Our Birth Story: Baby Sandee #2 is here! Willem’s Birth Story

Our sweet boy is here! He has been for nearly a month now and his birth was so fast and furious it took me all of a month to digest it and share it with you all – something you’ve been asking me to do and something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Life has been good and being home with him is such a blessing, but fourth trimester challenges are real and we are getting through it! Let me start from the start.

Fresh off the womb!
Sleep deprived but unbelievably happy!

On June 8, I woke up over it. After having a cervical check the day before and being told I was still at 3cm (for the past 3 weeks) and 50-60% effaced (how soft your cervix is while it should be closer to 100% by birth) I understood I would never go into labor on my own or at least I had given up on this. Of course I know this could change in minutes but I had been in prodromal labor for over a month. I was OVER IT.

Vs 41 weeks and very ready to meet my baby!
About 18 hours before Willem was here, we were still waiting patiently at 41 weeks and 3 days.. I literally gave up on going into labor naturally at this point.

At 39 weeks I allowed the Midwife to strip my membranes in hopes I will be giving birth that week. I didn’t even have my cervix checked the first time think I was well over 40 weeks (yes, my little girl came at 41 weeks exactly) but I was convinced this little boy would come early for some reason.

If you have experience prodromal Labor you know it’s like being a real labor that suddenly stops when you either take a nap or do whatever, however the contractions are very real. It is very frustrating because you feel like you will give birth at any given minute within a few hours or day or 2, but really it can be weeks. It was the latter for me. But not on June 8th, that day was different at least I decided to do that day differently than I had the previous weeks m.

Ever since the end of my 35 week mark when I really started feeling those Braxton Hicks and counting my contractions to no avail, today June 8, well passed my 41 week mark, was the day I decided I would no longer count contractions and really gave up on going into labor. We decided to induce baby later that week close to the 42 week mark. The eviction notice had been given and he was coming whether he wanted to or not, we decided, mostly because the birthing center won’t let you birth there past 42 weeks. So that morning I decided I was going to relax and just wait for my destiny.

Me on my way to my prenatal massage laughing about the fact that this was my “going to the hospital” dress and that since I gave up o might ask well wear it!

I booked a prenatal massage that morning and asked the therapist to really focus on those labor acupressure points that we had been massaging with clary sage oil for weeks (this is supposed to help induce labor, at least it did with my first but had not been working). It was a relaxing massage and I felt a few contractions throughout it but that was nothing different – contractions were the norm for me at this point.

A very relaxing time…. Wonder if it had anything to do with me going into labor that night!

Hubby drove me and picked me up an hour later and I felt good. I wore my “going to the hospital outfit” that day and made a joke about how I wasn’t going to the hospital anyway so I might as well wear this comfy dress since it was a hot spring day/almost summer. I also slipped on some slip on sandals since my fingers and toes were pretty swollen – I had gained like 5 lbs that last week, of fluid because of the heat + being so pregnant.

When I got back home ate lunch and took an amazing hot bath. I asked winecoach to pour me a small glass of red wine, I just wanted to relax and forget that I wanted to go into labor so badly, and so he did. I had tried EVERYTHING from week 39, to no avail. He sat with me by the tub and we chatted and talked about all the things besides labor. Little miss was at summer camp so the house was quiet and we just enjoyed each other’s company on that very hot afternoon, lovely! He is such a supportive partner he is always behind anything I want to do so that afternoon it was just me and him since he took a week or so off to tend to me as we sat there in crotch watch central.

By the way I couldn’t tell you how many times I took a bath with clary sage essential oil. I was convinced this oil put me in labor my first time BUT this time it did nothing for me. At least it smells good… I guess!

