Here is your typical example of second child syndrome—it has taken me over 3 months to write up Miles’ birth story. I feel terrible about this (hello mom guilt!), but I guess better late than never!
As with Riley’s birth, I was anxious for Miles to be born on time or early because every day he was late would mean one less day before I would have to return to work. My return to work date was set, regardless of when the baby was born. Little did I know this baby would be born right on his due date—July 30, 2015!
I first started having regular contractions on Saturday, July 25. Yup, that’s right…5 days earlier. They were coming about every 8-10 minutes starting in the early afternoon and continuing until evening. I was SO EXCITED! This was it! And he was coming a few days EARLY! My excitement quickly died out, however, when evening came and the contractions completely stopped. Out of nowhere. I anxiously waited all night for them to come back, but nothing happened. A whole lot of nothing continued until Wednesday, July 29.
That evening, I started getting contractions again. They were the same, about 8-10 minutes apart. I tried not to get my hopes up in case this was another false alarm. But this time, things kept going…all night long. With Riley I had a 34-hour labor, so I knew this could just be the beginning of two very long days, but I was REALLY hoping that this labor would be much shorter than the first. In the middle of the night I was in quite a bit of pain with the contractions, so I called the midwife to let her know that we might have a baby in the next day. She told me to take a warm bath to see if the contractions would slow down or keep going, so at about 3 in the morning I got in the bath. The contractions seemed to slow down a bit, but they didn’t stop entirely. I knew this probably meant I still had a long way to go, but at least this labor seemed to be the real thing.
I continued to labor all night long. I tried to sleep between contractions, but that was a bit difficult. I lost my mucous plug sometime in the early morning so again I knew this was it! My in-laws came in the morning just in case we needed to leave for the birth center so they could watch Riley. All morning my contractions were really strong. I didn’t want to jump the gun (my worst nightmare is to get turned away at the birth center for not being dilated enough) so I just worked through each contraction in my rocking chair, just like I did with Riley. The contractions were bad enough that I couldn’t talk during them. This was a little awkward with so many people around (my in-laws, my sisters, my mom, Riley, etc.) but everyone was awesome and really supportive. I also had the interesting experience of having a toddler around while laboring. He didn’t understand how much pain I was in and still wanted me to hold him (see photo). This made things a bit tricky, but again not a huge deal.
Around noon I decided I could no longer just sit at home. The contractions were getting stronger and stronger, and I just felt like I couldn’t work through them on my own anymore. So, we called the midwife and she told us to come on in.
After enduring the horrible 25-minute drive (OUCH), I was so excited to be at the birth center. It felt weird to be there during the day since with Riley I got there at midnight! They checked me and I was hoping it would be like the first time—a 7 and a baby 3 hours later! It wasn’t. I was only at a 5! I was so bummed. The midwife said the choice was mine. I could stay there, I could go somewhere and come back in a little bit, or I could go home and try to labor there for a few more hours. I’ll admit I didn’t want a choice. I just wanted someone to tell me what to do! Well, Daniel and I realized we had forgotten a few things (like food) so we decided to go to Wal-Mart and then come back to the birth center.
I kid you not, I thought I was going to be the classiest woman alive and have a baby in Wal-Mart. I had to stop between every aisle to have a major contraction and then keep going. I was trying to act all nonchalant as I heaved over in pain in the granny panty aisle. I didn’t want to scare the customers. We picked out some food (everything from kale super food salad to a 12-pack of doughnuts—hey, I was still pregnant!) and checked out. I remember barely making it to the car I was in so much pain.
We made it back to the birth center around 2 and the official laboring began. This time I worked with a doula. Both she and Daniel were with me during every contraction. The back labor had begun…again. I thought that was a Riley-specific issue because of how he was positioned, but it turns out I am just one of those lucky women who get horrific back labor. I really mean horrific. I am sure the doula was SICK of me crying, “My back, my back hurts so bad” over and over again, but she never complained.
We did everything. We slowly walked up and down stairs. We tried using a breast bump to stimulate more contractions (oh goody). We did a cotton root tincture (NEVER AGAIN) a few times, and tried a variety of herbs to move from active labor into transition, but it just wouldn’t happen. We walked inside, we walked outside, we ate lots of my kale salad. Contractions were at least every 5 minutes and massively painful...for 4 hours straight. At this point it was about 6pm. I had been laboring for about 20 hours. I was almost at my breaking point. It felt like my back was exploding and still no baby. I was crying because I didn’t know what to do.
