Labor can look like this
<—That kid was born after gardening, too.
We had the kid! I PUSHED ANOTHER PERSON OUT OF MY BODY.
Above is my wishlist for this birth. A second birth at home. How did it compare to my “birth plan”?
Getting through the really fucking painful back contractions. I did it, and I figured out how to do it much more gently this time. Last birth, I got through them with pelvic massages while leaning forward onto a wall and then eventually was asked to lie down on my side to get through them since our labor had been so long and I was so exhausted. This time, I did a thing that didn’t seem intuitive: I labored through them with my pelvis fully upright, my body upright, no tilting, no leaning over. Some of them, I sat upright on the toilet for. Others, I knelt and put firm downward pressure on my hips. I also knew from the last birth that my body wants to yell but it also needs to breathe. Breathing in a long, low hum like I’m in theatre camp made it easier to push babe lower into my body and made it possible for me to get through what I remember being the most difficult part of labor.
Have a birth tub with hot hot water here to help with those contractions. Had birth tub. Didn’t end up having the baby in the birth tub, but I did get to labor in there for a while in nice hot water. It didn’t slow down my contractions like last time, but I ended up hopping out when I felt too much like I needed to poop** and walked over to the bathroom between contractions. I had a few contractions on the toilet until that became painful, and then I decided to stand totally upright for a while like a crazy person. **side note my wife found it amusing our midwife used a fishnet for to collect poop. ahhh poop.
Have a short enough labor that I don’t need to go to sleep and wake up multiple days in a row with escalating contractions that eventually slow down and deprive me of all energy, leaving me to have the kid on my bed. This one didn’t happen. I was in on/off labor from March 18-March 26. Over a week. A couple of those days, absolutely nothing happened, but most of those included about 12 hours of increasingly painful, real contractions that would start in the evenings, stop mid-morning. I fell apart on March 24th from exhaustion and stress. Put self back together, had some orgasms, and kept a thing our midwife said in mind: “Labor needs oxytocin to start and to keep it going.” Rested all day, watched a bunch of Veep in the evening (laughs! oxytocin!) and when I woke up after midnight with no contractions at all, we kicked out Iris to her bedroom. I got some foot rubs, walked around, leaned into yoga ball, and once contractions started regularly happening, my wife and I went into the living room to play Pandemic. Played the entire game hugging into the yoga ball, and by 5AM I started having the urge to push at the tail end of contractions. I called our midwife and had to throw the phone to go hum through another contraction. While my labor did go on for days with me half-dilated (many more days than when we had Iris), when the second half finally happened, it happened in about 6 hours. Kid also didn’t happen on the bed.
I don’t want another on-my-back labor. I want to have enough energy to have this kid on my own feet or in water. I want to not feel the back pain I felt last time that extended for over six months. I want to not end up with a yeast infection that makes peeing feel like my crotch is being torn open. Pushed the kid down into my pelvis “I’ve got the weird head lump in my crotch!” while standing up. Labored until I could no longer straighten my legs because said head in my pelvis. Labored more on my knees until I felt the amniotic sac coming out of my body. Held onto the cold edge of the bathtub and forgot how much burning happened as kid’s head came out. Asked if someone was going to catch the kid because I had no plans on catching the kid. Our midwife had to gently ask me to push the kid out because I stopped moving to get over the burning and enjoy the nice temperature. Christina caught kid. Kid born in amniotic sac. Water never broke. Mermaid baby.
I want to have the energy to hold my baby after I have them. With Iris, I couldn’t lift her for days. I couldn’t pick her up because it hurt my back too much. She latched from an upright position and from a side position. I could hold my kid. I held him. Couldn’t lift myself, but I could hold him. 8lbs.
I want to get a nap with Christina and Iris. I want Iris to be there when tiny person is born, and I want her to get to help cut the umbilical cord and look at the placenta and wrap up a new baby and I want her to feel good about the new person in our house. All of this, but the nap just happened with Christina. Iris hung out with grandma. She was there while I was in the birth tub, giving me a kiss occasionally. She was there when I pushed him out onto the bathroom floor. She was there to help weigh him and she was there to cut his cord and she was there when I got stitches and she has been there for every single diaper change as diaper change helper. She observed that, “We only have one baby but you have two nipples. I think we can have a second baby.” She still feels good. It’s only been a week, but new human week is a hard week.
Felix was born at 7:14AM after what probably wasn’t that much pushing in what our midwife called a “gentle birth.” I said, “Holy fuck it’s a person I can take a nap now.”
Next birth? I am hoping for less days of prodromal labor. Now that we know boardgame-playing and dry comedy and foot rubs up my oxytocin to labor levels, we can just start there and maybe skip the compost-schlepping. Also for some type of relief like a hot compress for my crotch during that head-crowning couple minutes of labor egads that was painful. And legitimately the only pain that happens during labor, too—all other “pain” disappears between contractions, it’s really just incredible pressure. But the crowning, that tore my body a little bit. Compress! Compress! Compress!