Our little boy came to us just after 1 o’clock on November 19th. The days leading up to his birth were just like any other. I was busy preparing for Fall finals and everything else that comes with being a full-time student and mother. That being said, this pregnancy was much different than the last. I felt much better with my chronic Lyme and saw a great reduction in my inflammation and allergies. I also felt minimal morning sickness, allowing me to workout through the entire duration of my pregnancy. My cravings were slim to none, and it was as if my body knew what it was doing this second time around. While my first was born a c-section due to being in a breeched position, I chose to go the route of a midwife and doula this time around. Though our boy did a lot of flip-flopping around, he remained head down and I was able to proceed with a plans for a home-birth (hallelujah!).
As I was saying, the weeks and days leading up to labor weren’t anything out of the ordinary. Our little guy’s projected “due date” was November 26th, however, around the 11th I started experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions every afternoon for a few hours. They would come and go but eventually die out around bed time and I was able to sleep peacefully. After about a week of experiencing these I realized one afternoon that they were, in fact, not going away. Picking up the kids legos got suddenly much more difficult and the contractions continued all night, slowly getting stronger and stronger with each hour. I chose to remain in denial of their significance, as I didn’t want to work myself up over something I knew would not be the worst of the pain I would feel. On top of that, I was supposed to drive to campus and complete an anatomy exam first thing in the morning (yeah right). The joke was definitely on me. By 5 AM I was tired of lying in bed and timing my contractions so I got up and spent some time on my bosu ball. By 6:30, Allie had woken up and we decided to get on with our day just like any other. Reluctantly, I emailed my professor while my husband cooked off a big breakfast of eggs and bacon. I ate the food as quickly as I could between contractions, soon realizing just how strong they were getting. I went to the shower to try and ease some of the pain and my husband, being the super man that he is, quickly got the birth pool and supplies ready. To be honest, due to planning on our boy being born a week later (and me being distracted by school), we were a little ill-prepared for his arrival. Don’t get me wrong, we had *mostly* everything for the home-birth, it was just wasn’t prepped and ready (like oh, I don’t know, the faucet-hose converter to fill up the birth tub – oops). Everything turned into what seemed like a whirlwind real fast. I called my doula inbetween contractions to update her on my progress and within a hour, the entire birth team had showed up. Thankfully, we found a way around the hose converter and after continuing in active labor for about 4 hours, our little boy John Miguel was born.
Overall, giving birth at home was a magical experience (all pain aside). While there were moments that I truly wasn’t sure how I would keep going from the exhaustion, I wouldn’t have chosen any other way. In the moments of weakness I sought strength from my husband and birth team. I knew God would help me finish the task at hand, I just needed to stay mentally strong so my body would follow. While everyone’s preferences are different, I chose to labor without music or extra noise (aside from the HEPA filter in our bedroom). Noise annoyed me and I didn’t like being distracted mentally. On the other hand, I did enjoy being able to move around while in labor. My team (husband included) was great about pushing my limits and making me change positions (sitting, lying down, in the birthpool, etc…). I can’t imagine laboring any other way! It was also really nice physically to give birth in a warm birth pool, and John definitely benefited as well. He was so chill once emerging from the water and cuddled up on my chest right away. On top of this, we got to do delayed chord clamping to give John all the goods from my placenta. I am so thankful!
In regards to my chronic Lyme this time around, I chose not to do placenta testing through Igenex (see post here on my 1st). There was no specific reason except for my first test was negative and with this pregnancy I felt even better than I did with our daughter. I’m all about going based off of your gut feeling, and my gut feeling this time around was that it just wasn’t necessary. So far, our boy has been perfectly healthy aside from some low-level, breastmilk jaundice that has slowly cleared up on its own. Similar to Allie, John had a tongue tie, as well as very predominant cheek ties and a lip tie. We chose to get these revised through laser treatment, as they were inhibiting proper growth of his jaw and were causing his latch to be weak. Overall, he has recovered well from this procedure and the proceeding weeks of stretches/exercises, causing nursing to be much easier. In fact, as of now, he is gaining almost 1/2 of an oz a week!
As for myself, this postpartum experience has definitely been different than my first as well. My hormones seem to be much more balanced, and while I’ve had plenty of the new-mom emotions, things are much less of a rollercoaster. My allergies have also been kept somewhat in-check, likely due to my hormones being more balanced (and thus less histamine release). I’m crossing my fingers things stay this week now that we are about 2.5 months in. Physical recovery was much different this time around than with the C-section. For the first 6 or so weeks I experienced terrible pelvic pain surrounding the pubic symphysis joint. This was likely due to his positioning during birth, as his head got a little stuck on the way out). Thankfully I have been able to recover on my own without any additional PT. The key to this has been keeping my inner thigh muscles and other muscles attached to my pubic bone from getting too tight. I have been able to resume working out without any issues as well. However, this did not come without first doing weeks of deep pelvic floor breathing and exercises to reestablish those key connections with my core muscles. Recovering from birth, whether natural or c-section is no joke. There were definitely some moments I thought my body would never recover. I had to remind myself that, just as growing a child takes time and patience, recovering from birth takes just as long.
Overall, my first home birth was a great experience and I am completely open to sharing more with anyone that may ask. I plan to try and keep you all updated as time continues but first….back to studying for an anatomy and physiology exam. See ya!
1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. “