Then we went to pick up Alexandra from summer camp and I felt too heavy to do anything else after that. I was exhausted. Yep. After a massage and a relaxing bath. It didn’t take much these days. I mean I was 41 1/2 weeks pregnant, so I sat on the deck and watched them fly a kite and play hide and go seek, with a very full heart while stroking my belly wondering when this baby would be joining us. This was a Tuesday and we had scheduled induction for Friday because well we didn’t know how long it would take and the neighbors were going to keep little Miss so that was the convenient date.

Sitting outside in the heat, on our new deck which we were blessed to have after a year and watching my two favorite people run around in the yard made me feel blessed. And hot. And tired. Suddenly I felt overcome with exhaustion and felt a strong need to go lay down on the couch and take a nap. It was already 5 o’clock and I was worried we should start dinner but hubby reminded me I needed to listen to my body and to not worry about dinner, and so I did. I literally felt like a potato, and after a two hour nap I woke up refreshed and hungry, ready to enjoy some dinner.

Naps became common that last week….

Shortly after that contractions started as they did every night for the past 4 to 5 weeks, so I pulled a chair and continue cooking alongside Winecoach who was searing fillets so I went on the warm up some Refried beans, and making some plantains or platanos Maduros – delicious. My cravings were still very much there. My contractions intensified but that was normal I was used to this, I gave it no attention and kept cooking but I did joke: “maybe we need to hurry up with this dinner so I can enjoy it, maybe tonight‘s the night, ha ha!”. Haha is correct, joke’s on me yet again.

Actual footage (screenshot of my video) of me making dinner in complete denial about being in labor ?. I was so used to contractions this was just another day for me…even though I had to cook dinner sitting to tolerate.
I could tell you this dinner put me in labor but I was already in labor when I was cooking it ?

We enjoyed our dinner went through our progressions of the evening with bath time, story time, putting little miss to bed and then I realized this time it might be different. Maybe I should start timing these contractions as they felt more and more intense but really not much different than the contractions I have been feeling the best few weeks. I asked Winecoach to bring the exercise ball to the bedroom as I got ready for bed (still in denial) so I could get through these contractions a little easier by sitting and bouncing on the ball. He looked at me like he knew there was something different about the contractions this time.

I start timing them and they were 5 to 6 minutes apart, some of them 5 1/2 minutes apart and they were intense, may be a little more intense than what I was used to so I kept an eye them. I called the Midwife On Call and was was happy to hear it was Maria, as she was also involved in my care 4 1/2 years ago with the birth of Alexandra as well. Although I didn’t quite believe this was actually happening, I felt happy she was on call and told her this might be it. She asked if I could talk through my contractions and I said barely but I can for now. I told her I’d call her in an hour after I’ve had contractions for an hour straight at least I wanted to make sure before we did anything. She said no problem I’m here all night and we hung up.

I proceeded to text my neighbor who is also a friend and has children the same age as Alexandra. “Tonight might be the night, is it OK to drop her off in about an hour if we need to”. She said the bed was already made and to drop her off anytime – this was about 10:30 PM. I called for Winecoach from the stairs upstairs and let him know the midwife and neighbor was on alert and that this might actually be it. Winecoach knew and I didn’t mess around with such things, so he said and I quote “let me finish the dishes”. That’s my man. Hahaha.

I called the midwife again at the hour mark because I knew this really it now. Oh OK well can you talk to your contractions? Maria asked. As a new contraction emerged I handed the phone to a winecoach because guess what, I could not, not this time. “The contractions are about a minute long for 5 to 4 1/2 minutes apart I think it’s time to go” I hear him tell her. The midwife asked if I had the urge to push, to which winecoach responded, “Oh we are not waiting for that” and I’m laughing again.

We packed up Little Miss Sandee in the car and dropped her off three houses away at the neighbor’s. I was still comfortable except when the contractions hit, but in between then I could talk, laugh, something that did not happen with my first labor. It was about 11:40 pm and then we headed straight to the birthing center. We are so thankful for our neighbors, and their friendship because we knew our little was well taken care of. This was her first sleepover but we had been talking about it, especially since my sister has been gone for 2 days after waiting 2 weeks for this baby to come! He was 10 days “late” after all.

