I haven’t blogged in a very long time — so long, in fact, that I’ve gone through an entire pregnancy and now have a two-week-old son as well as a three-year-old daughter. As with Rose’s pregnancy, Liam’s was very easy and I was able to keep running this time until 33 weeks (had to stop at 27 weeks with Rose). Unlike Rose’s difficult birth, however, Liam’s was easy — much easier than I could have anticipated.
Liam’s due date was Aug. 13. Well, that day came and went with no action. Before I knew it, I was heading to my OB for my 41-week appointment and discussing options for induction. I was fine going to 42 weeks (the birth center cut-off) but decided to schedule an induction for 41+5 since that was we’d have guaranteed childcare for Rose while we were in the hospital.
In my 41st week of pregnancy, I had two non-stress tests and an ultrasound to make sure baby was okay and that my amniotic fluid level was still good. My second non-stress test was on Thursday, Aug. 23. I had been having contractions that morning, but they weren’t strong even though they were consistently 7-10 minutes apart. The doc said it could mean the beginning of labor, or it could mean nothing. Non-stress test was fine so they sent me home, where I was still working.
All day Thursday, the contractions continued. I timed them occasionally and they were sticking at 7 minutes apart. When one started, I would close my eyes and breathe deeply, visualizing my cervix opening, but I never felt pain with them; just some manageable discomfort. We called my mother-in-law and arranged for her to come up the next afternoon to get Rosie and take her back to her place for a sleepover. The induction was scheduled for Saturday morning.
On Thursday evening I noticed that the contractions were getting stronger. I continued to breathe through them and was still comfortable. We put Rosie to bed, and around 9 p.m. made the call to ask MIL to come up that night, in case we had to rush to the hospital. She arrived around 10 p.m.; I was in bed, listening to my Hypnobabies birthing day tracks and trying to relax. The contractions, however, were getting stronger and closer together and I found that I was uncomfortable lying in bed, so I got up and started walking around the bedroom.
Around 11 p.m., my water broke during a contraction. I decided that the contractions were strong enough that I would be fine checking into the hospital even if I wasn’t very far along, so we got the car packed and headed off. On the drive to the hospital (about 25 minutes) my contractions were so close together that they were practically nonstop. By this point Ben was getting a little nervous that we might be having a baby in the car. I, on the other hand, was terrified that I’d only be 5 centimeters dilated upon check-in and was ready to ask for an epidural since the contractions were much less comfortable by this point.
We got to the hospital and parked the car, then got the elevator down to the street. The entrance to the women’s center is about a two-minute walk from the parking garage, but I had to keep stopping to breathe through my intense contractions. At one point a car pulled up with two nurses heading home after their shift and they offered to drive us to the entrance. When we pulled up, one of them jumped out and went inside to get me a wheelchair. We headed into the reception area and checked in, then we were wheeled up to triage.
I was still having intense contractions one after another when we got to triage so they had to wait to check my cervix. Once they checked it they said I was 8 centimeters and my response was “thank GOD!” I really didn’t want to go the epidural route (I had one during Rose’s birth and I didn’t like how it made me feel) so I was glad it wasn’t an option (and that I was clearly in transition and almost ready to have this baby).
The nurses then wheeled me from triage into our room in the birth center. The pool was almost full, so I immediately went into the bathroom with the intention of getting in. When I got into the bathroom, however, I felt the urge to push through one of my contractions, and when I did I put my hand down there and felt a bulge. I yelled something like, “umm, is that a head?!?!” and after checking me the nurses helped me to the bed as there was no time to get in the tub.
I got on the bed on all fours, pushed three or four times, and baby was out! I couldn’t believe it — I had pushed for three hours with Rose and eventually had to have a forceps delivery as she wasn’t coming out on her own. This time, Liam was born 19 minutes after I checked into the hospital. He was much calmer when he was first born than Rose was, and I was able to hold him skin-to-skin and enjoy him right away.
I had to have a couple of stitches but nothing major. The hardest part of the entire birth for me was when I had to birth the placenta. The doctor was pressing on my belly pretty hard and asking me to push and it hurt more than I expected! With the placenta, I was pushing for a good 15 minutes to get it out, compared with probably 3-5 minutes to get the baby out.
Liam Henry was born on Aug. 24, 2018, at 12:09 p.m. He weighed 9 pounds 9 ounces and was 22.5 inches long. At 10 ounces bigger than his sister when she was born, it really shows that it’s not necessarily the baby’s size that determines how easy and how fast the birth will be.