Around the time I had Hudson, I began to follow empowering bloggers and social media accounts such as Birth Without Fear, and remember how the inspiration from these sources and my experience of giving birth completely changed the way I felt about my body and what I was capable of.
When Hudson was about 6 months old, I found out I was pregnant again! While I wasn’t necessarily excited about the weight gain, discomfort, and not-so-fun symptoms that would accompany pregnancy, but I was confident that I was capable of bringing another baby into this world. I knew that what my body had just accomplished 6 months before, I it could do again.
I’ll be honest, I did not enjoy being pregnant this first time. And the second time was not rainbows and sunshine either-in fact, it was worse than the first! For the first 4 or 5 months, I couldn’t eat a single thing without puking it all back up. An apple, a bowl of soup broth, a sandwich, ANYTHING would make me sick to my stomach. I thought, surely, this meant I was going to have a baby girl since I didn’t get as sick with Hudson.
Another baby boy for the Parry Clan! We were so excited to have a little brother for Hudson, and so excited to have another son. Boys are so much fun!
Fast forward to the final months of pregnancy. PAIN is what I remember most. Intense pressure on my pelvic bone, pain in my tail bone any time I sat for an extended period of time, pain in my round ligaments, pain everywhere. I was hoping and praying that I would go into labor naturally instead of being induced, and hoped for a completely different experience giving birth for a second time.
The days were long, and the estimated due date of March 30th was quickly approaching. Friday, March 23rd, I began to have pretty painful contractions. Every night for the following few days, I thought “this is it!!” but then I would wake up the next morning with no baby. When I called my midwife to explain what I was experiencing, she said “you’ll know when they’re real, trust me”. She was right.
On March 27th, the evening began with contractions like they had for the past few days. I was folding laundry when I decided to get up and make some red raspberry leaf tea (you know, the stuff that’s supposed to soften your cervix and encourage labor?). It was when I was still feeling pain and the contractions weren’t going away while I was standing and walking that I began to realize that these were “real”. Still, I went back to folding laundry.
Then, the contractions continued to worsen. I bounced on my exercise ball like I did every night for a few weeks, and the contractions still worsened. I walked around, they still worsened.
Around 8pm, I told Matt, “I think these are real” and he just politely smiled and said “oh yeah?”. This was something he’d heard every night since Friday, so he wasn’t too convinced right away. We kept folding laundry. As the contractions got worse, I drank lots and lots of water, and once I couldn’t quite speak through my contractions, Matt realized I was right!
Around midnight, When we both acknowledged that I was quite possibly in labor, I took a look around the basement we were in, and said “we need to call someone to come stay with Hudson, and I don’t want anyone staying here when it’s this messy!” So what did my 39 weeks pregnant self do once I acknowledged I was in labor? I cleaned! The two of us got more cleaning done in the hour that followed than we’ve probably ever gotten done in a single hour. We cleaned the guest room, vacuumed the entire basement, put bedding on the guest bed, put laundry away, took the trash out, etc. and then between contractions, I wrote out instructions for whoever was going to stay and care for Hudson.
Matt asked if I was timing contractions, and when I said “nope” he pulled out his phone and timed each one while he ran around the house cleaning.
The average was between 1 and 2 minutes apart.
Guess who also saved packing a hospital bag for the last minute? This girl. I thought of all things I packed the first time I gave birth, and how much I didn’t use, so I decided I wasn’t going to pack a big hospital bag this time around. We threw some clothes and toiletries into a half-packed bag, then I went down the list of women who had volunteered to stay with Hudson while I was in the hospital. I started to panic when the first person didn’t answer. I tried her again. I left a voicemail.
The second person answered! She was only a 5 minute drive to my house, so I was grateful she was coming. I called the midwife and said “uh..I think I’m in labor”. I explained how close the contractions were and she urged me to go right into the hospital and to bring my toddler if someone didn’t get to the house soon.
