Rowan Cole Strout was born July 25th at 10:47am, weighing 9lbs. It was my longest but easiest labour! You can read about Finnley’s birth here. Each birth of my children was different but all three were unmedicated and out of hospital.
I woke up at 12:30am on a Thursday with what I recognized as a contraction. It was enough to wake me up but felt like pre-labour not active labour. I couldn’t fall back asleep though… not because of the discomfort but because I was feeling really excited to be going into labour! haha I was 40 1/2 weeks and had really been hoping baby would come before I hit 41 weeks (my previous babies were 42 and 41 weeks and those last weeks are tooouuughhh). So I ended up getting out of bed (somehow didn’t wake my husband or Finnley) and getting the room ready in case my labour did pick up. I filled my diffuser with vetiver, bergamot and lavender. I laid down shower curtains underneath the birth tub. I changed my outfit.
Around 3am, I called my midwife. My contractions hadn’t gotten any stronger but they were 10min apart and I wanted to give her a heads up. My previous labour (second baby) was VERY sudden and fast and even though this time was different, I still felt things could change quickly. My midwife basically told me to call back when they were closer to 5min apart and to try to get some sleep hehe
I did manage to sleep from 4-6am and that’s when my contractions picked up a bit. They were getting stronger and more like 7min apart. My midwife actually called to check in on me and I let her know that I thought she would probably need to come over within the next hour. As soon as I hung up, my contractions reached their strongest point (turns out this would be as strong as they’d get) and were 5min apart so I texted my midwife and she said they’d head over. This was around 7:30am. I had my husband make me some peanut butter toast with banana which I ate half of. Beckett was awake and I let him know I was going to have the baby that day! My mother in law was visiting us from WA State so she and my husband made breakfast. Finnley was still asleep in my bed!
The two midwives and assistant arrived around 8am, I think (I really never checked the time after 7am). My husband had already started to fill the birth tub as I was feeling ready to get into it but needed to wait for my midwife to arrive. They checked me and said I was fully dilated! So I got into the birth tub and instantly felt SO relaxed. I had a water birth with my first but couldn’t with my second (she came too fast!) so I’d really been hoping I’d get to experience it again with my third. The water feels soo good when you’re having contractions. By now Finnley was awake too and my MIL entertained them in the living room (I was in our bedroom). I had bought the kids some gifts to help distract them from the fact that I was busy.
Despite being fully dilated, my contractions had really died back down especially once I was in the water. I’d really only had about an hour where I was having to focus on breathing through contractions but I could still talk inbetween them. Once I was in the water, my contractions were so light I could actually talk through them for the most part. They also weren’t happening as often. Eventually, at my midwife’s suggestion, I got out of the tub and walked around my house… bounced on the exercise ball… just trying to get the contractions to pick up! The midwives also all left the room, saying that sometimes that seemed to help.
This was when I realized I could feel something between my legs. I touched it with my fingers and knew it was my water bag! I had felt my water break just before my midwives arrived but apparently some of it was still intact! I had a feeling that if it broke, labour would pick up! So when my midwives came back in, I asked them to break it. Once that was done, I got back in the birth tub and felt my contractions surge a bit.
The best part of having such a calm labour with not much pain was that Beckett and Finnley could come into the room at any time and I was still able to talk to them. That was a dream come true for me! Beckett was very curious and came into the room a lot. Finnley didn’t come in as often and I did hear her cry for me a bit but mostly she seemed happy to play with her nana and come say hi to me every now and then.
At this point I was just waiting for my body to start pushing. I was pretty surprised that it hadn’t yet! My body always pushes on its own during labour. With my first, I think it pushed for over an hour and with my second it was about 45min. I generally go through transition during this time and it’s definitely the most challenging part of labour for me. So the fact that I didn’t feel like I had gone through transition and my body wasn’t pushing felt so strange! But breaking my waters definitely helped because once I was back in the tub, I did feel my body start to push. Actually, my midwife handed me an energy bar and as soon as I took a bite I felt my body push haha
Pretty quickly after that, my body started to push harder and I knew baby was going to come quick. I got on to my knees, still in the water, to let gravity help move the baby down. My body did two BIG pushes and baby was out! That part was very intense… the only intense part of my entire labour. I was pushing on the tub with my arms because I felt like I had to keep my lower body relaxed but needed to counteract that pressure. My husband was sitting outside the tub, holding onto me, and I could hear my midwives telling me how amazing I was doing. The pushing hurt (duh) and almost felt overwhelming but it was over fast… and I barely tore! No stitches required this time (had stitches with both of my others!).
We had chosen not to find out the sex of this baby so once he was out, I announced he was a boy! That felt so special! He looked SO much like my son. The kids weren’t in the room when I was pushing but as soon as baby was out, my husband went and told them they had a baby brother and they came into the room to meet him. Beckett was instantly in love but Finnley wasn’t too sure haha It took her about a day to really show interest in the baby.
I stayed in the birth tub for a while, holding my new baby, until I birthed the placenta. My midwife placed it in a bowl and I moved to the bed where I nursed Rowan for the first time. Once his cord was white and there was no more blood flowing, my MIL cut the cord. We weighed the baby and at 9lbs he was our biggest one although the others were 8.11 and 8.8, s so they were all pretty close in weight.
We did not have a name picked out but settled on Rowan Cole the next morning. Rowan was a name we had both liked and while I thought I preferred it for a girl, it ended up feeling right once our baby was here. We chose Cole as a nod to my grandpa Nicholas and my mom Nicolette. Nicole is also my youngest sister’s middle name. My mother in law and her sisters all have first names starting with the letter ‘C’ so we also liked it for that reason.
My family feels complete and I do think Rowan will be our last baby. His calm birth was exactly what I needed at that time and I’m so grateful for it. He was even born during a thunderstorm and I heard the thunder boom just after he was born- something I had said earlier in the week I hoped would happen!
It’s been almost 3 weeks since Ro joined us. The kids have adjusted really well. Finnley was jealous for a couple days but that’s all. Beckett has always loved babies so he’s always loving on him. I’ve experienced some postpartum rage and had some emotional days but overall, have felt really good and it actually feels like his birth was much longer ago! We have had some breastfeeding struggles and Rowan is definitely not as “chill” of a baby as Finnley was but my heart feels so full and I’m trying to soak in all the newborn moments because they always go by so fast.