I got pregnant with my second baby when my daughter was 19 months old and still nursing. I remember being extremely tired and I told my husband I’m either pregnant or not sleeping well at night. I really just thought I was exhausted from chasing a toddler around and working. It took us three years to get pregnant the first time so I wasn’t going to get my hopes up. Well, at 6 days before my period was due I was shocked to have a positive test, only 4 months after we had begun trying to get pregnant again.
This pregnancy I decided that even though I got my medication-free birth last time, I wanted to have this baby in an environment that was experienced and supportive of my natural labor. I had heard of women taking the two hour drive to Charleston to have their babies at Charleston Birth Place. My high school friend’s mother is a midwife and I remember touring her birth center in Houston and thinking how much better it would be to birth there than a hospital. So, after an orientation meeting, we signed up to have our baby at CBP. I was so excited about being able to labor in the quiet, relaxing tub.
During my pregnancy I stayed fit chasing my daughter, and practicing prenatal yoga. I continued nursing my toddler and everything was rather uneventful, other than a fall on my very pregnant belly at 8 months pregnant. I was briefly hospitalized after the fall because of some contractions, but they thankfully subsided with IV fluids.
The day before I went into labor I was at the birth center for my check up and was only 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. The student midwife checked me and it was a rather uncomfortable exam, similar to when I’d had my membranes stripped with my first baby. My husband and I went for a big Mexican lunch after and then drove to pick my mom up at the airport.
I was crampy all night but I didn’t have any contractions. I thought it was either an effect of the Mexican food or the cervical check. Evangeline came in and nursed for about ten minutes at 7 am and immediately after my water broke. Then the contractions came hard and fast (like every 2 minutes). I called my husband, the birth place emergency number, and my birth photographer. Cory came home immediately and my mom decided to follow us since she’s an RN.
I would LOVE to say I was very calm on the trip down but I think I was so shocked at how fast the contractions were coming and the hypnobabies cd was just annoying me (especially the part about having a fast birth)! It’s also extremely hard to find a comfortable position in a packed minivan. I was feeling the urge to push somewhere around Mt. Pleasant. I considered stopping at the hospital but then thought by the time they check me in I’d be at the Charleston Birth Place. Cory shaved 20 minutes off the drive time and got me there. I was fully dilated and got in the tub as soon as it was full. Within ten minutes I was having a baby. I pushed for maybe 15 minutes and out came baby Piper Laurel. I had a first degree tear along my previous episiotomy scar but otherwise felt pretty good.
My labor was a quick 3 hours from my water breaking until delivery. The birth photographer didn’t even make it in time. But she did get some beautiful after photos. I was a little bummed I didn’t have time to labor in the tub but I did get my water birth. The whole experience was rather surreal, especially compared to my hospital birth experience. We left the birth center 4 hours after she was born, staying at a local hotel overnight. The nurse called several times to check on us and then came by the following morning to be sure we were doing well and to weigh Piper and to take blood from her for screening.
When we returned home her big sister was very excited to finally meet little baby that finally came out of her mommy’s tummy. They both shared some milkies while big sister stroked little sister’s head. They continue to tandem nurse nearly a year later but now it’s little sister pulling big sister’s hair if the nurse together. Some days it is overwhelming but I know I’m giving the best to both of them.