Photography by: Jackie Willome Photography (PG/Husband-approved photos included).
I tried to sleep a bit more, and nurses told me to let them know if I felt any pressure. I woke up after maybe an hour or so when I could feel something—someone rather, coming down my birth canal.
Luckily the crew was coming in to check on me just then. I told them I felt pressure and I was pretty sure the baby was about ready to come out.
It reminded me of when I was having my daughter. When I told them I felt some heaviness in my nether regions, they went to check, and her head was already visible and awaiting departure.
If I had a mirror I probably would have checked myself this time, but I left it to the professionals. Sure enough I was fully dilated, locked and loaded.
They called my doctor to see if she wanted me to get started on some practice pushes but she told them to wait, recalling that I’m a “good pusher.” I guess I could take that as a compliment.
My photographer got positioned for the action, but once it started I didn’t even remember she was there.
It was really a surreal moment. I couldn’t believe I was minutes away from meeting my Little Leechie.
My nurses asked if I wanted to hold my baby skin to skin once s/he arrived and helped me get space ready on my chest for him.
My OB came in and everyone was suited up. They helped me straddle my legs on some leg hoister things. And as I lay there in a very compromising position one of the male delivery nurses said: “Oh I recognize you from the news!”
We all had a good laugh as a couple other people chimed in with their “AH HA’s.” How awkward it was that now, in this moment, they put the pieces together.
Everyone guessed boy or girl as I got ready to push. My nurse Heather and I were the only two who guessed boy, and everyone else in the room guessed we’d be having another girl. —My husband included.
When a contraction came I was ready to push and they were all ready to go. The nurses helped count through the pushes for me but there was no screaming or yelling. It was pretty peaceful. Between contractions they joked about the baby having red hair, and we laughed. Looking back at my photos it’s funny seeing myself laughing in between pushes.
It was maybe five to ten minutes later and the baby’s head was out. I was so excited I asked if I could keep pushing. They were like “sure, if you’ve got it in you!”
I was pumped and ready to meet this kid. Another push, and one more for good measure and the baby came flying out. —Almost literally, behind a bunch of water pressure. It was 9:38am. I heard a gush and then cheers and I looked down at my baby, which at the time, looked nothing like my daughter when she was born. My doctor set the baby on my chest and I just stared at that little chubby face, waited for cries that didn’t come right away.
I was looking into my baby’s blinking eyes when I overheard my nurse say “Oh he is a boy!” I couldn’t believe I had totally forgotten to look. I thought that would be the first thing I’d notice, or that my husband would have said something but I was too consumed with his sweet face. For the first time I looked down between his legs and sure enough—It was a boy!
A boy! I rubbed his back and he started to cry a little, but not for long. He was the calmest sweetest little boy.
“Do you want to cut the umbilical cord?” They asked my husband.
“YES!” I answered for him.
“I guess so!” My husband chimed in.
There was no pain in the delivery, the drowsiness was long gone, and I was just completely smitten with my new child all slimy and sweet against my chest.
“Well, guess we’ve gotta decide on a name now” he said.
I only needed one stitch for a tiny tear I thankfully didn’t feel right away.
He latched on right away and nursed like a champ. Although I had forgotten how small and fragile a newborn baby felt in my arms, I felt like a supermom for knowing what I was doing.
The only bad part about my entire experience was all of the glucose testing and foot pricking. I should have asked to hold him instead of them keeping him under the warm lamp, but I didn’t think it would take as long or be as often as it was.
Since I had a big baby they had to keep testing his blood sugar levels and after the first test they suggested I give him formula after nursing him. I wanted to cry at what seemed like an absurd idea to me. In fact I remember my eyes tearing up as I sat holding my baby while the nurses prepared a tiny formula bottle.
“Do I HAVE to give him formula?” I asked.
“You don’t want to feed him formula do you?”
“Umm, no, not really.”
For the first time in my whole pregnancy/birth experience I felt a wave of mommy guilt as a flood of random lactavist phrases came to my mind like “virgin gut” and “exclusively breastfeeding.” I’m not anti-formula, I’m just very pro-breastfeeding. My daughter had never needed a drop of formula and I felt like I’d be failing this baby right off the bat. Is this how people who want natural births felt about getting an epidural?
I told the nurses I’d rather not give him formula and a pediatrician came to my rescue, suggesting I nurse him as long as he wanted, wait 45 minutes, then test his sugar levels again. When they did that they had gone up by 50%.
That was the first and last time they offered formula, thankfully, because it was some kind of strange hormonal trigger for me.
Big sister arrived a couple of hours after he was born and was amazed by her new little brother. Poor thing had been thinking he was a she all along though, and since we had a girl name picked out, she had been calling him her little sister Sanya. (It only took her about a week to get over that).
Watching her gaze at her little brother brought on an amazing feeling. She was truly so excited that “her” baby had “come out” and was ready to meet her. Her face scrunched up in the most adorable perked expression as she said “Hi baby! … My baby brother is so cuuuuute!” She was so in love, and so was I, as my heart doubled in size.
Recovery at the hospital was great. By the evening I was up and walking around, and the next day I was back in my comfy yoga pants.
One of my sweet nurses—Hilary, said she recognized me, and I thought she meant from my work but she said she reads my blog. She got to meet “Leechie” in the flesh, and complimented my take-home outfits.
My family arrived the morning after Ty was born, and other close friends. Everyone was so excited to meet our little boy. A boy! I still have a hard time believing it. Funny thing is though, comparing waiting to find out and finding out at my 20-week ultrasound—I was more surprised with my daughter, because I thought for sure she’d be a he. This time around I felt like I knew it was a boy from the beginning. In the middle of the pregnancy I started to doubt my gut but my guess was always boy. I loved finding out my baby was a boy at birth but I also loved the ultrasound reveal with my first.
Comparing my first labor experience to my second is also interesting. At 41 and a half weeks I was so ready to have my daughter, and induction was absolutely the right choice for me. I’d tried everything from nipple stimulation, evening primrose oil, pineapple, spicy foods, lots of sex and castor oil shakes and nothing worked. Because of my family history I didn’t think I’d be able to go into labor naturally.
This time I didn’t try any self-inducing techniques but just enjoyed being pregnant, especially since I wasn’t sure if this would be my last pregnancy. I thought for sure I’d be induced again and was shocked when I had to wake my husband up to go to the hospital.
I didn’t need a drop of pitocin, and I was much more relaxed before I got my epidural (but I’m not kidding myself, I was even better after I got it). But now that I’ve experienced both, and I’ve had two normal deliveries I think if I do have a third baby someday I’ll seriously consider trying to talk myself into wanting to attempt delivering at a birthing center (especially if they have Fentanyl) with and midwife. I figure the labor will be even shorter a third time, and now I know what to expect and how it feels. We’ll see though. A third is a BIG IF.
Two totally different experiences, both beautiful ones I’ll always remember.
I have a little boy and a little girl. Holding them both in my arms was one of the most amazing and overwhelming experiences of my life. And I couldn’t be happier to begin this new journey as a mother of two.