The midwives had brought up the possibility of breaking my water several hours before, but I was scared. If my body wasn’t ready I didn’t want the horror of even stronger contractions and still no baby. Finally, I told them that I felt I needed them to break my water and they happily obliged. It wasn’t as dramatic as I thought. With Riley my water never really broke either. The next time I have a baby, I just need to have my water broken and maybe my labors will be much shorter. Log that away.
Anyway, they broke my water and I headed straight for the tub. I was scared of what the stronger-cuz-my-water-broke contractions were going to feel like and I knew the tub felt really nice. I was right…I felt great! My back still felt like it was being stabbed and I was convinced I was bleeding out my spine, but the jets in the tub at least distracted me enough to be soothed a bit. As I was in the tub, I remember saying to the doula, “I wish I could just have the baby in here!” The doula responded, “Well you can!” Oh yea! I had not even considered a water birth because with Riley once I hit transition I HATED the tub. It felt too hot. This time, everything was different. I responded, “I think I will!”
It was like once I made this decision everything kicked into gear. I felt my body going into transition. My body started convulsing and pushing without me doing anything. I was finally going to have a baby! This is when things got a bit scary because everything started going SO fast. Suddenly the doula was calling for the midwives because my body was seriously just pushing the baby out. I’ll admit I started freaking out a bit because I felt so out of control. I could feel the baby coming down and coming down QUICKLY. I was afraid that I would majorly tear if the baby didn’t slow down.
With Riley, the midwife helped coach me so Riley slowly came out and I barely tore. There was no time for that with Miles. I literally was calling for my mom (she was there) and I just kept crying, “I’m so scared” over and over. I know this seems dramatic, but I just couldn’t believe how fast this was all happening. After two major pushes, his head was out, then the rest of him with one more push. I felt that immediate rush of relief and the pain vanished once he was out. This was all less than two hours after they broke my water. I guess that is what I needed—my water does NOT want to break on its own! Again, log away for next time.
The midwife immediately handed him to me. He was HERE! After a few moments of silence, I worried that he wasn’t crying. Riley was also really silent at first, so I wasn’t scared until the midwife took Miles and started giving him mouth to mouth.
It was all happening really fast, so I don’t think I had time to truly be scared. I also just knew somehow that everything would be all right. After a few breaths from the midwife, Miles let out a huge cry as he started breathing. Everyone in the room also breathed a sigh of relief! They handed him back to me and I got to snuggle my new little boy.
One thing I noticed is that he had his tongue out the first 5-10 minutes of life! He seriously loved sticking that thing out.
I also immediately noticed his foot. Something was wrong with it, I could tell. As soon as I saw it, I asked the midwives, “What’s wrong with him? What’s wrong with his foot? I think he has a clubbed foot!” They looked at it and told me to wait a while before worrying myself because sometimes newborns are just all squished up from being in the womb and so his foot might just need to relax and then it will straighten out. I knew, though. I knew it was something a little more serious than that and I was really worried.
Still, other than the foot he seemed to be a completely healthy, perfect baby. Miles T. Faulk was born at 7:50pm and weighed 7lb. 6oz. He was 22.25 inches long—longer and skinnier than Riley, which I didn’t think was possible. By 10pm we were all cleaned and snuggled into the bed at the birth center. I nursed him for the first time, which was great! It’s just like getting back in the saddle! I noticed that I had so much more energy this time than last time, probably because at 22hours, my labor was 12 hours shorter than last time. That seriously made a huge difference. I could shower myself this time, whereas with Riley I had to have my mom and sister bathe me because I couldn’t even lift the soap up myself.
At midnight we decided to go home so we could all get in bed. Miles slept for about 5 hours, which was great. Gotta love that first big just-born sleep! Apparently it’s exhausting getting born!
Recovery was a lot tougher the second time around. Although I didn’t tear at all with Miles (THANK YOU WATER BIRTH!), it still seemed to take longer for things to feel “back to normal.” Still, I am grateful for how quick my recovery was with a natural birth. We were walking the neighborhood as a family the next day and it felt great!
We went to the pediatrician the next morning after he was born and she confirmed he had a clubbed foot. We have been working with Primary Children’s hospital every since to get it fixed—more on that in another blog post!
Although my labor was long and difficult, which apparently seems to be my thing, I am grateful everything went OK and that I have a healthy, beautiful baby boy. I am so grateful for expertly trained midwives who are so kind and so caring throughout the entire pregnancy and birth process. You cannot find that kind of maternal care anywhere else. I also loved having an amazingly patient doula this time around! It was great to have that trained, knowledgeable support through every contraction. I also have to give a shout out to my amazing husband for staying awake and supporting me through all 22 hours of labor. He is a rockstar. Riley loves his new baby brother and we are adjusting as the Faulk Family of Four!