This may be one of the shortest birth stories ever. And I have to start by saying that I have been incredibly blessed with easy and quick labor + delivery experiences!
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2017
Ryan and I were lying in bed that night after putting Raleigh to sleep, and I remember feeling a few contractions. They were still far apart, but consistent, and I could tell they were different than braxton hicks. I am pretty sure the first person I texted was my other half at work, Laura, letting her know that I might not be in the next day, as I was sure I’d be going into full force labor that night.
After letting a few other key family members know, we fell asleep, expecting to be woken up sometime later with stronger contractions.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017
I woke up early with contractions – not a whole lot stronger than ones the night before and a little disappointed that they were no longer consistent. I decided I would go into work that day and just see how the day went, and as the morning progressed I began needing to breathe lightly through the contractions. I wore comfortable clothes and asked Laura to take my client appointments so I wouldn’t be caught mid-contraction during a tour or meeting.
I worked the whole day at the office tying up loose ends, and even breaking for lunch to have my tires balanced, all while breathing through contractions. I could tell Oliver would be arriving soon! I called the birthing center to give them a heads up, and I remember getting so excited while talking with one of the sweet nurses over the phone. We were still about a week away from the due date, but we’d be holding him sooner than we thought!
My in-laws invited us over for dinner so we wouldn’t have to think about cooking or cleaning up. While there, I could tell my contractions were getting a bit more intense, and I decided to start timing them. We left around 7:30 pm, got home and read bedtime stories to Raleigh in our bed before Ryan put him to sleep. I was still breathing through contractions, but not enough for Raleigh to be alarmed at all. I was just enjoying one final evening together as a family of three.
After Ryan came back from putting Raleigh to sleep in his bed, we called our midwife, Marsha, to let her know what was happening. She suggested I take a warm bath for about thirty minutes to see if labor would pick up. It definitely did! I was so relaxed in the bath and my contractions sped up and got more intense. Once I got out around 9:30 pm, they actually became painful, and we knew it was time!
My in-laws live only five minutes away, so we called my mother-in-law over so she could stay at the house with Raleigh while we were gone. With a toddler at home and it being so late we decided we weren’t going to invite any family to the birthing center. If all went according to plan (like things did with Raleigh!
), then we wouldn’t be there very long after the birth anyway!
We left at 10:15 pm, arriving at the birthing center, Natural Beginnings
, at 11:15 pm. On the way, I texted family and a few friends to let them know. Once we arrived, I wasn’t dilated very much, which was a bit disappointing, but I knew how quickly things moved with Raleigh, so I was ready to make it happen! I was able to communicate a bit more upon arrival (unlike with Raleigh – when we arrived at the birthing center while in labor with him I could barely talk), so I got undressed and moved around in different positions to help with dilation.
Ryan, just like with our first birth, was so amazing – reminding me to breathe and relax, helping me into different positions for comfort, and massaging my shoulders and back. Other than a few subtle checks from our amazing birth team – midwife and nurse – it was just us in the dimly lit room, relaxing, and letting my body work. It was so calm and I felt so at peace.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017
Around 12:15 am I could tell things were beginning to pick up as my contractions remained steady (we were no longer timing them) and increased in intensity while my body helped push Oliver out. I decided to get in the birthing pool, and the water eased the pressure immensely. Just like at one point while in labor with Raleigh, I did feel nauseated, and when offered peppermint essential oil (which usually helps with these feelings) I refused adamantly (the smell made me gag when I was in labor with Raleigh). Unlike with Raleigh, though, I actually did vomit – several times. Luckily they offered these helpful little vomit bags just in time!
I wasn’t as in control of my emotions and pain as I had hoped to be, and I remember swearing that this would be our last child. Ryan says I even yelled a cuss word at one point (women can’t be held accountable for what’s said in labor + delivery, by the way). Finally, I felt something – and I yelled that I had to go to the bathroom! After a brief argument with Marsha where I swore I needed to go to the bathroom and she assured me that it was just my water breaking and to stay in the water, I felt the sudden urge to push. Y’all – I was sure I had pooped in the water (I didn’t..).
I pushed hard and productively – and I did so much better by focusing my energy on pushing and not vocalizing while pushing. Marsha kept telling me to reach down and feel my baby coming out, but I couldn’t make myself let go of the handles on the side of the birthing pool. After only five minutes of pushing I felt the relief of Oliver coming fully out. I turned around in the water and there he was!
While I felt immediate relief, I also immediately felt drained. I didn’t quite feel “present” enough to scoop him up out of the water. So Marsha and Ryan helped bring him out of the water and up onto my chest. He was wide-eyed and perfect. He was five days early, but hardly had any vernix on him at all. We couldn’t take our eyes off him, and after a little while I was helped out of the water so Ryan and I could snuggle with him on the bed.
Initial checks and screenings were delayed until we felt like we had plenty of skin to skin and bonding time. I also wanted to nurse Oliver as soon as possible. He didn’t latch perfectly (I’ll share more on that later!), but still so much better than Raleigh was able to.
Oliver Finley Kearns was born at 1:13 am on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 weighing 6lbs 15oz and measuring 20 inches long.
The whole labor and delivery went smoothly and quickly, and we checked out of the birthing center just two hours later. We headed home and let my mother-in-law leave after saying a quick hello to her newest grandson. When Raleigh woke up the next morning, he was surprised with his brand-new baby brother and it was the absolute sweetest!