I came on here intending to write a short post about our start to the year – which mostly centred around the waiting for and post Jones’ arrival… but somehow I ended up writing my whole birth story. Or a condensed version of it anyway… It’s still pretty lengthy so if you’re not into that kind of thing, scroll on down. They say a picture says a thousand words, so I probably should’ve gotten a birth photographer and saved us all the time… ha! Reece did his best to take a few photos with my camera, a handful of which I’ve included here. Nothing too full on, I promise.
Our beautiful boy, Jones Ocean arrived at 9:36am on the 24th of January.
He is 11 weeks old already which of course has gone way too fast.
A couple of weeks ago I googled “how long is a baby a newborn for?” And was totally disappointed when it told me “”0-2months”. Jones had just turned 2 months. Great. Over, just like that.
For my own little reasons, I had been expecting him to come early. So when he arrived 8 days after his due date, it felt like I’d been waiting an eternity. I was struggling to stay positive and patient towards the end.
I prayed daily for patience and for strength for when the time came. I tried to rest as much as I could and enjoy the space and quiet. Our families so lovingly had Arch with them a lot during these days. Hence the quiet.
The night I went into labour, Arch was staying at my mum and dads house so I was able to focus on my contractions at home without having to worry about waking him. I laboured at home through the night, then we decided to head to the hospital around 4:30, arriving there at 5am.
It was a bit early really (not just because the sun wasn’t up yet). My contractions were still 8 minutes apart & my waters hadn’t broken. But I had been told by my midwife and others that your second baby usually comes pretty fast, that your contractions can ramp up just like that & all of a sudden your baby could be crowning while you’re pulled over on the side of the motorway. (My midwife actually asked for the colour, make & model of our car for this reason, just in case).
We did not want a roadside birth. So off to the hospital we went.
Needless to say I was expecting for things to move along pretty quickly. At least quicker than they did with Archer.
(I laboured mostly at home with Arch, and left for the hospital when I was 8cms dilated, so it all felt pretty fast once we got there!)
That was not the case.
My contractions ramped up gradually once we arrived. I was kindly reprimanded by my midwife for not eating breakfast.
She offered me Vegemite toast from the hospital kitchen to which I replied “um, thanks but I don’t eat gluten”
So off she went in search for some electrolyte ice blocks to at least keep me hydrated.
Reece was up for some Vegemite toast though. He sat in a chair in the corner having his tea and toast and chatting with the midwives while I bounced on a Swiss ball and paced the room, as the contractions crashed and subsided.
Our birthing suite was 3 levels up with a big window overlooking cane fields and the distant Great Dividing Range.
We got to see the moon fade and the sun rise over the lush green countryside on the day that our beautiful Jones arrived.
As the morning went on, my midwife & student midwife were in and out of the room, letting Reece and I have our own space, knowing that there wasn’t much action happening just yet. They did try to break my waters to move things along but said baby’s head must be pressed right up against the membrane, so they couldn’t grab a hold of it to burst it.
Reece walked with me as I paced the room, encouraging me with my breathing and letting me squeeze the life out of his hands when I needed to. I remember at one point telling my midwife that I felt sick, like I might need to vomit. She said that was a good sign and that things were starting to get serious. She let me go on a little bit longer, quietly observing, before telling me I was ready to hop in the bath (yep, water birth).
Even at that point, the reality of holding our baby in my arms still felt a long way off. The contractions still felt far apart, and the last I heard I wasn’t fully dilated. My midwife told me to keep drinking water, she thought I was dehydrated and that was why things were moving slowly. This was a bit unsettling for me because basically I just wanted it to be over. The idea of possibly being in labour for a few more hours made me feel pretty overwhelmed.
Archer’s birth had felt like it was something that just happened to me. The contractions kept coming and coming and the urge to push was absolutely uncontrollable. With Jones I felt like I had really to focus to move things along.
While waiting for that same urge to come, my midwife told me “when the next one comes, try pushing.” I guess I didn’t take this too seriously because I always heard that you don’t make the pushing happen and that pushing prematurely is not a wise thing to do. I was checked at some point here and told that I was fully dilated, but was still waiting for that urge to come.
When I overheard my midwife say quietly to my student midwife around the corner “She’s not pushing enough. She’s wasting her contractions.” I got really determined.” I knew I wanted to be on the other side of this birth and I knew now the only way to get there was to there was to get serious and make it happen.
I had been kneeling and resting my head and arms over the edge of the bath. My midwife suggested I turn over, pressing my back and feet against opposite ends of the bath, using it to push against when the contractions came.
One thing I was sure of with both my labours was that I never wanted to think or say “I can’t do this.” Instead, I gritted my teeth and growled through the contractions, and whimpered “please, please let it be over soon” when they subsided.
Pressing my feet against the side of the bath while contracting really helped me to push downward and I could feel then that things were finally moving. Reece sat on the Swiss ball just on the other side of the bath with his arm outstretched so I could grab it and squeeze with all my might. I bit him a few times too. Really hard.
He and the midwives encouraged me through each contraction and pretty soon I was told that the baby was coming. Oh those sweet words of relief! But really, that’s when the business starts. And what a crazy mother business it is. As each contraction approached, I was reminded to make it really count and push as much as I could. “Ok, ok” I’d say, and put my game face on. At one point the pain was so intense that I kind of felt like I was losing my mind. Shortly after, with a few more of those pushes that make you feel like you’re a crazy, wild cave woman, I was told my baby had hair. “That’s great,” I thought, “now let’s just get it out of me.”
By then it was constant, teeth bared, howl inducing, everything-within-me pushing, with a few deep breaths in between to keep me from turning purple. And then with one last heaving, almighty push, he was here. Our sweet baby Jones. He was pulled up out of the water and put on my chest as my support crew praised my efforts. I held his soft tiny body in my trembling aftermath of exhaustion and relief. With tears in his eyes Reece told me “he looks like Arch, babe!”
What a joy it is to meet this sweet little person you’ve been carrying around, preparing for, loving and thinking about for the past 9 months. Getting to know my Jones day by day has been the best reward for all that hard work.
I won’t go into the post delivery details except to say that it all went really amazingly well and we were bundled up in the car and ready to head home by 1:45 that afternoon. (With midwives to visit at home the next day and regularly for the next few weeks.)
I was incredibly blessed by our midwifery group practice care both during the pregnancy, birth & postnatally. Their natural, laidback approach helped me to be more relaxed through the whole process and trust in my body’s ability to do what it needed to do. I know that so often things don’t go to plan with pregnancy and giving birth so I feel very blessed to have had things go as well as they did and am really thankful for the beautiful people who helped walk me through the journey.
I am absolutely loving spending my days at home with Jones. It’s certainly not as quiet or as slow paced as having a first baby, but such a special time all the same. I’ll write more about life with him in my next post. Until then, here’s a collection of some moments in the weeks that led up to – and after his arrival.