Our son joined our family 6 and ½ years after Kairi. We had not intentionally waited this long, we weren’t even sure we were going to have any more kids. With new jobs, moving and Ivy starting school, life was moving at full speed but the constant urge to have another baby stayed strong and got stronger until it couldn’t be ignored. After many discussions about right timing, financial ability and how the girls would feel we both agreed that we needed another baby to complete our family. We asked the girls how they felt, they were so eager and excited they wanted a baby right then and there.
We decided to let nature take its’ course, no charting or ovulation tests. About 7-8 months later I had a positive test, so excited and nervous at the same time it had been a long time since we had a little baby. We only told 2-3 close friends, we wanted to let the girls make a big announcement. Going to our first appointment we were happy to see our Dr. who had been the same OBGYN for both the girls’ pregnancies.
Getting to see the image of your baby for the first time is a wonderful feeling but that feeling was quickly taken away. He switched machines continuing to look from all angles with the ultrasound wand then he sighed “I’m sorry guys” as he turned the machine off. He saw what we had seen but didn’t want to believe, there was no heartbeat. This was the worst feeling in my life and I will never forget it.
After discussing options our Dr. recommended a D & C, a procedure where they put you to sleep and end the pregnancy instead of your body doing this on its’ own. The next morning my best friend came over to take care of the girls while we went to the hospital. It took me months to feel somewhat human again. I felt the only way to heal myself and move on was to continue trying to get pregnant to fill that loss. 5 months later we got another positive test. I was too scared to get excited so we just waited, about 5 weeks later I miscarried again on my own. At this point I expected to be so discouraged but instead we were more determined than ever to have a baby.
The day before Thanksgiving I told my husband Forest that we were pregnant, I didn’t need a test, I just knew it. A few weeks later we had my best friend Casey and her husband over for dinner, both her and I noticed that each other wasn’t having even a drink of beer. It didn’t take us long to realize the other was pregnant. We all agreed we wanted to keep quiet about it until after the confirmation of pregnancy appointments as they had also experienced a loss (see Natalie’s story).
All went well this time for both of us but there was no sigh of relief. All moms that I have spoken to after having a miscarriage agree that you hold in any excitement until that baby is in your arms, you constantly worry that things are going to go wrong. Not to be a downer but I feel it’s important to share the experience that led up to our son. If not for the losses, I might not have slowed down and enjoyed every minute of his pregnancy. Every kick and roll made me smile. Now on to the exciting part.
This time around I knew so much more about pregnancy, labor and breastfeeding. I read every book about these topics that I could get my hands on. Between my own labors, along with information I gathered from my friends’ labors, I decided to go for a drug and intervention free delivery. I planned on waiting as long as I could manage before going to the hospital. I would be utilizing the Jacuzzi for pain relief and walking to move labor along instead of Pitocin.
I stayed very active, continued eating healthy and spent many hours a day just holding my growing belly to feel the little human growing inside. I don’t know whether it was the previous losses or that he’s probably our last child but I felt so in tune and connected to him the entire time. There was concern for a while as he was breech and I had partial placenta previa (placenta covering birth canal making natural delivery extremely dangerous as placenta can’t be birthed before the baby) but he and his placenta moved and I was good to go for my natural delivery.
We were given the opportunity to get a 3d ultrasound, if you can do this I highly recommend it. It’s amazing to get to see a detailed image of your baby before they are born. As my due date got closer I had many Braxton-hicks contractions which can happen more frequently if you’ve previously had kids. Casey’s due date came but no baby, it was starting to look like they could come at the same time. She went in after days of labor and water leaking to have her daughter Natalie.
Two days later I woke with the urge to walk, I couldn’t stop I just needed to pace. The girls and I walked a ½ mile before our Dr. appointment and right before we left for it I started having contracts, about 1:30. After being told I would probably deliver before the weekend, I was checked and was 3 ½ cm, so we went to meet Natalie at the hospital. On the drive home I realized these contractions weren’t slowing down. By the time we got home they were stopping me from walking and I wasn’t able to talk through them. It had only been 4 hours since they started but already they were coming every 4 minutes and were back to back as they had been with my previous labors. Forest and the girls tossed our bags in the car as we headed right back to the hospital.
While getting into my gown I continued having so many strong contractions. Forest was downstairs giving our daughters to their great grandma and calling my parents to come back from their trip to the coast and I was alone. This is when I realized that a mom in labor should never be left alone. The 5 minutes it took felt like hours, I hollered for the nurse to get in there and hold my hand through the increasingly painful contractions. I was checked and was already 5½ -6 cm. Labor had come on so fast and strong that I didn’t have time to practice much of the relaxation plan I had. I asked for a shot of Fentanyl to provide some pain relief, it took the pain down just a hair allowing me to charge forward.
The Dr. came in to check on me, concerned he had just seen me 2 hours earlier not in labor and was now in full transition. He confirmed I was now at 7 ½ cm so he sat on the ground saying, “I’ll wait, this baby is coming soon.” I remember this so clearly, anyone who has had a hospital birth before knows that the Dr. comes in only to snap on gloves and a gown to catch the baby, they don’t hang out and chat. I knew this meant within minutes we would be meeting our son!
Having not felt what transition or the urge to push was like before I wasn’t sure what came next, so I just did what felt right. The next contraction I went with it, pushing down against the pain and pressure and it felt amazing! It was no longer my body pushing him out it was me, my body and him working together to birth him. After 3 contractions with pushing like this out came Oliver 6lb 5oz at 6:45pm, 5 hours 15 minutes after the contractions started. He was brought to my chest so we could meet face to face for the first time. I sobbed uncontrollably in relief that he was finally here, I immediately fell in love with him.
The girls were brought back to the hospital, they heard Oliver crying and rushed in to meet him. They each held one of his hands and he instantly calmed down. At this point I felt so powerful like I could take on anything, this was nothing like the girls’ births. I couldn’t believe as much pain as I was in it had completely disappeared the minute he was born. If I had any clue this was what it was like to deliver naturally I would have had the girls the exact same way. The pain relief I got from their epidurals had completely robbed me of those experiences like the one I had gotten to have with Oliver.
For weeks after I was super charged, I think I could’ve ran a marathon like it was no big deal. Oliver was a good mix of the girls, he breastfed great, slept pretty good and completed the missing spot in our family. Now he’s almost 3 years old, has gone through surgery getting tubes placed in his ears, still breastfeeds and up until potty training had an adorable cloth diapered butt. He and his sisters are so close, they each have a special bond with him. It took more than the normal 10 months for Oliver to join our family, we had some rough times and losses before we could have him. I think I appreciate him that much more for going through those.
After Oliver’s birth, knowing how rewarding and powerful it can actually be without epidurals and other interventions, I felt the need to tell every mom out there about it. Birth doesn’t have to be a scary ordeal filled with self-doubt or strapped to a bed with tubes and wires going in all directions. It can be the wonderful earth moving experience it’s supposed to be so you can bond with your child. I became a birth doula so I can help moms feel the same way I felt after Oliver’s birth. I feel that every mom deserves to feel powerful during and after the birth of their child!