone but I knew I could not go on this journey with him. Soon after, my labor stalled. My contractions were no longer as close together as they were before.

We tried everything to get labor going again. Sean and I laid in bed and tried intimately kissing. Bounced on the birth ball. Natalie guided me up and down the stairs.

8:00am – I am laboring in one of my many baths. I remember it was just me and Natalie having casual conversation. Then I hear the front door shut. Then electric breaker creaked open and close. It took me a minute to put two and two together. Sean arrives back on the scene. I ask him, “The air conditioner went out?” “Yup.” he confirmed. This had been my woe all summer. I dreaded and anticipated that it would go out on my special day.

The journey goes on.

12:00pm – Finally around noon I felt like it was time to call the midwives. My contractions were still not consistent, but much stronger. It was challenging this time around to find a comfortable position to labor in. I found myself on all fours, sitting on the toilet or squatting. Unlike my first birth, I experienced intense tail pain. Yes, pain.

Not long after the midwives arrived I had lost my waters. In contrast with my first, I did not hear a “pop” when I lost my water rather it was a slow trickle. I go back and fourth from laboring on land and in water. At one point, Sherry was giving me a pep talk about my new baby and I start sobbing. All this pent up energy releasing. I wipe my tears and compose myself.

The journey goes on.

To help baby better position himself, my midwife Sherry suggests we turn him. She had me lay on my side while she helped turn Max into a better position. Ouch. (Optimal birthing position – baby’s head down, facing your back.)

While waiting for the bath to be filled, I was laboring on my hands and knees. Back labor was so intense and nothing like I had experienced with my first. I remember yelling, "I can’t do this." I felt as if I wanted to rip my legs out of their sockets. My midwife Kristy guided me through with some relaxing imagery. It was difficult this time finding a mental space of comfort and peace.

Once the bath was filled I continued to labor in the water switching from hands and knees to a kneeling squat. Sean sat at the edge of our tub with me. I felt our energy start to move downward. I move from an all fours position to kneeling and grip Sean. I let out a huge roar. It was of the most raw and primal moments of my life. I reach my hand under me and can feel my baby’s head. {Reaching and feeling my baby was NOT something I was comfortable with my older son. Labor had been so long and arduous I needed to know progress was made.} Two strong pushes and ring of fire, and my baby’s head was out. My midwife instructed me to stand and push the rest of him out. Even though labor was much more difficult, the final moments were much quicker.

Max arrived September 14, 2015 at 3:56pm weighing 8 pounds and 3 ounces, 20 ¾ inches long.

Postpartum – After delivery my midwives helped me back to my bed and he latched right away. I spent the next few days laid up in my bed resting. Despite his pregnancy and delivery as much more difficult, recovery was much quicker.