Originally written the day after giving birth
So this time around my estimated due date was August 24th. Since I had gone two days early with "Minion", I figured I'd go a little early this time too. My guess was on the 19th or 20th since full moon would be on the 18th and this was my second baby.
As 38 weeks hit, and I was feeling very ready and measuring for 41 weeks, we started thinking it might be even sooner. Friday night of the 12th, I started with some prodromal (false) labor that continued every day but would go away with food and water so I knew it wasn't the real deal. But since it mirrored Minion's labor progress so much, I started thinking we might have a Tuesday or Wednesday baby.
Add on the fact that storms were expected all week and I was hopeful that things were going to get serious soon.
Monday night I was feeling restless and decided to go ahead and take half a unisom to force myself to get some much needed sleep. For the first time in weeks, I got a full night without waking up to pee every 30 minutes so on Tuesday morning I finally woke up to the thunder at 9am and discovered bloody show. Now I was jazzed since things were mirroring Minions birth so much. The big difference though was that while I didn't get my first early contractions until 12 hours later with Minion, they immediately started every 30 mins but at low intensity.
By mid-afternoon I let my birth support people know that I was fairly confident we'd have a baby within the next 24 hours and was trying to nap as much as possible.
When 11pm rolled around, my contractions started getting closer to around 15 mins apart and then 11 mins by midnight. We went to bed and had a sweet family moment talking about the birth and new baby with Minion. I tried to sleep between the contractions and had my Canon in D Pandora station playing on the nightstand to help soothe me but sleep was elusive. I was still able to cope really well with the intensity though and breathe through them. At one point Minion sat up and started imitating my breathing which was super cute and funny.
At a little after 3am my contractions suddenly jumped to within 7 mins apart from the previous 11 so I moved out to the living room to bounce on my birthing ball and call my mom to head over and keep me company. The intensity was really picking up and at one point shortly after 4am, I had a 2.5 minute contraction that brought me to tears. It was around this point that Luke got up and joined us and started counter pressure and rubbing my back which helped.
In the 4:00 hour I decided to move to the shower to relax and had setup a stool in there to sit on. The water helped a lot with coping but also spread my contractions out to 7-8 minutes apart. So after 30 minutes of laboring there I moved to sitting on the toilet.
Instantly my contractions picked up to less than 5 minutes apart so we started discussing when to call the midwife. The standard rule of thumb for our birth center is 4-1-1 which means contractions every 4 minutes, lasting for a minute for at least an hour. But since Minion came faster than anticipated and I was a second time mom, they wanted me to call earlier. In my mind I wanted to wait until 5-1-1 because I did not want to go too soon and have hours ahead of me laboring there or worse get sent home like I did with Minion. My mom really wanted me to call asap so we compromised that when the last hour average hit 6 mins apart then I'd call. That was at 5:22 am.
Within 3 mins of being on the phone I had another contraction and the midwife wanted to hear how I coped through it. After it passed she said it definitely sounded like I was ready to go in so Luke took Minion out to the truck, called our friends who would be meeting us there, and my mom gathered the few things that weren't already in the car. The only problem was that from the second I hung up, I started having one contraction after another. I literally couldn't get from our bathroom to the truck before having 5 contractions. Out of no where they jumped to every 2 minutes and I was definitely transitioning on the drive with the uncontrollable shivers and shakes.
Being in a bigger vehicle this time and going at a time when the roads were dead was so much easier to cope with than with Minion's birth. We made it to the center in record time and pulled in at 5:51am.
When the midwife, Simone, checked me I was at 6cm, 100% effaced, but "Jedi" was still high. In my mind that meant I still had a while since we got there at 9.5cm with Minion and he still took over an hour to come out. But I was progressed enough that I could go to the birth house and climb in the tub.
The walk over was rough with me needing to stop twice for contractions but once we made it in, we were able to take my last belly photo between contractions before I climbed in the tub. The water was nice for feeling weightless but I was having serious temperature control issues and would get super hot during each contraction.
This time around, was so much more intense and harder to cope with than Minion's. Whereas I was able to get through with moaning with him, I literally was screaming and doubting myself the entire time with Jedi. The contractions just felt so intense and no position felt right. Everyone laughed later that at one point I screamed, "So glad I'm never doing this again!" In my mind it felt like forever but at one point Luke told me it had only been 15 minutes. I was wanting to get out and go back to the bathroom but Simone asked to check me one more time and I was complete so she encouraged me that we would be having a baby very soon and I could push whenever I felt like it.
With Minion, pushing was this uncontrollable urge that I couldn't resist. This time I did not want to push. I wanted him out but everything hurt and mentally I didn't want to push and feel that pain. But I forced myself to start trying and could feel him moving down but I was also terrified of pooping myself. As his head started crowning, the midwife had a moment of panic and said "Oh my god!" and asked me to stop. I knew he was right there and she kept touching and it hurt so bad that I was screaming for her to not touch me but could tell she was also concerned about something so I asked what was wrong. After a second she calmed and responded that, "No it's OK, he just has no hair!" She's used to babies being born with heads full of hair and thought that his butt was coming out first.
So on the next contraction I resumed pushing and felt my waters break a little and his head slide out. But I was so tired I couldn't get his shoulders out right away so we waited for the next contraction and I was able to push just enough so they could pull him out and up into my arms. He was born at 6:51am, exactly 1 hour from when we pulled into the birth center parking lot.
It was such a relief to be done and have him out. While not born completely in the caul, he still had his sack around part of his body which we didn't realize until a little while later when I adjusted him for better skin-to-skin.
They drained and refilled the tub several times so I could deliver the placenta which I was so exhausted for but happy to have done and then we got to just relax and cuddle.
Apparently Minion got really concerned when he heard me screaming and started crying saying "Mama hurt! Doctor! Shassy! (what he calls Luke)" Our friends ended up taking him outside and when they got back he had a baby brother. He immediately came over with tears in his eyes still and said, "My Baby. Take. Please," while clasping his hands which was his way of asking to hold Jedi. It was especially cute when Minion went to rub Jedi's head but since Jedi was still covered in birth goo, Minion immediately goes "Eww!" and insisted on his hand being cleaned.
Jedi actually did the breast crawl and latched no problem and ate from both sides which really got the oxytocin going to clamp my uterus. This was something that never happened with Minion so while I am so happy we were starting breastfeeding better, I was not prepared for all the cramping that comes with it. That has been a bit frustrating and I can't wait to get past that but on the bright side it also meant I didn't need all the fundal "massaging" of last time.
When we finally got out of the tub, they did the weighing and measuring - 7 lbs 8oz and 20" long, and checked me out. I didn't need any stitches which was a relief and at least has made that portion of recovery better. My blood pressure kept rising which they were moderately concerned about because of my preeclampsia symptoms in the last weeks of pregnancy. But after repeated monitoring, figured it was more from the discomfort associated with breastfeeding and for me to just continue monitoring it at home (where it has lowered back to normal). So we were released shortly after the 4 hour mark and were home just 6 hours after leaving in the morning.
It was such a whirlwind experience and I'm still blown away that I had a 7 hour labor of actual strong contractions. Adjusting to life with the two boys is going to be an adventure but so far our hearts couldn't be more swelled with love.