Announcement: We have a baby boy!
On February 7th, at 7:23am our family was blessed with a new member: Another baby boy! We decided not to find out the gender of our baby during the pregnancy so it was a surprise when he was born. The labour and delivery took only 4.5 hours and it was a much better experience than with our first son, Malachi.
I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant when I woke up at quarter to three in the morning and noticed that I had some abdominal pain. I was very groggy and it took me a little while to realize that the pain was a contraction. It left and another one came. I told Ben “I’m having contractions”. I still wasn’t sure if it would lead into labour or not, but then the next contraction that came was more painful. Then I knew that this probably was, indeed, much-anticipated labour. I then told Ben that I’m pretty sure I’m in labour and we should start setting things up.
Since we had planned a home water birth, my midwife had given me a list of things that we needed to prepare for the birth. This included inflating and filling the birth pool, setting up a crockpot on low with water and wash cloths in it for hot compresses and some other things. Ben started setting up the birth pool and I started preparing some other things. I also wanted to diffuse some calming lavender essential oil in the kitchen, so I went about that. I had to stop every few minutes however, due to the contractions which now needed my full concentration. Ben told me not to bother setting anything up, just to focus on breathing through my contractions.
The birth pool
We also called both sets of parents at the onset of labour. They were all happy to hear that our baby was coming soon. Ben’s parents were on call to take Malachi if needed. At this time, Malachi was sleeping in his room and we didn’t know if we should wake him up and send him off or just let him keep sleeping. We decided to let him keep sleeping. Ben’s parents live close by and his mom said that if he wakes up we should just call them again and someone would be here in five minutes to take him.
So, Ben continued setting things up and I continued labouring. I found that I liked using my birth ball. I would get on all fours and lean over the birth ball. That was one of my favorite positions for labour. For breathing, Ben encouraged me to let out a long breath while making a low “oooooh” sound and to stretch it out as far as I could. It really helped me to relax. Ben and I had talked a lot about what we wanted the labour to be like and what kind of strategies could help me cope with the pain. Ben was really good at encouraging the low singing kind of breathing. As he continued setting up the birth pool, whenever he heard me go “ooooh” as a contraction came on, he would come behind me and hold my hips together, which really helped too. During this labour I had a weird sensation like if my pelvis was splitting apart and it felt good when Ben would apply pressure to my hips.
A very unflattering picture…but this is one of the positions that worked best for me.
Next I decided I wanted to try labouring in the bathtub. The pool wasn’t ready yet, so Ben prepared the tub. I went in and Ben sat beside the bathtub. When a contraction would come, I’d make the low “ooooh” sound and lean over Ben’s lap. As I laboured in the tub, the song “Yeshua all for Yeshua”, or “Jesus, all for Jesus” (Robin Mark) was playing through my head so I asked Ben to sing it. He sang it and I continued labouring. Somehow, as Ben was singing “all for Yeshua”, I felt like I was labouring for Yeshua. As I was bringing this child into the world, it wasn’t just to have more children, but to have more children who love Yeshua and walk in His ways. It also made me think of Yeshua’s painful death on the cross for us. I knew my labour was so much less than what He went through to give us life. As I continued having contractions, I kept thinking about my Saviour and alternated between moaning and calling to Him for strength.
I actually found the bathtub to be less comfortable than anticipated and decided to get out and back on the birth ball. The contractions were coming every 6 minutes or so and lasting almost a minute. They were getting very painful. I dreaded each one and just focused on the low “oooooh” breathing as each contraction came. I also told myself that they’re only about a minute long so just make it through that minute and then I’ll get a little break again.
I also found that standing and leaning on Ben was a good position too. Both this position and the birth ball position had me leaning my weight on something. And for some reason that felt more comfortable than other positions. Although the contractions were getting terribly painful, I still felt like they were doable. I didn’t like them, but focusing on the breathing and focusing my eyes on something small made them survive-able.
