Lucas’s Home Birth, Water Labor
Second son, Lucas Anthony,
on October 9th, 2007, 11:01 p.m.
Lucas’s story really begins with big brother Brendan, as he had been asking for a sibling for a few years, though at the time Sean and I were enjoying being a family of three. We decided that Brendan was already 4 and if we were going to have another, it would need to be soon or we would not want to venture into the land of late night feedings and diaper changing again! After a series of conversations we decided that 2007 would be the year. In January, after a ski trip to Tahoe just as we thought due to Sean being sick we had missed the window of opportunity, my period was late and two lines appeared like magic on the pregnancy test.
This pregnancy, just as my first, was pretty uneventful and relatively easy. At about 34 weeks I had a small amount of spotting one night which was briefly concerning. After discussing it with our midwife Melanie, we decided to do a very brief ultrasound in our office to check the location of the placenta and make sure the bleeding wasn’t coming from it being implanted too close or covering my cervix. Melanie said that the moment she put the transducer on my belly she could see we were having another boy, but she knew we wanted to be surprised so she didn’t say anything to me. After a 30 second ultrasound she found the placenta was in fact fine, as we suspected, and most likely the bleeding had come from my cervix beginning to stretch out. For the next 4 weeks I had off and on contractions as I’d been having since quite early on-sometimes relatively strong, mostly just there. I felt the baby moving all the time-most actively when I was trying to go to sleep!
One of my favorite moments during this pregnancy was the look on Brendan’s face the first time he put his hand on my growing belly and felt his little sibling move. He immediately bent over to kiss my belly and announce that he was the big brother and he would be taking care of the baby when s/he came out! It was so touching! Brendan always wanted to feel the baby and talk to my tummy and we read “Welcome with Love”; quite a few times and answered a lot of questions about the where’s, how’s, and why’s of babies! We kept a paper chain for 30 weeks or so (we told Brendan when I was about 8 or 9 weeks) and Brendan faithfully took a link off each week to count down the days until our baby arrived.
As my due date approached, a bigger concern became making sure Melanie was off of work to catch this one. We discussed doing an exam and membrane stripping on October 9th¡Kwell on the morning of October 9th I had the plumber here and also an appointment for a glass company to give us a bid on a shower door, but Mel came over in the mid-morning anyway. With the plumber working upstairs she did an exam and said she thought it would still be a little bit as things weren’t totally thinned out yet. We decided to try the stripping to at least thin things out a little. Immediately after I had cramping and spotting ~ mild but there. It lasted about 2 hours and seemed to slow down a bit. I had the glass guy here measuring about 3 p.m. and started having some more mild cramps that were about every 10-15 minutes.
At 3:15 I left to pick up Brendan from school. As I pulled into the pick up circle I had another slightly stronger cramp and was closing my eyes thru this one. I decided to call work to let them know that it if I was still having cramping the next day I didn’t think I could drive all the way there. My manager assured me they had back up if I didn’t make it. Brendan and I went to Michael’s as I wanted to pick up a few things. I had to stop walking when I had the cramps, but they were still about every 10 minutes so my thinking was that they would still go away and it was a result of the membrane stripping.
By 4:30 I called Sean and asked him to come home as I was cramping and it was hard to play with Brendan. At this point I should have figured it was labor, but I was more thinking I needed help and I really wanted to get our tub in so I figured Sean and I could do that as well. Sean decided to call his Dad to help with the tub, so around 5:15 his Dad arrived, and Sean arrived about 5:30. I was having stronger contractions but still spaced apart. Sean left for Home Depot and I busied myself with Brendan and stuff around the house trying to ignore the cramps.
By 6 p.m. I called my Mom to let her know I didn’t think I wanted to come over for dinner since I didn’t want to leave home and I let her know that I was having cramping but didn’t think this was “it”; but couldn’t be sure. We also called Melanie to let her know that I might want to be checked at some point but we’d call her with more info if things didn’t stop. Brendan wanted to go to my Mom’s for dinner so she sent Uncle Rene and Nick to pick him up. I was on the phone with Coach Tom discussing the newsletter, and Uncle Rene arrived. I went out to transfer Brendan’s seat to his car and had a contraction that was pretty strong so I was leaning on my car and moaning through it as Uncle Rene got a bit nervous and asked if there was anything he could, so I think I scared him. Once it was over, I transferred the car seat and went back inside and jumped in the tub. Tom then yelled from the phone that he was still there! I had left him on the phone listening to all this for about 15 minutes. He asked why I didn’t go to the hospital and then finished our conversation about his newsletter entry. I told him I’d call him later.
