I wanted to start writing about the births of my children and at first, I think they'll be works-in-progress because I find it difficult to really dig deep enough to remember these events on a truly emotional level. For now, this will be just the beginning of my attempt at revisiting the stories of each of the births of my babies.
I started labor when we had just gotten our food at Carrabbas. I had been having contractions on and off for a few days before-hand but it started to really pick up at that point. I tried to eat but I was too anxious and didn't know what to expect. I told my husband we had to leave. I went to the bathroom and apparently while I was gone, the waitress came to the table to check on us. My husband informed her that we had to get our food to go because I was in labor. The waitress freaked out and rushed back to the kitchen to get boxes. On my way out of the bathroom, I passed by the kitchen door where she and a few other servers were standing. She was frantically telling them that I was in labor. As I passed, they all looked at me as if I were an alien with 3 eyes on the top of my head. I chuckled inside. They just had no clue. But apparently, neither did I.
Fast-forward a few hours to about 11:00. Hubby and I are watching a movie, trying to get my mind off my contractions, which had steadily picked up in both intensity and frequency. I didn't think I was ready to call the midwife just yet, as I knew from my first birth that the progress could be slow and the entire process long. I tried to sleep but I was just too excited and scared. We were going to be at home for this birth and I was going to attempt a VBAC. I had a pretty traumatizing experience with my first birth, one which ended in a cesarean. After everything I went through with that, I was determined to never step foot in a hospital to have a baby ever again.
We called Kate, one of my sisters who happened to live across the street. She came by to sit with Angelina so that we could go for a walk. We called the midwife and told her I was in labor but that it was going slowly. She told us to keep her informed. The hours ticked on as I tried to relax and not make a big deal out of every contraction. Each one was intense but still quite manageable. I called my sister, Chris who was my doula, around 2 AM and told her I was going to call the midwife. I didn't know how fast things would move and the midwife was an hour away. My sister came over and soon my midwife and her assistant showed up. At this point, I was only at 2 cm dilation and was still in pretty good spirits. Because of the drive, they settled in for what would turn into a very long night ahead.
Throughout the night, I tried to sleep and I ate and tried to relax. My contractions were pretty intense and frequent and by 6 AM, my midwife had me walking the stairs of our condo building to try to speed up the process. I had not progressed very much since her arrival. I remember climbing those stairs, my hubby on one side, my sister on the other, moaning lowly with each contraction. Often, I would be right outside a neighbor's door. I could only pray I didn't wake anyone up! We had rented a birth tub and I spent some time in that with my hubby, floating around in the hot water, letting the warmth penetrate my body, relaxing me through each contraction.
Around 8 AM, I was finally fully dilated and ready to start pushing. The first few hours of intense labor had been difficult because I was afraid of so many things. Uterine rupture was one of them. I was soothingly talked out of that mind-set by my sister and husband but all those hours later, when the actual pushing had begun, those fears once again swarmed in my head as I tried to make it through the hardest part of the labor process. My midwife's assistant, Lora, helped me to get past those feelings and lent huge support, confidence and strength to me as I got to work and pushed my baby from my within my body.
Shortly after 11 AM, Aidan Joseph was born. How exhilarated I was! And I felt so amazing for having just given birth. Joe and I cried. I held our little boy to my breast and he latched on like a champ. I felt so connected to him. I had felt him through every moment of every wave, contracting and pulling and sliding his way through my body. As my midwife, Evelyn and her assistant, Lora took care of all the after-birth duties - which included checking the placenta to make sure everything was there - they made a surprising discovery. Apparently, the placenta had two chambers in it which meant that at some point, Aidan had had a twin. This is something that I think about often but know that I can't dwell on it for too long at any one time. I know that baby is up with God in heaven and that's more than enough for me.
I couldn't believe how different this experience was compared to my first birth. I had been the pioneer for the women in our family for home births. I was the first of anyone we knew to even attempt a VBAC at home. It was one of the most uplifting experiences I have ever had and I think about how amazing it is to not only have had it but also get a beautiful baby boy as the prize!