Our second baby’s birth story (Part II)

by Lara on March 7, 2016


Continued from Part I.

I grew simultaneously pleased and apprehensive as the hours of January 31st passed; on one hand, it looked increasingly like we were going to have the February baby we had originally planned. On the other, I worried about the possibility of induction and other interventions as our due date came and went. I was also very conscious that my mom could only stay for a certain amount of time, and we really wanted her here for the birth to support both me and Gray.

I woke up in the night on Sunday unable to get comfortable with a cramp in my lower abdomen. So used to aches, pains, and general discomfort in this pregnancy, I went through my routine pillow shuffle in an attempt to sleep through it. I could not. I looked at the clock. 12:34am. Like clockwork, we had made it to February.

Hopeful but unsure if this was it, I woke Matthew and waited for another one to hit. It did. By the third one, I recognized the distinct rise and fall of a contraction, and there was no way I was going to be able to sleep through these. They were 7-8 minutes apart and already lasting 40-60 seconds. For the next hour we talked (mainly about how thrilled we were that we had managed two hours of sleep before labor this time!), ate (I had a banana and Matthew a bowl of cereal), timed a few contractions, contacted our doula and photographer, and watched an episode or two of Grandfathered. I decided to curl my hair (what, that’s not your first thought when you’re in labor?), which inspired Matthew to shave (“I can’t have you looking better than me,” he joked. “Don’t worry, I won’t,” was my serious reply).


For months I had worried about the logistics of how this would all play out: Would my mom be in town for the birth? Who would be available to take care of Gray during labor? Would I be left alone if Matthew needed to be with him? Could Gray be with us at the hospital like we all hoped? As I got myself ready, I felt overwhelming relief; my baby got to initiate labor on his own, Gray was fast asleep in bed, and my mom would be here for all of it. It looked as though everything could actually go according to plan.

By 1:30, Matthew suggested trying a bath to ease the increasing pain. This was very effective until the water cooled. We tried bouncing on the birthing ball next. Gray woke sometime around 3am (not unusual for him!) and Matthew walked him back to bed and lay with him for a few minutes while I worked through contractions on my own.

I started to worry that things weren’t progressing as quickly as I had hoped. Because of my effacement and dilation pre-labor, several people (doc, doula, acupuncturist) had predicted that once things got started, it would go pretty fast. Matthew and I couldn’t help but compare how things were moving to my labor with Gray (“You’re about at the point when we turned on the movie the first time,” etc). I couldn’t bear the thought of another 35+ hour labor but had little choice but to go with the flow.

We had been keeping my doula, Tiffany, and our photographer, Becca, updated, but I was reluctant to have Tiffany come over too early. I wanted to let my mom sleep for as long as possible, since we would need her to watch Gray once he woke up. At 4am, Tiffany texted that I should get back in the tub, with instructions to keep me only in positions leaning forward—absolutely no leaning back.


This is when things really started to pick up. Contractions were now 3-5 minutes apart and nearly a minute long. I remember saying to Matthew, “Ok, I can’t be alone for any of these now,” so we woke my mom around 4:45 for tag-team support. Mom and I talked and she helped me work through contractions while Matthew began to gather our things and pack the car. We started running out of hot water around 5am, right around the time I abruptly went from “No, don’t have Tiffany come yet, I can wait,” to “CALLTIFFANYNOWINEEDHERRIGHTNOW!”.

While we waited for her, Mom made me some toast and Matthew called the on-call doctor at 5:45am, who advised us to come in to the hospital. I could tell that my mom was getting nervous and eager to leave, but I was determined to go to the hospital at the last-possible minute, only to push, so there was no convincing me yet that it was time to go. Instead, we waited for Tiffany.

Things from this point on get a little hazy because everything moved so fast, and contractions were very intense. What I remember most is that I began to really rest in between contractions. This was one of several critical differences between this labor and my first: I was mentally and physically far more calm and comfortable, and my body really benefitted from good rest periods despite the strength of contractions.

Tiffany arrived just before 6am, and she wasn’t here for ten minutes before things seemed to shift noticeably. I began to cry and worry that I was already exhausted (what if I had to get through 24 more hours of this being so tired already?). I insisted that contractions seemed to have slowed down and apologized for calling her too early. In reality, things had continued to escalate. Contractions were powerful and there was increasing pressure in my groin. Most memorable was that I started getting what I can only describe as “the pee feeling,” to a painfully uncomfortable degree. Yet no matter how many times I tried to pee, the feeling could not be alleviated.

IMG_0359Photo by Tiffany Wilson

I continued to labor, switching positions with nearly every contraction. My mom warmed a heating pillow and filled a hot water bottle, and I felt a lot of relief leaning over the bed with the heat pack on my abdomen and my mom pushing the hot water bottle against my lower back. I also found surprising comfort from walking around the house (I did not want to walk during my first labor), sitting on the toilet (I kept returning to it, trying to pee!), and on all fours on the bed, with my head buried down in pillows.

IMG_0362Photo by Tiffany Wilson

If someone would have asked me if I needed three people with me while laboring at home, I probably would have thought it would be too many. Yet somehow, everyone worked together perfectly and I felt their support in all the ways I needed: Tiffany knew exactly what to say to provide the reassurance I craved; Mom knew just where to massage or apply heat, and Matthew read my mind for the entire ride.

The urge to pee was infuriating. Never in talking or reading about birth had I encountered someone describing this, which really pissed me off because I wasn’t prepared for it and had no idea how to handle it. Instinctually, I felt like I needed to tighten and hold everything in, afraid that if I let go, I would either pee everywhere or “something would fall out.” While I was screaming this, Tiffany would say, “like your baby?” I needed constant reassurance that it was OK to relax those muscles. The thing was, I found it increasingly difficult to differentiate between relaxing them and pushing.

Tiffany knew that I didn’t want to labor in the hospital a moment longer than I needed to, and I could tell that she took my request seriously. I trusted her completely to make the call on when to leave, and there seemed to be an unspoken agreement between us that we were going to cut it close. At 6:30am, Matthew noticed my mucus plug in the toilet (romantic, huh?). Suddenly the question of when to leave became more urgent.

I cried with joy and disbelief when Tiffany said she believed I was far enough along to leave. The fact that I labored all night at home with Gray asleep in his own bed, my mom here for both of us, and now to have all of us leaving for the hospital together was more than I could have hoped for. I felt strong and confident that I could birth my baby the way I wanted.

Matthew woke Gray from a deep sleep at 6:40am, a moment which I am pretty sure he will remember for a long time. We had promised him we would make every effort for us all to go to the hospital together. Matthew and my mom got him ready while Tiffany helped me make my way downstairs.

As Tiffany and I waited for them, I walked rapidly around my kitchen island in circles, a bathroom towel between my legs for relief, screaming, “I have to pee! I have to pee but I can’t pee! WHAT IS THIS FEELING?!” Tiffany insisted that we would laugh about this moment later (we did). Matthew had pulled our car up to the front of the house but he was helping my mom and Gray in another car to follow us, so I waited (frantically) with Tiffany. She was trying to get me in the front seat, but after walking in circles in the kitchen for so long, I was reluctant to sit down. She reassured me, “Actually, I think you will like sitting down. Try it.” I did as I was told just as I heard Matthew running up to the driver’s seat. Finally, everyone was ready to go!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa March 7, 2016 at 8:13 am

Is that a puppy I see in your laboring photo!?!? Haha! I’m kind of curious how our animals will react once labor really starts for us. Like you I’d like to try and do as much of it as home as possible before heading to the hospital (which thankfully is about 5 minutes from our house). So far whenever I’ve had contractions and been pacing around the house our dog Bella paces behind me. 🙂

Loving your birth story and even though it isn’t going quite like you planned, it sounds like it’s been pretty close! Can’t wait for part 3!! <3


Lara March 7, 2016 at 8:19 am

Thanks Lisa! Both times, the dogs were so sweet during labor. They seemed very aware that something big was happening and sensed my discomfort for sure.

I am excited for you!


Stacy K. March 7, 2016 at 9:20 am

I love that you all went to the hospital as a family of 3 and left as a family of 4. What a special day for G to be there as he became a big brother. I remember with Graham I had that pee urge and it was awful.


Lara March 7, 2016 at 1:21 pm

You did?! Why have I never heard of it before?! Gah! Thanks for your sweet words 🙂


Stephanie March 7, 2016 at 9:44 am

OMG!!! That need to pee drove me INSANE!!!! Funny we never talked about it. After 4 times on/off the toilet and three people helping me get there each time, I decided it wouldn’t be so bad to just pee in the bed (Which never happened.)


Lara March 7, 2016 at 1:29 pm

How crazy, I didn’t know that! Yes, I got to that point. At the hospital I just kept screaming, “But what if I pee?!” Finally one of the nurses just said, “THEN PEE!” Oh, ok.


Lisa March 7, 2016 at 8:15 pm

is the urge to pee like the urge to push?


Lara March 7, 2016 at 9:01 pm

No. But the urge to pee felt a lot better when I relaxed/released all those pelvic muscles, which I was worried would have the effect of pushing. Basically I felt like I had to hold everything in until it was officially time to push.


Sabrina March 15, 2016 at 9:54 am

WHEN IS PART III? I need it!!!! 🙂


Lara March 15, 2016 at 10:27 am

I’m trying to find the time 😉 HOW DO YOU MANAGE SO WELL WITH MORE THAN ONE KID?!


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: