Ebron Asher Pool was born Monday, March 2nd at 11:22pm – 2 weeks before his due date. I had NO idea Monday morning that by the end of the day we would have a newborn (even though, during week 33 I had a night of regular, consistent contractions. It continued the next day and I had to be put on medication until week 37 to relax my body). But the Sunday before he was born I had told everyone that I really didn’t think the baby would be here before March 10th, at 39 weeks.
WARNING: This is a birth story. If reading about childbirth isn’t your thing, you might want to skip this post.
A few days into my 37th week I had one night with a few contractions, but nothing like before. So, the day before I went into labor I really didn’t think anything was going to happen anytime soon.
Monday, March 2nd
Morning-Noon: As I was moving around Monday I kept having painful “contractions” (though they were more like just painful movements, because the pain only lasted about 15 seconds) when I was moving around. I wondered if it was just strong Braxton Hicks, or if it was early early labor. There was nothing consistent, so I didn’t think too much about it. And the contractions did slow down when I rested (while Ain napped from 1-3pm).
4pm: When I went to the bathroom I had light spotting (which probably meant I was dilating some) and then started having contractions that I thought were “normal”. They felt like it did when I went started going into labor with my first. They were lasting 30 seconds to a minute, but they were not consistent in their frequency. Some contractions were every 25 minutes apart, some were every 45 min, and some came 7 min after the previous contraction. I did call my midwife at that point, just to let her know what was going on. She just said keep her updated.
6pm: Right at 6pm I had a very painful contraction – very much like a labor contraction. AND then my contractions started coming every 8-10 minutes or so. I was feeding Ain dinner at that point (and Matt was at work). That’s when I started to get the feeling that I was in early labor. And towards the end of that hour they started coming every 5 minutes!
7:15pm: After putting Ain to bed (at 7pm), I was finally getting in the bath to see if that would slow down the contractions. I really thought they kept coming at that point because I had been active, caring for Ain. But, even in the bath for 40 minutes, the contractions kept coming at 4-5 minutes apart! I updated Brooke, my doula, and Matt on what was happening.
7:50pm: I called Sarah, my midwife, and at first she was telling me I could make the call about when to come in (but I should probably contact Matt to bring him home now). But then when I mentioned I haven’t felt the baby move since that morning, she told me she definitely wanted me coming in now. She also said to drink something with sugar in it, rest, and see if baby moved. Little did I know, that I wouldn’t have much time to rest.
8pm: I told Matt he needed to come home and asked him to contact someone to come over and watch Ain. Starting at 8pm I had contractions that were every 3 and 4 minutes apart! Since I had had contractions every 5 min apart, lasting a minute, for the last 1 hour – (that’s the 511 rule) – it was time to be calling Brooke and headed towards the birth center anyway. This labor had progressed VERY quickly!
Whenever I started moving, the contractions were more frequent. I had a couple that were 2 or 3 minutes apart as I was waiting for Matt to come home. Both he (and his mom to watch Ain) arrived around 8:15pm.
8:45pm: We left the house for the birth center and boy was that a not-so-fun car ride with contractions coming every 3 minutes! It was a 35 minute drive.
9:20pm: We got to New Birth Company and I was even having contractions as I was walking from the car to the building. I knew I was in active labor, but I didn’t know how far along I was. Sarah checked and announced, “Wow, Betsy you are at 8 cm!!” Matt and I were stunned and he immediately started contacting family to let them know.
They first checked all my vitals, checked that baby was in place (listened for a heartbeat) and we wanted to make sure baby moved at least once – which he finally did.
The next hour or so was a blur. When I first got to the birthing suite, they offered me a smoothie (since I had just drank a protein smoothie on the way over I didn’t feel like one). They drew a bath for me so I could labor in the tub. Since Sarah thought the baby’s head was tilted like with my other birth, she had me do some lunges before getting into the water. For Ain’s birth the tub had slowed down my labor, but not this time!! Contractions kept coming and were very intense. I thought the warm water would be soothing, but since I had to be on my back to be submerged it was not that comfortable at all. It was so nice between contractions though.
I had been thinking about giving birth in the tub this time, but since the bath was not comfortable, I got out of the tub after about 40 minutes or so. I found that, once again hands and knees were the best way to cope with labor pains. Brooke or Sarah would squeeze my hips together and that helped with the back pain. Matt would stroke my hair – I don’t know why buy I find that so soothing and helps to distract me from the pain.
The pain coping technique I used for Ain’s brith was non-focused awareness (Instead of focusing on the pain I would focus my attention and mind on something else – usually a leaf blowing right outside the window, or an object we had brought with us (like the flowers or a candle). This time since we didn’t have time to buy flowers like I wanted, I used the pain coping technique of counting breaths. (Each breath in was one and each breath out was one. I knew that counting slowly, by the time I got to 20, either the contraction was almost over, or it was easing up.) I used that technique on the car ride to the birth center and I kept using it throughout the rest of the labor. It’s just easier to stick to one thing for the whole time.
(Just as with my first birth, having a great birth team was VITAL in helping me get through labor. And I was SO HAPPY to have the same team: Sarah as my midwife, Brooke as my doula, and Matt. If you haven’t read about what my first birth was like, check it out: Ain’s Birth Story and How I Realized I am Strong. I relied on my birth team even more that time.)
I labored on my hands and knees on the bed for just a little bit. And, before too long I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom and then while on the toilet I felt like I was ready to push! What!? Already? I was shocked.
Pushing: Sarah confirmed I was ready to push and then I went back to the bed on my hands and knees. Just like last time, pushing was the very hardest work! It helped to have Matt right by my head and holding my arms. He also acted as a counter-pressure, so I could pull against him as I was pushing.
I remember thinking and saying out loud – “I can’t do it this fast. I need a break! I can’t.” Of course, I got very encouraging responses from everyone. Since I knew I didn’t really get any breaks (my body involuntarily starting each push), I decided to give it all I got with each push. My husband said I transformed into a mama “beast”, as I was pulling on his arms, pushing with all I’ve got, and groaning loudly.
Thankfully, again this labor was MUCH shorter. After about two pushes there was a pop and my water broke! Then two more pushes and the head was delivered, then two more pushes and the baby was out. That all happened in a matter of 5 minutes!!
Once he was out and on my chest, they did have to give him a little bit of oxygen for him to pink up. But, he never left my chest. 🙂 And, it was so wonderful to have almost 2 hours of Ebron on my chest (he latched without any trouble and breastfed for a long time) before they came back to weigh and measure him. This shows a little bit of our 4 post bed and the bath in the background:
I had no tearing whatsoever, so my recovery has been pretty smooth. By the 5th morning after Ebron was born, my body feels almost 100% recovered. (Although, as I finish writing this – on the 11th day postpartum I can tell I pushed myself too hard and I can tell my body DID push a baby out recently.)
Here we are, in the middle of the night, glad that Ebron Asher Pool made his appearance that SAME day. We decided to get a couple of hours of sleep that night before leaving to go home the next morning at 6:30am. We checked out of New Birth Company and made it home by 7:15am the next morning.
So, in the end I put Ain to bed on Monday, March 2nd and by the time he woke up the next morning he was a big brother! We got him up, let him eat his breakfast first, as normal. THEN, we showed him the new baby:
I reread My New Baby to Ain, and he was appreciating it in context:
I can tell being a mother to 2 and a wife to 1 is going to be emotionally (and a little physically in these early weeks) exhausting. I’m going to need my rest when I can get it, my strength (so I need to keep my diet as a priority), my quiet times/times of reflection (as an introvert I NEED my journal time and sometimes I just don’t make it a priority). When that happens I don’t have as much emotional energy, or as much brain energy to devote to others), and I’m going to need extra strength from the Lord! But He has blessed me with two beautiful boys, so I know he will bless me with the strength I need to raise them in His name.