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Monday
Feb012016

birth story ::: arden skillman

My first labor & delivery didn't exactly go as planned. Well my second one....sorta went as planned? Meaning it was still a little crazy. My husband was (again) the one to help deliver his child. Apparently I should have included that in our wedding vows.


Shortly after our first son was born, my husband and I had decided a homebirth was best for our situation (aka a precipitous birth). While I am a crunchy kinda gal, I never thought I'd be "that lady". But we knew it would take a lot to convince me to get back into a car while in labor. We also LOVED spending the first 24 hrs at home as a family. Those precious hours are pure magic.

A few days before my 40 week mark I had a some cramping that lasted a couple hours each time. By cramping, I mean they gave me ptsd flashbacks of the pain involved with childbirth. Can I un-pregnate myself please?!

Around 4pm on the day that marked 40 weeks, the sporadic mild contractions started again but this time didn't subside after a few hours. I informed my midwife that this might be happening tonight. She had a 3 hour drive and had been to my house earlier that day for our prenatal. Oh the joys of living in rural Wyoming.


At 7pm the contractions are still random but we are convinced this won't stop. We have a shared moment of panic where my husband joins me in a ptsd flashback. He then makes a dash to Walmart for last minute supplies. The garden hose, which we needed to fill up the birth tub, was delayed because of holiday shipping (this comes in real handy later). I take a bath and relax....still hoping the contractions might stop.


Some time before 10pm I realize things are picking up and I now inform my midwife that she should start the drive. By picking up, I mean I can no longer lay down or do anything. Sitting on the toilet is THE ONLY comfortable place to be in the whole house. And so now I sit there. And endure what is quickly becoming not fun (people call this active labor). Doubts creep in about preferring to go to the hospital.


The next two hours fly by. My first labor felt out of control and miserable. This time I felt pain but it was much more manageable. 1) I knew the labor wouldn't last 15 hours and 2) there was a few minutes of reprieve between each contraction. I had neither the first time around. At 11pm I tell my husband to fill the tub because I think I'll want to be in it soon and we share a moment of clarity. We know we want to have this baby at home and we know the chances are good that the midwife won't make it on time. And we are okay.

Now. I don't understand how women don't know they are pushing out a baby. But somehow I didn't realize I was pushing out a baby. I just know that my mom walked in to ask how I was doing (she had just arrived to make sure if the toddler woke up he'd have someone attending him). I looked at her and said things were "not fun" and then all of a sudden I yelled that she needed to find Trevor...NOW.


I was (still) sitting on the toilet. And there was a baby's head beginning to emerge. Dangerously close to a very small porcelain birth tub. My husband walks in like he knows exactly what to do, giving both me and my mother instructions (me to get off the toilet and her to get towels). With the next contraction he catches our son's head which was still contained in the amniotic sac. Another contraction—the sac breaks and we hear a little war cry as our baby gracefully falls into his hands.


It was just after midnight. That garden hose had managed to fill the tub a whole 8". Just like my first birth, I looked over at the tub with jealous eyes thinking "it sure would have been nice to use you". But alas, all was well and I was comfortably laying on my bed snuggling my sweet babe. The birth assistant arrived within 15 minutes of the birth and my midwife about an hour after. They both did a great job caring for us and cleaning everything (there was surprisingly little to clean actually). Postpartum care lasted about three hours and we laid down around 3:30am to sleep. Gunnar had slept through a rather noisy ordeal just across the hall—until 4:30am when Arden made a small cry. He walks into our room and says "BAY BAY". We introduce them and then my dear dear husband gets up to play with our toddler so I can rest.


While we didn't *quite* get the relaxing stress-free birth we intended, it was an amazing experience. I feel honored to have my husband at my side to experience such craziness. He is my champion always. We named our second son, Arden—which is a Celtic name meaning eager/ardent. Skillman is my paternal grandfather (whom I was never able to meet) and an ancient Norse name meaning trustworthy. Arden was born on January 3rd at midnight, weighing 7 lbs 2 oz and 20.5" long. He's also real cute.

I am hopelessly in love with all three of my boys and look forward to watching my babies grow up as brothers together.

Photography by Smiling Eyes Photo

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