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Malachi's Birth Story - A Speedy, Natural Birth

Tabs' Blog

Malachi's Birth Story - A Speedy, Natural Birth

Tabitha Helms

Today is Malachi's due date, and just like his big brother, he arrived at 39 weeks instead. We are so in love by this squishy little guy and are adjusting to life as a family of four. 

Natural Birth {}

Second babies make for a very different pregnancy experience. For the most part, I didn't really think about being pregnant because I was so busy chasing around a toddler. A couple big differences this time are not being anxious, working out regularly at Stroller Strides and Fit4Baby, and having gestational diabetes. When third trimester hit, I began experiencing regular labor symptoms--meaning things that were clues that labor was coming any day with Judah were just trimester-long occurrences with Malachi. Unfortunately, this made third trimester reeeeeally drag, and I was torn between wanting this baby out and wanting him to stay put until I had finished my work meetings the first week of October. 

On Thursday I finished my work meetings, and started trying to induce labor naturally at home. These attempts brought about 5 hours of false labor on Saturday. It was extremely frustrating to have gone through all the motions for that time period only to have them completely stop that night and then have no sign of labor at all the entire next day. All day Sunday I was exhausted, slept a lot, and had no desire to try anything to bring on labor again because of my bitter disappointment the day before. 

Monday came and I was ready to try and get things started again. Reagan was concerned that I'd go into labor at any moment and took a half day at work and worked from home, just in case. I went to Stroller Strides with Judah that morning and pushed myself a little harder--jogging between our workout stations, which I never do. 

Stroller Strides {}

I got home and used other natural methods, and made plans to go to the store once Judah woke up to get him out of the house. Reagan asked if I wanted him to come along, and at first, I said no. But by the time Judah woke up, I was having uncomfortable cramps (nothing new--I'd had them the past two weeks) and told him he should come. I ended up being glad he was there as I found myself needing to walk pretty slow around the stores and not feeling like I had a ton of energy. It was nice to have him there to help with Judah. He kept asking me if I was okay and if I was in labor as I slowed down and breathed through my cramps. I kept saying "no, they're just cramps," and waving him off. One of the things I had read about the difference between false and real labor was that real labor had pain up higher on the abdomen, and that wasn't happening. 

When we got home, it was close to dinnertime and the cramps were feeling more like what I had experienced on Saturday. There was pain spreading from my lower abdomen around to my back. I prepped Judah's dinner, and kept excusing myself to the other room to sway and breathe through the pains that were coming. At this point Reagan started asking questions more urgently. He worked on Judah's bedtime routine--dinner, bath, and bed, and I eventually called my parents to come get Judah because even though I thought it was just another repeat of Saturday, the pain was a lot more intense than it had been on Saturday. My dad was out, but thankfully my mom could get ahold of him and he came to get Judah. 

Yoga Collection doTERRA {}

I put my calm labor playlist on, cleared my digestive system many times, diffused my Centering Blend from doTERRA's new yoga collection, and inhaled Ginger Essential Oil because I was feeling nauseous, (which should have been a clue...last time I didn't get nauseous until the last few centimeters of dilating). The next hour I was aware of Reagan bustling around, getting Judah's stuff ready, packing the car, and tidying up. I just tried to find comfortable positions to get through the contractions: I focused on the words of songs I listened to, I leaned over the bed and swayed which was the most comfortable, and focused on making long, low sounds which I remembered my birth class instructor said releases oxytocin, which helps my body open up and bring baby here.

At one point, I went to get my yoga ball from the other room. A contraction hit right as I got to the ball so I sat on it and swayed; Judah came over and started hitting the ball, then threw his hands up in my face and cried "UP UP UP!" Mid-growl I yelled "REAGAN" and scooted Judah over to him as he ran into the room. Judah looked at me confused, concerned, and whimpered a little while Reagan held him and told him that "Mommy's okay." Eventually, Reagan had to put Judah in his room while he ran around getting things together to keep him away from me and get everything done. 

