Wow! Is all I can say to sum up the birth of our Little Piglet.
When I gave birth to My Little Tinker (MLT) I felt battered, beaten, bruised and exhausted like I had been hit by a freight train but when giving birth to Little Piglet (LP) I felt like a freight train had passed through me. It was intense and so incredibly different to my first experience of birth. The scariest experience of my life!
Dotty Dad and I had made a grave error throughout my second pregnancy and birth of presuming, 'we've done it once before, this time will be a walk in the park'. How wrong we were...
My due date came and went but thankfully I was only four days over due rather than the nine days I had experienced with MLT. Speaking of MLT; I never realised how in tune she was with me until LP's arrival. As I try to practice my take on attached parenting I was always aware of how in tune I was with her and her needs but it had never occurred to me that it worked both ways.
It was only in my eighth month of pregnancy that we had finally 'cracked' bedtime with MLT. As in we were able to kiss her good night, tuck her in, turn the light off and leave her in her room to fall asleep rather than having to sit with her for potentially hours on end. The night before I went in to labour though she just would not let go. I leant down for my goodnight kiss and she gave me one death grip of a hug and didn't let go until she fell asleep. She was most certainly in the know. She knew they were her last pure hugs with her Mama before her brother arrived.
Around 2am the next morning MLT crept in to our bed. At the time I thought nothing of it as it isn't uncommon for her to occasionally creep in to our bed in the night. Besides I was on the receiving end of some more death grip hugs which I couldn't help but lap up. It wasn't until after I had given birth that Dotty Dad told me I had been groaning in my sleep as I had done in my previous labour so MLT had twigged I was having contractions before I had even realised.
MLT snuggling in for cuddles as I sat on my birth ball
Around 7am the next morning (after we had all woken and everyone else had headed downstairs to give me a lay in) I heard a loud pop. I kid you not, it sounded just like a balloon bursting. I knew deep inside that sound was my waters breaking and I was more than a little apprehensive about moving. I decided to get out of bed, and low and behold whilst on my way to the bathroom my waters made their way south, covering the bedroom floor (thank god the bed made it unscathed).
This may be a little too much information for some, but hey I am going to go ahead and share it anyway. Having your waters break at the beginning of your labour is the most gross thing ever. I was in labour for 16 hours after my waters broke and they continued to 'gush' all day without warning. It is the most uncomfortable experience ever! I felt like I was wetting myself but had no control over it, there was no warning prior to the gushes and they weren't small either. Despite wearing pads I had to change whatever I may have been wearing at the time. So gross!
My contractions this time round were bizarre. Throughout the entirety of my labour they were irregular, not just in timings but in length and intensity. From the very beginning to the end. I could have a contraction that lasted 30 seconds and was so light I could laugh through it and then have one two minutes later that lasted for two and a half minutes that was toe curlingly painful and then there might be nothing for a good 20 minutes. It was really really hard to find a rhythm and get 'in the zone' because of this. I also found that trying to carry on and do things, like sorting out things for MLT, to try and take my mind off things, made the contractions stop altogether.
As we wanted a home birth just as we had done with MLT and my waters had broken we were clock watching. If I hadn't of given birth within 24 hours of my waters breaking I would have had to head to hospital because of the risk of infection. So we needed to make sure things went as speedily as possible.
The midwife came and checked everything out and gave some sound advice as well as feeding me a cocktail. Whisky, pineapple juice and castor oil. The whiskey was to get me to loosen up, the castor oil was to speed up the labour and the pineapple juice was to make it all taste good. She told me to eat lots of nice things that I loved during the day to get my oxytocin flowing and to relax and do what I wanted. So I spent most of the day laying in bed watching my favourite movies whilst riding my roller coaster of contractions.
I headed out for a walk with Dotty Dad around 4pm to encourage LP to head south and it was the most glorious walk I have been on in a very long time, despite the labour pains. For starters we were toddler free (my Mum had made the trip over to Belgium to help out with MLT during the birth) which is a very rare occurrence for us. It was the most beautiful clear crisp winters evening and the sun was setting whilst we were out walking, it really was very pretty... Until my waters 'gushed' again and we had to head home. Gross I tell you, gross!
Around 7pm the midwife returned and she was satisfied that I was progressing enough with my labour that I could use the birth pool we had rented this time round. So Dotty Dad lit the fire in the living room, filled the pool and helped the midwife prepare whilst trying to help my Mum convince MLT to head to bed, no easy task when there is the excitement of a baby on the way.
In the birth pool
Timings and goings on all become a bit fuzzy after that, I remember getting in to the pool but I have no concept of how long I was there. All I know is that this time round because the contractions were so hit and miss I was struggling to deal with the pain. Looking back on it the sheer raw power and energy my body was producing was incredible but in the moment I began to panic. I couldn't express this to anyone though as I just could not catch my breath enough to speak. I managed to look up at one point to show Dotty Dad the sheer terror and panic I was experiencing just by looking in to his eyes. I am quite certain he got the message.
As I had completely lost my cool by this point, things started to head south in a pretty drastic way. Whilst I was pushing the midwives could no longer find a foetal heartbeat and got me out of the pool quickly. They sat me on a birthing stool and helped LP make his way out as fast as they could. He wasn't breathing, he was born blue and limp.
I looked over to Dotty Dad, I have never seen him look so terrified, he looked like he was about to be sick. I on the otherhand was riding the 'happy hormone rush' and found myself sat there, almost in my own little world, in the firm belief that everything was 100% ok. I was sat there reassuring Dotty Dad. It must have only taken the midwives a few moments to bring LP round and get him breathing again but those few moments seemed like an eternity.
Our beautiful little boy shortly after he was born
Thankfully MLT had been sleeping upstairs and woke just before LP was born (probably my shouting and screams whilst pushing woke her). So my Mum and MLT didn't witness our lifeless little boy arrive but appeared downstairs just as he had come round and started to cry his little heart out. They were in time for the happy ending.
So there we were in the middle of the living room with our precious little boy, born at 12:04am 22nd November 2013 weighing exactly the same as his sister did when she was born, 8lbs 10oz.
MLT helping the midwife weigh LP
After the midwives had cleared up and I had showered all four of us climbed in to bed at around 3am for our first nights sleep together as a family. It wasn't quite the blissful first nights sleep as we had experienced after MLT's birth; Dotty Dad and I were shell shocked. Our plan of a calm and beautiful waterbirth turned out to be one traumatic event which took us quite some time to get over, with help of our fantastic midwives (but thats another story for a different day).
We are just so thankful our little boy is happy, healthy and here with us today.