On August 16, our baby made a very unexpected, very fast entrance into the world. This birth was completely different from Sully’s and nothing could have prepared me for how spontaneous and fast it was. I’m still constantly going over the series of events and dissecting them, wondering how I didn’t realize I was in labor until the moment I pushed his head out. It was truly surreal and the craziest thing that has happened to me. I have no pictures from his birth because it all happened so fast and was over before we knew it, and I immediately went to the hospital in an ambulance following his delivery. No time to call my birth photographer, doula, get to the birth center, or for a midwife to come to the house in time. This baby wanted out and that was that — within 2 hours of waking up on August 16 my baby was in my arms while I lay in the bathtub in complete and utter shock.
I’ll warn you now, this birth story requires I do some oversharing. If this kind of stuff makes you queasy, I would just skip reading this!
I woke up that morning at 7am, after a very long and hard night of intense Braxton Hicks. I was 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I was used to my sleep being interrupted by Braxton Hicks on the regular at this point. They were very intense and would cause my uterus to push into my ribs, giving me a lot of discomfort. The night of August 15 I had trouble sleeping as usual, and felt like I was getting up every hour with rib pain, then to go to the bathroom, get some water, and lie back down and try to fall asleep. When I woke up I told Pete I wasn’t sure I got any sleep at all that night. I went straight to the kitchen to make myself a smoothie for breakfast. Another BH contraction hit. I immediately felt the urge to go to the bathroom. TMI alert — I had been constipated for a week — so, I ran to the bathroom as soon as I felt the urge to go. But pushing just aggravated my sciatic nerve and caused a sharp pain to run down my leg. I had been having this issue with my sciatic nerve for the past few days. I immediately got off the toilet and went back to making my smoothie. As I put in another ingredient, another BH hit. The same urge to use the bathroom hit again, and I ran to the toilet. Once again, nothing was coming, and the sciatic nerve pain would run down my leg. When I went back to my smoothie, the same chain of events happened AGAIN. Okay, I thought, I can’t make this smoothie, or even stand up really. I was feeling miserable and desperate to do something about the constipation that I figured was just being made worse by these extra intense BH I was getting now.
At 7:50am I decided I needed to call the midwife to get some advice on what to do. This wasn’t the first time that week I had called about the constipation issue. I had another intense BH while talking to her, but tried my best to compose myself because I felt really dramatic for having this reaction to constipation and BH contractions. She asked how consistently the BH were coming. I wasn’t really sure, but thought to myself she is getting the wrong idea…these aren’t labor contractions. I guessed that they were coming every five minutes, maybe. Honestly that wasn’t that unusual for me. I was used to having BH all the time at this point in pregnancy. It definitely didn’t indicate labor in my mind. I don’t think I had anymore of them while on the 7 minute phone call with her. I asked her about what to do about the constipation. She suggested I try an enema to help with the constipation and call her back, or come to the birth center to get checked for dilation (I had an appointment later that day anyway). I thought the enema was a good idea, because I wanted to deal with this issue before I could go to the birth center. I sent Pete off to pick up an enema. While he was out, the BH were feeling pretty rough. Not painful, but they were accompanied with so much uncomfortable pressure. I was still feeling the urge to go to the bathroom, but I knew my efforts would be useless and the sciatic nerve pain was just awful, so I decided to lie down in my bed while I waited for Pete to get back. This position seemed to calm things down while I was on the phone with the midwife, so maybe it would help me now while I waited for Pete.
As soon as Pete got back (somewhere around 8:20am probably), I gave the enema a try. I wasn’t totally sure it worked, but it definitely took things to the next level. I had the urge to push again (which I assumed was the urge to poop intensified by the enema). This was when I lost my mucus plug and it appeared I had my bloody show. I figured with all the pushing I was doing I had forced it out. I knew this meant labor might come soon, but I lost my mucus plug weeks before Sully was born for his pregnancy. So it didn’t necessarily mean anything. Since the BH were so intense now, I decided to get in the tub. Maybe it would calm down the BH contractions. I turned on the water, climbed in, and laid down. The water felt good, but at this point the BH were getting CRAZY intense. Still painless, but the pressure was unbelievable. At this moment I thought, wow, this is kind of like labor feels. I still thought it was just the need to poop that I was feeling, though, and that the enema had just intensified it. Pete was standing in the doorway and I yelled at him to get out, because I knew I was being super dramatic and I didn’t want him to see me like this. A minute later, I yelled at Pete to come back in. I told him to call the midwife, because this was feeling like a medical emergency now. At this point I think my brain was just irrational and in “labor land.” I was not thinking clearly at all, because I somehow STILL didn’t realize the baby was trying to come. I was thinking something horrible was happening to my body because of the constipation being so bad. I was hoping the midwife could come to our house, because there was no way I could get out of that tub.
