A week before due date, I started having contractions every 2 minutes. They were not painful, but they were extremely uncomfortable, frequent and rhythmic. This had also happened with Sofia's birth, so I knew I simply had to pay attention to PAIN intensity (and it evolving) and not frequency.
But 4 days later, those rhythmic contractions started being painful. And still 2 minutes apart. So we called my midwifes (especially knowing that it was my 2nd and this could evolve quickly) and they told me to come over and get checked. I was at 5cm and 50% effaced, and yes, having real contractions.
We waited at the birth center for a bit to see if they progressed (mind you, 6cm is considered when ACTIVE labor begins, and that's when you can technically go to the birth center) but after 4hours, the strong/painful contractions suddenly slowed down in intensity, so we decided to go back home home to rest.
The next couple of days, the same thing happened: I got painful contractions every two minutes for 3 to 4hours, and then they stopped.
Apparently, this is called stop & go labor or prodromal labor, where you are in labor but then it stops. It’s not really false labor or false contractions because there IS big progress in the cervix, there IS contraction pain, and there IS a real rhythm & intensity growth in the contraction pattern. But then it stops. Very frustrating, trust me.
On the bright side, to me personally, they stopped at night and I was able to get an AMAZING good deep night sleep! Which was incredible & so refreshing, it felt like my body was allowing me to rest after the work, to gather more energy and do it again the next day. And it also kept me positive to know that all this progress would mean a faster (not easier) labor.
So the fourth day of prodromal labor, On Wednesday, my midwifes told me to come get checked again, a regular routine, to make sure the baby was not stressed through the process (which he was not), and they also checked my progress again and I still was at 5cm but nearly 100% effaced.
I went back home happy that my body was progressing and that the baby was fine, and reminding myself that this is the way my baby is choosing to come, slow and steady. So I was accepting him lead the way, a completely different way that Sofia had chosen.
We went back home and as soon as we walked into the door, I started having very painful contractions again (4th day of it!) so I told my husband to take Sofia to the park so I could be alone dealing with them in peace. They left and I laid down on the couch and started chatting with my friends Elizabeth and Sara, telling them the pain was bad, but the usual of the past days. So I didn’t text my midwifes because I honestly believed they would go away again, and it wouldn’t lead to labor.
The contractions wrapped around my lower back like they had been, extremely crampy, they were still 2min apart, but they def started increasing in pain too, so I told Elizabeth that if it didn’t go away in an hour I was calling the midwifes.
Well, 30min into it I heard three quick bangs in my belly “boom boom boom” i truly didn’t know what it was, but a few seconds later, I started feeling water come down my legs. I got up and a hush of water came out.
I immediately called my midwife and told her we were heading there, and called my husband to come back from the park ASAP. Of course, he had chosen to go to a park they love that was further out, a 15min drive. And of course, it was 6pm on a Wednesday heading from Beverly Hills to Pasadena.
I had already lost 30 precious minutes just laying around. Knowing I was already at 5cm and that my water had broken (things pick up WAY quicker & more intensely once water is broken) plus, it being my second birth after a quick first... We simply had to GO!
My husband got home 15min later (45min into what I now knew was "active labor") and we just got into the car again and rushed to the birth center. Well, not really, because it was rush hour and although not the same as it would have been on a Wednesday at 6pm without Covid (a lot of offices are still doing remote work, which makes traffic better) but instead of taking us 20min as it had been taking us during non-rush hours, the gps said 55minutes... yikes!
Instead of panicking like I usually would have, I knew I could focus my mind on Hypnobirthing, the practice I had been working so hard on getting into during this second pregnancy, and I just chose to focus on that the whole way through.
I am not going to sugar code it, sitting in the car (the opposite position I wanted to be in), in pure active labor, close to transition, with the water broken, things speeding up extremely quick in intensity, frequency and pain, and opening my eyes to see a PARKING LOT of cars in the highway, was not easy. But Hypnobirthing SAVED ME. It was incredible. I was able to focus all my energy on it and being in my own bubble. Luckily, Sofia was extremely quiet in the car ride (I truly believe she already understood what was happening, we had told her it was time to go meet Beckham and she got SO EXCITED, she was clapping and repeating how we were going to see her brother "be born") and after 45minutes, we made it to the birth center!
We called my midwife 10minutes before pulling up to the birth center so she would have the tub ready: I wanted to jump in asap! And that's exactly what I did. As soon as we got there, I went in, she checked me and I was at +6cm, and I got in the tub while my husband and Sofia brought our bags inside.
The room was already prepared with the warm bath, candles, essential oils and the beautiful sun was setting through the windows, it truly had a magical vibe.
As I stepped into the water, for the first time in an hour and a half of back to back increasing contractions (45min laboring at home and 45min in the car), I had a peaceful break: my body stopped contractions for 10 whole minutes and it felt like HEAVEN. I took a breath and decided to focus on my gratitude, being aware of what was going to happen, and being grateful for the blessings I had and the one that was to come. Those minutes were incredible.
But then the contractions started again, and I knew it was go time: again, ABSOLUTELY ZERO BREAKS. Back to back contractions. I rode each wave taking it one at a time, meditating and getting into Hypnobirthing, repeating my affirmations and visualizing my signs. I was in my own bubble. But Sofia was right next to me, the whole time. She was petting my head and arms, she was telling me that I was okay. She was so gentle and loving. I was amazed. My husband stood in a little distance and so did my midwifes, as they knew I needed to be alone. I was already in transition by the time I got in the tub, an out of this world feeling.
After only 40minutes of being in the tub, I told my midwife I felt the need to push. She didn't hesitate and said go for it. So I did. Sofia was not worried, in fact, she wanted to be by my side more than ever, she was serious standing but very calm and strong.
Five minutes into pushing, at 7:35pm sharp, after literally four pushes, he was out. As soon as we pulled him out of the water and placed him on my chest he started crying so loud, I melted immediately seeing that he was MY boy, the boy I had felt the energy for so many years. I was amazed to see he looked so much like Sofia, it was so beautiful.
I was in the tub until the cord stopped beating, I stepped out and laid on the bed with B still on my chest. Sofia laid by my side and daddy was right there taking all the photos and videos for the memories, and then he got to cut the cord. We did skin to skin forever, and ordered food: breakfast for dinner!
Beckham was 7.1lbs (3.2kg) and 20inches long (50.8cm) exactly like Sofia was, at 39 weeks too!
We ate our dinner, baby & mommy got checked, all our vitals were perfect and I didn't tear again, so 3 hours later we were heading home!
Active labor was a total of 2hours and 25minutes sharp (exactly half time from Sofia's), and exactly 1/3 divided in the house, the car, and the tub. It was not easier or harder, it was just very different to my first delivery, and just as magical.
I immediately felt so complete, and I still am.