Nathan and I had the absolute joy and blessing of welcoming our second child, Rhys Golden Custance, into the world on December 28th, 2017.
My pregnancy went a little more rough than the first go around. I had a ton more discomforts than I was ready/prepared for, and many of them prevented me from doing normal things that I love to do, which was super hard for me emotionally. To say I was ready to have this baby is quite the understatement.
To add to my impatience, at 36 weeks, my midwife had enthusiastically told me that the baby was measuring a week ahead, and would probably come sooner than 40 weeks. But at each subsequent appointment she’d promise that ‘next week’ I’d either have the baby or get my membranes stripped…only to find out the next week that I just wasn’t dilating like I should have been. It didn’t make sense to me, because I was effacing quickly (I was 90% by 39 weeks) and I kept having contractions on and off.
At 40 weeks, I was feeling super fluish and having harder and harder contractions, that just seemed to fizzle out. I could tell the baby was super low, because my pelvic pain was getting worse and sharper. I wasn’t supposed to go in until the 28th to have my membranes swept, but I decided to call on the 26th to see if they could do it then, because I was so miserable. Thankfully, they were able to squeeze me in.
Within an hour, I started having hard contractions, 7 mins apart. Then after awhile, they were 3 mins apart. By 1am, they were 1 min apart, I was shaking and ended up throwing up. I probably should have gone to the hospital, but something in my head told me I wasn’t in labor. I laid down, and the contractions went away.
All day on the 27th, I would start having those pinchy labor contractions, and then they’d abruptly stop. My sister-in-law, who was a Labor & Delivery Nurse, text me to check in on me and after I told her what had been happening, she urged me to go in the next time they were consistent.
Labor & Delivery
That evening, my mom helped me to relax so I could get my contractions going. She could probably be a doula because she seriously sat there for over an hour massaging my back and head and helping me to get my mind off the contractions. It was awesome! Finally, they were 3 mins apart again, so Nathan and I headed to labor and delivery.
During our short drive there, they started to get closer together, to 2 mins apart. But by the time we got checked in, they were getting further and further apart.
Thankfully, I had the most amazing nurse! She really was a rock star. I was dilated to a 4 when she checked me, and my contractions were 4-5 mins apart. She gave me all my options (stay, go home, walk around, get Pitocin, etc.) and was super supportive of whatever I chose. Nathan and I decided we’d walk around for a little bit and see if we couldn’t get them more consistent. So, we walked around for an hour. They went back to 2-3 mins apart, but when we stopped walking they started spacing out again. The crazy thing was that I actually had to stop and breathe through the contractions because they were so painful. I don’t remember really ever being in pain when I had Clark, so it was a very, very different experience.
We didn’t really want to go home at this point (it was about 10pm), so I decided I’d give the Pitocin a try. She set it to the lowest setting (4), and Nathan and I set up the laptop and started watching a movie. At almost an hour in, I realized I needed to go to the bathroom, so I rung the nurse, she unplugged the Pitocin, and waited outside of the bathroom so she could hook me back up again.
Just like with Clark, I went to go to the bathroom and immediately started shaking uncontrollably on top of contractions. I peeked my head out, and told her she might want to call the dude for my epidural, because I was definitely transitioning. (She’d told me before we’d need at least 30 mins for him to get there, and I did NOT want to forgo it this time around with how painful my contractions were.)
She went and called him, but expressed (politely of course) that the baby wasn’t showing any signs that I was in transition, and it was probably just nerves.
I sat in the bath to take the edge of the shaking until he got there, and then once he got the epidural in, she offered to check me. I asked her to guess how far along I was before she checked me, and she sheepishly said, “Well, I don’t want to be a party pooper, but in my experience I’d say probably a 6? The baby’s heart rate usually dips when you transition, and his has been really consistent this entire time. Your contractions are more consistent, but still only 3-4 minutes apart.”
She reached up there to check and her eyes about popped out of her head, and she started laughing hysterically.
“What? What am I?” I asked, totally expecting the worst.
