4:00 p.m., Jan. 3: “I could do this six more times!” I exclaim to Evan, with that glimmer in my eye that only comes with huge waves of the love hormone–oxytocin. The three of us are snuggled into a big comfortable bed, in a spacious, calming, green, woodland themed room, the lights low, while the midwives quietly clean up the area. I am hearkening back to when Ava was born and one of the first things I announced was, “I could do this seven more times!”
My first labor and delivery experience was long (about 40 hours!), difficult (two hours of pushing!), had some unexpected turns (I got transferred to the hospital after labor stalled…), and had some unexpected interventions (Pitocin drip to start labor up again, antibiotics because of meconium in utero and old GBS test). However, it was still the most amazing, empowering, intense thing I had ever done…up until Jan. 3, 2016.
11:30 a.m., Jan. 3: I am leaning against a wall in the Koslosky building in downtown Palmer, AK…having a contraction and trying not to attract the attention of the lovely elderly couple that has just exited the coffee shop that Evan is in. We had already been in the car for about forty five minutes, but we stopped on our way to the midwifery to get some treats (macaroons, yum!) for the attending midwives and for us! I got a hot chocolate and ended up drinking about four ounces of it on the twenty minute drive between Palmer and the midwifery in Wasilla. My contractions had picked up to 2-3 minutes apart! Maybe we shouldn’t have stopped…
At the writing of my last post, I was discouraged and feeling defeated. To be honest, I was doubting my body’s ability to go into labor spontaneously. I was fairly certain I would end up going to 42 weeks, transferring to a hospital OB who would let me go to 43 weeks and then getting induced at the end. I felt I was a lemon…that maybe my borderline low thyroid problem was actually low and preventing proper hormone circulation or something. Google is not a good place for for the pregnant and anxious!
7:30 a.m.: I wake up with slight cramps, but I don’t let myself get too excited. This has happened a few times over the past weeks and ended without any real progression of labor, and certainly no baby. I decide to take a shower, get ready for the day and eat some food. I start to get regular cramps and then contractions! I’m pretty sure this is actually going to happen. The excitement and anticipation build. I CAN go into spontaneous labor!!!
9:00 a.m.: Evan and Ava wake up, and I tell Evan, “I’m pretty sure I’m in labor right now. I think today is the day!” Evan is noticeably excited and starts to mobilize immediately. I tell him that he can take it a bit easy because it feels like it’s pretty early. I go downstairs to tell my mom that we’re getting ready. I knock on her door and she replies–“I’m getting dressed!” She, like me, does not expect that I will be having this baby soon; and she is also, understandably, very excited at my news.
At this point, I reflected back on the day (well..the day before) Ava was born. My contractions were weak and very irregular. My waters had been broken for more than twelve hours. I was heading into the midwifery for some natural induction methods.
3:00 p.m.: I am in a huge bathtub filled with perfectly hot water. I have just gone through transition. I’m having some slight urges to push at the peaks of contractions, but I’m not all the way dilated. The midwife says it’s okay for me to follow my body’s urges. She says that I’m probably trying to break this stubborn bag of waters! It’s funny–my water broke “too early” with Ava and now it won’t break!
Other moms told me that their second experiences with birth and delivery were major lessons in how to surrender. During their first labors it was all about what “should” and “shouldn’t” happen–what do all of the books say? what did we learn in birthing classes? But the second one is when we realize that our bodies know more than we do.
Right this very second, Jan. 13: I am torn between writing this post and staring at the content little baby snuggled up next to me. The sounds, the movements, the faces! What perfection!
Noon-3:00 p.m., Jan. 3: Evan and I are at the midwifery. I’m in active labor. I bounce and rotate my hips on a giant birthing ball, we walk around, I take a shower and Evan holds a shower head on my back and belly. I hang on him during contractions and can feel his strength (physical, mental, emotional) thoroughly supporting me during these vulnerable times. “He is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” I keep feeling and repeating in my head. I nibble on crackers and oranges and gulp down water. At one point, my friend Amanda visits to pick up our dog who has made the trip from Anchorage with us. I have an urge to hug her during a contraction. It is a powerful thing to embrace another strong female during one of the most feminine things many of us will ever experience. It is something I will never forget!
3:40 p.m. Our baby is born in the water after a handful of pushes. I guide out the little body and Evan “catches” and brings the sweet babe to my chest. We are in awe, we look at each other and cry that we love each other and gaze upon this new person! The first thing I notice are the gracefully long fingers (ten of ’em!) on teeny tiny hands. The midwives ask–“So, do we have a girl or a boy?!” We look–and we have a second girl! Another Farmgirl has arrived and is part of our now family of four. We wait to cut the cord until it’s stopped pulsing. A little bragging here: My placenta is gorgeous! Is this only something a true Farmgirl can appreciate? We couldn’t be happier. She stays in my arms or dad’s arms for the next two hours.
Now, without further ado, please meet Opal Jeanne Wilder; born Jan. 3, 2016 at 3:40 p.m., 8 lbs 12 oz. and 21.5 inches long. So far she loves David Bowie, the smell of bacon and her big sister Ava. She is the perfect addition to our growing family!
Just in case you’re wondering–I probably will not/ can not do this six more times! Although it is tempting…
Sending peace and love from my family to yours,
Until Next Time!
Alex, the Rural Farmgirl