The contractions got stronger but not closer as I was in the water. I thought at this point that they needed to stop if I was going to sleep as I couldn’t sleep thru these! I would yell for Sean every once in a while, but he was busy installing the tub and couldn’t hear me. I wanted water to drink! They finally finished the tub install and Sean’s Dad went home around 7 p.m.
At about 8:00 Melanie called to check in and heard me have a contraction in the background and said she’d be over to check me. She arrived at 9:00 and found me to be 8 centimeters. I was actually relieved that it was labor and would be over soon since they were intense; even if they were spaced out they were working! Sean called some of the people on my list and we prepared for the birth. My Mom, sister, Aunt Sue, Diane and Sean’s Mom arrived what seemed like all together but I’m not sure. They were there encouraging me and just hanging out talking in between. Sean was a really great support person-he’d stand there and rock with me and rub my back. I do remember him kissing me and telling me what a great job I was doing at one point, but then I asked him to stop kissing me during a contraction as it was distracting. I hurt his feelings.
From here on the timeline gets fuzzy for me. I was having contractions, moaning loudly thru them, and then felt relatively comfortable in between. A difference between this and my first labor was that the contractions felt a lot lower and there seemed to be a band between my hip bones that would seize and tighten up each time, like a belt cinching below my waist. Melanie suggested a few positions to speed things along, and I found most of them uncomfortable at this point. I felt most comfortable leaning slightly over something. She suggested I try to sit on the toilet for a bit, so Sean and I headed to our one working upstairs toilet and we hung out there for a while. I really don’t like the pressure feeling that comes when the baby is super low-it reminds me of being constipated with the biggest poop ever!
Finally Melanie suggested that we break the bag of water since it was bulging and possibly that would give me more of an urge to push. Lots of clear water came out, but I still didn’t feel a super strong urge. I was complete at this point. At the visceral level I think I recalled the pain of Brendan’s birth and now I didn’t want to push again and relive that. At some point though I decided that the only way out was through and I needed to push. Warm cloths on my lower abdomen felt good and Melanie kept up good counter pressure during the pushing so I felt that my perineum was protected. The entire time the baby’s heart rate was great and I could occasionally feel movements in response to the contractions. It took a bit to recall exactly how to push, but then once it started we saw head pretty quickly.
Brendan was there at my knees watching and encouraging me. When the baby’s head emerged he said “that’s a head”; with a bit of wonderment, which Melanie said was one of the things she’ll always remember vividly about this birth. At this point, I totally remembered why I didn’t like to push-the pain was incredible. I was somewhat attempting to close my legs, or at least bring them down, and after what felt like forever I could feel the rest of the baby come out. What relief! The baby came right up on my belly and was screaming. I still hadn’t seen at this point what sex the baby was, so Sean turned the baby around a bit and we could see it was a boy! He was crying vigorously and had a short cord just as Brendan did, so after a few minutes, Sean cut the cord and he was free! I was able to hold and nurse him right away. The placenta came out and Melanie showed Brendan-which he thought was gross – he is still talking about it and even let his preschool teachers know all about the placenta. I had one small tear, quite minor, but got 1 stitch. We had a moment with just the 4 of us and it was very nice to let Brendan see the new baby in such a quiet and relaxed way. He was talking to him and wanting to hold him already!
Everyone came back in and we weighed and measured the new one ~ 7-8 and 19 inches, 14 cm head circumference. It was amazing how he looked like a clone of Brendan-just a little smaller! Everyone got a chance to meet and hold him and I took a shower and got cleaned up. My mom was in shock that it was in fact a boy since she had bought a lot of pink, and Brendan just wanted to sit down and hold HIS new baby. Diane prepared me a fruit and pretzel plate and I jumped into bed with my new son. Sean gave Brendan a bath and by about 1:30 he was finally in bed asleep. Sean and I snuggled in our bed with our littlest one and got to talk a bit about the events of the evening. He nursed a few times that night and then slept all the way thru till morning ~ he was obviously pooped out too!
Our new baby didn’t get a name for 3 days, but after much searching we decided on Lucas Anthony.
I can honestly say that the births of my two babies have been hard but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Both experiences have left me in awe of the power of my body, the process from conception to birth, and the amazing love that one person can have for another instantaneously. I didn’t think I could love anyone as much as I love Brendan-wasn’t sure how there would be room in my heart for another- but in an instant my capacity to love so fiercely has doubled. Seeing the love that Sean has for our boys and watching him play and cuddle with them has made our relationship stronger as well ~ nothing is more endearing than watching him try to soothe our small baby or child. Our family is complete and I am thrilled to be able to watch my boys grow up together!