Link to Life

Here I am; standing on a precipice. Am I ready to undertake the task of putting into words the story of the birth of my second son, Link? I sure hope so, because here goes nothing. (*jumps off cliff*)
I’d like to begin this story a while back, when I was married to my children’s biological father. We had a relationship that was far from healthy. In early 2012, I had a miscarriage, probably around 12 weeks, give or take a couple. It was sad and rough and emotionally draining for quite a while. However, I came to accept it and it allowed me to accept loss and view it in new light. So we moved forward. Our relationship deteriorated even further. Eventually I decided to go back to our hometown so I could go to school for cheap by living with my mom.
Well, I wasn’t there for long before I decided that I wanted a divorce. And shortly after that decision was set, I discovered that I was pregnant with his child. It was shocking, to say the least. I had my mind set, though and decided it would be best for me and our children if we were no longer together. It wouldn’t be until a year later that the divorce was finalized. Since I had Espynn at home, I knew I wouldn’t be having this one any differently.
I had a lot more time to prepare for the kind of birth experience I wanted this time around. I bought a birthing pool instead of using my mom’s bathroom tub like last time (not very comfy >.<). I started dating someone new in February when he came to visit from Michigan (my now fiancé, Jay). He was a great support throughout the pregnancy and I was working for a CPA until I was about 8 months along. I was also taking EMT classes that summer and took my Practical test only 10 days after Link was born.
Needless to say, I stayed busy, and that made the pregnancy zip by! Before I knew it, it was June and I was feeling HUUUUGE. I had considered having a midwife this time around, but decided to UC again. However, I wanted a bigger support group around me this time. Jay scheduled a trip to come out the week before Link’s due date to try to make the birth. Espynn was 10 days early so I thought I wouldn’t carry to the EDD I had been given. I invited my good friend who was a midwife in training at the time and a certified doula to attend, but not as my paid support. Just as a friend. I had asked my mother and 2 sisters and brother to all be there as well. My son, Espynn would also be there and my sister Amanda’s daughter as well.
Jay came to Colorado about a week before Link’s due date, which was July 30, 2013. While he was with me, I was trying different things to try to push my body along and kick in some labor. I would have bouts of really hard and strong contractions, even close together, but it just wouldn’t engage. Jay ended up having to leave on the 28th and get back to work in Michigan. Link was born on the 31st. We were sad that he missed it, but I called him on the phone right away when the babe was born.
I had been having serious contractions for days by the time the 31st rolled around. I woke up feeling the same as I had for at least a week; hard contractions, but not regular intervals. It was a Wednesday. My brother, John, and sister, Hannah, had a church youth activity out at a lake that was about an hour to an hour and a half from my mom’s house. I wanted to have some fun at the lake too, and mom was sticking with me, wherever I went (she’s so wonderful <3) in case I went into labor, and of course, Espynn would come along. The five of us went to the lake that afternoon and it was a beautiful day. I sat in a folding camp chair for a lot of the time, breathing through hard contractions that were becoming painful and closer together and certainly regular. I walked along the waterline and basked in the sun, I chatted it up with old friends I hadn’t seen in ages. It was very nice. But as the hours passed, I began to be unable to talk through contractions and had to stop everything and just breathe and hold my belly. Soon I told my mom “Okay, I think we better head home. That last contraction was pretty significant.” So within minutes we had the siblings and Espynn and all our belongings packed into the car and were driving down the bumpy dirt road back to the highway. It was at least a mile of that rough road and I bounced around a bit. During the bouncing, I had another contraction. Really hard. I grunted really loudly during it and my mom said “Kaleigh, what are you doing?!” And I replied with something like “I don’t know, I felt like I needed to bear down and push, so I did!” She said to me “No, don’t do that! We aren’t even close to home yet!”
