This pregnancy was so different from the first. I was achier than the first, more nauseous than the first time and felt so much bigger the whole way through compared to my first pregnancy. On the plus side, my hair was thicker, instead of losing a whole bunch and I was able to maintain a higher level of fitness throughout my pregnancy thanks to a lot of work on my nutrition and fitness before pregnancy. Similar to my first, I felt very blessed to have a healthy pregnancy with no complications.
Part way through this pregnancy, the Corvallis Birth Center opened. I was really excited about the prospect of delivering at the birth center but felt conflicted about leaving my physician that I had worked with for so many years. I trusted her, and we had become friends, and it felt like betrayal to change providers during one of the most exciting times in my life. I spent a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of moving my care and in the end, decided delivering at the birth center was the right choice for me and my family. The physician I left to pursue the birth center was supportive of my choice and that made the switch at 30 weeks much easier.
Fast forward to 40 weeks…..no baby. I’d been having nearly nightly cramping/light contractions for over a week and was absolutely convinced baby would arrive early. My mom had come to town at 38 weeks to help with Isaac and be here for baby’s arrival. We were all anxious for baby to come. When my due date, October 29th came and went, there was definitely disappointment in the air as we all thought baby would have already arrived. We all went trick or treating, the calendar moved to November, then a whole week of November passed. Saying that I was frustrated, anxious, annoyed would all be understatements. I felt as though I had been in a pre-labor state for weeks. My body was tired, I was frustrated with having hours of cramping or contractions, only to have it turn into nothing. I finally called it quits at work at the very end of week 40 so that I could focus on getting baby out!!! I had acupuncture, a pedicure, did all sorts of home remedies- nothing seemed to get baby moving. On Friday November 4, I had an NST and AFI performed to check on baby, since week 41 was looming. Baby passed both tests easily. I had my membranes swept as well. The midwife felt positive about having a baby that weekend. And then, the weekend came and went. Suddenly, I was facing Monday again, now 41 weeks and 2 days. Another appointment, another day without baby, another day closer to more aggressive measures to get baby out. All of it had me frustrated. At my appointment, the midwives were really positive about still being able to deliver at the birth center. They had a few more things to try later in the week if necessary and the important thing was that baby passed the NST again and I had my membranes swept again, although this time, it was not uncomfortable because my cervix had really started to change and was in a more favorable position for the procedure.
Monday night I went to yoga, a last ditch effort to get my mental state clear and my physical body relaxed. The yoga class was held at the birth center and part of me hoped I could just stay there after class and have my baby. I didn’t feel any closer to having a baby after taking yoga, but I was glad that I had gone, if for no other reason, than it was an hour for me to focus on myself and clear my head of my frustrations.
Around 345AM Tuesday morning I woke up restless. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know why, other than I was still pregnant and super annoyed about it! I got out of bed because staying there and not sleeping was also frustrating. I had a little snack, bounced on the therapy ball, did some squatting and some pelvic rocking- and throughout it all I had a chat with baby. I told baby that it was time to come out. That more aggressive things would be tried if he/she didn’t arrive today, so perhaps we should just do it. I went back to bed and fell asleep. At 415AM I woke up with a contraction. I didn’t get too excited, I’d been having contractions on and off for weeks. Then I got another one. Again, didn’t get excited, just noted that these were more intense than anything I’d had in the past few weeks. When the 3rd one came, all about 8 minutes apart, I sort of thought, well, this could be it. I got in the shower, because warm water is what I want when I don’t feel my best. The shower felt great and in the course of using most of our hot water, my contractions quickly intensified and were one every 1-2 minutes. It was so hard to get dressed having contractions that frequently. Anthony woke up when I got out of the shower and I calmly said, “I think we’re going to have a baby today.” He asked if he had time to shower. I told him, “yes”. When I heard the razor going, I knew we didn’t have time for that. Anthony took a super-fast shower and by the time he was out and trying to get a read on the situation, I was basically not talking and just trying to get through contraction after contraction. He knew at that point that we had to go right away. It took a bit of effort, but we got loaded in the car (after Anthony called the birth center to let them know we were coming and my mom called our photographer) and off we went. It was a LONG ride in the dark, fog of the early morning.
When we got to the birth center around 6AM, we could see that the midwives’ cars were all there but there weren’t any lights on. We got out of the car and I quickly went to my hands and knees on the sidewalk with a contraction. Anthony called the birth center to ask how to get in. They said to come in, but then joined us outside to help me get inside. I almost felt drunk stumbling into the birth center. I know my eyes were only partially opened as I walked with several people at my side into the River Room, my chosen room to have my baby (of course I was really excited that no one else was there and that I could have my favorite room for my birth). I had one more contraction in the middle of the room before getting into the tub, which was still being filled.
