My Birth Story | Baby #2


NOTE: As I mentioned in my last birth story, this post will discuss bodily functions (if you know what I mean). If you are at all squeamish or don't like to read that sort of thing, please click out of this post now!

I never thought I was the type to give birth without a midwife - an unassisted home birth just isn't my preferred style. Funny how life is so different than how you imagine it will be...

Saturday, February 6, 2016. 39 weeks, 3 days.

The day I went into labor started out fairly normal. I made a yummy breakfast of puffles (puff pastry waffles). In the afternoon I took a rest and did a few exercises to try to induce labor - hip rotations on my exercise ball, deep squats, rock-backs, cat-cow, butterflies, and acupressure. I had Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the day.

In the evening, we went to my family's to visit. My sisters and I decided to make molten chocolate cakes for dessert. After we took the cakes out of the oven, I decided to put Helen to bed so I could relax to eat my dessert. It was about 8:00.

Right after we put Helen to bed, I went to use the bathroom. I had a contraction that made me feel a little sick. "Oh great, now I won't be able to enjoy my dessert," I thought. But the sick feeling went away and I was able to eat the delicious chocolate cake. Partway through my dessert, however, I decided to start tracking my contractions on my phone. I was having to stop and concentrate whenever I had a contraction.

We moved to the living room and started watching random YouTube videos. I was having to stand and sway to get through contractions.

"I don't know, Reuben," I said, wondering if this was it.

At a little before nine, I decided it was time to go home. I didn't want to get my hopes up in case this was false labor, but I wanted to be home if it was the real deal. Reuben grabbed Helen (who was sleeping) and we headed home.

The car ride was not very comfortable - I like to be able to move around when I have a contraction. Slow drivers irritated me.

When we got home, I changed into a night dress - I didn't want to dirty my pants if my water broke. Reuben started cleaning up the house a bit and setting up the birth pool.

I had a bloody show soon after we got home, and I had 3 bowel movements in quick succession. By 9:45 my contractions were 2-5 minutes apart and about 1 - 1.5 minutes long. At 10:15 I tracked my last contraction. It was too painful to worry about that anymore.

At about 10:20, Reuben called our midwife (I was in too much pain to make a phone call). We were unsure if she should come yet. She asked if we could wait an hour and see what happened, and I agreed. I didn't want Rebekah to have to come all the way to our house if it was nothing.

Almost as soon as Reuben hung up, I had my first pushing contraction and my water broke. Reuben called Rebekah back and told her that we had changed our minds.

"I need help," I told Reuben.

"Do you want Audra to come down?" He asked (my married sister who has given birth at home 4 times lives in the apartment above us). I agreed.

I showered off a bit (the amniotic fluid was still on my legs), and changed into my swimsuit top and skirt in preparation for getting into the birthing pool (which Reuben was setting up).

Audra came down and started talking me through contractions and massaging my back. She and Reuben started putting pots of water on the stove to heat up - our water heater ran our of hot water before Reuben could fill the birthing pool.

More amniotic fluid came out with another contraction.

The water wasn't very warm, but I decided to get in the pool anyway. The pain was getting pretty intense. Just being in the lukewarm water helped a little.

I continued to have pushing contractions. I would grasp the side of the pool and either lean forward into the contraction or squat into it. Audra encouraged me to make low sounds as I pushed instead of panicked, high-pitched cries. All this time I wasn't sure if I should be pushing yet - was I dilated enough? But I HAD to push.

"Reuben, this is really hard," I said.

"I know, but it's worth it," he replied.

After a few more contractions I said, "I think he's going to come now!"

"That's okay," said Reuben firmly.

I could feel him crowning. I was a bit concerned because there was no sign of either of the midwives. But after a few pushes, James arrived at 11:35 PM.

"Is he alright?" I kept asking, holding his little body close. He didn't breathe right away, but he gave a short little cry.

Molly, my midwife's apprentice, arrived about 15 minutes after James was born. She said that James wasn't warm enough (I was still in the pool). We replaced the towel covering James with a fresh, dry one.

I birthed the placenta partially, but Molly said that there were some membranes still attached. She asked if it would be okay to give me a tincture. I asked Reuben what he thought, and he said he was fine with it.

After I finished birthing the placenta, it was time to move to the bed. I tried using the bathroom and taking a shower. I was shaking, but not from cold.

Rebekah checked James over and took his measurements. She mentioned that he was a "wet baby" - my labor had been so fast that there had been no time to squeeze the wetness out of his lungs!

After giving us some pointers on newborn care and making sure we were all settled in, Rebekah left.

And that's the story of my 3 1/2-hour labor. I have to say I much prefer the shorter, more intense labor. And I was so grateful that I wasn't up all night (though we didn't get to bed until around one in the morning).

Sadly, once again, labor was the easiest part of bringing this boy into the world. But that's a story for another day...


  1. Congratulations on baby James! Glad to hear your all doing well. Hope big sister Helen is enjoying her brother. Relax and enjoy. Best wishes to you all!

  2. Congratulations on baby James! Glad to hear your all doing well. Hope big sister Helen is enjoying her brother. Relax and enjoy. Best wishes to you all!

  3. Congratulations! So glad to hear that it went fast and well. Blessings as you raise your children

  4. I love to read birth stories. And it sounds like there is more to this story....I'm glad little James is doing well!

  5. My little boy came too fast to squeeze the liquid from his lungs too! He was my second and labor was also around 4 hours (though in a hospital with an epidural), and now at six months old he's just doing great thank God. Thanks for sharing your incredible story! You are an amazing woman!

  6. Congratulations...I think. It sounds to me like you are a rather reluctant mother, even from the posts regarding your daughter. "Sadly, once again, labor was the easiest part of bringing "this boy" into the world." That is a rather odd statement, but certainly honest. Hey, it's your blog, so you can say what you want. But to me, it sounds like you aren't too keen about having kids. I have read other posts of yours that support this (regarding Helen getting in your way, etc.) Motherhood is the hardest job in the world (so I have heard & observed), and it isn't for everyone. That is why I have chosen to be child-FREE, because yes, they are little blessings, but they are also (and mostly) a HUGE responsibility, and are certainly a great stressor in life, both good and bad. Anyway, I hope motherhood isn't too difficult for you. God Bless you in your future endeavors & motherhood, and I hope you don't take this post the wrong way. My intention is not to offend you. I am just making an observation.

    1. Lorraine, it seems like you're writing more about yourself than you are about Erica. Having mixed feelings about motherhood is normal. It's quite clear to me from Erica's blog that she adores and enjoys her children. I admire her truthfulness about the hard parts. And whether you're a mother or not, you must be aware that the early days and weeks postpartum are a vulnerable time. Mothers with newborns need kind words and lots of support. Erica, I think you're a wonderful mom!

    2. I think her comment about "labour being the only easy part" wasn't implying that being a mother is too hard, but that the recovery (for her) is very difficult post birth. Not everyone's body bounces back the same (or at all), and it can be very painful and discouraging for new moms to experience this.

      My golden rule is to avoid criticizing a mother's experience, especially if you lack the context and relationship to do so. Projecting your feelings and beliefs onto strangers isn't a kind thing to do, and you should maybe try to avoid that in the future.

  7. I posted a comment and wasn't sure if it processed, but thank you for sharing! I loved Reuben's beautiful, supportive comments to you during labor and pushing. But it may have been a bit early for me to read a birth story, postpartum myself...whew!

  8. Why do you have to ask your husband's permission before taking the tincture?

    1. I was in such a state that I didn't trust my own judgement! It's not that I needed his permission, I wanted his opinion so I could make a more informed decision. :)

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