This is the story of my second child's birth, a son. This was written about six weeks postpartum in a journal dedicated solely to him, so the story is addressed to him. He was born after a 12 hour labor, weighing in at 10 lbs even.
I had a much smoother emotional recovery with this baby than I did with my first, but I held onto some of my pregnancy weight for over a year and struggled to feel healthy and vibrant. I was the least physically active during this pregnancy than all the others, and I felt the affects of that in my recovery.
Your birth was an amazing experience, for the both of us, I'm sure! I was sleeping soundly until I heard your Dad come home from work and slip into bed around 1:30 am. We said good night and Dad was almost instantly asleep. I could tell form his breathing (he works so hard!). As I lay there in bed trying to fall back to sleep I suddenly realized that I was having some rather annoying cramps, and they seemed to be coming every few minutes. Well, I tossed and turned another hour before deciding this just might be "it" and that I better alert the midwife. I woke up your Dad and we called Nana. By 4:30 she left Cedar City and made it up to Provo by 8:30. She had had car troubles along the way and prayed she wouldn't miss the birth. Kind people helped her and she made it to our home in plenty of time.
She examined me first thing and said, "We're going to have a baby today!" I was 75% effaced and dilated to a 5. This was definitely "it"! I called my Mom, your Grammy, and she made her way down from Logan and was here by noon. While we were waiting for Mom to arrive I started feeling frustrated because my contractions that were once very regular had become quite irregular and I wondered if I was really progressing. They were only mildly painful and that made your delivery seem very far away.
So we decided to get things into gear! Dad, Saidie and I decided to take a walk. That did the trick. By the time we got home the contractions were coming regularly, frequently, and much harder--yay! That's the recipe for delivery! So by lunchtime I finally felt labor had begun. It was a rather quiet and peaceful progression. Something I had really focused on during this pregnancy was positive imaging and clearing all fear related to my birth process. Fear creates tension and tension creates pain. Eliminate fear...eliminate pain. That was the hope, anyway.
So with every contraction I would think and sometimes speak, "open" and "peace" and allow myself to celebrate at the rising intensity because it meant YOU were that much closer to being born. When things got really intense and bouncing on the birthing ball and swaying my hips no longer cut it, I got into the water. I continued to labor there for about two hours until you were born. The most distinct memory I have was the moment your head was out. I was able to reach down and actually touch you! You had hair! A wave of adrenaline rushed through me and I was determined to hold my baby--I'd waited nine months for this! It took a few more pushes and Vickie having to reach up and maneuver your shoulders, and then finally--you were born!
"It's a boy! It's a boy!" Everyone cried out. I kept saying over and over, "I have a son. I have a son." Sometimes it was more of a question--"I have a son?" I almost couldn't grasp reality. Your Dad was amazing through all of this. He helped so much during those intense contractions. He would push on my back which would relieve the pressure profoundly, and would tell me over and over what a good job I was doing. He told me a few days after you were born that he almost couldn't keep back his tears in those final moments of delivery. He couldn't believe how special you were. It was an amazing day, on that I'll never forget.
You were born in our bedroom in a birthing tub in the exact same place that Saidie was born. I think that's special. We owe her a lot, you and I. Your birth was as wonderful as it was because of Saidie pioneering the way before you. Because of what I experienced from Saidie's delivery I felt a thousand times more prepared and relaxed for your delivery. And even though you were ten pounds I didn't tear and my bleeding was light. My recovery has ben wonderful minus one minor bout of mastitis. It's been life-changing six weeks.
Thank you choosing this family. Thank you for being my sweet little Avery.
Thoughts on Avery's birth six years later:
Because of everything I'd been through with my first baby, I felt like a completely different human being by the time Avery was born. I had also experienced a miscarriage in between these two sweet babies. We actively tried to conceive Avery in the wake of our disappointment, and perhaps that explains his gentle, soft nature--a powerful balm to my heartache.
I knew that I wanted to have a better "plan" for this birth than what I had for my first. I didn't want to be caught unprepared again. So my dear friend shared Hypnobabies with me. I studied the entire course, listened to all the tracks, and did all the homework assignments. I made affirmation cards and taped them all over my bedroom, where I knew the birthing pool would be set up. Throughout my pregnancy, I enjoyed dropping into the hypnosis and felt much more relaxed in my body.
When labor began and progressed, I couldn't account for why the self-hypnosis was proving to be less enjoyable. In fact, it was a bit aggravating. I would drop down into my hypnosis and suddenly feel far, far away. I remember feeling that during my pregnancy, but it didn't bother me then. But it was as if I was down in a deep hole looking up at the entrance, where my body and my baby were giving birth. If they were up there, why was I down here? Somehow, in the throws of labor, I instinctively wanted nothing else but to be utterly and completely PRESENT. I didn't want to go far away from my birth! I didn't want to feel far away from my body, my baby, or my power. Some inner force kept bringing me back into the moment.
I eventually gave up the hypnosis as it was creating too much frustration. Instead, I focused on power words, like "open" "surrender" "relax". I benefited so much from what I had learned in Hypnobabies, to challenge my assumptions about birth, to look behind the fear and discover my personal power. I learned to respect and work WITH my contractions instead of bracing against them. That was a game changer. But I also learned that it wasn't my preferred method. Avery's whole birth experience was the beginning of something really, really good. (next: Baby #3: Leif's Birth Story)