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My Second Birth Story

In case you were wondering, eating all of those dates worked.

baby girl

Although statistics say only 10-20% of women will have their water break before labor starts, I’ve had it happen twice now. This time around, I woke up around 3:30am to a small wet spot in my bed. I wasn’t 100% positive it was my water, since it’s not uncommon for pregnant women to pee their pants at this point in pregnancy, but I had a gut-feeling that it was amniotic fluid starting to leak out. So, I went back to bed to see if I’d leak more or start feeling contractions.

I woke up later that morning around 7am and didn’t feel any more leaking or contractions, so I got ready and went to work as usual– it was a short day for the holiday weekend, so I figured I could get through a 4-hour work day and leave early if necessary. The day went by uneventfully, and I started to wonder if I really did just pee my pants that morning. I was afraid I had gotten excited over nothing!

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Later that afternoon, probably around 3:30pm, I started to see more signs that I was losing my mucus plug, so that started to give me hope again. (I had been gradually losing my mucus plug for the past week, but this time it was tinted pink which I had read was a sign that labor was really close!) I decided to be productive while I could, testing a couple of new recipes in the kitchen and then I took a walk around the block to see if I could get any contractions going.

It wasn’t until I was putting my son to bed for the night that I started to feel some contractions. Perhaps it was the breastfeeding that got things going? I feel bittersweet about that, because that was the last night my son wanted to nurse– we officially made it one day past his third birthday. (My mom nursed me until my third birthday, so I’m happy we made it that long!) Once my milk came in for his baby sister, he attempted to nurse for two more nights but told me that my milk “tastes yucky” now. I might have cried a little when he asked me to toss his nursing pillow out of his bedroom.

After our bedtime routine, my contractions were still mild, so Austin and I went to dinner because we already had a babysitter lined-up for the night. My contractions were 5 minutes apart almost instantly, but they still felt like menstrual cramps– nothing I couldn’t talk through. So, I used my contraction timer throughout dinner and then we headed home to get our hospital bag ready. After talking to my doula team, they suggested that I try laying down for the night to see if the contractions get better or worse. I definitely didn’t want to go to the hospital for false labor, though at this point I was pretty positive it was the real thing. To my surprise, I could sleep pretty well. I would wake up for a particularly bad contraction only to fall right back asleep. The bad thing about coping with them this way was that I stopped timing my contractions… I was too much of a zombie to use my phone each time a contraction woke me up. However, around 5am I had one contraction that shot me out of bed! I instantly called my on-call midwife to let her know that I thought things were getting real.

The weird thing was, as I was making my phone calls I realized that my contractions were significantly stronger but much further apart than they had been– more like 10 minutes apart. Though I probably sounded crazy for calling, I knew I had to get to the hospital ASAP. In the back of my head, I recalled that during my last labor my contractions became further apart when I was ready to push. Austin and I jumped in the car and had a 12 minute drive to the hospital, which was pretty torturous for me, since I couldn’t position myself comfortably in the car. I couldn’t possibly sit through the contractions at this point, so I must have looked ridiculous trying to find some relief! When we arrived at the hospital, I knew my body was already trying to push the baby out, so I could barely walk. Austin got me a wheelchair and I did my best to resist the urge to push… I didn’t want to have a baby in the hospital lobby.

When we got to triage, I asked them to check me ASAP. Not surprisingly, I was fully dilated and the nurse could easily feel the baby’s head– very similar to my last labor experience, though I think I was even a little further along this time. My midwife arrived at the hospital 5 minutes later, and my doula arrived shortly after I started pushing. I was so happy to see them both!