Birth Affirmation Cards DIY {}

Remembering that laboring in the warm tub was what helped progress my last labor, I filled the tub and tried to empty the dishwasher--remembering that changing positions and doing normal tasks helped false contractions subside. (I was still in denial that this was real.) I wasn’t able to get more than a few dishes put away, due to my need to go sway in the bedroom. I was timing my contractions and they started at 30 seconds long, 2-3 minutes apart. Per birthing class instructions, second-time parents are supposed to watch for the 3-1-1 timing: 3 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for 1 hour. After about half an hour, the contractions were increasing to 45 seconds long and 2 minutes apart. I sat in the tub, leaning over the side, spinning my hips in circles, groaning, telling myself my affirmation card sayings that each surge was bringing my baby closer to me, and patting my head and neck with a cool washcloth when the surge finished. I was sweating like crazy pretty much the whole time. Reagan came in while I was in the tub and asked me when I wanted to go. I said I didn't know because I didn't want to get there and be hardly progressed. It had only been about an hour, and I was expecting to labor about 8 hours total after my 22-hour labor with Judah. 

Shortly after that conversation, Reagan swapped Judah with my dad, and I suddenly felt my pelvis opening wider during my next few surges. It was then that I was convinced this was the real deal and made up my mind that next time I saw Reagan, I was going to tell him it was time to go. He popped in, not long after to check on me and I pronounced it time to go. He flew into action, and I attempted to get out of the tub, clear my digestive system again, breathe lots of ginger to calm my nauseous stomach, get dressed, all while stopping to have a contraction every couple minutes. I put on some Rose, Jasmine, and Neroli oil before making my way out of the bedroom.

Natural Birth {}

Reagan got me in the trunk of the car, which I had decided would be more comfortable than balancing on the back seat like I tried last time. I remember vividly how uncomfortable it is to ride in the car during contractions. Every bump in the road, changing of lanes, curving of the freeway brought a contraction. I yelled at my poor hubby a couple times though he was just trying to get me to the hospital before the baby came. I groaned, focused on my playlist, clung to the seat back to keep steady in a moving vehicle, and sweated up a storm. Thankfully there was no traffic, because that drive can take us up to 45 minutes depending on the time of day. 

Ford Edge Trunk {}

Reagan stopped in the loading zone to help me out, and never got around to moving the car before we got inside. They brought me a wheelchair, which I hadn't thought I needed; I wanted to keep walking so I could help shift the baby down, but it was quite a relief to sit and let someone else get me where I needed to go. They wheeled me to my room, and we passed a hospital tour of expectant parents on our way as I had my eyes half closed and was groaning. I remember thinking "Oh gosh, those poor moms are all going to freak out seeing me at this stage of labor and be wondering what they've gotten themselves into." I was also wondering why there was a tour happening so late at night. Funny how you have moments of completely clear thinking while in labor when most of the time you're totally checked out and in tune with your body. 

When we got to the room, the nurse began asking questions. I could hardly answer anything because the contractions were so close together. It was probably about 8pm when we got there. Reagan answered most of the questions. And we tried to piece together what we remembered from our birth plan that was still in the car. We only managed to say we wanted a natural birth, few interventions, and not to be told dilation. She asked if I could give a urine sample or needed to get in bed. I didn't acknowledge her at first because I was focusing on groaning. After two groans, I was able to say I thought I could give a sample. I barely managed it before standing up over the toilet for the next surge as I tried shakily to recap the container and wipe it off before dropping it on the ground so I could hold onto the bar for support. I washed my hands, threw off my clothes and put on the hospital gown, and got to the bed. She put the heart monitor on my belly and told me she needed to do the cervical check. I remembered that hurting so badly the first time, but I focused on the surges and groaning and honestly didn't feel any additional pain when she checked. Reagan tried to remind her that I didn't want to know how dilated I was, but she checked and pronounced I was fully dialated and effaced! She said she knew I didn't want to know but thought that would make me happy. I don't know if I gave an outward smile, but I was definitely beaming inside thinking "thank goodness, I'm almost done!" She said she wanted to make sure baby was in position because of my breech experience last time. My water was still intact so she wanted to ensure it was a head right behind the waters. I was given a second check, and again felt no pain.

