Kimiko Sapphire Comeau, born July 19, 2014 @ 7:57am — 6lbs 12oz, 20 3/4 inches
(at 38 weeks 5 days)
Our beautiful baby girl was born July 19, 2014 at 7:57am. Here is how it all happened:
A little warning in advance: I won’t be able to help myself comparing the two birth experiences of Savina and Kimiko, so you’ll be reading a lot of “this is how it was with Savina.”
Wednesday, July 16th, I had my first painful contraction. It was only the one, so I didn’t make much of it. Everything remained quiet until Friday morning. Early Friday morning, or rather night (starting at 3:46am) I experienced more contractions, very irregular, about 5 in 1hr 20min., and a bit painful, not too bad but bad enough to keep me awake. I said to Peter that it may be a good idea to have his phone charged and on him at all times at work, because I felt like things were moving in the right direction, and that contractions might pick up by the end of the day. Peter decided to stay home, and it was good he did–it worked out well.
I called my midwife later that morning, after I’d sent her an email at about 5am. Contractions were pretty painful by now, but still extremely irregular, and I didn’t need to breathe them out yet. She suggested to walk for a while and see if things continued to progress. We decided to do our grocery shopping instead of waiting until afternoon–just in case. In the store, one of the associates asked me: “Are you in labor?” … I wondered how she knew. She later said to me, when I asked her, that she asks all pregnant women who are holding their bellies. I hadn’t realized that this was actually the first time I’d been holding my belly for added support. Koko must have sat really low at that point already.
We got back home, and later that afternoon I talked to my midwife again. Contractions were still very irregular. Peter set up the birthing pool just in case. I was waiting for contractions to come about 15-20 minutes apart, but they never did. With Savina, they were regular right from the start–I had a full day of regular contractions 15-20 min. apart, so that experience is all I could base my predictions on.
We went to bed at our usual time. I had some massive heartburn around 9pm, yay me. Went to sleep and woke around 3am with contractions. I waited, tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t–they had become far more painful. I couldn’t stay put in bed any longer, because walking eased the pain, which was far too great to stay lying in bed. When I went to the bathroom to pee, I found “bloody show.” I never had that happen with Savina, so that was a new one for me. I knew what it meant though. Labor was definitely progressing. The show was on. I woke up Peter, telling him about the blood and that I was going to call my midwife. I called my midwife at about quarter of four, letting her know that contractions were roughly 15 min. apart. She got herself ready to come and check on me, see how far along I was. Finally contractions had become regular. Of course, with my past experience, ignoring that every pregnancy and every labor is different, I was expecting this to take at least a few hours before coming anywhere near pool-time. Little did I know, Kimiko would be born only 4 hours later. I also called my doula to let her know how things were going. I told her she could stay home, and that I’ll wait for my midwife, see what she says, how things look.
Peter got up and started filling the pool. With my contractions being this painful, and bloody show on the road, we figured this was the right choice. Our instincts treated us well: only 15 min. later contractions picked up–and fast. By 4:11am I texted my doula, asking her to come after all because I’d been having 4 contractions in the last 15 min. Nine minutes later, I realized I should probably let my midwife know too, so I texted her as well.
From then, labor went really fast. I sat in the pool, as contractions were so painful now that I was happy I could relax submerged in hot water.
My doula arrived first, followed soon by my midwife. At 5:15am I was starting to feel pressure. Savina woke ten minutes later–her usual wake-up time. By 5:45am the time contractions lasted had increased by 20 seconds.
Our backup midwife arrived at 6:05am.
At 6:25am I felt like I might be pushing soon, although pushing didn’t start for almost another hour. At 7:17am I pushed the first time. I asked Peter to turn on the video camera, since we wanted to record Kimiko’s birth, just as we had recorded Savina’s birth.