Other than getting the intervention-free birth I had wanted, what was wonderful about this particular labor experience was the zen-like mood in my birthing room. My midwife was calm and relaxed, my doula was rubbing my back with an essential oil blend that made my room smell like a spa, and my contractions were still about 10 minutes apart, so I had a long break between each of my pushes. No one counted down when I needed to push; I simply pushed when and how my body told me to, without feeling rushed or pressured to do anything I didn’t want to do. I also didn’t lay on my back this time around, which was a nice change. (Being on my back was torture last time.) I started off pushing on all-fours, which is how I’m usually the most comfortable getting through contractions, and then my midwife suggested that I try laying on my side so that I could immediately use my own hands to pull my baby up onto my chest when she came out. I loved that idea, and as soon as I was on my side our baby girl came out on my next push. Despite the brief and intense pain, I was reminded how AMAZING it feels when your baby comes out– there’s instant relief! Our baby girl rested on my stomach while we waited for her umbilical cord to stop pulsing. (We did delayed cord clamping, so we didn’t cut it until the pulsing stopped.) Shortly after cutting the cord, I delivered the placenta, and we all celebrated that I was officially “not pregnant” anymore! I was also happy that my midwife let me skip the post-delivery pitocin, since I avoided it last time, too.

From start to finish, my entire labor was about 27 hours (17 hours with no contractions), but just like my last one I was only super-uncomfortable for the last hour or so. According to my phone records, I called my doula at 5:40am to let her know that my contractions had picked up and I was at the hospital and ready to push just 30 minutes later– so things definitely moved fast! Apparently I just can’t tell that my labor is “real” until I’m ready to push. And even though our baby girl was 8 pounds (about 1 1/2 pounds larger than her big brother was), I only had a tiny tear and my recovery has been a breeze this time around. I think the position you push in makes a big difference!

toddler holding baby girl

Because I wasn’t able to deliver within 24 hours of my water breaking, our baby girl did have an extra blood test run to make sure she showed no signs of infection, and everything turned out perfectly. Just like my last labor, I knew that my risk of infection would increase as soon as we started introducing cervical checks at the hospital, so I tried to stay at home as long as possible to avoid unnecessary interventions. Baby girl was moving well all day long, and I had tested negative for Group B strep, so my midwife was comfortable with this game plan. (I probably would have gone to the hospital after 24 hours if I showed no labor progress, just to be on the safe side.)

For any other pregnant moms out there, I wish you a full-term pregnancy like I had this time around. While we were SO happy to meet our son 3 weeks early, I had no idea how much easier babies can be when they make it to nearly 40 weeks! Our baby girl was instantly good at breastfeeding (no pain for me!) and she seems to have less digestive/gas/reflux than my son did as well, which I assume is because she had 3 more weeks for her digestive system to develop. While it’s easy to feel impatient to meet your baby, the wait is so worth it.

If you can’t tell, we’re feeling incredibly lucky over here!

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Comments

Alex

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby girl!! I would love to hear the top things you did this pregnancy that helped you have such a wonderful birth experience this time. Did you consistently eat 6 dates a day? Anything else? I would love to know for myself in the future. Thanks!!

Eileen

Congratulations!

Angela

Oh congrats Megan!! She is such a sweetheart and I’m so thrilled for you and your family. It’s so awesome to hear that you had such a positive birth experience, and that you feel so much better this time around. I’m sure hoping for the same thing!! hah. I hope the adjustment phase is going as smoothly as possible. 🙂

Megan

Congratulations, how wonderful! Great birth story, thanks for sharing it. I wonder if it really is the dates working their magic because my story sounded a lot like yours… not really painful until I was about ready to start pushing! I’d definitely recommend the date regimen too.

Laura

I had my second baby this year. Had a similar experience, barely got to the hospital in time, got into our room and started pushing immediately, he was delivered 10 minutes later! That’s great you were able to nurse that long! When my 3 year old was a little over 2 years old he noticed the milk tasted different bc I was preggo and he stopped nursing. I was so sad!

Anne

Congratulations Megan! I’m so happy for you and your family, I wish you all the best. Your daughter looks adorable. Reading your post made me so emotional! I am now overdue and my husband and I are becoming more and more anxious to meet our baby girl. Thank you so much for the encouragements and for sharing your experience of giving birth lying on your side. That is what I intend to do when the time comes, but since this is my first pregnancy, I love to read about positive experiences from other women! You also renewed my motivation to keep eating the six dates a day, although I’d gotten a little fed up lately! Anyway, thanks again for everything you do, you really made a difference in my pregnancy 🙂 I hope you guys get to relax and spend some time as a family!

