One Year Old! Tony's Birth Story
[ This post is dedicated to my mom and dad ]
My baby boy is one today. In many ways I cannot believe he has been ours for a year already. But at the same time I have, as my husband, Thomas, puts it, “felt every day” of Tony’s babyhood. So many of the classic stereotypes of second-time parenthood have applied to Thomas and I this year: we’re much more relaxed, and it has made us more present as parents. We worry less and play more. We take fewer pictures but soak up more in the moment. Anthony is the sweetest baby we’ve ever met. He fits our family perfectly and makes us so happy. His personality matches his birth 100%. Relaxed. Peaceful. A little silly. Loving, and completely sweet.
Tony was born on a Wednesday, three days after his due date.
In the weeks leading up to his birth I was calm and I kept busy. I didn’t feel impatient for his arrival like I did with my daughter, Annika. There was a lot on my mind. A month earlier my brother had gotten married and we had traveled to Seattle for the celebration. Back in Boise I had two very sweet and special baby showers and wrapped up a little work. In early October I volunteered to host Annika’s play group for a Halloween play date at our home. And most days, I was busy keeping my toddler happy and entertained. All this to say, I wasn’t watching the clock. I sort of assumed that because I was induced with my daughter, I would also need a little help to get this birth going as well.
The weekend Tony was due I felt awful day and night. I was tired all the time, extremely emotional, and felt like I had the flu. I wanted to clean the house, spend time with Annika, get a little pampering in for myself, and have time alone with Thomas… but I couldn’t settle. It felt like my mind couldn’t decide on one activity over the other, and I spent most of the weekend running around feeling guilty I wasn’t doing something else.
On Monday, one day after my due date, I felt the worst. It felt like I had run a marathon. I went to my midwife appointment, and towards the end casually mentioned to my midwife, Megan, I’d had some show over the weekend. Megan concluded I’d have a baby within the week.
I didn’t really believe her, but I was happy both Tony and I were healthy and figured I would see her in a week to talk induction. After my appointment I went next door, ordered lots of tacos, and ate them in the parking lot. When I got home I napped, spent a little time with Annika and Thomas, and got a much-needed haircut and massage. I was gearing up for a week of toddler wrangling - figuring it would be my last one as a mom of one.
On Tuesday I woke up pregnant, and still feeling awful. Annika had the sniffles, so I assumed we were both getting a cold and that was the source of all my discomfort. We settled in for a cozy, lazy day. We read books in our pajamas, played in her toy room, and drank juice on the couch. We ventured out for one neighborhood walk to get some air, and during her afternoon nap I ate some spicy chicken wings Thomas had made the night before. I was hoping they would clear my sinuses; labor wasn’t really on my mind.
That night I took a bath and Thomas and I watched TV in bed for a bit. I got a little irritated by the light and sound and asked him to turn it off. The second he turned the lights off and I rolled over to go to sleep, I had my first contraction. Then another. They started coming about every 8 minutes (timed using the episode of Parks and Recreation I was listening to with headphones) and had a definite “start” and “stop”.
I could quietly breathe through them, and my bed was cozy, so I just stayed put. I lay like that, contracting, listening to Leslie Knope get voted into city council, for about four hours. Around two AM, I woke up Thomas to tell him what was happening. He was extremely excited. I told him to go back asleep, but I could tell he wouldn’t. He timed one of the contractions for me and it was a minute long. We continued to try and sleep, me dozing in between contractions, until around six AM. The contractions started to space out to around every ten minutes, then every fifteen, then almost stopped.
Annika woke up around 6:45 and I made her some breakfast and warm milk. By this point, contractions had stopped completely. I was disappointed, but figured at least my body was doing something. We FaceTimed with my dad and I considered sharing my night, but didn’t want to sound a false alarm.
Around 8:30 Thomas came into the play room, dressed for work. He took Annika to get dressed while I went to clean up the breakfast dishes. Within the first few minutes of being alone in the kitchen, I had two fairly large contractions back-to-back. When Thomas came back down, holding Annika, I told him I thought maybe he should stay home for a bit.
