Tuesday, April 21st, 2015, I hit 38 weeks pregnant! My husband was in the midst of finals for nursing school. I wasn’t feeling well that morning so I decided to nap while our 19 month old napped (and she took an unusually longer nap than normal, which was a huge blessing looking back!), while my husband was studying for his first final the next day. We got up from our nap at 1:40 p.m. and the sun was shining in the window and it was clear blue skies. I was so excited! After a couple weeks of dreary, rainy weather I was ready to get out and hike in the sunshine!
I was standing in the kitchen making a plan for the afternoon with my husband when a warm gush of fluid soaked my pants at 1:45 pm. I was in shock, and just stood there for a minute, questioned whether it really was my water breaking, looked at my husband and said, “I think my water just broke!” His response? “Oh, shoot!”
As it continued to leak, I’m still standing in the kitchen and he’s sitting in the living room and we are just staring at each other in disbelief. That moment felt like eternity, when we both didn’t move and the reality of us having our baby within the next 24 hours sunk in. I wasn’t having any contractions at this point thankfully as I was still able to think clearly and collect all the things I needed for the birth center and the things our daughter would need (because of course I didn’t have everything ready since I still had two weeks to prepare). I had already called the birth center after my water broke and was told to come in in a few hours to check on baby if contractions still hadn’t started, or to come in earlier if I hadn’t felt baby move since my water breaking.
Well, I hadn’t felt baby move so we ended up just collecting all our things and we headed to the birth center to get checked. We met with Johanna at 3:30 pm and baby sounded great! Still was not having consistent contractions. I was having some but I couldn’t feel them yet, I only knew it was a contraction because my belly would get hard. I was checked and was 4/5 cm, so we decided we were staying! My husband went to drop our daughter off at my sister-in-laws while I went and got set up in our room (the same room I gave birth to my daughter in, which was really special!) I was still not having consistent or painful contractions.
I was getting anxious that the labor was going to take a long time, especially since my water had broken but I wasn’t having any consistent contractions yet. My first labor with my daughter was fast, so I was trying not to have the same expectations in my head as I know every pregnancy and labor is different, and it was something that I could not control. I was just ready for things to pick up and they weren’t; so my husband and Johanna had to remind me to relax and not stress about how long it’d be or when labor would pick up. So we did just that. My husband and I were hanging out on the bed listening to music, texting family and talking about how crazy it was that we were about to have two kids (that thought hadn’t fully sunk in yet because my husband was in his last semester of nursing school, so we were a bit preoccupied!)
A little before 5 p.m.I started feeling contractions, low crampy contractions that I could time. So that was a good sign! But I still knew labor hadn’t fully kicked in yet and I was preparing myself for when it did. I wanted to have another water birth like my first, so we set up the tub and I moved to the water, which was so relaxing! Around 5:15 is when contractions really picked up and started getting intense. I knew things were progressing but in my head I kept feeling like it was going to take a long time and the pain was never going to end. Something that helped and that I kept playing over and over in my head was what one of my friends had told me before labor that with her second baby she really tried to anticipate each contraction and not dread the next one as it was one contraction closer to meeting her baby. It kept me in the moment to anticipate and get through one contraction at a time versus thinking of them as a whole and panicking that the pain was never going to end (dramatic, I know. But I think this was when I was nearing transition and my mind was going to all the worst thoughts and thinking I couldn’t get through it. And in the moment, it did feel like it was never going to end.)
So with each contraction I would sway in the water (movement really helped!), think of my sweet little boy that I could feel making his way down, and try to accept the contraction and breath through it. I wasn’t having much rest between contractions and I started feeling like I needed to push, but I kept expecting things to get worse and transition to last longer before pushing; I was almost in denial that I could be ready to push. So I would push some on contractions and other times just let him work his way down and breath through it. At one point I was checked to make sure the cervix had fully dilated and I remember thinking, “He’s still all the way up there?!” and I got discouraged thinking he still had so far to go. I don’t know how long I was pushing for, but it felt like a long time. The feeling to push wasn’t as strong as I remember it being with my first, so that surprised me and made me question whether I was really ready to push yet. So I changed positions and got in a better one to commit to pushing and I could feel him come down and start crowning on the very next contraction so I knew it finally was the end and I guess I should push!
I pushed through him crowning and then all of a sudden it was over and my son was in my arms! Griffin Elias-Caleb was born at 6:52 p.m. It was so surreal that he finally was here, two weeks early! My husband was such a sweet support and motivator through out the labor and I’m thankful for Johanna’s and Jess’s care and help as well. Griffin’s birth was exactly what I was hoping for, another water birth. Looking back now being on the other side of labor and the pain behind me, and I think how grateful I am for a peaceful, fast birth; and how it was all so very worth it!