“It’s hard to tell because your water bag is bulging, but you’re like a 9 or an 8! I can’t believe it! I can FEEL YOUR BABIES HEAD!”
She just sat there laughing in disbelief for a second, and then I was kind of like, “Sooo what now? Do we call my midwife?”
She jumped up and was like, “Yup! I’m going to go call her right now!”
She came back and sat with me while they were waiting for my midwife to arrive. We were just chatting when all of a sudden I heard a huge POP! And a huge gush of water came out of me!! (I actually screamed just a little bit because it totally took me by surprise.) With Clark, my water didn’t break until I started pushing, and I didn’t even feel it happen. The nurse went to check and make sure it was just the water, and I remember her being really careful with not moving me, later she said it was because she was afraid if she moved my leg to clean the water up, the baby would slide right out! Haha!
Anyway, it was starting to take a while for my midwife to arrive, and I could tell the nurse was getting nervous. I asked her half-jokingly if she’d ever had to deliver a baby before, and she said yes! But she assured me my midwife would be there. And then I started feeling my contractions. Right above my pubic bone, I could FEEL the contraction! And I totally felt this crazy urge to push! She could totally tell what was going on and her eyes got huge and she was like, “Do you feel like pushing?! Don’t you dare push! Breath out!” (It sounds dramatic, but we were both laughing.)
Thankfully, that only happened twice before my midwife got there. And then there was this crazy rush of people everywhere getting everything ready, lights turning on, tables being moved, etc.
The nurse and my midwife and Nathan all held my legs, and I was told to start pushing. One contraction, push push push…two contractions, push push push…and then, “Is that a bald spo…no..that’s his forehead! Oh! He’s face up! Okay, one more push, girl!”
I took a deep breath, and started pushing, pushing, pushing and then pop! Out came my sweet little Rhys! Face up, looking at his mommy!
They laid him on my chest and he only cried for like a second. I totally started panicking that he wasn’t breathing, because he was so, so quiet. But everyone assured me he was just fine, just a “chill baby”. Nathan got to cut the cord after a few minutes, and after I got some good skin to skin time, they took him to weigh him – 6 lbs 15 oz. My TINY little boy! I never thought I’d have such a little baby!
We only stayed in the hospital for 24 hours. I totally thought we’d stay longer this time, but I had the same complaint as last time…I just wanted to snuggle with Nathan! Haha! 🙂
Thankfully, my recovery has been so so much better this time around. I remember really feeling out of it for WEEKS after I had Clark. I was so weak and felt like I was in a daze. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a lot more prepared for a newborn this time around or what, but I’ve just felt a lot better.
Nathan was able to get a short paternity leave with his job, so it’s been super nice having him around to help with Clark (and let’s be honest, to cuddle!) and run errands for me. He’s still the most amazing guy in the world. I don’t know how I got so dang lucky!
I also was able to get some clarity on why the last couple weeks of my pregnancy essentially SUCKED! (haha! sorry, can’t think of a better way to sum it up!) My midwife explained that when the baby is facing up like that they don’t engage properly with the pelvis and even though THEY are ready to be born and your body is trying to get them out, you won’t dilate or you dilate reaaallly slowly. It’s also extremely common to start going into active labor and then stop because your body knows something isn’t right. It also causes a LOT of pain down there (which is why I actually FELT my contractions this time!!). The other things that are super common with a face up baby is pushing for a really long time and excessive tearing, which THANKFULLY neither happened to me. I only pushed for 10 mins and I had a 2nd degree tear 🙂
Anyway, it was just a huge relief to finally understand why everything happened the way it did.
I am totally in love with our little Rhys bug. He is the sweetest little guy. We love watching him sleep, because he looks so peaceful and relaxed. He’s still so very quiet, unless he’s being changed. He sleeps a lot and eats very well. He’s already gained an entire pound in just one week! Clark absolutely loves him. He was very, very shy around him the first day, but now that he’s warmed up to him, he loves running up and giving him kisses or hugs.
My favorite part about giving birth and having a little newborn around is how much love just radiates everywhere, bouncing off the walls! Ah! It’s the best. Totally worth all the sleepless nights! 🙂