If you read my birth story for my first son, Walter, you would know that it was a gruelling, brutally long and frustrating labour and delivery! That’s first babies for ya! But as horrible as it was, that experience paved the way for a much easier, less frightening, more (dare I say it!?) enjoyable experience this time around. And I don’t just mean because I’m a loosey-goosey now and my babies just fall out of my body (lol?)… More because I knew what to expect, and that I wasn’t legitimately going to die from birthing a child. That helps when you’re in the throes of having your nether-regions shredded by a human head.
But before I get into it, I have to backtrack a bit because this story has an interesting start. Jasper came into existence by pure accident. In fact, not only were we not trying for a second baby, we were actively trying NOT to have one. It’s ok. Plans and schedules are for losers anyway. (Yeah right. I’m extremely A-type. This was NOT COOL).
So, one broken condom later and I’m immediately on the phone with my doctor sister…
“It’s fine, just take Plan B. It works like 95% of the time, unless you ovulated like right that second you’ll be totally good.”
I check my Period App… “You’re ovulating TODAY!”
Well fuck. *Runs out and IMMEDIATELY gets Plan B, takes Plan B, gets ragingly nauseous, high-fives self for avoiding an unwanted pregnancy*
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’m in the kitchen with my Mom and my other sister.
Sister: “Hey so I guess that Plan B worked? You’re not pregnant?”
Me: “Oh yeah! It totally worked. I’m supposed to get my period today, so I’m sure it’s coming.”
Sister: “I have a pregnancy test in my backpack from work. Take it just for fun!”
Me: “OK, I love doing pointless things!”
TWO PINK LINES…
I’d love to say that I immediately rallied and started planning for my second child with a serene, motherly smile on my face… But I really didn’t. I cried. I panicked. I shot death glares at my husband and his stupid warrior sperm because it was clearly all his fault. How was I going to handle another pregnancy in the last years of my Ph.D., let alone ANOTHER BABY??
But time has a funny way of soothing fears and preparing you for the inevitable. Slowly I stepped out of my denial and started imagining my second baby, my family of four. By the time I hit my ninth month, I was almost starting to feel ready! I’d done as much as I could to set myself up for maternity leave, we’d moved into a new and larger home, I’d potty trained and transitioned my 21-month-old son into a “big boy” bed… Maybe this wasn’t such a catastrophe after all?
Four days before my due date, the first contractions started. I knew exactly what they were this time, and after a 40 hour labour with my first child I figured I’d better settle in for the long haul. I walked around the neighbourhood and hit up some garage sales. I threw a couple of things in a bag, just in case. See you in like three days, baby!
6 hours later I’m in labour and delivery at 7cm dilated! Such a MASSIVE difference from the first time! YES! I can do this. It’s brutal, but it’s not a marathon! Last time, I was so exhausted by the end of it that I practically stuck the epidural in my own spine to get it done faster. This time (amazingly) I didn’t even want it. I laboured in the shower in my room (that will forever go down as the best shower of my life. Boiling hot water shooting on your body is a lifesaving distraction. I’m pretty sure I legit burnt my skin. The nurses were concerned).
Transition was agony – I felt like my pelvis was being ripped in half with each contraction. But I also felt a sense of power and strength. My body had done this before and every cell vibrated with the memory of what needed to be done to bring this baby earthside. Time to push.
One push. I felt my baby shift lower as my body moved him down toward the world.
Two pushes. I felt the stretch and burn that told me we were so close.
Three pushes. I felt my child leave my body, the home that I’d carefully grown and tended for him over the last nine months. Three pushes. Just like that I was a mother again.
I’d spent nine months almost dreading the arrival of this baby. Nine months of feeling kind of detached from the pregnancy and the life growing inside me because it hadn’t been part of my plan. Everyone told me it would change the moment my child was born, but I didn’t really believe them…
The second that beautiful, perfect, slippery, wriggling baby hit my arms I felt something solidly lock into place in my soul. It was almost like a part of my heart was missing and I didn’t even realize until it shot back into place like a dart finding the bullseye. So many stars had to align to bring my Jasper James to me, and as soon as I laid eyes on him all the worries, annoyances, and fears were wiped away and replaced with the purest, cleanest love. He’s exactly who we needed, exactly when we needed him, and his place in our lives and hearts was simply waiting for him to fill it up!