So she drove, possibly faster than she would have under different circumstances. On the way through town, we stopped at Caroline’s house (doula friend) to pick up some clary sage oil from her and to tell her to head to our house. I was also frantically phoning my sister, Amanda and the vet clinic where she works to tell her to get to mom’s. While we were at Caroline’s, I used her bathroom and discovered a significant amount of blood on my panties. I alerted my mom and we rushed out of there, heading home, still about 25 minutes away. There was some difficulty getting ahold of my sister, but after a few confusing phone calls, it was discovered that she was on her way.
So there we were, a convoy of soldiers ready for birthing action. Mother was explaining to Hannah and John what their tasks would be upon arrival and I was trying desperately to not throw up, which was a huge tell that this was progressing seriously fast. As we arrived home, everyone was immediately in action. Amanda and Caroline only arrived a few minutes after we had. Everyone was getting everything ready. I had said that I wanted to try to have the baby outside in my pool, but it was getting dark and we decided (after we had used all the hot water, of course) to dump out the water and set up inside instead. So my faithful ladies (and John) were boiling water on the stove and adding it to my pool of cool water in the kitchen. During all their brilliant madness, I was in the back bathroom, having some crazy contractions in the bathtub. Caroline was with me a lot of the time and others would pop in to check on me.
Everyone was in and out, and sometimes Espynn would sit with me for a few minutes and pour the warm water over my back, bless his heart. He was very supportive of Mommy the whole time, saying things like “It’s okay mommy. You’re doing great.” And always being watchful and helpful (as helpful as a 2 ½ year old can be). Soon, there was enough water in the pool for me to move out there and I was ready. I climbed out of the tub and to the toilet to pee. While I was sitting there, I started having a contraction and stood up to try to get to, uhhh….I don’t know where, honestly. The pool was across the house. Well, this contraction was rough. Caroline was right there and I bore down with a hefty grunt when suddenly “WHOOSH”, my water broke in a gushing waterfall of amniotic fluid, all over my mom’s bathroom floor (sorry, Mom!). I laughed, it was pretty epic. After that, I moved up to the pool because, hot damn, this baby was coming with a vengeance!
There was about enough water in the pool to cover my thighs and it was only close to body temperature. They kept the pots of boiling water coming, which was a sweet relief for the pain I was experiencing. After a little while of this, the real pushing began. When his head came out, there was a significant gush of blood, and I knew I had ripped my perineum. No time to dwell on that though, because Link was now head-out and I wasn’t yet having another contraction. With some encouragement, I started to push before the next contraction and out he came. He was handed to me, a wet, waxy lump, and I help him on my chest and helped him to initiate breaths by rubbing his body and using my mouth to suction his nose (nothing needed to be sucked out though, he was doing great). At his point I asked someone to check the time, it was 8:45 pm. We had gotten to the house at about 7:40 I believe. I got Jay on the phone and told him the good news. It was a huge relief to have the baby out, but I was dreading birthing the placenta.
With Espynn, the placenta had been possibly the most painful part of the whole birth. So I went into it kind of apprehensive. Espynn’s placenta came out 30-45 minutes after he did and Link’s came out after over an hour, probably almost 1 ½. We waited to cut the cord for both births, but a little longer for Link’s. It was surprisingly painless to birth Link’s placenta. After all that was done, I got out and put some clothes on and laid down while my fearless battalion cleaned up the wreckage. Link was weighed and measured and passed around and smooched and cuddled and photographed. He was happy and healthy and I was too. We slept peacefully for a while, which was a wonderful reprieve from a rough couple weeks.
My one regret about that birth, the one thing I wished we’d done differently, was massaging and priming my perineum with some kind of oil to prevent tearing. We had done it with Espynn, but this one was so rushed that we just didn’t even have time to think about that. It healed up fine with some home remedy TLC and gentle care, but it would have been better to not tear in the first place. Preventative maintenance, ladies!!
(*hits soft fluffy ground of clouds with a sigh of relief*) This was a long time coming =) Please enjoy, and share my stories!

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