She arrived, and we left! We left silent home that had just been a madhouse whether our sleeping child knew it or not. We left our sweet first born child, unable to kiss him and his only child-ness goodbye one last time before he had a brother. We left our family of 3 at the door, and drove off to welcome our family of 4.
When I was pregnant, I had told Matt that I really wanted to document this birth with photos and videos. I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed of the birthing process like I was when I gave birth the first time. I wanted to experience it over and over and over again through documentation. So, Matt had his GoPro going as soon as we realized I was in labor and it recorded our story until we brought our baby boy home.
Around 1am, we checked into the hospital and sent a message to our immediate family members to let them know what was going on. I was dilated to a 7 and the contractions were STRONG. My mom was the only one awake, and when she stopped getting messages she knew there was a baby!
This is the most important part of my experience:
I was confident. I was sure of myself and what I was capable of. I was in control of my experience. I trusted myself, my partner, and my baby to work together.
Matt was such a tremendous help. He offered physical comfort, emotional support, and did whatever was asked of him. The amazing part was that I didn’t feel the need for the additional support. I gladly accepted it, but also trusted myself to breathe through each contraction, push my back against the side of the tub when I needed pressure, and imagine what my baby boy was going to look like at the end of all of the pain.
2 hours of terrible back labor, and I felt like I was just about ready to push. I tried to stand, but that wasn’t working for me. I tried to lie on my back, but that HURT. I tried to lie on my side, but couldn’t even bring myself to roll over. I was so frustrated about not being able to find a position that worked for me. The midwife and nurse had me roll to one side while they massaged the hip on the opposite side, and attempted to change the position of the baby so that I could get some relief in my back. I remember being frustrated because the midwife told me that if I wanted to push I could. I asked, “but is it time to?” and her response was that if I felt ready, I could. I kept repeating the question, “is it time to push?” over and over, but received the same answer. Through the frustration that accompanied uncertainty, I decided it was time to push. I attempted to push on my back, but couldn’t hardly even do it for the duration of a contraction because it hurt my back so bad. In the heat of the moment, I quickly decided to get on my knees. Matt was already standing at the end of the bed, so I threw my hands on his shoulders and used him to support my weight while I P U S H E D.
8 minutes, 3 pushes.
Because I was on my knees, I couldn’t see my baby right away. The midwife caught the baby and pulled him behind me to clean him up. I stayed on my knees, shaking and sweating, and listened to my sweet husband awe at the sight of his new baby boy. I heard my son cry for the first time before I even saw him, and I fell in love with him even more.
Finally, I got to hold my baby. Kayson James Parry, we named him.
I was so proud of myself, my baby boy, and my husband. We did it! I looked down at the little bundle of freshness in my arms and wept tears of pain, joy, awe, pride.
Kayson James was born at 3:10am on March 28th, 2 days before his due date! I went into labor on my own, which was something I longed for. I trusted my body through another unmedicated birth, which YES, I get to be proud of! I have absolutely no opposition to anyone who gets an epidural during labor because I know it hurts like hell, but I set a goal for myself and I made it happen which is something I am proud of.
My baby boy was born weighing 8lbs 7oz and was 21 inches long. Another big boy for the Parry Clan!
I remember being in so much pain after giving birth-not the same pain I was in the first time I gave birth. I cramped every time Kayson nursed, I was in excruciating pain each time the nurses massaged my uterus, and getting stitches HURT! Maybe I was just on such an emotional high the first time I gave birth or something, but I don’t remember any of that causing as much pain as it did with Kayson. It was different, though, which was what I prayed for. I wanted completely different birth stories to tell each of my children, and that prayer was answered.
It took me a few weeks, but I put together Kayson’s Birth Story video a few weeks after he was born and it is so dear to me. I am proud of the woman I see in this video-one who was confident in what she was doing, whether it hurt or not, one who braved the pain of labor and childbirth for a little person she hadn’t even met yet but knew was only moments away from his introduction, one who birthed without fear like the many women who inspired her.