Around probably 5am -ish, the contractions were getting incredibly painful. I was definitely in transition and feeling that doubt and fear in full force. The contractions were ripping through me and I was SO exhausted. The midwife checked me and said I was a “stretchy” 8cm and she was pretty sure that if she broke my water, he would be born shortly after. I’d been adamant throughout the pregnancy that I did NOT want my water broken, so I refused, but after a few more contractions, we decided to trust her judgment and let her go ahead.
Shortly after, I started to feel “pushy”. I didn’t even really realize it at the time, but my body just kind of started doing it’s own thing. I was laboring standing up, leaning forward onto the bed so that I could rest between contractions. I heard the midwife say to a nurse, “I think she’ll want to deliver standing” and the next thing I know, the floor of the room was covered in blue pads and there were a bunch of pillows under and between my legs. I pushed that way for a few contractions but felt like I just couldn’t get enough power or control, so I switched to the “standard” pushing position: sitting up on the bed and pulling behind my knees. This is how I delivered Wren and it just felt the best to me. I pushed when, how often, and for how long felt right to me. It was amazing how they just let me and my body lead this process. It was SO much better for me than directed pushing.
After probably 5-6 more contractions of pushing, I knew Jude was finally crowning. As his head started to come out, the midwife suggested I stop pushing and breathe and allow his head to be born slowly. This was honestly probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The desire to get that baby’s head out as quickly as possible is STRONG, but I somehow followed her direction and allowed his head to come slowly, on it’s own. Aaron had his phone out, taking pictures and video, and the midwife yelled at him to “put that down! Don’t you want to catch your baby?!” So, of course, he dropped his phone and on the next contraction, caught Jude’s body as he finally came fully earth side at 5:47am. Truly amazing.
They laid Jude on me for skin-to-skin and breastfeeding and I immediately noticed how distinctly boyish I thought he looked. Then, they gave me a bag of pitocin and 8 cytotec pills. Due to my previous hemorrhage, they wanted to be extra cautious, which I fully supported. Right off the bat, Jude was totally mellow and has pretty much stayed that way! One of the nurses wanted him to cry more to clear his lungs, but he was just fine and healthy as could be. He weighed 6 lbs 8 oz and was 19.25 inches long. His apgars were 8 and 9.
Then, it was time for the placenta to be delivered. This is the part I was so worried about, after my previous uterine inversion. The midwife didn’t even touch the umbilical cord and just let me deliver it on my own, and all was well. Thank goodness! She did note that part of the placenta looked “bubbled up” and determined that I most likely did have a partial placental abruption from vomiting so hard. She sent the placenta to the lab for testing, so hopefully I’ll learn more about this at my follow up in a few weeks. She proceeded to check me for tearing and much to my surprise and amazement, I had NONE!! I guess allowing his head to be born slowly really paid off. After that, they cleaned up & we were left to get to know our new little man.
Recovery has been unimaginably better this time around. After Wrens birth, I was stuck in a hospital room with no windows for 3 days, with a catheter, unable to even sit upright, much less get up and shower or walk around. Due to the blood loss, it took months before I felt that I had any strength back. I was so lethargic and could barely do much of anything without feeling exhausted and starting to bleed heavily. I was in such a fog and think this hugely contributed to the postpartum depression and anxiety I felt.
This time, I was up and showering on my own within an hour. I was able to hop up and greet guests as they came to visit, go with Jude to his first bath (I missed Wren’s because I couldn’t leave the bed), and walk myself out of the hospital. It was magical. Being able to move around and take care of myself and the babies has made the biggest difference in the world. The hardest thing about this recovery has been remembering that I still need to take it easy for a little while, even though I am feeling great. The transition to becoming a family of 4 has been pretty seamless, thanks to an awesome support system. We’ve also been incredibly fortunate that Aaron’s schedule is flexible and allows him to be home so much. Wren loves to hug and pat her little brother and give him big cheesy smiles. These 2 seriously melt me and I can’t wait to watch their relationship blossom as they grow up together.
So, that is the story of how Jude joined our little family! I am so thankful for a positive birthing experience, and most importantly, a healthy, sweet baby boy!