"I woke up around 3 in the morning and had a contraction that felt a bit different than the Braxton Hicks I’d been having in increasing frequency lately. It came and then it went, and then another did the same as I was trying to fall back asleep. I really had thought baby wouldn’t come for at least a few more days - I was only 39+3 and Booker had come at 40+2. But the contractions felt different enough that I decided to start timing them right then. After a few more, definitely with a start and end, I was thinking this could really be it. I wasn’t feeling like sleeping, so I decided to get up and take a shower to see if that made a difference. They definitely didn’t let up. I labored quietly a while longer, laid in bed mostly, and was even able to get some rest between them for a couple hours. Before I fell asleep, around 6 a.m., I called my midwife, Charlie, and she came over and dropped off the tub and her things. She lives practically across the street from me, which hopefully meant she got to go back to sleep too, although I never asked her.
Around 9:30 I got back up and was ready for things to get moving. With Booker, it had taken 30+ hours, a good 10 of that being essentially stuck in transition because of some stubborn positioning on his part, and frankly, that was a bit hellish. He was facing my side, not fully rotated, and no matter how I moved and tried, he just stayed there. Finally, my midwife tried to manually rotate him, which thankfully worked, and I was able to push him out with no complications. I had no idea at the time, but looking back and reading a bit about that kind of situation in others’ births, I realized I certainly would have ended up with a cesarean had I been at the hospital. It was long and rough to get him out, but I’m so thankful for how it all ended up. The thing people kept saying to me after that experience was, next one will be so much quicker and easier! So, this time I was hoping for a nice 8 hour labor. That was how long my mom’s was with my little sister after she’d had a long and rough time with me. Totally logical and should work out, I know.
Now here I was with my second labor, 7 hours in, and I was still really doing fine! I was having to start to concentrate more through the contractions, but this was really taking longer than I’d hoped. Contractions were consistent, but still sometimes 7 or 8 minutes apart. I texted with Charlie a bit just after that, and she told me to try and rest some if I could and that maybe this was just some practice. I wonder if she was thinking this was taking longer than expected too.
Then just before noon, it finally took a turn. I really like numbers, so it’s fun for me to have tracked my contractions and look back at them. I can see exactly where they went from 6-7 minutes to only about 3 minutes apart. In the moment, I didn’t see that shift. I was really only focusing on relaxing - breathe, and sway, and eyes closed, and loose jaw, and all that good stuff. What was quite noticeable was when I suddenly began to feel really emotional and started to cry uncontrollably. In response, I turned to Tony and said, “I think it’s time to fill up the tub!”
Tony remembers the tub to be stressful because we hadn’t realized we needed an adapter for the hose to hook up to our sink. Luckily, it didn’t take long for us to figure out it could be hooked directly to the line for the washing machine, which was just as close by. As we waited for the tub to fill, I called Charlie to tell her that I was ready for her to come on over.
My mom and my sister Amy were also there to help with Booker and take pictures, respectively. We had talked a ton with Booker ahead of time about what it would be like when mommy had the baby. We read books and even watched a few videos. I wasn’t sure how he would handle it, but ended up, I couldn’t handle him. When labor was really picking up, he was just too loud, even in the other room, for me to be able to focus and relax. My mom took him outside, and they played there for a while and then came in and watched a movie until just after the baby was born. Luckily, watching a show is something (maybe the only thing) that would keep that 2 year old completely calm, quiet, and still.
I don’t think I was in the tub much more than an hour before I started feeling a bit shaky and nauseous. Up until that point, I was all about getting this done. But then, I was over it. “I don’t want to do this any more,” is what I believe I said. I know those are all signs of transition, but I just had such a crazy experience with that stage in my first labor that I knew there had to be more coming. When I suddenly got the urge to push, I was shocked. I asked Charlie, “If I feel like pushing, does that really mean I’m ready?? Like, I’m past transition??” She told me if I felt like pushing, I could push. I totally didn’t believe that “the worst” of labor was over. Even in the middle of it, I was thinking that felt like nothing compared to my first!
Once I was ready to push, I had high hopes that baby would be out really quickly. Seemed like I had heard story after story from other moms about second or more births where they didn’t push more than 15-20 minutes, some “just three big pushes, and he was out!” Well, I gave a few big pushes; that 15-20 minutes came and went. What was the deal?? It couldn’t have been much after this internal dialogue I was having when Charlie told me baby was posterior. I was going to have to push her out face first. I started to cry.
I’m not sure what my kids’ deals are with being malpositioned. First Booker stuck facing my side, and now here was my daughter trying to come out backwards. I was a posterior baby myself too. My chiropractor told me afterwards that she would be interested in x-raying my pelvis to see if there’s something to that. Ha. Wonderful.
Well, I pushed and pushed in the tub, changed positions, got out, pushed some more, back in the tub, and on it went for a solid 2 hours. While holding onto Tony for some of that time, I squeezed his hands so hard that I ended up popping a blood vessel on one of them. This was some serious work, and I was pushing as hard as I could. Besides being face first, my water had also not broken, so that added to the difficulty. But, finally, baby girl came out! I’m 0 for 2 for delivering in the tub. Even though I’ve had both of my babies out of the hospital, I’ve still managed to deliver both while reclining in a bed. But once they were out, all that mattered was having that tiny little slimy body placed on my chest and seeing that sweet face for the first time. All that hard work and pain was quickly gone. It’s really a crazy kind of high.
Gloria Therese weighed in at 7 pounds and was 21 inches long. My mom brought Booker in to meet her right away. Tony dressed her in her cousin’s hand-me-down onesie and the same first cloth diaper Booker had worn after he was born, and we just sat and soaked her in. It was so wonderful to already be at home in my own bed. I got to eat food from my own kitchen, and take a shower in my own bathroom, and we didn’t have to worry about having forgotten to pack the things we needed. We really had had a great experience at the birth center with Booker, but being at home was still just different. Never having to get in the car while dealing with contractions was maybe reason enough, but being in the most comfortable place in my world, for a job like that, was so so good. Home isn’t really an exciting kind of good, but it most definitely is a deep kind.
Charlie finished up with us and headed home. My dad, other sisters, and all of their kids were over soon to meet Gloria, and I also had about a dozen other friends stop by within the first few hours of her birth. I know some want alone time first, and that might seem crazy, but to me, a full house to celebrate is perfect. Plus, they were all more than respectful, most just came for a quick hello, didn’t even hold the baby, and brought food. I’ll just go ahead and say that I’m spoiled with the most wonderful friends and family. I feel so blessed to have gotten to have such an amazing birth experience, surrounded by love, supported by an awesome team, and in the comfort of my own home."