My beautiful Rose’s birth story has been almost finished in draft mode since her first birthday, when I finally wrote it down. She’s now 2 and a half. Today I heard that a friend of mine is due for an induction tomorrow, and I promised to send her this story months ago. So, better late than never.
In honor of Rose’s her first birthday, I thought I’d finally write down her birth story. Rio’s (much more dramatic) story is recorded here, in all its frustrating detail, and I don’t want her to grow up to feel like the forgotten second child! Luckily for me, there was much less drama this time. Rose’s birth was mercifully quick and easy and happened right at home as planned. The story has been retold countless times and I have not forgotten it.
Rose’s due date was July 6, 2014. Before that, we didn’t know she was Rose, as we hadn’t had her sex determined by ultrasound, but Rio and I were both PRETTY DARN CERTAIN that she was a girl. I thought this because I had had terrible acne during Rio’s pregnancy, but none this time, so I figured that whoever was in there had hormones more compatible with mine? I don’t know why Rio thought this, but he called her his little sister as soon as we started talking about her. He LOOOVED the belly and would ask, “where’s that baby?” or “open that belly!” meaning lift up my shirt so he could love on the belly. No dresses for this pregnancy! He wanted to name her Charlotte, we think after the Charlotte on his Charlotte’s Web movie.
Anyway, July 4th rolled around which was a Friday. No signs of labor, we attended a backyard 4th of July party and fireworks. On July 5, hit up the Saturday morning farmers’ market. That evening, we were having our usual late dinner after some evening work in the garden. I was making tacos, around 9:30 pm, when I started to feel some minor stomach cramping. At first I didn’t really think anything of it, but by the time I finished making the tacos, I just wanted to lay down on the couch when I felt these sensations. Well, I thought, better eat my tacos because it might be awhile before I feel like eating again. I had two tacos. By the time I finished the first one, I was definitely having contractions. I tried to eat the second one too, but as Marty says, I instead “put down my taco and had a baby…”
It did seem that way. I texted our midwife Kristin to let her know we’d probably be needing her later that night. After abandoning my taco I got into our huge, luxurious bathtub. Rio decided to get in with me, which lasted about 10 minutes, as I started moaning with each contraction. “What are you doing?” he demanded, like only a two year old can. “Stop doing that!” Clearly he wasn’t going to be able to hang out for the birth, so we called grandma to come pick him up.
I labored in the tub for awhile, then on hands and knees in Rio’s bed which is just a mattress on the floor. Like my first labor, I was just absorbed in what I was doing and kind of oblivious to the passage of time. I think I started timing the contractions around 11:30 and they were already three minutes apart. I told Marty to call Kristin and have her come over. He was like, “What?! You can’t need her yet. You haven’t been timing the contractions for an hour.” I told him I was pretty sure he shouldn’t wait an hour to call. Kristin later told us that if Dad calls instead of Mom, she knows it’s serious. By the time she got there a little after midnight, I was fully dilated. My water soon broke in the bathtub, during contractions, like it’s supposed to in a normal birth. (Whew. Rio’s water broke days before he was born.)
I think that if Rio had been my second child, it wouldn’t have taken me 36 hours of labor to know that I needed a c-section to get him out. When I was laboring with Rose, I could feel her moving down with just about every contraction. When I had Rio, he was badly positioned and all the contractions felt the same, but as a first time mom, I didn’t know what things were supposed to feel like. This time, I remember repeating the mantra “down, baby, down,” in my head, and it really worked, I could feel her progressing the whole time.
Anyway, after Kristin arrived, things moved along pretty quickly. We moved to my bed for the pushing phase, and I alternated between laying on my side on my bed, and squatting. It seemed like she was on the verge of being born for a while, and I just felt an enormous amount of pressure where her head was. Kristin, both a wise midwife an experienced mama herself, kept saying, “That pressure is normal, just let it be there!” Which was helpful, and I tried to do. Soon I heard Marty saying he could see the head and that there was a lot of hair. It all gets a little fuzzy after this, but I remember Kristin telling me to take a deep breath and breathe her out slowly, as apparently this is how one avoids tearing, and apparently I did this. Next thing I knew there was a wet, wiggly baby placed on my belly and the birth assistant, who I think showed up half an hour or so before the actual birth and who I’d never met, said “it’s a girl” or “there she is!” or something, and Kristin said, “Shh….they don’t know the sex!” Bur of course I thought, of course we know, here she is, my girl, Rose. I also remember them commenting on her beautiful, long eyelashes.
Then everything that’s supposed to happen after a birth that didn’t happen with Rio, did happen. She nursed right away. She got weighed and checked out by Kristin. Around 5 am or so, Grandma brought Rio home and we all settled into a long, blissful sleep in the family bed. When we all woke up, the siblings got to officially meet each other and it was one of the best moments of my life. Rio was obsessed with touching her little cheeks from the moment he met her, and still is.
Rose Painter Camberlango, born at home, July 6, 2014 at 3:30 am. 7 lbs 12 oz, 21 inches.