A few minutes later, I experienced the strongest involuntary urge to push. This is when the baby’s head crowned and completely freaked me out. It was around 8:54am and I screamed for Pete to call 911. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I really can’t even express how stunned I was to see that head suddenly appear. I immediately prepared myself for the worst and thought there must be something wrong with the baby. We certainly weren’t ready to deliver a baby right now and had no idea it was coming, and I didn’t know how to handle any complications or how to make it breathe when it came out. I continued to let my body take over and push. I was in a tub filled with water, and in the middle of an unassisted water birth. I knew I needed to just get the baby out as fast as possible. A few more pushes and the head was out, then shoulders, torso, and I easily grabbed the baby and pulled it up to me. It was actually incredibly easy to push the baby out. I felt the same sharp pain I remembered from pushing Sully out, but it was brief and immediately followed with the relief of the baby finally being on the outside of my body.
The baby was whining a bit, so I was hopeful that meant it was getting enough air. But it wasn’t full blown crying yet. Pete ran in and pulled the baby up further to my chest, but I was afraid the cord would come out and didn’t want to hold the baby too high up. I remembered Sully had a short cord so I was being overly cautious about this. For a split second in time we both remembered we didn’t know the sex of the baby yet, and we took a moment to find out: it was a boy! This brief moment of surprise and excitement immediately was overtaken by our panicking about getting the baby to breathe. Pete thought the baby looked blue, and while I screamed at him to ask the 911 operator what to do to make the baby breathe, he tried to take instructions on what to do. He used his finger to clear the baby’s mouth and this seemed to help the baby breathe a little easier. His whines got a little louder, but he wasn’t full blown crying just yet. Within minutes the paramedics arrived at the house. They were finally able to clear the airways the rest of the way and the baby cried loudly. He looked perfect and healthy. I couldn’t believe he was here and everything was just fine.
The paramedics cut the umbilical cord and then helped me to the floor of the bathroom before I delivered the placenta. It came out pretty easily about 10 minutes after the baby was born. They helped me up on a stretcher, and we got into the ambulance. They wrapped the baby in a space blanket which made me cringe. This was definitely not the type of care I was planning for my baby to have after birth. I nursed him while we drove to the hospital. He latched on like a champ! The driver had refused to take us to the birth center. Pete was driving separately with Sully and had been in contact with the midwife, who had said we could come to the birth center, but the driver seemed to think they were not authorized to take me there (they were). I was out of the loop on what the plan was supposed to be, so I didn’t argue with him until I had a chance to speak with the midwife. At this point it was too late, though, and I was checked into the hospital.
Just under two hours went by from the moment I woke up until the baby was born. I think I basically woke up in the pushing stage of labor. I never had painful contractions and I never saw my water break. The only indication of labor I had was the bloody show I had minutes before the baby crowned. I was only 37 weeks along so I was not expecting the baby to arrive just yet. It was truly shocking the way he arrived so fast and relatively easily. I expected my second labor to go faster than Sully’s did, but this labor experience was not on my radar whatsoever!
After we got to the hospital, we decided on a name. Waylon Archer Browne. He was 6lbs 9oz and 19.25 inches. Perfect, healthy baby! My recovery this time around has been SO much faster and better than it was with Sully’s birth. We are loving this new little addition to the family. While it was pretty special that Waylon was born at home, I do wish there had not been so much fear surrounding the situation. I wish I had been more prepared. I am really sad to not have photos from his birth. I also missed out on birthing at the birth center where I had Sully, which holds a special place in my heart. But, Waylon’s birth story is so wild and so special in its own way, and I can’t wait to share it with him when he is older. It’s also really cool that Sully was present for it, and he didn’t seem to find it scary at all, thankfully.
Here’s the little guy, enjoying life outside my belly!