Our third baby has arrived and completed our little family. My husband and I always talked about having two or three kiddos when we first started dating, and that number three was still up for debate when we found out we were expecting earlier this year. I love this little trilogy of babes so very much though and our hearts are so full. It just feels so right and so perfect for us to have three. But of course, I am already sad that this is the last. The last time I will be pregnant. The last newborn that will be all mine to hold and cuddle and sniff and take care of. The last time I will breastfeed. And countless other lasts that will come as the years go on. I’m trying to soak up every moment and make it count with my last baby. And it’s already going by too fast.
So let’s start with the story of his birth. By far the hardest part was the waiting. My first baby was born on his due date and my daughter was five days late. That doesn’t sound like much, but when you have family who comes into town to help out starting before you due date, each day you keep them waiting gets harder and harder. So when this little one decided to be eight days late, my family almost missed him all together. He was born on Sunday, August 16th, the day my family was scheduled to leave town. My mom and sister did end up staying an extra day to help me at home, and my in-laws came into town that day (and stayed for a week), but it was still hard.
I did every natural induction method you can think of, including two rounds of acupuncture, but in the end, I think he just came when he was ready. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for a couple of weeks prior, but at around 3:00 am on that Sunday morning, the contractions were enough to wake me up. Although they were still mild enough to talk through steadily, my daughter’s birth had been very fast, so I had already decided in advance that whenever I knew the contractions were real, we would head to the midwife. Our midwife’s office is about 40 minutes away from our home, so I didn’t want to chance having a baby on a freeway. I wanted to be at the birthing center when that baby came! I called the on-call number and the midwife told me that if I wanted to come, that was no problem for her because she already had a laboring mother there, so she was there anyway. (They have two birthing rooms.)
My parents were staying close by so they came over to stay with my older two kiddos and I told them to just head to the birthing center as soon as the kids naturally woke up. I didn’t want to wake them at this point (no reason to have grumpy toddlers around), but I wanted my kids to be there to meet the baby whenever he came, and the plan was to then go home together as a family of five.
As my husband and I drove my contractions became progressively stronger and more regular. We were admitted to the birthing center at just after 4:00am. My husband and I settled in and the midwife let us know she was going to call in the nurse, since there were two births going on at once. I’m not sure exactly what time it was, but the by the time the nurse arrived, she could tell my contractions were getting more intense, so the midwife checked me. She said I was only three centimeters and baby was still high, but that that could change quickly. So I worked through some contractions standing or leaning on my husband, and bounced on the birthing ball in between to try to help baby work downward. I knew that the big jetted tub took a long time to fill, so I told my husband to get started on that so I could labor in the water for at least a bit.
By the time the tub was full, contractions were very close together and very intense. I had stopped timing them myself but my husband was keeping track for us. The midwife and the nurse had been in and out to this point but I think one or both came in as I was getting into the water because we all knew this baby was coming soon. Right when I got in the tub, my water broke.
I had always heard about women who said that they couldn’t not push, but I had never personally had that experience. With my first I got the epidural and I couldn’t feel my contractions at all, so my pushing was not very efficient. With my daughter I remember the sensation of just wanting it to be over and to get her out, but not necessarily like I couldn’t control my urge to push. This time, I got that urge. I told my my midwife, “he is really low, he is coming.” And she said, “go with your body. If you want to push, then push.” I didn’t even realize that’s what I was already doing until she phrased it that way. And since she hadn’t checked me in a while and I was in the tub now, she asked me to reach down and check myself. Baby’s head was already right there, which was pretty crazy to realize! I think I maybe had one or two contractions/pushes after that and our little guy just shot right out into the water, head and shoulders at once! I was so surprised, all I could say was,”baby! baby!” over and over again. It was just me in the big tub, with my husband and midwife right by my side, so I just scooped him right up in my arms and held him against my chest. Diego Hill Rangel arrived at 6:16 am, about two hours after we were first admitted.
Someone brought me a towel to keep him warm and we sat just like this for a few minutes, until I started fretting that he might be getting too cold in the water.
We got out of the water and into bed. We snuggled. We breastfed. We stared at his beautiful little face. While we did this, another midwife and nurse team in the practice came in to take over my care. I was loosing a lot of blood. This meant they had to take quick action to try to slow it down. A shot of pitocin in my thigh and some other medications. I was shaking terribly from the blood loss and hormonal shift. Then we had to start an IV of pitocin as well. My midwife told me that I was borderline in need of a transfer to the hospital, but as I started to feel better, she said I would just need to stay there a little longer and rest so they could keep an eye on me.
We let the kids come in. My son had apparently been asking about me and didn’t understand why he couldn’t come see mommy and daddy right away. The kids were both awestruck by their new brother and were so sweet meeting him. I wish I had more/better pictures of that moment, but we were too busy soaking it up, so this was about the best we got (taken by my dad on is iPhone).
I still needed more time to rest, so my dad took the kids back home for lunch and I slept. After I was feeling better, our midwife did our baby’s newborn check.
He weighed in at 9 pounds 3 ounces and 21 3/4″ long. What can I say, I don’t make small babies! He might have weighed even more but because his weight check came a while after his birth, he even had a chance to create a massive poo for us before he got on the scale! He was perfectly healthy in every other way though and even had a beautiful round head.
One of the best parts about the birth center birth is being able to go home the same day (even with all of my hiccups) and to rest in my own bed and to enjoy this new bundle and my growing family all together in our own space. I feel so fortunate that I was able to birth two of my babies in this beautiful natural way with the help of a midwife and my super supportive husband. I always tell anyone who asks that I highly recommend it, especially after going through a very different experience at the hospital with my first. It is a personal choice, and I am not here to judge anyone, but if you care to read more about my personal experiences to compare and contrast the differences between a hospital and a birthing center, please read my first son’s birth story here, and my daughter’s here.
If you are in the Phoenix area, our son was born at Babymoon Inn, and I would highly recommend them if you are in search of a quality, professional, established birthing center.
Finally, if you have any questions about birthing centers, how they work, or just about me/my birthing experience(s), please leave them in the comments below and I will be happy to answer you all!
UPDATE: My birth story was recently featured on The Birth Hour podcast. You can hear me tell my story in my own words here.