I’ve officially come out of the deep dark cave that was my blogging hiatus to present you with the announcement of my second born 🙂
Max Lawrence Trombetta was finally born on March 14th at 2:24am, weighing in at a solid 8lbs 8oz.
I would have never thought that choosing to do an all natural water birth would be viewed as more controversial than opting for drugs and induction in a hospital! I can’t even count the number of eyebrows raised at me or jaws I had to pick up off the floor when I said “actually…we’ aren’t going the hospital route this time around”.
My first son, Anthony, was born in a hospital. I was induced 1 week early for no particular reason other than it fit the doctors schedule and I was freaking uncomfortable. Being induced seemed like the norm and I didn’t even think to explore my options. 32 traumatic hours later, my son was born but I was too destroyed to be present and enjoy the moment. I don’t quite recall anything that happened in his first few days of his life. He struggled to eat, lost an unhealthy amount of weight, was very jaundiced, and pretty stressed out for being a newborn. Nothing about the process felt natural or beautiful to me. I knew that I needed to do something different the second time around.
Flash forward to March 2013. Holy uncomfortable. I was at a record- setting weight, in pain no matter what position I was sitting or lying in, and ready to have this baby already. Although my original due date was March 13th, I had been measuring 2 weeks ahead the entire pregnancy, and had signs that baby was ready to come out as early as mid February. I didn’t think there was any way possible that Max would hold out past March 1st. I cleared my schedule, prepped the nursery, and waited. And waited. And waited. Endless “You’re STILL pregnant?!” comments and 2 false labors later and it was my due date. I went to the Austin Area Birthing center for my 40 week prenatal appointment to find out that I was 4cm dilated and was told by my midwife that she would put money on me going into labor that night. Contractions started almost immediately after my appointment, and by 5:30pm I was headed in to the birth center with my husband and an empty carseat to give birth to our second child.
When I arrived, the environment was calm. There were no other moms in labor, and the birth center was otherwise closed for the day. I got into my super comfy robe, pulled up a movie on my iPad, and coasted through my contractions. When I wanted something to eat or drink, I helped myself. When I wanted to get up and walk, I did. When I wanted to soak in the birthing tub, I did. When I wanted all the lights off, we flipped the switch. I was not hooked up to an IV or any other monitoring devices. I was not told what to do at all. I did what felt natural and right. The contractions grew more and more intense as the night wore on, as they are meant to. I kept looking at the clock….I wanted so badly for the baby to be born on his due date (3-13-13 just has the coolest ring to it, right??).
I had decided that the birthing tub was the most comfortable place for me to be so that is where I settled and prepared to push when I felt the urge. My husband sat outside the tub and held my hand as I viciously squeezed his. Breathing turned to screaming, screaming turned to moaning, and moaning turned to swearing and crying. I had not a drop of pain medication and I felt absolutely EVERYTHING. Self doubt took over as I neared the very end of my labor. But then the urge to push overcame me….so I did. I began pushing around midnight. As the baby began to make his way through the birth canal, I got back on my knees and leaned over the edge of the tub. This, of course, made it difficult for my midwife and her assistant to see what was going on…but rather then tell me to go against what I was feeling and change positions, they grabbed a mirror and some flashlights and made it work. Not once was I corrected or told to do something other then what my body was telling me to do.
At 2:24am, Max Lawrence graced us with his presence. I was overwhelmed with relief and extreme exhaustion. He was placed on my chest, wide-eyed and calm. He grabbed my finger and looked around the room as we soaked in the tub together. It was so calm. It was a beautiful moment….and I remember every second of it unlike my first birthing experience. After several minutes, when the umbilical cord had its time to finish pumping its essential nutrients into the baby, Joe got to cut the cord. This was a proud moment as he wasn’t allowed to in the hospital with Anthony due to all the chaos and trauma going on. Joe held his son as I was helped out of the tub and cleaned up. We then moved to the bed where we all layed together for about an hour to have bonding time. The midwife then came and took Max very briefly to weigh him and check his vitals. His eyes weren’t filled with goop and he wasn’t tossed around roughly. He was brought right back to me where he nursed and slept on my chest for several hours.
When the sun came up, Joe headed out to find me a big breakfast to get my energy up again. He returned with an IHOP bag loaded with pancakes, eggs, and bacon…and I ate like I would never eat again. Labor takes a lot out of a girl 😉
After making sure my vitals were stable for several hours straight, the midwife let me know I was welcome to head home whenever I felt ready. We opted to stay for a couple hours to nap, but then headed home with our sweet baby boy by noon. Recovering at home is so much more practical!
Though I know there are certainly circumstances in which a hospital birth is necessary, having done it both ways myself, I would like to encourage expecting mothers to explore their options at the very least. I am SO happy that I opted for an all-natural labor and water birth. Everything about it felt natural and the way things were meant to be. Women’s bodies are BUILT for this.
This first two weeks have been…..oooh I’m afraid to jinx myself…..easy. Max is a VERY easy baby thus far.
Actually the hardest part of having a newborn has been our 5 year old’s adjustment period. Anthony is a fabulous big brother and has been very helpful. He’s had a little trouble coming to terms with the fact that my time is spread thin. He is slowly feeling better about it all.
So there you have it!! I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about water birth and I’m happy to share more of my experience with you if you’re curious!!
By the way, I certainly need to thank my friend and fellow photographer Tiffany Chapman for the beautiful and powerful images from Max’s birth (mixed in with some iphone photos–the good ones are hers!). It it such a blessing to be able to look back on that night and see all that was gone through to bring this little miracle into the world.