Va’aulu Baby #2!

“Hello New Little Life readers! My name is Margaret and I’m so excited to have my birth stories featured here! I’m an army wife and mother to two rambunctious boys–Tomasi (3) and Isala (9 months). I have loved all things pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding since Tomasi arrived earthside a few years ago. l have often found myself talking with friends about their own journeys into motherhood, so I hope you enjoy my posts as if we’re just chatting on a sofa. If you’d like to read more about me, please visit my personal blog, Midnight Musings of a Sleep- Deprived Mama or follow my Instagram page. “

Margaret Va’aulu, Midnight Musings of a Sleep Deprived Mama

Disclaimer: I firmly believe that birth is a natural, beautiful process that should not be hidden or whitewashed. I mean, we are all here because of birth. Because these are my personal beliefs, I have chosen to share some of the more raw, uncensored photos from my birthing experiences. Just be aware of that as you continue reading, so if that makes you uncomfortable this probably isn’t the post for you. 🙂 Happy reading!

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Society and media culture makes labor & delivery seem like a medical emergency, this traumatic event with screaming, unbearable pain & urgency. Sometimes this is the case, but it was not my experience with Masi and his birth opened my eyes to a whole new world (Read Tomasi’s Birth Story here). I discovered the unending strength and resilience of the female body in creating a whole new human, birthing it, and then continuing to sustain that life through breastfeeding and we have been doing it for centuries. (To this day still in awe of women everywhere.. I mean, how beautiful is it that we can do all this stuff?) I discovered this strength within myself. I didn’t use an epidural and birth didn’t have to be this chaotic, scary experience. It could be a peaceful and empowering moment: and it was. The birth of Masi greatly influenced how I feel about birth in general and how I approached my second baby.

*** OF COURSE, I am not saying anything against epidurals, c- sections, etc. It’s important that everyone has the choice to birth in the way most comfortable for them. This is just my personal experience***

Since Masi was born three weeks early and I was not prepared at all, I wanted to learn from some of my mistakes by having everything ready early. I assumed that the new baby would come just as early so I mentally gave myself an earlier due date around the time that my first was born. I was much more organized this time and had everything ready for baby boy 4 weeks before his due date! But expecting him to be early was definitely my undoing mentally. By the time 37, 38 weeks rolled around I was feeling like most women claim to feel around 40 weeks. I was tired of waiting, ready to not be pregnant anymore. Baby turned head-down pretty early on and each week the doctor would tell me that his head was low and I was dilated around 2 cm–that the baby could come anytime. But each day passed still babyless and I grew more and more restless and frustrated. So when my doctor suggested I be induced at 40 weeks, I agreed. Just having an end date gave me a beam of light at the end of the tunnel and I felt like this huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I kept hope though that he would come before the induction so I could have another unmedicated birth that I wanted.

Sunday morning we had several errands to run before going into the hospital that night. I was having these weird sensations that I thought were just the baby moving his head around in my pelvis. But after a while, I realized it was happening pretty frequently so I started keeping track of them. I didn’t tell anyone, including Blake, because the contractions were still pretty light and around 10 minutes apart and we just had so much to do. While waiting for our lunch at Sonic, I timidly told Blake that I was having contractions that were now 7 minutes apart. Because of how fast Masi’s birth went we decided to ditch our original plans and spend a few hours together as a family before everything changed.

My contractions slowed down once we got to the hospital so we all chatted as I paced the room & bounced on the birthing ball. Besides Blake, my sister Sarah and our birth photographer Christie were also there. The conversation flowed easily and many jokes were cracked but even two hours later I hadn’t progressed very much. We decided this would be a good time for a dinner break so Sarah and Christie left. Soon after that, my doctor came in and decided to go ahead and break my waters since I was still only dilated to 6 cm and as a second-time mother it should’ve been going faster. Within like 20 minutes of my waters breaking I could already notice a huge difference in the frequency & intensity of the contractions so we texted Christie and Sarah an update. About an hour after the doctor broke my water I was dilated to 8 cm.

Meanwhile, me and Blake ended up watching videos on YouTube of the Merrie Monarch festival happening in Hawaii. Something about the drum beats and chanting resonated and had a very calming effect as I tried to find a comfortable position to labor in. At some point, Christie had come back already and Sarah called to see how things were going. She had been sent to get some pizza and to check on Masi, who was having a really hard time at the babysitter’s house. Blake told her that I was much farther along but that she didn’t need to rush back. I innately knew this was wrong, that I’d be pushing pretty soon, but it was almost like having an out-of-body experience. Although I wanted to tell her that she needed to come right back to the hospital, my body had already taken over and no words came out.

The nurses were still setting things up as I felt myself starting to push. I vividly remember the doctor still pulling on his latex gloves & telling me to try not to push yet. I snapped back “I can’t not push!” And was a bit annoyed that he would even suggest such a thing. It was only like 2 contractions later that a nurse told me to look down, you could see baby’s head. Honestly I didn’t believe her. There was no way that his head was already out, I’d just started pushing. But sure enough, a few minutes later he was here!

I started bawling the second I saw him and they put him on my chest for some skin to skin & his first feed. Our perfect little angel born at 7:45 pm after only five minutes of pushing (I had to confirm that later with the nurse because honestly I was in shock at how quickly it went). He was 7 lbs 15 oz and over 20 inches long. He laid on my chest for almost 2 hours before the nurses came to measure him, etc. and all I could do that entire time was stare in awe at this little boy we already loved so much.

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[See Sarah’s reaction as she walked into the room and realized that she’d just barely missed the birth by like 2 minutes or less!]

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Blake & I did have a name picked out this time, but as soon as he was born we looked at each other and said: “I don’t think that’s supposed to be it”. We mulled over the name until the next afternoon… it was such a weird experience, but our original name just didn’t feel right. I’ve always hesitated to believe when people say they meet their baby and he/ she doesn’t fit the name. I mean it’s a baby. They don’t look like anything.. you just give them a name. But now I totally get it. What we originally picked just wasn’t his name. It somehow didn’t fit him. We decided to keep the middle names we picked out and just switch the first name to Isala, a family name on Blake’s side. Isala Tautogia Immanuel finally joined our little family on the evening of April 8, his due date. Only 5% of babies are actually born on their due date and our time with Isala so far has been equally as special as the day he arrived.

Christie was an absolutely amazing birth photographer and I am so glad that she was able to document this special moment for us. I definitely consider it Divine intervention that I found her… in my search for a photographer all the local ones were not taking on new clients and so I had to reach out to Christie, who lives 45 minutes away in Duncan, OK. We were a bit anxious at first that she might miss the birth on account of distance but after meeting her for the first time during the 3rd trimester it was a risk I was willing to take. We instantly clicked and even though she didn’t meet Blake and Sarah until we were at the hospital, it felt more like having another friend there in the room. We were all so comfortable with her and I will forever cherish the photos she was able to take. Even today they still make me cry! Here’s the link to her website to read about Isala’s birth from her perspective 🙂 https://www.cjaestudios.com/cjaestudiosbirthstories/

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