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Birth Two: The Towel Trick

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My second pregnancy happened almost exactly two years after my first and very much mirrored it…up until hard labor set in. In typical fashion, my due date came and went. Six days later, I awoke around 5:30 a.m. to regular and firm contractions. They weren’t too painful and were about 7 minutes apart. Just as with the first time around, they faded, lost regularity and only pestered me randomly throughout the day.

Birth Two: The Towel Trick

That evening we decided to walk to try to get things moving—it seemed to work with our first. I was scheduled for a non-stress test and ultrasound the next morning and I didn’t want to go. Having done the non-stress test with my first, I knew it wouldn’t be painful, but I knew they might want to schedule an induction for a few days later. I did not want any sort of intervention, especially an induction because once medicine comes into play, you never know where it will end…perhaps in a c-section. So, I was hoping the word “induction” wouldn’t be mentioned at all.

While walking, my contractions started getting more regular and stronger. Soon we were making arrangements for our son to spend the night with his grandparents—though I assumed they were premature. Jonas took so long to enter the world, so I figured we still had plenty of time. Nonetheless arrangements were made, and I waddled my way home to eat some spicy Mexican, hoping the meal would once again get things rolling for good since it worked the first time around. But that’s about where the similarities end.

At 9:30, just before the grandparents arrived, hard labor set in. The contractions were coming regularly and were painful enough that I couldn’t talk or walk through them. Learning from my first labor, I did not head to the hospital the moment I felt a hard contraction. I wanted to labor at home as much as possible. I knew the earlier I got to the hospital, the more apt my labor would be to slow down and if that happens, the more likely intervention would take place. So, I got out the exercise ball and swayed to help me through them.

Jonas left and Matt and I decided to watch an old episode of one of our favorite TV shows (our nighttime ritual). He wanted to play the Wii, but I said I didn’t think I could focus enough for that. As we watched the show, my contractions progressed. I moved from the ball to bending over the back of the couch. I could feel that the baby wasn’t in the right position because I was having pretty severe back labor meaning she was face up instead of face down. My midwife, Kristin, had told me to bend over and sway during contractions to try to get her to flip. With about 10 minutes left in the show, I said, “After this I think we should go to the hospital.” I was beginning to feel some pressure and the contractions were speeding up.

By the time we left, they were coming just under 5 minutes apart and when we got to the hospital, they were 3 minutes apart. Thankfully we live only 2 contractions away from the hospital! And thankfully it was 11:00 at night because I was twisting into strange positions with each contraction. I was glad no other drivers could see me.

Labor definitely didn’t stop when we arrived. It just progressed more and more. They got me into triage where the nurse informed me I had to lie down for half an hour so they could monitor me. Was she serious?! Lying down was the last thing I wanted to do! My back hurt so much that the only “comfortable” position was to bend over and sway so Matt could put pressure on my back. Well, she informed me that, yes, it was necessary. I relented and did my best to lie down, but each contraction caused me to writhe in pain.

The nurse kept trying to ask me medical questions, but I could barely answer them. The contractions were one on top of the other with little or no break between. At one point I looked at Matt and said, “Why do we do this more than once?” Finally the nurse decided to examine me. At my appointment a few days prior, I was about 2 cm dilated. The nurse guessed I’d be about 5 cm now, but to her surprise I was nearly 9. Suddenly she sprang into action. She said they needed to get me into the delivery room right away. She asked if I wanted to walk, take a wheel chair or just lay on the bed. I said I didn’t care. So the bed it was. They wheeled me in and as we entered, I heard the nurses saying, “She’s 9 cm and she hasn’t had any drugs?”

Well, at that point I was getting no breaks between contractions and was having a hard time staying on top of them. I was clinging to the side of the bed, trying to find a semi-comfortable position. I was informed that I couldn’t get into the tub to labor in the water (which I very much wanted) because Kristin wasn’t there yet and I might deliver before she arrived. The resident doctor didn’t know how to do a water birth. The nurse asked me if I wanted any drugs and I asked for a shot of nubain. I needed something at that moment that could help take the edge off and give me time to refocus. But I’m not sure it really did anything for me. I didn’t notice much of a difference, just as with Jonas.

Speaking of the resident, the nurse introduced him to us and can you say Doogie Howser? At that point I didn’t care. I just wanted to get this kid out! Then I felt the urge to push. Doogie examined me and told me not to push because I had a cervical lip that needed to open up first. Are you kidding me? Don’t push? Like I can control that! He told me that for two contractions when I cried out, “Where’s Kristin?” Thankfully she was walking through the door at that moment.

Kristin came in and felt the baby. Yes, she was facing up, but Kristin had a maneuver that could flip her around. She told me to lie flat on my back. She rolled up a towel and placed it under the small of my back. Amazingly the position didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it might and within 4 contractions, the baby was in position. Doogie was quite amazed. I think he learned quite a lot from Kristin that night. So once she was flipped, I gave a few good pushes and within minutes Kenna entered the world at 12:33 a.m. after just 3 hours of hard labor. Matt was able to catch her and place her on my chest. The nurses gave us ample time for skin-to-skin contact and nursing which she did within the first hour of her birth. It was amazing!

The two pregnancies had been so similar that I had expected labor and delivery to go about the same. But when Miss Kenna decided she was ready to enter the world, she got it done in quick fashion. Hard labor lasted only 3 hours. Because I labored at home for so long, we were only at the hospital for just over an hour before she was born. I also felt amazingly well after she was born. It didn’t seem like I had just birthed a child at all. My recovery was amazingly fast. I didn’t require any pain medicine post-partum, which amazed the nurses…and myself (I attribute a lot of that to staying active during pregnancy). I was also able to walk right away with no pain—what a difference from Jonas’ birth.

The nurses told me I was the talk of the floor. The nursing staff was amazed at how I labored at home with no drugs and some nursing students were impressed by my birth plan—something they had yet to see. Apparently many mothers were also talking about my birth and were quite jealous of my speedy delivery. Though between the two kids, I experienced 20 hours of hard labor, so it was sort of sweet relief to have such a quick delivery this time after the long one with Jonas. My question is that if we would decide to have another one and it goes even faster, would Matt have to deliver the baby?!

Also, read Meagan’s first birth story Birth One: The Goose Egg and her third birth story Birth Three: The Water Birth.

MChurchHeadCrop10_10Meagan Church is a writer, children’s book author and Unexpectant’s mom-in-charge. She lives in the Midwest with her high school sweetheart, three children, two cats and one dog. Her passions include running, black coffee, and simple, yet intentional living. Connect with her on Twitter @unexpectant, Pinterest or Instagram. To learn more about her freelance writing, visit her website

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