– Long post-
I’ve been thinking about putting the boys births down in writing for a while now and since Max just turned five months I guess, there’s no better time than now – while they’re still somewhat fresh in my mind. You see, to be able to tell Maximilian’s story, I have to tell Felix’s first. Every birth is different they said, well, that wasn’t really the case with my boys – they were actually amazingly similar.
Wednesday 12th of March 23.30PM
Felix was due on the 15th of March and since it was quite close to due date I decided to put in a plastic sheet under my side of the bed (one of those you use when you have a kid that wets the bed) just in case the water would break during one of the nights to come. I had been drinking loads of raspberry leaf tea and meditating on keeping an open mind to whenever the birth would start but no contractions or pains at all up to that point.
We went to bed at 23.50PM and just before I fell asleep I felt (and strangely heard) a big pop, just like a balloon breaking. I can remember asking Andreas if he had heard that pop sound but of course he couldn’t have. As I began to move around to find out what actually had happened, warm water began to trickle out between my legs – the water had in fact broke. Crap. Crap. Crap.
All I could think about was that I wasn’t ready at all, we hadn’t slept, it was too late and I knew there was no return, it wasn’t fake contractions, the plug was out and he was on his way. Then the contractions started.
They came immediately, pretty intense from the beginning and at a steady pace – I started timing them as we called the hospital to let them know things were moving and that they could prepare for us. “- Well, you’re a first timer so you can expect that it’s going to take a while – maybe you could try to get some sleep and call back when the contractions are getting stronger, longer and consistent”.
Try to sleep? Hey, there’s a miracle of life about to happen, no way I’m going to be able to sleep with all that adrenalin rushing through every fiber of my body!
I’d been taking birthing classes at “Smærtefri fødsel – Anja Bay metoden” (Pain-free birth – the Anja Bay method), a birthing technique that supposedly gives you the tools to get through the birth with as little pain and complications as possible. With the help of Laboro breathing, visualisation and relaxation techniques, the oxytocin levels stays high and the birth moves naturally forward (I’m no expert here and this is no sponsored post, but after two kids I have to say – for me – it was amazing birthing this way, I’ll tell you more about my experience in both birth stories). I began using the Laboro breathing technique as soon as the first contractions started, it was tricky at first due to all the excitement but after a while I started getting the hang of the rapid, shallow breathing.
After about an hour or so I was able to time the contractions pretty consistently, and they came fast and hard. Let’s call the hospital again – I could just sense that either I’m a wuss for the pain or this is moving fast. The hospital let us know that we were welcome but that we should expect to go home again since we probably weren’t that far in the process. Fair enough, off we went.
No one ever told me how incredibly strange it is to be driven in a car with contractions going on, every turn, bump or similar kick-started a new contraction. Luckily, we didn’t live that far from the hospital and it was night time so the ride wasn’t that long either. I was dressed in my robe and with a huge towel between my legs (when the water breaks, it keeps sippering out, no one ever told me that either – so now you know).
When we got to the hospital, I was told I had opened 4 centimeters but that my contractions seemed very active and that I was doing a great job getting through them. I felt like a ninja – going into myself, concentrating, visualising climbing up a mountain – reaching the peak and then running down the mountain as the contraction wore off. I remember Andreas being all amazed about all the other women screaming in the other rooms and me being all quiet. I didn’t want to go back home just yet, I had this feeling this was going the right way and was lucky enough to be put in a dark room for an hour to try to sleep some and to see how far I could open up during that time. Determined to stay, I kept visualising the mountain and a little bit later visualising a very long stop light with green, yellow and red lamps showing me where I was in the contraction phase. Then the contractions started getting very intense – I asked Andreas to go get a nurse so that she could examine me and when she came she immediately said, “- What are you doing here? You’re at least 7 centimeters open and should be in a birthing room – we’re checking you in now”. Oh yes, here we go.
We came up to the room where Felix was going to be born – I remember wanting to give birth in water but I didn’t want to get out of my mentally “good spot”, staying in control of the birth, so I stayed on the bed – it took a little while to get him all the way down and when he finally did, it’s true what they say about it feeling like a “ring of fire”. I could feel the contractions changing form and that I wanted to start pushing. It’s just the most amazing feeling to be allowed to start pushing, working with the contractions to get the baby out – the body is just amazing and it was the most empowering thing to do – you forget everything else, time, people, how you look and just give it all to the most natural thing in the world. And then when he actually came out, everything stopped. The contractions just ended and my little new human being was laying there on my chest.
Thursday 13th of March 1PM
How does he look like? Is it still a boy? What are we going to do now? It was around noon and the sun was shining through the curtains and it was just perfect. I didn’t get any medicins or gas through the whole birth, only the last shot in the leg (to stop bleeding faster) that I didn’t really want but that I didn’t even realise I got since I was preoccupied with the little boy. Definitely a Felix, we said when we got a good look at him.
Tuesday 31 January 2017 23.30PM (Look at the time here)
Maximilian was due on the 15th of February and I had been on maternity leave for around 2 weeks before I decided to put the plastic sheet on the bed. It felt a bit strange since Felix was born so shortly after the first time and I had this thing running in my mind that my water would break again (but everywhere you’re told “every birth is individual” so I tried shaking the thought away). I had trouble falling asleep at night since all I could think of was that “pop” from the first time so I started getting a bit anxious.
This time around I didn’t take any birthing class, I guess time flew by so quickly and I might have been a bit overconfident that “I’ve done this before, I’ll remember it all” so I just practiced the Laboro breathing a bit here and there.
A few days after I put the sheet on, it was around two weeks until due date, we went to bed for the night and I was getting a bit concerned I would hear the “pop” again – it actually popped. Like WHAT THE … ! “- Ehm.. Andreas, did you hear that?”… “- No, what? Did your water break? Seriously?!”
I remember I started shaking a bit. It couldn’t be already – I had just gotten on my maternity leave and were looking so much forward to having those last weeks alone at home (with Felix at kindergarten) to prep and mentally get ready for the birth. Crap. Crap. Crap. So not ready, so not prepared – AND WHAT ABOUT FELIX? He was sleeping downstairs and I simply couldn’t have him home while trying to get through contractions, because they had started immediately again, just like the first time. I got down the stairs and into the shower with the water sippering out between my legs while Andreas called his brother to come pick Felix up. My little (big) first born mumbled while getting into his uncles car “- I’m dreaming that I’m driving a car”.
When Felix was off and safe home with his uncle, Andreas started cleaning and preparing for us to take off. I sat down into the sofa with some meditative music on, focusing through the contractions – starting the Laboro breathing – and they just worked, like they did three years ago. This time the contractions came on even quicker and so after only an hour I decided we needed to go to the hospital. Off we went and this time the car ride almost threw me off course with my contraction work – by the time we got to the hospital it felt like he was just between my legs and I could hardly walk so Andreas got a wheelchair and pushed me over to the examination room.
“So, you’re 9 centimeters open. Good job – let’s get you a room and go have this baby!”.
I seriously felt like a ninja at that moment. So unbelievably cool. There I was, being all calm and collected, telling every fiber of my body to stay open, calm, welcoming this baby, keeping the oxytocin levels high – I didn’t want to be in pain any longer than necessary because I knew it was all going to be over soon – I knew that when the baby was out, everything would go away. So he could just get all the way down and out – I welcomed the contractions since I knew they were for the good, he was on his way.
Four hours after the water broke, four pushes when we arrived in the birth-room, there he was. Just in time for that delicious slice of toast and cup of coffee.
It wasn’t pain-free but I’m very grateful to have felt like I was in control of both births. I know I have been extremely blessed having such complication-free and quick births and that is something I will cherish forever. While being pregnant there are so many horror stories and vivid videos of screaming, chaotic births (that I watched myself) and I hope that these two stories can show that there’s also some very good, empowering experiences out there as well.
Maximilian and me, minutes after him being born.