At this moment, my husband and I got to see her Original Face. This is what she looked like, fresh out of the womb. Lina is growing and becoming more responsive every day. She already looks so different but we will have this moment captured in time forever.
For some reason I expected my second labor to go just like my first labor and delivery. I was wrong. Now I see that every labor comes to life with different character.
My first labor lasted over 24 hours long. I was dilated to 10cm for three hours. Things were calm and smooth but very slow.
My second labor was REALLY quick and intense. I started having contractions three weeks prior to the birth. I thought I was in true labor and called the midwives three or four times before the real thing. My cervix was posterior and neither midwife could tell me how far I was dilated. I was very stressed and worried over my confused body signals.
Beth called this prodromal labor. She told me that when true labor started things would move fast. She was right. I should have listened to her!
The night true labor came, the contractions had a different edge to them. I began to get very irritated during each one. I tried different positions and activities to try and make them go away. Finally I asked my husband to start the hypnobirth scripts with me. He did and the scripts helped A LOT! My husband helped me feel comfortable and relaxed. I called Liz (Beth’s apprentice) at 10pm and she arrived about a half hour later. She still couldn’t find my cervix. That was very disheartening! I believed I would be laboring all night (just like my first labor). I started to moan and groan and become very irritable.
Beth arrived an hour later and checked my cervix at 11:45pm. She held up two fingers to indicate the space in the opening of my cervix. I about died when I saw her hold up two fingers.
“I’m only dilated to a two!” I panicked!
“No, no,” Beth clarified. She explained that her two fingers were spread apart 7 centimeters!
“OK. That’s better,” I thought. “But I still have hours of labor to go.” Why didn’t I listen to Beth? 45 minutes later (12:30am) I had a baby in my arms.
Now let me tell you, those 45 minutes were intense! at 12:15 Liz told me I was dilated to 9cm. Though I recognized that I was shaking, I didn’t believe that I could actually be in transition so soon. I remember that Beth asked me, “Tell me when you feel pressure,” and I wanted to scream, “this is pressure!” I guess I went through a quick hormonal shift because I started shouting, “I don’t wanna do it anymore!” I think that at one point I even screamed “RING OF FIRE!!!!” That is pretty funny in hindsight.
Fortunately the midwives were very professional and recognized the transition. They got into position quickly. I was on the birth stool (which I LOVED. I think every hospital should carry one of Beth’s homemade birthing stools) with my husband behind me. Later he told me that all the screaming made him very nervous. Screaming is very out of character for me. But for some reason it was the best way for me to cope with the unexpected transition. I had read (in the Birthing from Within book) that just as men often scream and get bloody during a football game, it should be culturally acceptable for women to scream and get bloody during birth. That thought helped me.
Liz whipped out a mirror. My water broke and splattered all over her. The baby started coming fast and my intense contractions scared me so I screamed, “Push her back in!!!!”
But all of a sudden I had a beautiful, wet, little bundle in my arms and she felt WONDERFUL. She wasn’t crying so I kept asking, is she breathing? But the midwives assured me that all was well, the cord was still attached.
Thank goodness Lina came so quickly because I was tired and exhausted. I kept telling Lina “thank you for coming so quickly! .” My midwives can tell you that I had a hard time delivering the placenta because I was so tired at that point.
Now the herb bath was absolutely delightful! I remember that my first child cried a lot during his cold sponge bath under the bright lights at the hospital. Lina didn’t make one complaint. Neither did I. The warm water felt SO good on my bottom and Lina was swimming so calmly in my arms. I loved it! We both went to bed and got a good rest right afterwards. Everything felt so nice and I was very, very grateful for a home birth.