My water broke at 7:43, and it was actually a little painful. It felt strange, like a ball bursting out of my vagina–and I mean bursting: flying out breaking open. Literally. Well, I suppose, in a way it did. This is most different from how I felt my water breaking with Savina. It shot out forcefully, whereas with Savina it broke gently, in a manner of speaking, almost going unnoticable.
Kimiko was born at 7:57. She weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces, and measured 20 3/4 inches.
In summary, I pushed for 40 min. (2-2 1/2hrs with Savina), and I was much more aware of everything around me this time around. With Savina, I mostly dozed off between contractions. With Kimiko, I was far more aware, and I did far better in the breathing department. I could say Savina’s birth taught me a lot. I knew from having given birth to Savina that putting voice behind my breaths just makes the contractions hurt more. This time I really focused on just breathing and being quiet. It was so much easier due to that small difference! An epidural never even came to my mind, whereas with Savina I was so very close to screaming for one, thinking “I want her out, I want her out.” Towards the end, just as Kimiko was coming out, I tore a little more than I did with Savina, and boy did that hurt, and did I scream! That was probably the first time someone outside the room could hear me. It still hurt for a minute after Kimiko had come out, and I kept saying ouch ouch.
Kimiko came out all at once. There was no crowning. I announced that the baby was a girl and then turned and asked, where is Savina? She was, of course, already on the way to greet her new sister. I left the pool roughly 20 minutes later and delivered the placenta when I reached the bed, at 8:18am. We placed it in towels next to me on the bed. I bled more than I did with Savina, but it wasn’t too bad. Peter cut the cord over an hour later, at 9:29am, letting Kimiko receive all the blood that was meant for her. We made a tree of life with the placenta, just by using the blood of the placenta itself. In the evening a friend picked up Koko’s placenta to turn it into pills for me, just as I had done with Savina’s. The remainders of both of them are currently in our freezer–care to take a look?
How did Savina do during all of this? I remember seeing her at least a couple of times during labor, watching me in the tub, quite calm. At some point toward the end of my labor they called in someone to help take care of Savina and my midwife’s baby. This woman is a nanny as well as a midwife in training, and we are so grateful for her assistance! This is how she described to me Savina’s reaction to the birth:
[...] we went into her room and played in there for a while. We mostly read books and very soon after I could tell things were getting intense from the sound of things in the other room. It’s my experience that kids at births are usually pretty good at self – regulating. If things get too intense for them they will often retreat into another room. They may at another point in the birth have no problem being right by the birth tub peering in. When you started to scream she looked your way, down the hallway, but she didn’t seem upset at all…just aware that something was changing. She looked back at her toys and very soon after we heard the baby cry…she exclaimed “baby!” and looked at me as if wanting to make sure I’d heard her announcement and immediately dropped her toys, stood up and started making her way towards you in the other room.
I can only say to that, this is typical for my baby girl. That obsession with babies, and Mommy being very calm throughout her labor (until tearing), certainly helped Savina to not be scared, just as I thought she wouldn’t be. I’ve seen her react to me being scared–she was terrified, but labor and birth are something very natural, something I along with the majority of women don’t fear. Children pick up on the mood of the people around them. If the mood is good and relaxed, they will feel good and relaxed. I honestly believe that there was not a single moment in which having had Savina around while giving birth to Kimiko was a bad idea. I’m happy that she got to hear my baby’s, her sister’s, very first cry. And I’m delighted that she reacted to it the way she did.
A very heartfelt thank you to my amazing birthing team: Rebecca Taylor, Tammy Wills, and Jessica Brown–who thought I’d pull her into the pool with me during some of my pushes! It’s a miracle I didn’t tear her shirt apart. Thank you for being strong for me. You’re the most wonderful doula ever! Thank you also to Carly, who took such wonderful care of my Savinababy, and of course to my dear sweet husband Peter who was everywhere he needed to be at just the right times!
Lastly, a couple of photos. A comparison of Savina and Kimiko a few days after birth–they look like twins! And a last belly/PP photo. How I healed and Kimiko’s first month will be covered in a later post. Thanks for reading!