The car ride was a lot better this time. I remember the first time I was in labor and that is still the worst car ride of my life. I remember asking my mom, sister and erwin to please not speak, it was that bad. Worse 17 minute car ride ever, but not this time.

This time the contractions were maybe 4 to 3 1/2 minutes apart on the way there and I felt completely in control of my breathing and was able to get through them amazingly. It’s all about mindset guys, I am convinced. So I would brace myself to get through the one minute of contractions every 3 1/2 to 4 minutes and winecoach would entertain me in between with his dad jokes making this actually an enjoyable car ride – I had waited so long and I knew I was going to meet my baby soon! These contractions were just bringing him closer to me!

We arrived to the birthing center (tap to watch full video on this amazing birthing center) and I was still making jokes: “there’s no way I’m this close to giving birth with me making jokes like this right?” Last time it was a rough 18 hours of labor pretty much the entire time, and this time I’m cracking jokes in between my “minutes”. I had no idea I was about to meet my baby VERY SOON.

I even told Winecoach to go ahead and park: “you don’t have to drop me off at the front of the hospital, I can walk”. He looked at me with surprised eyes. “You are so fully in control this time, it’s amazing how different this is going” he said. The truth is I was also amazed. I felt so great. How.

I don’t know. But let’s roll with it shall we? Let me assure you the contractions were NOT a walk in the park. They were intense. And yes, I was in pain, and I had to brace myself for when they came while walking, BUT when they were briefly gone I could walk, I could talk and I stopped maybe three or four times between the hospital entrance and the arrival of the birthing center to brace myself for a minute in between. I got it, I told him. Last time he had to drop me off in the front entrance and I had to get on a wheelchair. That’s how different it was this time.

He seemed to be in awe of my so called strength, but I really had mentally prepared myself so well for this moment, I just knew I had to listen to my body every step of the way. I could barely believe I was in real labor, and how I was experiencing it so differently this time.

After arriving to the birthing center (click to watch the short instagram version of the birthing center) just after midnight and I walked right into the same suite where I had birthed Alexandra 4.5 years prior. I saw it all with so much more clarity this time. I asked Maria to check me and I was about 5cm this time. I knew it. I told her I had to be around 4-5cm just by how my contractions felt, although I felt good, so they just left Winecoach and I alone to labor and came in every 15 minutes to check baby’s heart rate and occasionally my blood pressure.

Winecoach again was a champ and helped me so much, every time I had a contraction he applied pressure with his thumbs and fists on my lower back (sacrum) and did that to the very end, with EVERY contraction. As our hips open up as baby descends, the lower back pain can get intense, so this is extremely helpful.

My dress is tied up in front of me and behind (looks like a tail ?). Another reason this dress is a winner at every stage if the game. I was still relatively comfortable EXCEPT when contractions hit.

I continued to talk to him in between contractions but they definitely felt closer and we’re definitely getting stronger. I was still bouncing on the ball, or leaning over the sink, the wall, with him always behind me, applying pressure.

I believe around 1 AM I felt like I was going through a transition. I got hot and a bit shaky, the pain started getting more intense. This means you are transitioning to getting ready to push, although I did not felt the urge at all yet. In my head, I was hours away from this, but one thing I knew. I couldn’t stay out of the tub anymore which was already full and waiting for me. I was adamant about the tub because it helped me so much last time, so I knew it was indispensable. I told Maria, the midwife I had to get in the tub.

The tub gives me instant relief during labor. It’s not that the pain decreases, but I am able to manage the pain a lot better moving around side to side. I was on my left side in the tub just going through the contractions. It was now a little more difficult to talk in between them as they were very close together. When they came to check the baby’s heart rate they noticed it was lowering, or decreasing. She asked me if I could change positions because maybe that’s what was causing the babies heart rate to drop. I let her know that the baby HATES to be on the left side and never allowed me to to sleep on the left side. For some reason he did not like it. She laughed and told me that made a lot of sense since when I changed positions to lie on my right side in the tub guess what? Babies heart rate perked right back up. We were good, whereas before I heard some concern in her voice. Being able to change positions during labor is so important guys. Make sure you keep that in mind.