Rita

Congratulations! Health and happiness always.

Lorena

Congratulations Megan!!!
I’m still pregnant:) I past the due date September 6th and I just can’t wait!!
Any suggestions? Thanks

Sara maples

What a great story!! Congrats to you all. You made it in time, again!

Hila

Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your stories! Reading your blog put the idea of an unmedicated birth on my radar. I had an amazing birth of my second child early this year and he is an excellent baby! I wish you all the joy with your family!

Jodi

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! It’s wonderful to hear that everything went well for you! I hope you and your family can rest up and enjoy being together!

Leanna

Congratulations on your healthy baby girl!

Stephanie Nelson

Congratulations!

Katie

Thank you for sharing your story! Congratulations to you!!

Anita

wow that is amazing!!! I’ll be eating dates if i ever have another baby. My third baby, which was my second home birth was long…28 hours with the last few hours being very intense and difficult, but the pushing was very quick. Only a couple minutes pushing.

Milissa

Congratulations on your beautiful new daughter. I am so happy your birth was so lovely. The comment about the ride to the hospital…oh, yeah, I can relate. We had about the same distance to our hospital and it was solo uncomfortable. And I was only 1 cm dilated when I got there with contractions 90 seconds long and two minutes apart. And they were beyond painful. But, I,too, had a drug free experience and healthy baby. I am so very happy for you and your family!

sabijo

Congrats Megan!! Glad your birth experience was positive and you and baby are doing well. Its funny, reading your blog all thee years makes me feel like you are part of my community. 🙂

Laurel

Congrats on baby #2! I’m pregnant with my first and I hope to have a natural birth like you. Enjoy the sweet babes!

Mandy

First of all congratulations on the birth of your daughter! Your birth story was very touching. I have enjoyed your website, not only for the recipes, but for the mom and baby section too. It’s hard to find breastfeeding support where I’m from, especially if you nurse past the first 6 months, so it’s great to hear your story. Not sure if you feel comfortable answering this or not, but I was wondering if you would give my your view on immunizations for babies. Right away, later or never?

Laura

What a great birth story!! With my second, I went from 4cm (at which point they wouldn’t admit me and told me to walk) to birthing the baby in about a half hour. My doula missed the whole thing! Intense, but blissfully intervention free! And my water never broke, so she was born in an intact sac! Fast labor with no tearing after a full night’s sleep meant I was up and about in 15 minutes, not tired at all, I felt like a million bucks.

Julie

So happy all went well! Congratulations and best wishes for a speedy recovery and loads of special bonding time with your expanded family.

Val

Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl! Looks like big brother is happy too!

Robin

Congratulations!!! Awesome birth story. I have 4 kids and my water broke before labor started with two of them. With my 4th baby my water didn’t break until he was emerging!!

Carolyn

I love to read a good birth story! How awesome to give birth to two healthy babies with no medical intervention! As a birth doula, I loved hearing that you had a doula as part of your support team! Seems to me that you birthed the way you live!

Natural and Organic Mom

Congratulations!!! Blessings to you and your family. The transition from one to two is an adjustment for sure, but after that it just multilplies with joy. I’ve never been fond of dates, just too sweet for me, but glad to hear they can be so helpful. I had a wonderful sixth birth at home in June & was a great experience. Similar to the other poster who had a home birth mine was not short and once contractions started at 9pm it seemed to be time to get ready. I wrapped up my cooking, called my midwife to alert her and took a shower. After the shower I was certain we were in the zone of starting labor. Midwife began to make her way. My husband started cleaning the house feverishly (really?) and then finally started to fill the tub once my last child had succumbed to sleeping (He told her I was going to have a baby tonight, yikes!). Midwife arrived after I spent at least an hour trying to delay the urge to progress to pushing and we did our usual vitals and I was fully dilated and my cervix was gone. Then I continued to wait for the pool to fill up. This is my least favorite part of pregnancy, the labor! When I got in the pool, I did two preliminary pushes and on the second push the water broke. I assumed a hands and knees partially prone position. Three more pushes and she was out. Crazy thing is the second push rolled into the third push because this was another surfer baby (where water breaks and baby head comes all the way down) and her head had not fully submerged, but I was out of pushing power, so on fourth push her head was out and then the shoulders on final push. There was very little discomfort during pushing, but plenty of it during labor building up to it. When I delivered my fourth and fifth child’s the pushing was painless upon delivery, but I was on knees for one hanging over hospital bed with arms and standing up on number five. Go figure! Thanks for sharing your story

