Birth Story: The Arrival of Austin McGovern

I told myself all sorts of comforting lies while I was waiting for baby #2 to arrive.

He would be early. 

My labor would go more quickly with a second baby. 

I would be better prepared to handle the pain and discomfort of labor. 

Nope. As his due date approached everyone I saw reminded me he could arrive at any time and asked for an update on any signs he may make an appearance. There were none. Each day was a regular day. I wasn’t having any contractions, just the expected soreness of a woman carrying 40 extra pounds in her middle.

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Although I was tempted, I didn’t try to encourage the baby’s arrival. I took walks every day but didn’t chow down on jalapeños or drink castor oil, etc. I thought about it but I read a few articles that discussed how “natural induction methods” would only cause contractions not labor (oh, hell no). Most importantly though, I just wanted to give this baby the space to take his time.

Yes, I complained about waiting. Yes, I was getting frustrated and increasingly short with people who inquired about him. It felt like the ultimate game in patience, which is very dramatic of me as I went into labor only two days after the due date.

We were hoping for a punctual baby on October 26th but on October 29th just after we put Haines down for his nap, I had my first contraction. Tyler was trying to get me out of the house for a mental health break but I found myself frozen in pain in our kitchen. I went to bed instead.

With Haines my contractions slowly increased in frequency and intensity. This time they  started with a higher intensity and were irregular for hours. Contractions are jerks. Because of my previous history (tested GBS negative but Haines developed sepsis at 2 weeks old) our midwife encouraged us to go ahead and come in so I could get antibiotics in plenty of time. My midwife practice seemed as traumatized as we were by that experience.

Laboring at home is definitely my preference. Last time I felt much more able to handle the pain, channel my thoughts, be distracted, etc. At the hospital I was just watching the clock. An hour has passed, where were we now? Any progression? It felt like torture BUT the anxiety of not knowing when to leave for the hospital for antibiotics had also weighed heavily on us. I barely got to the hospital in time to deliver Haines and Tyler was especially worried about a repeat.

When I arrived at the hospital I was only 3 cm which is basically… nothing. My contractions were only 10-12 minutes a part and manageable pain wise. The hardest part was how nauseous I felt. My midwife encouraged me to eat (a pleasant surprise!) but I stuck to ginger ale and ice.

After several hours of laboring at the hospital and only progressing to 5 cm my midwife broke my water in an effort to speed things up. In case you were wondering, that is a very unpleasant experience. My midwife felt sure this would do the trick but two hours later I was not quite 7 cm and completely worn out. The contractions felt brutal. The idea of an epidural had previously terrified me but I was ready for some help.

Honestly I had been so proud of myself for having a natural birth with Haines, I really wanted to do it again. It was solely a pride/vanity issue. Now? Now I know that epidurals can be the best thing ever. It kicked in quickly and my contractions all but melted away. My midwife gave me pitocin while I took a nap and I woke up a couple hours later ready to roll. She came in to check me and found the baby’s head coming her way!

I was completely taken off guard that it was time to push but we got started immediately. In 3 contractions, Austin McGovern joined the world!

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When Haines was first placed on my chest, I felt terrified. I was overwhelmed by giving birth. I was overwhelmed by having a baby. The joy of his arrival was completely overshadowed by the incredible change that had just taken place in my world. When Austin was placed on my chest, it felt like everything. I don’t know how to describe the way the room came to life, the total joyous tears and chaos as everyone celebrated his arrival.

And instead of feeling like Austin was a stranger, I knew him. He was mine, he was ours. He was here.

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D(ue)-Day is Coming!

Our baby is due on Friday. Friday. As in this week. Like today is Tuesday. We could be a family of four by the end of the week. We could be a family of four by the end of the day. Or it could be a couple weeks from now. Let’s hope not. I’ve got my fingers crossed for an October baby. If we go into November I’ll most certainly cry.

As if I’m not crying now. I’m pregnant. I cry a lot.

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I also find humor in how ridiculous my belly is. 