I feel like I was in the tub for about 20 or 30 minutes when Maria asked me to surrender to the pressure and if I felt like I had to push I should just do it. I did not think it was time. Last time I was in the tub for at least 4 hours, how could I be so close?? “I don’t have to push yet, I told her”. I was a bit concerned because I know that this hospital’s policy does not allow for water births. The NICU docs are not fans, so I knew I could labor in the tub as long as I wanted to, until it’s time to push the baby out.

From one contraction to the next, everything changed. Right after she asked me, I suddenly felt the urge to push and I remember telling her I was going to poop all over this tub, which is really a common feeling when you start feeling the need to push. She said, “I thought so! And now you won’t, that’s the baby!” and so I pushed. That led out what felt like an explosion to me, but it was just my water breaking! I never felt that before. Little miss was born in the bag of waters and it broke when she was coming out, so this was different too.

Only concern, meconiun was detected in the water after my water broke. Meconium is everyone’s nightmare during birth and it means the baby had a bowel movement inside of the bag of waters. There is no telling when but there is a concern the baby has or can swallow it and it can make them very sick. I was still in a trance from pushing through that contraction, when I heard Maria phone in the NICU nurses. This is pretty much standard as meconium means now this is a high risk labor and we have to ensure baby is safe and if not, they have to go to neonatal intensive care unit. That’s the plus of giving in a birthing center that is attached to the hospital. Advanced care is just minutes away.

Maria asked me if I felt like I could get up from the tub. I heard urgency in her voice but I wasn’t ready. I told her not yet, I was recovering from this contraction. I literally could not even make eye contact with anyone I was so in the zone.

Suddenly that contractions stopped, I looked her in the eye and she said “you’re complete, you’re ready” so I told her I felt like I could stand but we had to do it quickly. I waddled (low key power walked to the bed as I felt the baby’s head really really low in my pelvis. I then landed on all fours in the bed and had in the next contraction. Unfortunately, I felt like this was not the way it was going to happen for me, so after I got through this contraction lay down on my right side to let the baby out. I knew I had to be on my side, didn’t matter which. This is also how Alexandra came out on my previous labor. This position felt right.

The next five minutes happened so fast. Since we had meconium present in the bag of waters when my water broke, that was kind of a rush to get this baby out and make sure he was OK. Maria told me to push but I wasn’t ready. I told her the next contraction was coming. And when I did I pushed in the top of the baby’s head. Winecoach said he’s almost here, feel his head, and I could feel the ridges of his head and hair. Surreal. I needed a little more time to get the next contraction and that ring of fire sensation is real – I remembered feeling that before. Insert the chorus to Johnny Cash’s “ring of fire” song right here, cause that’s what it feels like. Felt another contraction and pushed his whole entire head with that second push.I think everyone felt relieved to see baby’s face looked good and his airways clear, a sign he had not swallowed meconiun. Finally I felt the urge to push a third time and that pushed his entire body out of me and it was an out of body experience.

Baby immediately came to my chest and the rest was history. He cried right away, and he looked great, with a pink complexion, head full of dark black hair and the longest fingers and toes I’ve ever seen on a newborn. Big eyes looking at me and already attempting to latch. I was wowed by this since I had a challenging time with breastfeeding little miss sandee in the beginning.

We did at least two or three hours of skin to skin before they put him in the scale right there in the room and he weighed at 8lbs and 20.5 inches long. He did a poopie and came right back to mama, except Winecoach transited him back and forth him. He scored perfect on his Apgar which means all his physical tests showed he was healthy and the meconium did not impact him. So grateful.