Details from this point are fuzzy to me. The lights remained low and peaceful. It was dark outside and all three midwives spoke to me with quiet soothing voices. I know my photographer, Heather, made it there because I remember hearing her shutter as she captured the morning’s events. I remember feeling like pushing not long after I got in the tub. The midwives all supported this- I hadn’t had a cervical check, but that’s standard at the birth center. After several pushes, which weren’t happening every contraction, Susan (midwife), checked my cervix to see where I was- She calmly told me, “baby is not coming down as fast as you’d think because you are only 7-8cm. You are welcome to push, but don’t go all out because you’re not quite fully dilated.” There was so much respect for my needs and trusting my instincts, it made me feel empowered despite the fact that I felt like I had no control- most of this labor felt like what transition from my first labor felt like. It was all intense, it was all hard to relax through and there was not a lot of rest between contractions.
I backed down from some of the pushing I was doing and focused on my vocalizations, trying to maintain a steady pitch, as a pain relieving technique. It wasn’t long after resting from pushing that I started to get the urge to push again. I didn’t ask permission, I didn’t announce it, I just did it. The quiet “good job’s” and “this is a good baby” (baby was monitored periodically via Doppler) went a long way to remind me that following my body and my baby was not just ok, but expected and celebrated. I don’t remember the urge to push being quite so strong during my first birth. This time, it was strong and constant. I just kept pushing until it felt like it was doing something. After just a few minutes of this more aggressive pushing, I stopped and opened my eyes and said, “I think the baby is out”. The angle I was at made it hard for the providers to see baby. I clearly remember them saying, “oh ok”, while they put on their gloves. I remember thinking….”hurry up!! There’s a person hanging out of me!!” Susan reached down and said, “yes, one more push!” And with that, baby Veltri was born at 753AM. Susan helped guide baby to my belly where I quickly turned it around to announce that it was a girl!! Baby had good color but was slow to cry and had the cord around the back of her neck. Just as they were thinking about assisting her with her breathing, she started crying. I don’t remember ever feeling nervous about baby’s health, everyone was so calm and she looked so much better than I remember Isaac looking those first few (very long) seconds. But the sound of her cry was still a welcome sound. I snuggled her in the tub for awhile, told the birth attendants we would not be naming her Hillary (born on Election Day) and slowly made my way to the bed after the cord was cut.
The post birth period was so peaceful. No one was in a hurry, the mood remained joyfully calm. I got to sit next to my husband on a real bed as we admired our beautiful girl. I delivered the placenta in the bed and got to actually look at it and learn about how my placenta was unique (it had an extra mini lobe!). Heather stuck around to capture baby’s first moments and before she left, we requested that baby be weighed so we could get a picture of the scale. (Baby weighed 6 pounds, 1 oz and was 20 inches long). Everything evolved so naturally. We had a lovely post birth breakfast of smoothies and egg sandwiches prepared by the birth center staff. After breakfast we spent several hours trying to decide on a name for our little girl. We had a very short, basic list. We were both feeling a lot of pressure to have her named before her brother came to visit. After much deliberation, the perfect name was presented- Mia Rivers Veltri would be what we called our newborn daughter.
Our reward for coming up with a name- a wonderful stir fry lunch with lots of vegetables and wholesome flavors, again prepared by the midwives (such a talented group!). After lunch, Heather, the photographer, came back to take photos of Mia meeting her Nana and big brother, Isaac, who joined us after preschool. Isaac brought his new sister a balloon and was so proud to see “his baby”. The birth center was so welcoming to him and his need to move. Thanks to the hospitality and accommodation of an overtired and overexcited 3 year old, Isaac remained with us all afternoon, interacting with his sister at his own pace and in his own way.
We probably could have gone home at some point in the afternoon, but when Susan came in and asked about dinner, we thought staying through dinner would be a good idea, one less thing to worry about at home. They asked what we wanted, it was like being at the Ritz, seriously, lovely accommodations and great food. We ended up having pizza from a nearby restaurant. It was perfect. We had visit from Patsy, Carenda and Yancy and when all the visitors and pizza was gone, we slowly packed up our things, gave the wonderful staff hugs and took Mia home, to sleep in our own house, as the conclusion to one heck of a birthday.