there's a reason all of our birth photos are all after delivery--because no one made it to the actual birth.
On August 2nd I was 41 weeks. During my midwife check we did a NST and baby girl was sitting pretty and clearly no signs she was ready to come out yet. I asked for a cervical check just to see where I was if I was anywhere at all. My belly was still so high I thought for sure she’d tell me “closed off” but I ended up being about 3 cm dilated and so that time requested a cervical massage as they referred to it as (much more elegant than a membrane sweep sounds) to get things kick started if she was ready.
After this appointment I continued to feel just consistent Braxton Hicks with occasional mild contractions and menstrual cramps at night. But nothing that made me think she was coming anytime soon.
On August 7th I remember waking up that morning and texting my midwife super emotional and frustrated “Wantina why won’t this baby come out”
Oaklee and I had a ROUGH morning emotionally with a lot of frustration and crying from both ends
I got a massage and adjustment and we both took a nap that day. Oaklee took a 3.5 hour nap and I only took an hour 🙄
When dalton got home from work that afternoon and I got up from my nap at 2:30 I sat up in bed and felt a gush of fluid as I ran to the bathroom.
This is exactly what happened with Oaklee. I made dalton come upstairs and bring me an amniotic fluid test swab from our birth kit. It immediately turned black. I knew my water had just broke.
So now we wait. Was it going to be another 72 hours like Oaklee’s birth or sooner?
We went about our normal afternoon and all I felt was mild menstrual cramping and very minor contractions—nothing new and nothing consistent.
I had dalton put beads at acupressure points to help stimulate labor and we went about our normal day.
We put Oaklee to bed that night and so I took a unisom and went to bed myself at 8 pm
At around 11 pm I started getting consistent contractions so I put in my headphones and turned on my hypnobirthing app and started timing them. For the next hour I didn’t go back to sleep and they were already pretty intense and close to a minute long every 5-8 minutes. I was texting my doula this entire time keeping her in the loop but I figured I had plenty of time. Dalton stayed asleep for the next hour as I laid in bed letting the contractions pick up.
At about 12:30 I couldn’t stand to lay in bed anymore so I started getting up and trying to find positions that would be more comfortable—toilet, shower, ball, hands and knees, side lying, lunge—the toilet felt the best.
At about 1 am I told dalton maybe we should call Tamara but they still weren’t super consistently lasting a minute but were getting closer together and more intense.
At about 1:30 I remember them being so intense I felt like I was losing control of being able to breath through them as they were coming often— I needed him to call tamara and hopefully when she got there she could help me gain control back with some of her tips and help.
I remember at one point screaming at dalton “help” but he nor I knew how—that’s when he called Tamara and she got on her way.
This whole time we were texting everyone else but with my last experience I was wanting to wait for Tamara to get there to evaluate the situation to make sure I didn’t call everyone too early.
While we were waiting for Tamara the contractions seemed sooo intense and so often that I told dalton to call the midwife—I wanted the tub. This was 2 am.
While I was waiting for everyone to arrive they seemed like they were hitting hard and often. I really tried to breathe and use the intensity of the contraction to push down into it with my breath.
We got a text from our midwife that she was 45 minutes away and I looked at dalton and I knew I didn’t have 45 minutes.
Tamara showed up around 2:15 and I was on the toilet clenching a comb trying to make it through these contractions that seemed to be coming back to back with no break. Counter pressure was the only thing taking these contractions down a notch.
At this point I don’t even think Tamara knew I was as close as I was.
I needed to move positions, nothing was comfortable.
I moved onto kneeling and leaning on the bed. Counter pressure from Tamara and dalton saved the day but things were progressing fast. I felt the baby moving down each contraction.
I suddenly out of nowhere started pushing—my body just did it. I did not have this experience with Oaklee. I remember stating “ uhm I’m pushing” and Tamara ran to grab gloves. At this point Dalton was on the phone with the midwife who was on the way. We were preparing to birth this baby alone—Dalton + Tamara coached by wantina over the phone.
I switched from kneeling, to side lying, back to all fours as I pushed down unknowingly with every contraction. I felt the burning and knew she was coming but there wasn’t anyway for me to stop it or wait for anyone else to arrive.
Just as Mandy the lead student midwife walked through the door (2:35 am) Archers head was already visible. I remember hearing dalton on the phone “ugh wantina I see a head”
A few more pushes and Archer was born at 2:37 am. Midwife and birth videographer walked through the door as baby laid on my chest before pushing out the placenta.
Born 2:37 am 8 lb 11 oz 21.5 inches
This was such a different birth experience than Oaklee’s. It was much shorter (3-4 hours start to finish versus Oaklee’s 22 hours) and although it was shorter the entirety of it was so much harder and more difficult in intensity but easier at the same time. My body did most of the pushing this time around and although it was hard it was over much faster. I pushed for 3 hours with Oaklee and maybe 10 minutes with Archer. Both had a nuchal hand. I felt tired, but not exhausted/weak.
The difference was in the babies too. After Oaklee was born she cried continuously for the next hour or so. Archer was calm cool and collected with minimal crying. That’s how I know birth affects the babies as well.
I remember the rest of that morning talking with dalton just like what the heck just happened. It happened so fast, so hard, but so naturally. There was never any fear or doubt or anxiety felt within the room or process.
I thought I had time until I didn’t, I didn’t want to call everyone to early like we did with Oaklee and have them wait or stall my labor—next time I’ll know to call everyone sooner
The confidence I felt even during the chaos of the birth is all thanks to the support I received and trust/faith I had in my care and support from my doula (who I would TOTALLY trust delivering my babies) and midwife team. I never wavered, I never felt alone, I never felt scared. Maybe dalton did but
he didn’t show it either.