When Hannah was born I didn’t feel that ‘urge to push’ that people talk about. Maybe because she was smaller, maybe because of the position she was in, maybe because I really didn’t want to be giving birth prematurely. Whatever the reason, when the time came I wasn’t even really feeling contractions, it just hurt all the time and I had to make a conscious effort to push her out.
This time around was much different. I couldn’t not push – it just happened. Like a Mack truck passing through my body, that kid was coming whether I wanted him to or not. I came to understand how it is that women give birth at the side of the road, their body just takes over. Luckily, though, this time around I had a bit of a break between contractions.
After getting out of the tub I stumbled across the room and made it to the bed. Not into the bed, I just made it far enough to lean over on the bed with my hands, but my feet were still on the floor. The midwife checked and confirmed that I was complete, and they listened to the little guy’s heartbeat, which was fine. With my first contraction leaning up against the bed, my water broke with a big gush. Jon later told me he was worried about his shoes, and I told him not to wear his good ones next time.
I wasn’t exactly super-comfortable in this position, but it was hard to move, because my contractions were coming pretty close together. I felt sort of incapacitated, I was uncomfortable and scared, but I didn’t know what to do about it. Eventually I did manage to get my knees up onto the bed so that I was on all fours sideways, but I never managed to get out of that position. I would ask Jon for help changing positions or something and then yell at him because my next contraction was coming. During the contractions it felt best to have Jon’s hands across my lower back. He later told me he could feel the baby moving down through my body.
With each contraction I pushed, but I didn’t really want to. It was all happening very quickly, and I couldn’t really get my head around what was happening. With both labours the pushing scared me, and was also the most uncomfortable part. Not surprising, really, when you consider what’s happening. When I pushed I felt the head come down, but then it would go back up and I told the midwife that I was scared I couldn’t do this, that the pushing wasn’t accomplishing anything. She assured me that this is the way it’s supposed to happen, to give everything time to stretch properly.
It’s hard for me to assess how long this went on, because I was in something of an altered state. Jon tells me it was 20 minutes. Eventually, the head stayed down and this time I managed to control the pushing and Jacob’s head came out and then on the next contraction the rest of his body came, too. They passed him underneath me, and I picked him up and rolled over onto my back and held my baby. And he cried and was healthy and it was great. He was born at 3:11pm, my birth records say I was in active labour for 45 minutes.
They gave me some oxytocin to control bleeding (I didn’t want to risk hemorrhaging again), and I delivered the placenta in one piece. Then they weighed and measured Jacob, and he spent a little time on the warming table, and he started nursing. And he nursed, and nursed, and nursed. And Jon and I were both very relieved to have our little man here, safe and sound.
Afterwards we stayed in the delivery room and got acquainted. Jon and I chatted and ate and got Jacob dressed. They monitored us and at 8:00 they said that we could go home. Jon went to get the car seat from the car, and I got myself ready to go. When Jon showed up in the room again, though, he was empty-handed. It turns out that he had moved the car closer to the entrance, but completely forgotten the carseat. I laughed, because it seemed like such a fitting thing for a new dad to do.
And that was it. We took our baby home, and the next morning my mom brought Hannah back, and now we’re a family of four. Our little girl looked huge, and was delighted with her baby brother, at least initially. And now it’s time to figure out the next phase of our family, with baby Jacob.