At this point in my pregnancy with Haines I was so worn out. I felt like I was missing out on all my favorite things. I couldn’t walk for very long without wearing out which felt so disappointing. The pain I felt in what is now my “under belly” (when pregnant there are multiple dimensions to your belly) and hips was constant.

With this little dude, I feel so much more positive. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, I’m still prone to feeling overwhelmed and crying in the bathtub. Yes, my body hurts. BUT I’m not missing out on my favorite things. Over the past two years, my favorite things have adjusted. The person I most want to see each day (sorry, Tyler) just wants to hold hands and walk aggravatingly slowly. He wants to sit on the floor and read books. Sometimes he wants to pretend to sleep on the floor. That I can do. I’m a pro at pretending to sleep on the floor.

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He does like to sit on my lap though, which is extremely difficult. 

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Fun on the floor!

I still don’t love being pregnant. Feeling the baby move can be just as painful as it is beautiful. I want to eat things without feeling guilty that I haven’t provided another person with enough adequate nutrition. I prefer walking down the hallway without someone commenting on my waddle. And my waddle is pretty pronounced. When I think I’m walking normal, I’m most likely to be called out for waddling.

When I was pregnant with Haines I also obsessed over what labor would be like. This is totally reasonable, although not helpful. For weeks (months?) I couldn’t stop thinking about childbirth. I read The Birth Partner cover to cover (which I recommend) and practiced my breathing from yoga.

Luckily, this time I’ve only started thinking about childbirth in the last couple weeks although it’s still not helpful. Now my thoughts are more like traumatic flashbacks. I am not someone who found childbirth empowering. If you’re pregnant, I hope you do. I thought it was real hard and overwhelming. Mother Nature has removed many of the details of Haines’ birth from my memory and I only sort of remember what happened. I know the chronological order and I know how I felt but I can’t remember feeling it. It’s rather disorienting.

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This lady has no idea what she’s in for!

But here we are at 39 weeks and 4 days ready to go! My hospital bag is packed, the grandmothers are ready to help with Haines and I’m about to start eating jalapeños by the fistful if this little dude doesn’t show soon.

Growing Family

Children are not logical.  They’re adorable, pretty fun (some of the time), and make your heart explode with joy on a regular basis. They are not; however, logical. They cost lots of money, sleep, time, sanity and home cleanliness.

And yet, here we are, ready to do it again. Not just ready, excited. (ILLOGICAL!) Another little one will be joining our family at the end of October. And if I’m totally honest I’m terrified. Bringing a new person into the world, our little world, could not be more intimidating.  But I don’t think being afraid is a bad thing. It just means something important is at stake.

It was an enormous decision to try for baby number two. There were lots of reasons to go one and done. There were two reasons to try again:

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1. I have loved watching Haines grow. I have loved every milestone, every new word, even every painful new tooth. Watching Haines grow from a fairly boring baby to a tiny, humorous person is joyous in the most quiet, incredible ways.

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2. I have a sibling who is almost 11 years older than me. I love her and our family just the way it is but growing up I often wished we were closer in age. I want Haines to have the full sibling experience… even though I know that means two kids under two, crazy fights over toys, personal space and the like.

These last 16 months have not been very easy. I have a tendency to isolate myself when I feel low and having a young child naturally keeps you at home more. This is something that I constantly have to work through- making sure I get of the house, reminding myself to make plans, to reach out to others. My company, nor Haines’ or Tyler’s, is not quite enough to give me all that I need. I’m not actually sure what does give me all that I need.

I assume that’s because I’m a growing, evolving person whose life has become much more complicated since adding 1 (and soon 2) children. So what I needed once, isn’t exactly what I need now. Plus before Haines I didn’t have it all figured out either.

I thought that by the time I had children I would be a pretty perfect, mentally sound person. I’m actually still me, which is more complicated and will probably make for a better mother overall.

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So, littlest Barrack we are not perfect. We will always make mistakes, but we will love you more than you can possibly imagine. See you in a few months baby B!