Dana

Beyond wonderful! Congratulations!

Hope

Congratulations!!! I lOVE reading birth stories 🙂

Fanceeist

Beautiful baby, and great story. Congratulations! What a blessing. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Penny O

Megan – Sounds like you had an INCREDIBLE birth experience. Kudos to your doula team for suggesting you try to sleep through your labor. Did you feel rested when it came time to push? I also love births without directed pushing. SO PEACEFUL!!! Your uterus is amazing and everything you’ve been doing to help nourish it. Good work Mama!!

Karen Furie

Congratulations to you and your lovely family. Much continued health and best wishes to all. Thanks for sharing your story and your fabulous blog and recipes!

Ieva Deroui

Congratulations!! Loved your story! Its so inspiring and I would even say peaceful compared to others I`ve read. I`m currently 40 weeks and 3 days and waiting for the ‘ big day’ as it`s my first baby.. Your story made me feel more relaxed, calm and less stressed about it. Now I know that not every birth story comes with terrible pain and struggle.
Thanks for sharing your personal story! Best wishes to you and your family!

Kathleen

Congratulations! I was just wondering what positions do you recommend pushing in for minimal tearing?

    Megan Gilmore

    I’ve heard squatting is really good for preventing tearing, as gravity helps bring the baby down easier, and I also felt good pushing while I was up on all fours. Eventually, I pushed my baby out while lying on my side, so that I could pull her up to my stomach on my own, but I imagine any position where you’re not fighting against gravity (like on your back with your pelvis up) would help things along!

Melissa

Thanks for sharing! What a great birth story! Glad things went so well. I was pregnant when I read your first birth story and was hoping for a similar experience, but it didn’t turn out that way at all! Next time I will have to use your 6 dates a day trick. Never heard of that until I read it in your blog. Congratulations! Hope all is well

Anne

Hi Megan, I love reading your motherhood posts! I hope you had a great holiday with your two little ones. My husband and I have just started trying for our second. My daughter iis 18 months and currently still nursing a few times a day. I have yet to get my cycle back, and am just wondering how the process worked for you. Had you had your cycle back a while before you were able to conceive again?

    Megan Gilmore

    Aw, thanks! I’m one of the weirdos who gets my cycle back within 3 to 4 months after having a baby, even though I’m exclusively breastfeeding. (Not even pumping!) So, I didn’t have that issue when we conceived our second. I would definitely recommend reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility if you haven’t yet, as I think they address boosting your fertility while nursing a child: http://amzn.to/2htgXmA Hope that helps, and good luck!

      Anne

      Thank you so much! I will definitely check that out!

    maya mcintosh

    My cycle returned when my son was 19 months. With our second baby, my cycle returned at 9 months. I was definitely spoiled the first time around. Good luck with baby 2!! xx

Lindsey

Congratulations! I just found your blog by looking for date chocolate chip cookies and saw the What I Ate Nursing post and this one. Your birth story is remarkably similar to mine, I had PROM and my second baby came 3 weeks early as well. I had to be induced at 24 hours though. Boo 🙁 I have an older daughter who will be 3 in May and my second daughter came 6 weeks ago. I am enjoying your blog., your cooking is style is the way I like to eat. Thank you for sharing your birthing experience. Best to you.

Dr. Rifaat salem

congratulations ! Thank you for being transparent.

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