We decided to go on a family walk to see if contractions would keep coming. While we walked, I had them about every five minutes. I had to lean over the stroller and rock my hips during them, and Annika thought it was hilarious that I was “mooing” (vocalizing). When we got home I took a shower and dried my hair. My doula texted to check in, and I told her I was in “early labor”. My sister texted too and I told her I’d hopefully have him later in the night. I was so convinced that this wasn’t it, but hoped maybe something would happen that night. I texted my good friend, Kris, about babysitting for us (just in case) and she assured me she would be available.
Around 12:30 contractions slowed back down while I read Annika books before nap. I shared this with Megan via text and she reassured me it was normal for things to slow down while I took care of Annika. She was right.
While Annika was napping everything shifted.
I now needed counter pressure on my back for each contraction and couldn’t sit or lay down. I tried to eat but couldn’t. I realized this wasn’t going away. I labored in our kitchen while instructing Thomas on dinner and snack prep for Annika and what bags to load into the car. I had him text Kris and ask her to come at 2:30, then fifteen minutes later had him ask if she could come right away. Annika woke up from her nap and Thomas went to get her. I jumped into the shower again to get the hot water on my lower back while he was upstairs.
Kris arrived quickly and we got her settled with Annika before saying our goodbyes. I was emotional about leaving Annika and held her for a few minutes and gave her lots of hugs and kisses. She was a little nervous but sat with Kris right away to snack on some grapes.
I asked Thomas to text Raquel to meet us, and to tell Megan we were headed in. I figured I was in active labor, but that we still had several hours to go. I wanted to get to the hospital, get the room set up how I wanted, get Nitrous Oxide, and then tell our families it was happening. I was a little nervous about the cervical check and that I might not be far enough along. I knew I might be asked to walk a little before being admitted, but I didn’t think Megan would do that. I really, really wanted the Nitrous Oxide.
In the car I was miserable. I kept trying to stand up in the passenger seat while Thomas tried to help me manage. We played my birth music and I tried to stay in control. When we reached downtown I suddenly got hungry. I grabbed a handful of crackers and ate a few.
When we pulled up a the hospital I directed Thomas to drop me off up front. When I got out of the car I had a huge contraction that took me by surprise. By then, my beautiful doula, Raquel, had appeared by my side and instantly gave me counter pressure. She had been waiting outside the hospital and saw us driving up. After a few minutes she and I started walking inside while Thomas went to park the car.
My memories of hospital triage are a little fuzzy ( but, luckily, I have photos to show the time!) I know we got into a room without any problems and Megan came in to check me. She asked if I wanted to know how far along I was, and surprised me with the news that I was seven centimeters. Later, Raquel told me Megan actually said I was closer to eight - almost done! I couldn’t believe I had come so far so quickly, I’d only been laboring for what felt like a few hours. We met Thomas in the lobby and made our way to a labor and delivery room around 3:00pm. I remember the walk being really hard and was grateful to reach the room.
I was able to use the Nitrous Oxide for a bit while Megan and her nurses monitored Tony’s heart rate. It made me a little nauseous but help calm me down after the car ride and hospital check in. Megan filled up the tub and I practically jumped in. The water was really warm and felt incredible. My dear friend, Soraya, arrived and I was so happy to see her. Everyone sat around me while I labored in the tub. Contractions slowed down for a bit and I caught my breath. Thomas had my birth music going and Raquel had set up a few candles by the tub. It was incredibly peaceful.
Around 4:00, I started pushing a bit with contractions and felt like I wanted to get out of the tub. The second I climbed out I had a huge contraction and practically collapsed into Soraya. She and Raquel helped me back to the bed where I grabbed the Nitrous inhaler. My body started pushing and after a few good pushes and a few little ones, about ten minutes after I left the tub, Tony was born. It was 4:13, about seven hours after I had my first intense contraction that morning. Just like his sister, his amniotic sac was intact and broke as he was born. Megan placed him on my chest and I was instantly in love.
We snuggled and Tony nursed right away. Raquel brought me dinner, complete with the most delicious milkshake I’ve ever tasted.
It was a wild day, but so, so sweet. Just like my little Tony.