He must have pooped on his way out just like I’m pretty sure I did on the bed. It didn’t matter, Nothing mattered, we were beautiful, we were together and he was finally here. This was at two in the morning which means the baby came within two hours of me arriving in the birthing center. It was the most amazing experience as I felt so in tune with my body the entire time. Not because I could control what was happening but because I allowed my body to take control and just went with what it was telling me. I had zero preparation of classes or anything this time around, I just kept in mind that my Body would know what to do this time as it did last time and my plan was to listen to it and trust it, without fear.

I surrounded myself with people who were supportive of my birth plan, meaning just let my body do what it’s going to do without any interventions unless necessary. So if I could give anyone any piece of advice is – if gosh what a natural birth, please find a birthing center or a birthing team who is supportive of this. Hire a doula if you feel like you need the extra support. I felt ready enough with just my husband being that we both took the Bradley natural method of child birth with my last pregnancy and he became sort of a birth coach which is a support system. This just enables yourself partner to understand the birthing process and advocate for you when you are most vulnerable and I highly recommend this course. The birthing center creates the perfect environment doe birthing as it is: dim lights, a tub, a variety of birthing tools to be used throughout labor and ease your transition. Having nothing to worry about helped tremendously.

Winecoach ended up pulling out his phone when I got out of the tub and filming the majority of the active part of the labor, and the nurse took over so he could help me at the very end so we have footage and I’m so thankful because we also have footage of Little Miss Sandee – my sister did that for us. I am choosing to keep that private, at least for now. Thank you for understanding ?.

OK, let’s talk about the placenta. Last time with little Miss Sandee my placenta just kind of popped out as soon as the baby came out. This time I had to push it out, about 10 minutes after Willem came and it was not difficult. I often read about that sometimes the placenta can get stuck, but I did not experience this. I have to push it out and deliver it. I did share my interest and encapsulating my placenta with you all, out of sheer curiosity despite thinking it was SO WEIRD.

Well I had called Lisa, the the St. Louis placenta lady weeks earlier to talk about placenta encapsulation and told her I was thinking giving this very weird thing a shot! I had Winecoach call her shortly after the birth and let her know my placenta was here and we had delivered the baby (at 2am) and left a voicemail. To my surprise she showed up at 3 AM just an hour after my delivery to pick up the placenta. WHAT? I’m still laughing about this, and thank you Lisa for coming right away. She is so funny and amazing because she ended up encapsulating my placenta and had it ready the next day. More on that later but I feel it helped me with my mood and energy levels for sure. I’m still taking it occasionally. Read up on how she does it by visiting her website.

When you give birth at 2am the hunger killing options are limited! I opted for a banana, and cottage cheese + honey. Thankful for the birthing center’s snacks because the cafeteria wasn’t open till 7am!

When you give birth at the birthing center you have the option to stay 5-6 hours and get discharged home or move to the maternity floor for overnight observation. You can choose to stay 1-2 days but you can’t be released before 24 hours when you go up there as the baby gets a series of tests at the 24 hour mark. We chose to stay otherwise we would have to bring baby back at the 24 hour mark. That also went smoothly although of course there was minimal sleep going on, but that’s newborn life.

The appetite after having a baby is unreal. Thankfully Mercy hospital mother baby floor is very generous. I remember asking the nurse for a sandwich in the middle of the night ?. Are you even surprised?

I think I hit all the spots I wanted to share with you all. It was all in all a 10/10 experience and definitely with the 41 weeks and 3 days wait for this little man. I cannot stress enough how preparing yourself mentally and intellectually for experimenting birth is. Please do this for yourself. Read as much as you can about having a natural childbirth (if there what you wish) even if you want to get an epidural. Knowledge is power.

We are so in LOVE and he is so much like his sister in many ways. If you’d like to read how different my first was, click here for little Miss Sandee’s birth story.