(Thanks to my Mom at Little Earthling Photography for the family photos!)
Well life sure has been busy this year. Time flies when you’re having fun right? There’s been lots of craziness too (toddlers, man…) but plenty of fun. Let me address the title of this post first since that’s kind of some big news. We had a baby!
After Juniper was born I told Jared, next time let’s not announce when we’re pregnant. We’ll just be like ‘surprise we had a baby!’ that would be so funny eh? So, we did it. We told a few people but never made an announcement, and yes, it was indeed the fun surprise I had anticipated.
My mom came for a few weeks and I’m so glad! We have really missed all my family these past few years being stuck apart because of travel restrictions. The hardest part was not knowing when we could see each other again. Thankfully New Zealand’s border restrictions eased in time for my mom to come for Silas’ birth! Silas was more considerate than his siblings and only waited three days past his ‘due date’ to be born (Abel was 10 days and Juniper was 8). Thank you Silas! Abel and Juniper adored having grandma around and so did Jared and I. The thing you may not realise about a long distance relationship is that once you and your significant other are together, you still have to do long distance. With your friends and family. It’s just not the same as spending time in person, so we really, really enjoyed having my mom here. She also bought us lots of Lego which we are really enjoying. We had some Duplo already for the kids but Jared and I got our first regular Lego and I think it’s safe to say it will not be our last, either.
Thankfully my pregnancy with Silas was pretty smooth sailing. The usual first trimester morning sickness kicked my butt, but once I got over that I felt pretty good, and everything was pretty normal. Juniper’s pregnancy was STRESSful especially the last month. There were concerns over what turned out to be nothing. I’ll have to write her birth story soon! Anyway, because of that I was determined not to stress no matter what happened. It’s easier said than done, but hey, we did it!
I changed my mind about where to give birth a few times. Initially I was determined to have a home birth, then decided to be in the hospital, and at 39 weeks decided to try staying at home. I’m so glad! The birth went so well and there was no need for us to be in the hospital. The hospital was also extremely busy and understaffed and I’m glad we weren’t there unnecessarily.
We decided to skip finding out the sex of our baby and have another surprise (Abel was a surprise, and we found out with Juniper).
I was trying very hard to be patient knowing that babies come when they’re ready, and it’s easier to distract yourself when you have toddlers keeping you busy. My due date was on Sunday, and although I had some braxton hicks the week before, my uterus had been pretty radio silent for days (baby was still moving fine, but no contractions or cramping or anything to signal labour). Finally on Tuesday I started having some mild contractions and I was excited knowing that whether labour was near or not, that was a good sign. I woke up around midnight with the contractions more painful and went back to sleep. Around 2am they were definite labour contractions, still pretty mild and about ten minutes apart, so I stayed in bed and tried to sleep. At 5am I couldn’t stay still anymore during the contractions, so I went in the lounge to avoid disturbing Jared. By 7am the contractions were irregular and hardly uncomfortable, and continued that way the rest of the day. I called my midwife, Jana, to let her know what was happening, so she could get the portable gas from the hospital (I didn’t end up using it!), as I was pretty certain that we’d be having a baby in the next day or two.
Around 5pm the contracations started getting stronger and consistent again. My midwife texted to ask if I wanted her to stop by on her way home, but since I was still handling the contractions fine I didn’t see any need for it and told her I would be in touch when labour intensified. Around 5:30 I called Jared to let him know that Abel and Juniper should stay at his parents that night. He came home around 6:30 and then took them out to his parents’ house. I spent some time in our bedroom labouring, and got in the shower for a bit (I can’t remember if that was before or after Jared got back). The contractions were getting really intense but in between them I felt completely fine so I found it hard to estimate how far along I might be.
Jared got home around 8 and I started crying and having trouble getting through the contractions. Mom came into the room and she and Jared both helped me through the contractions. Finally I told Jared that we should call the midwife. He asked about the timing of my contractions and I told him I didn’t know but it didn’t matter, he should call her anyways as they were very intense and close together now. Jana arrived around 9pm. Eventually she was able to do a cervical check (it was hard to catch a break between the contractions) and I was 8cm dilated. I was encouraged to hear that, as I suspected I was quite far along. I could tell I was reaching transition as I felt shaky and a little sick. My mom kept reminding me to relax in between the contractions. It was so odd because each contraction was very intense and difficult but in between them I could feel perfectly normal. I reminded myself that the contractions were not going to get stronger at this point, just closer together.
I started feeling a bit pushy but I was concerned because this was where I got stuck with Abel’s labour, and I was afraid to try pushing before I was fully dilated. I told Jana and she encouraged me that the cervix was very thin and stretchy when she felt it, so I was fine to push. She called Maran, her backup, to be there for the delivery. I started pushing just enough to help me get through each contraction. I was wedged between our bed and the wall, and when I started really pushing, I moved to the end of the bed where there was more space. The pushes started feeling different and more productive and I got very quiet just focusing. It was so great to just follow my instincts and push when and how I wanted to. My waters finally broke while I was pushing. As the baby started to crown I thought man this is hard work, and the head is really bony, I’m sure Juniper’s wasn’t this bony (it probably wasn’t because my water broke earlier with her labour and her head had more moulding). It was very hard work but I was encouraged knowing that it was nearly over, and I was doing it. Once his head was born, then I pushed his body out, and he was wrapped up in his cord which scared Jared for a moment as his neck looked to be at an odd angle. Once he was untangled and I grabbed him, I could see he was a boy! The name we chose for him is Silas Charles.
After Silas was born, Jana and Maran helped me onto the bed and I cuddled Silas as we waited for the placenta to be born. He took a while to figure out how to latch on and breastfeed. After the placenta was born and the midwives took care of me, I was able to shower and dress and get back in bed. I was so looking forward to a home birth so we could just relax in our own bed after the birth, but we didn’t really sleep at all. There was a bit of meconium in the amniotic fluid so we were instructed to keep an eye on Silas’ breathing and temperature. Well, I was exhausted, but was trying to watch his breathing and ensure he was doing fine, so I hardly slept. Thankfully Jared’s parents kept Abel and Juniper for a few days so we did get some good rest in the following days!
It was so amazing to have a home birth and to have such a straightforward and good birth experience! Abel’s birth was pretty darn traumatic, Juniper’s was ok but not a great experience, and Silas’ was really beautiful, AND the shortest at just 5 1/2 hours of active labour plus the labour earlier that morning. It was the labour to be jealous of. You know when you hear someone had a great, short, labour and think wow that’s great but so not fair… well I finally got that labour.