They put in my hep lock and said I was getting some saline; I remember disliking that experience last time, but was mostly concentrating on my surges, so I only briefly tasted the saline in my mouth. Dr. Cap breezed in, said hi, and told me on the next surge I could push and the water would break, and we could meet my baby. I remember being a little surprised that it was time to push because with Judah I felt the moment that my body took over and started pushing on its own. That wasn't happening here. I told Reagan I didn't want to be on my back, and he asked what I did want. I couldn't decide, thinking how uncomfortable it would feel to move. Dr. Cap suggested my side and to hold my leg up and push. I rolled over and tried to hold my leg as I started to push. 

It's a little blurry at this point. I think someone else helped hold up my leg because I remember holding on tightly to the side bar on the bed and to Reagan's shoulder--eventually hanging from his neck for dear life as I pushed. With my first birth, I don't remember any pain at this point because I was concentrating so hard on what I was being instructed to do to get him out feet first. This time I felt the burning sensation they tell you about. I felt tightness and stretching and pressure. I was half aware that people were talking but had difficulty focusing on what they were saying--tuning in at one point to Dr. Cap telling me to go slow to get baby's shoulders out. I remember thinking "How on earth do I slow down? I don't know how to control speed right now." I remember thinking that I was supposed to curl into a C shape with my body with each push but didn't think I could with the position I was in on my side, against the bar, and hanging on Reagan. I remember thinking I was supposed to take breaths and keep pushing through the whole surge and tried to do that. I remember yelling as my body took over. All that vocalizing for two hours led to a very sore throat the rest of the week! I remember the suddenness of his shoulders getting out and the slippery release of the rest of his body following suit. 

Natural Birth {}

And suddenly he was on my chest, wrapped in a towel. He had whimpered a bit at first but as soon as he was there, he snuggled into me. Reagan said they had to flick his feet to make sure he was okay, and he was. I just kept saying "Hi" to him over and over and stroking his head. I had to try and sit up a little to reach him easily because his cord had a knot in it, making it shorter than usual.

I felt like I could breathe again. Reagan cut the cord after it was done pulsing, Dr. Cap massaged my stomach and the placenta slipped out, and I got Malachi to start breastfeeding without any help. Dr. Cap told me that I tore a smidge because Malachi had come out with his hand on his cheek (he still likes his hands up by his face now!). I got one stitch and then had an hour to bond. We all laughed at how quick Dr. Cap had to jump out of the shower to get here in time--not even bothering to put socks on. 

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Malachi was weighed and measured, his stats were written down, and we did his hand and footprints. Here's a comparison of our two kiddos:

Judah - 7 lbs
Malachi - 7 lbs 6 oz
Judah - 19 inches
Malachi - 19-1/2 inches
Judah - Born at 39 weeks, 1 day
Malachi - Born at 39 weeks, 2 days
Judah - 22 hours of labor
Malachi - 2 hours and 30 minutes of labor
Judah - Born at 8:22pm
Malachi - Born at 8:22pm

That last stat gave our nurse goosebumps. She couldn't believe it; what are the odds?! 

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We got moved to our room and got woken up every couple hours all night for checks and blood tests and breastfeeding, etc. We were so eager to go home the next day and worked with the nurses to make that happen. We spent Tuesday sitting in bed, loving Malachi, napping, and having visitors. The photographer had just finished taking pictures when Judah arrived with my parents and got some shots of him meeting his little brother. He was mostly uninterested, haha. After Malachi's 24-hour checks were done, we went home Tuesday night. 

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Malachi is super chill. He sleeps through all of Judah's noise, eats like a champ, didn't cry during his circumcision, and likes his Mamaroo. Everything feels so much easier this time around--we even ventured to the pumpkin patch this week, and I've been out to see some friends. It's amazing how much of a pro you feel once you've already been a parent before. It will be a whole new story when Reagan's not on paternity leave anymore, but for now we're just enjoying being together for these two weeks and trying to get some sleep at night. ;)