When the contractions reached a minute long and were about 5 minutes apart, we decided to call my midwife. She came shortly after and started setting up her things. Soon after the second midwife arrived. I really like the team of midwives I had. My main midwife is the same one who delivered Malachi. She is a sweet older African lady who has a motherly kind of presence. The second midwife is probably around my age and very kind and friendly. Having her there was kind of like having a friend. They’re both very supportive and encouraging.
To my surprise, I had a break of about 20 minutes or so with no contractions. I started to worry that maybe I wasn’t very far along. So far, the contractions were manageable, and it was strange to get a break. I figured maybe this will be a long labour and started having doubts about a home birth. I suggested going to the hospital. I was scared of being at home and facing a long labour without pian relief. Suddenly I felt like I couldn’t do this anymore and really wanted to go to the hospital. (I didn’t know it, but I was in transition already, and it is typical at this point to feel like you can’t do it anymore). I was also shaking all over and my teeth were chattering uncontrollably even though I didn’t feel cold. I remember asking “why am I shaking like this?” and a midwife told me “your body is going through some hard work.”
My midwife decided to check how far along I was. I had to lie down on the bed for this which wasn’t as comfortable. She found that I was 9cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it. That meant I was already in transition. And here I thought I wasn’t very far along. My midwife told me the baby’s just about ready to come out. She encouraged me to get up and walk a little bit to bring back the contractions. I thought to myself “but I don’t want more contractions”. However, I definitely wanted the baby to be born, so I got up.
Around this moment the second midwife had finished filling up the birth pool and making sure it was the right temperature. It was finally ready for me to go into it. This was my last chance to go into the birth pool if I wanted it. I stood up to walk but realised I wouldn’t be able to make it into the pool. Another strong contraction came on, and standing up, I leaned onto Ben and clung onto him while breathing low. And then, I felt the urge to push. I don’t even remember really trying, just that suddenly I felt my baby sliding down the birth canal. I pushed, and the midwives got ready to catch the baby. I remember Ben saying “the head is out”. I felt the “ring of fire” and a couple more pushes and the baby came out and someone put him in my arms. I looked at the wet, squirmy baby and couldn’t believe that the labour was over and that I had my long awaited baby. It was such a wonderful happy moment. I looked at the baby and saw that it was a boy! I had suspected a boy all along, so I wasn’t very surprised to see that. Then I got to lie down on the bed and cuddle with my baby on my chest while the placenta came out. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating and then Ben got to cut it. I got some good quality time then with just the baby on my chest and Ben beside me. My midwife said I only had a small tear, so that was good. I wonder if it helped to push standing up, since then gravity worked in my favour too. We were very thankful and happy for a good experience. We also called the grandparents and let them know about their new grandson!
He was 8 lbs and 2 oz.
The baby was alert and started suckling. He actually had a good latch right away, too, which was nice to see. Overall we were just so happy to have a healthy baby, a peaceful labour, less tearing and that we were at home and were able to just stay in our bedroom and relax as a family. We had prayed for a peaceful, short labour and a healthy baby. I had been praying that God would give me the strength to cope with the contractions and to be able to breathe through them well. Praise the Lord!
And it was about then that we heard another little noise – Malachi had finally woken up from sleeping at night. We couldn’t believe that he slept through all that! This was also an answer to prayer because we specifically prayed that Malachi wouldn’t be away from us overnight for the birth. Not only was he there for the night, but he didn’t have to be away at all! Definitely an answer to prayer that he slept through it all.
Ben went over to his room and brought him out to meet his little brother. Malachi has been adjusting amazingly well to being a big brother. He loves the baby and likes to give him toys and touch his hands and head. He asks us to let him hold the baby, so we let him partially hold him while sitting down as one of us supports the baby’s head.
Brothers…the day that Zechariah was born.
Ben is home for two weeks now from work and he’s being a wonderful husband and daddy, taking care of the house and Malachi while I get to mostly focus on nursing the baby and resting. Later my mom is flying in from Ontario and staying for a couple weeks to help as well.
We feel very grateful for God’s blessings and mercies, and are so excited to get to know this new little person and watch our sons grow up together as friends.