Here is my first draft of Aria's birth story. Needs editing, but that will have to be done later. :-)
The Birth of Aria Rose
On Friday, September 28th, I felt even more pressure on my cervix than I had been feeling prior. I felt a bit crampy and was having more Braxton hicks contractions – as I had had for weeks. But the crampiness and extra pressure felt different and insanely uncomfortable. I told my mom I couldn’t imagine going another week feeling like this. My husband stayed home from work this day, not wanting to be too far, in case labor started. I went about my morning as usual. After going to a friend’s house for a couple hours, I came home and had lunch. I made a trip to Target for some last minute supplies. I had to go to the bathroom twice in my short visit to the store. I found myself doing breathing exercises to make it through the store because I was so uncomfortable from all the pressure. I was praying I didn’t go into labor in Target! When I got home I told my husband that I would be surprised if I didn’t have the baby soon. I even told him to go ahead and turn up the water heater and inflate the birth tub – even though I didn’t really think I was in labor yet. I decided to take a warm bath and a nap.
After my bath, I discovered that bloody show had started! This was the way labor started with Makenna as well. So much for a nap – too excited. I called my midwife, Jessica, and told her about the show. At this point I was having contractions but they weren’t painful or necessarily much different from the ones I’d been having in previous days. I tried to time them but they were all over the place and it was hard to tell when they were beginning and ending. 10 minutes, 2 minutes, 2 minutes, etc. Because it was Friday afternoon, my midwife decided to come over before rush hour traffic hit and see where we were starting from and to set up the birth supplies. It was 4 pm when I spoke to her and she was about to leave her house. In the 30 minutes it took for her to arrive, my contractions organized into a pattern of every 4 minutes – also how my contractions started with Makenna. They had also become slightly uncomfortable by the time she arrived. Jessica checked me and I was already 6cm dilated and at a +1 station! It was hard to fathom that I was that far along as I was still hustling about, getting the house ready and taking care of Makenna – even stopping to pick up dust bunnies from the floor and clean things up. I decided to ask my doula, Ilka, to come over now to watch Makenna.
Ilka arrived at about 5. Makenna helped her daddy inflate the birth tub and then set off to bake a birthday cake with Ilka. While the cake cooled, she made a few cards and pictures for the sister she was about to meet. Once the cake was cool, Makenna decorated it with purple frosting and many different kinds of sprinkles. She took a rest in her room and listened to stories, coming to check on mom periodically.
Once Jessica arrived, I labored in my bedroom, listening to my labor playlist. For the next couple hours, I felt like I was just hanging out chatting with Jessica while she got things ready. The second midwife, Ellen, and her apprentice, Hannah arrived an hour or so later. Hannah couldn’t believe I was in labor, as I was still laughing and chatting in between contractions. Over time, the contractions did intensify. I found myself needing to breathe through them more. Hanging from my husband and putting my head where I could feel his heartbeat really made them seem much more bearable. I kept debating whether or not I should get into the tub. It seemed too soon and I was afraid of slowing things down.
I got into the tub somewhere between 6:30 and 7. I still felt pretty ok when I got in. I experimented with positions in the tub. I enjoyed reclining against the tub, but felt like my contractions weren’t as intense. They wanted me to squat, but I hate squatting! I found that being on my knees and leaning over the edge of the tub made them stronger again – letting gravity help out. Pretty soon, my contractions got much stronger – almost out of the blue. I had to moan through them at this point. It didn’t take long before they were coming right on top of each other. My water broke with a pop and after that I felt a little pushy. Jessica never checked me again. She simply told me to push if I felt like I needed to. I did feel like pushing but it wasn’t yet like my body was doing it involuntarily. I started pushing. Contractions got overwhelming at this point. Almost no breaks. I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. The water had slowed my contractions to 5 minutes apart during pushing with my first labor – letting me catch my breath in between and even allowing me to fall asleep! That didn’t happen at all this time. I felt a bit like a caged animal going crazy. The heat was cranked and the smell from the space heater was suffocating me. I was too hot and in so much pain. I pushed as hard as I could to get it over as fast as I could. Though once her head was close to being out, Jessica had me pause as long as I could to let my tissues stretch so I wouldn’t tear. Then I finally pushed her head out! I had expected her body to come slipping out after her head. Then I had the realization “oh no, I forgot about the shoulders!”. Once her head was out they asked me if I wanted to sit back so my husband could catch her. I couldn’t comprehend trying to move with a baby half out of me! So I remained on my knees and pushed her shoulders out. I then felt the rest of her body slide out of me. Aria Rose was born at 8:01 pm, after less than 4 hours of labor. Only the last hour was crazy intense and I pushed for 20 minutes.
Once she was out, I sat back and the midwife put her in my arms. Makenna asked to get in the tub with us and I let her jump in. It was really sweet watching her see her sister for the first time. She seemed so teeny tiny. I guessed that she was 6lbs 10 ounces. She turned out to be 7lbs 8 ounces and 19.5 inches long. Nearly two pounds more than her big sister! I decided that she did indeed look like an Aria.
We stayed in the tub long enough for her cord to stop pulsing. I got out of the water and into my own bed. The placenta came out almost immediately after I got in bed. I lost more blood than the midwives were happy about. A shot of Pitocin in the rear and a dose of Methergen later, the bleeding had slowed and all was well. I was nervous about the bleeding but the midwives never seemed anything but calm.
Being able to climb into my own bed and snuggle with not only my new baby, but also my first born, was amazing! Makenna was present for the entire last hour of labor, watched her sister enter this world and did amazing! I am so thankful that everything went well. My sweet, sleepy Aria has been a dream so far!
Last picture before birth, in labor:
Makenna, filling the birth tub:
In the tub:
With Makenna in the tub:
Snuggling in bed right after: