We all have our perfect vision of how our birth will go, yet most of the time birth never goes as planned. Even as a doula, I had in mind how I wanted this birth to go. I was much more informed this time (I became a doula after my first pregnancy) and knew my choices. I was prepared to be flexible with my “plans” but I still had a vision.
My first birth was very different. I went to my midwife’s office almost every day for 5 days for contractions, just to be sent home because it was too early. On the 5th day, we went to the hospital as they were “stronger” and closer together (I could still talk through them and looking back, I should have stayed home longer). I had my midwife artificially rupture my membranes (AROM- she broke my water). I labored in bed, hooked up to everything. I got an epidural at 7 cm. Five hours later, I was pushing for an hour. My beautiful son entered the world at 7:07 am, with a massive size of 8lbs 14 oz and 21 ¾ in long.
Now fast forward to a few weeks ago. Due to insurance plans, I had to leave my midwife’s office for a wonderful OB. However, the hospital we would have been forced to deliver at was not exactly in line with my beliefs. Last minute, we managed to get our insurance changed and I was able to switch back to my midwife (just in time too as it happened *days* before I gave birth). We had planned to have my husband, doula, and best friend in the room. I wanted to labor in the tub. I wanted no interventions and to try to go as natural as possible. I wanted to use my rebozo and comfort techniques that I knew as a doula. Well, my second son heard most of my requests.
Most of my 3rd trimester was spent on bedrest due to preterm labor contractions. I was on strict bedrest, massive amount of water, medication to stop contractions, etc and still had them on and off about 10 minutes apart for 10 weeks. So when I went into early labor at 10 minutes apart on a Friday, I pretty much ignored it. That night, they got a bit stronger, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. Saturday came at about 7-8 minutes apart. I finally said to my husband “I’m pretty sure this is the real deal now.” We always joked that we wouldn’t believe I was in labor until my water broke. That night, I went to a friend’s open house clothing sale. Might as well stay distracted! I let my doula know what was going on, but thought that they were far enough apart and slow to progress that nothing would happen that night.
We went to bed fairly late since my 3 year old couldn’t sleep. I woke up at 2 am with even stronger contractions. I had to alternate getting out of bed and rocking while breathing and laying in bed cuddling my first born. I’m pretty sure he instinctively knew what was going on. He kept crying out in sleep for me and wouldn’t calm down until I cuddled him. Breathing away the pain. Around 4 am, I needed to shower. To wash away the contractions and to relax. Hot water has always been my comfort coping technique. I tried going back to sleep, resting in between contractions (which were now about 4-6 minutes apart), and breathing through them when they happened. In my head, my plan was to make it to the morning about 7, so my son wouldn’t have to be woken up so early, and to eat a light protein-filled breakfast to have enough energy for active labor. Yeah- I must have been dreaming in between the contractions!
At 5:28, I had a *STRONG* contraction. I couldn’t move. Then it happened. A huge, never ending gush as my water broke (all I can say is thank goodness I had a pile of towels in the basket next to the bed!). I quickly woke my husband up. We decided he would take a shower and call my father-in-law as I called my midwife and doula (because we had some time). That was a delusional thought too, because as soon as I got off the phone with my midwife, my contractions hit HARD and FAST at about 2-3 minutes apart. It felt like an eternity for my father-in-law to arrive at the house. I kept looking at my first- born baby, thinking alternating thoughts of “Please don’t wake up, please don’t wake up” and “I’m so sorry I have to leave you, I’m so sorry. I’m not abandoning you.” By the time my father-in-law arrived, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was crying. Everything I knew as a doula went out the window. I tried to remind myself to breathe and to breathe slowly. But primal instincts of fight or flight took over.
The car ride was awful, but I was able to talk and joke in between the contractions. Baby’s angel big sister was looking over us that day because the route we had to take normally has massive bumper to bumper traffic. That morning- there was no one on the road. We made it to the hospital in about 25 minutes (normally 35-45 minutes). We arrived to the hospital and I was quickly ushered into the labor and delivery room. The nurse had me on the bed taking vitals and asking questions. Not much longer after (intake and initial exam wasn’t even finished), my midwife told her to get me out of the bed and in the tub. I didn’t argue- I stripped down and went right into the tub. I was still able to talk and joke in between contractions, but man when those contractions hit, I was moaning deep and LOUD. I couldn’t have been in the tub for more than 35-40 minutes when I started pushing. I couldn’t help it and I couldn’t stop. When it was done, I jumped out of the tub and got to the bed as quick as I could (this hospital doesn’t allow water births). My best friend wasn’t there. My doula wasn’t there. Four pushes later (and several warrior screams and proclamations of “I can’t move!”)- he was out. This beautiful, squirmy baby boy.
They placed him on my chest but I barely noticed. There is a belief that when a mother gives birth, she briefly leaves her body. I have to say I experienced this. I remember my son being put on my chest and seeing he was quiet, but alert. Yet, everyone speaking was muffled. I couldn’t focus. I barely felt my doula stroking my hair, telling me how amazing I did and how beautiful my son was. (She got there *minutes* after the baby’s was born- NOT her fault- it was just a very fast birth!!!) I barely heard my husband ask me what his name was (we had several picked out, but wanted to meet him before deciding). He needed to repeat the question. I finally came to and we decided he was Luciano.
People ask me how we came up with the name Luciano. It’s not a very common name and neither myself nor my husband are fully Italian. But, I’m very big into the meaning of names. Our first son is named Mateo, which means “Gift from God”. It took us over 2.5 years to conceive him. Luciano means “Light from God.” He is our Rainbow Baby- a baby arriving after a pregnancy loss. Well, you can’t have a rainbow unless there is light shining through the rain. Luciano is our light after the storm <3.