My son’s second birthday is today. I’ve been thinking a lot about his birth, reflecting on how much he’s changed in the past two years, how much he’s still the same little guy he was in utero, and how much his birth and his existence have changed me.
I’m posting here my “for the public” birth story, split into three parts. If you were friends with me on Facebook last year, this is very similar to the birth story I posted for my son’s first birthday.
This was my second pregnancy and second birth (and most likely my last pregnancy and birth). After a fairly traumatic birth experience with my daughter, I did lots and lots to prepare for this birth. One thing I did was practice my Hypnobabies hypnosis multiple times a day from about eleven weeks gestation on. When I refer to hypnosis tracks in this birth story, they’re Hypnobabies tracks.
Oh, and in real life, we all referred to one another by our first names. I’ve taken out all names but mine for the “public” version of the story.
The baby’s back is covered in thick vernix, and I rub it in. The baby begins to cry.
“You’re safe and sound, baby. You’re safe and sound, baby,” I repeat, my voice hoarse and sultry from all of the yelling. “You’re safe and sound, baby–” I lift the little leg and take a peek, “–boy. You’re safe and sound, baby boy.”
This is my son. This is my boy. I’m tired and happy. I look up at my husband and we kiss. I help my son maneuver on my chest to help him nurse. He latches on a little, then pauses to look around. Latches on, then looks around again.
“Charity, I want you to give a little push,” my midwife instructs.
I push, thinking that birthing the placenta will be a cinch after pushing out this baby. It’s easier, but certainly bigger and less comfortable than I expected.
It is 3:13am.
The placenta is floating next to me in a pink basin. My midwife clamps the cord and helps my husband cut it. We rest for a while while my midwife inspects the placenta. It looks great, apparently, and is quite large.
My doula brings me a glass of Recharge, and I suck it down through the straw.
My midwife explains that the baby had his right hand up by his face, and this pushed his elbow against my back and his head caught that anterior lip of cervix as it came down. She checks his arm, and it’s fine.
“I was a little worried about his shoulders, but he fit fine,” she says. “If you can birth a baby this size with a nuchal arm, you could birth an 11-pound baby in a favorable presentation, no problem.” I smile and feel a sense of pride at this proclamation. My midwife quickly apologizes, but I love her comment. My body can do all this and even more.
My husband considers the baby and says, “He doesn’t look like a Franklin,” which is our top choice for a boy. My husband suggests another name, not really on our list at all.
“Well,” I say, not ready to commit to a name just yet, “Let’s try it out. See if it fits.”
Someone takes my son, and my doula and midwife help me up and out of the pool, draping my bathrobe over my shoulders as quickly as possible. I notice that they’ve put some kind of paper runner all the way from the tub to my bed. We’ve already double-made the bed with plastic in between the two sets of sheets, so I can just walk straight there. I’m shaking incredibly, though, and pause in the doorway.
“Just keep moving, Charity,” my midwife urges.
I make my way to the bed supported by my midwife and doula. They help me in and stack blanket after blanket on top of me as my teeth chatter and my body shakes. My son is placed on my chest, naked, and covered with the blankets, too. Gradually, the shaking subsides. I help my son nurse. He suckles for a while, then falls asleep.
I feel bliss. I feel powerful. I feel part of something huge, something epic.
I eat some melon, drink some juice, cuddle my son.
After a while, my midwife takes the baby to the other side of the bed for his newborn assessments. I watch as she explains to my daughter each thing she does. She weighs him (9.0 pounds) and measures him (21.5 inches long), takes his footprints, checks his reflexes (the cool “walking on the bed” thing midwives do). My husband diapers him and swaddles him, helps my daughter hold him while my midwife checks me. I’ve got a 1st-degree tear, and she gives me two stitches. Then, I’ve got my baby back on my chest again.
My husband takes my daughter back to bed. We call the grandparents and give them the news. The doula and midwife leave. My sister heads upstairs to bed.
My husband curls up beside the baby and me.
It’s about 6am.
You can find Part 1 and Part 2 of the birth story here: