Here we are three weeks after Bennett made his grand appearance and I am still in shock and awe of his “birth” day. I may be in the minority, but after both boys’ births I longed to go back and do it all over again. Elliot’s…not so much (hospital vs. home birth? Who knows). The feeling of seeing your baby for the very first time combined with the satisfaction of knowing that your body is capable of growing and then birthing another life is something I could do over and over again. Alright, enough rambling, let’s get on to the details:
Tuesday, August 22
According to our estimates, baby was now 8 days overdue and I was starting to get impatient. Each morning I’d wake up wondering if today was the day and then I’d go to bed each night feeling down that another day had passed and still no baby. Tuesday was like any other day, and after the recommendation to eat a Bloomin’ Onion to make the baby come, I went to bed pregnant for another night…
Untilllll, I awoke to a huge gush at 2:30 in the morning. This was shocker #1 because my water had never broken spontaneously before. It’s such a weird sensation to feel like you are continuously peeing your pants, but I immediately jumped out of bed in excitement because I knew babe would be here soon and a little worried because both of my other babies came about an hour after my water was broken.
We called my mom to head over because of course Elliot was in our bed during the amniotic flood and she was not about to go back to sleep and miss the excitement. She arrived, I texted the midwife, stripped the bed, started some laundry, cleaned up the toy room (because obviously a clean toy room was of utmost importance), and then tried to lay back down because nothing was happening. Zero contractions.
I laid in bed for about an hour, drifting, but not really sleeping since my adrenaline was pumping already. Finally at 3:49 I felt the first contraction. Then again about ten minutes later. And again. And again. This was it! Finally, around 5:00 I decided to get up since I would definitely not be getting any more sleep for the night. I hopped in the shower to shave my legs (ha! Funny how you care when you’re in early labor) and let the warm water help take some of the pain away. Contractions continued on, getting stronger and closer together.
Justin eventually rolled out of bed, and I decided to run a hot bath because once again the water really helps me manage my contractions. Justin alternated between applying counter pressure on my back and using the kids’ shark bath cup to pour hot water over my back. I highly recommend the shark cup for labor and think they should be included in all birth kits ;).
I usually have one moment during my labors where I lose my cool with Justin, but really he is a birth coach extraordinaire (I mean how many guys are willing to swim around in a birth pool of placenta and blood? Sorry TMI). With Elliot, I remember yelling at him to push harder on my back during some of my strongest contractions. With Mackin, I about exploded due to the fact that he was enjoying chicken wings a little too much while I was in pain. And this time around was no different. At this point, Elliot was downstairs spending some QT with Peppa Pig and Mack was fast asleep in his room. I told Justin that if the kids were content, I was fine for them to hang out at home during the birth. No sooner had I gotten the words out, that I had a really strong contraction and may have uttered a small profanity because Justin was not fast enough to rub my back. He immediately responded, “Alright, the kids are NOT staying here.” If I would’ve seen that he was texting my mom telling her to take the kids to her house DURING said hard contraction, there definitely would’ve been even more foul language used. 😉
Back to the birth story, I continued to hang out in the tub, the kids came in around 6:30 to kiss me goodbye, and the midwives showed up at this time. Heather got right to work checking my vitals and baby’s heartbeat. Immediately, we could all hear baby’s heart rate was a tad low. I was also feeling a little dizzy and lightheaded, and thought to myself, “Oh my God. We’re going to have to transfer to the hospital.” Luckily, Heather is a very experienced midwife and encouraged me to move into a different position to see if that would help things, and sure enough it did. I got out of the tub, and as soon as I laid down on the bed, baby’s heart rate went back up.
Heather mentioned that she was going to go into Macklin’s room and take a 20 minute power nap (she had already been at another birth all night and she was exhausted). However, I put a damper on her nap plans when I mentioned during the next contraction that I felt like I could push. I heard the word “transition”* being used, but I thought there was no way I was already at that point.
Justin and I decided to get into the birth pool and get the show on the road, even though I was still doubtful that baby would be arriving anytime soon. I knelt and leaned over the edge of the tub while Justin sat behind me so he could continue to massage my back. During the next couple contractions, I pushed but still felt like it would be hours before we’d meet our baby and Heather coached Justin on how to catch the baby. All of a sudden, I hung on longer to my next push, and heard them say that the head was out. This was all I needed to hear, so I pushed once more and at 7:38 am baby was born! Justin caught the baby and brought “her” out of the water and onto my chest.
As the midwives checked the baby over, we all marveled over the amount of hair the baby had and how small “she” was. I casually said, “It’s a girl, right?” but no one really checked and we continued to admire the dark locks. Finally about 10 minutes later, I casually lifted up the umbilical cord and was shocked to see that it indeed was not a girl. Justin and I looked at each other stunned and a little worried about how Elliot would react to the news.
Finally, we made our way out of the tub and into our bed (my favorite part about home births). The midwives left us alone with our new bundle and allowed us some time for the surprise to sink in. We spent this time wondering how we would share the news with our families and the big kids as well as try to come up with a name for the little guy. Eventually, the midwives returned to check me over, do the newborn exam, clean up (they even threw in a load of laundry!), and run me a healing herbal bath before heading out and leaving us with our still nameless baby.
It took us all day, but we finally came up with a name, and turns out there was no need to fret about Elliot not loving another brother (Mack was a little unsure at first though)!
Bennett King Hritzak
August 23, 2017
6 lbs. 14 oz. ~ 20.5 inches long
*Transition – the most intense part of labor between 7 and 10 centimeters. Luckily, it only lasts a short time and means baby is almost here!