Phoenix Rises from the Ashes
I couldn’t wait to get pregnant with my second baby, but I had no choice. After losing a pregnancy at 9 weeks in September 2015, it took 9 months to conceive again. This was a far cry from our first-try success with Desmond. I know that many women suffer more losses and need to wait even longer and from the bottom of my heart, I feel for them. I know how lucky we are to be able to conceive naturally and I am extremely grateful for that.
We found out we were going to become ‘Santos, party of four’ on Desmond’s 2nd birthday. It was 3 months after buying a basal thermometer, two months after starting to track ovulation, and just one week after going to see my OB for a conception consultation because I was wondering why things weren’t happening for us. I was given some advice and excited to go home and ‘try’ some new methods. Lucky for us, I didn’t have the chance.
I was on the fence about finding out the sex of the baby. If I’m honest, I was afraid I would be disappointed if we had another boy. When we found out it was a boy, I was happy. Knowing that we were giving Desmond a brother was so exciting. We already had boys clothes and I know from experience how much baby boys love their Mamas :). We picked initials and started thinking of names. ‘P’ is for both my grandmother (Phyllis) and Dave’s grandmother (Patria) and ‘B’ is for my other grandmother (Beatrice). We settled on Phoenix because it’s unique, artistic, and symbolic since we had previously suffered a loss. We both liked Bentley and following Phoenix, well, we just liked the combination.
With the exception of having Gestational Diabetes, my pregnancy was amazing. I loved being pregnant. I love the clothes, the attention, the kicks (although Phoenix was feisty and strong), the excuse to relax. I didn’t mind the extra appointments and close monitoring, the low carb diet (ok, that was hard), checking my blood sugar 4x/day, and after I got used to giving myself injections, I didn’t even mind taking insulin. I wasn’t consistent with prenatal yoga and I definitely didn’t get as much sleep as I did when I was pregnant with Desmond, and oddly, I didn’t have any back pain. Maybe I was just better prepared for how to carry my weight or my body was already familiar with the expansion. Either way, it was just one more thing to be grateful for!
Because I had Gestational Diabetes, I knew they wanted me to deliver at 39 weeks. This was both to prevent having an overly large baby and also to ensure that my placenta continued to work and deliver oxygen to my baby. I was terrified of an induction. Mostly I feared that induction meant C-section and I really wanted a similar birth experience to what I had with Desmond. Once 37 weeks came, I tried almost everything I could to help bring the baby out on his own. Three different acupuncturists, Evening Primrose Oil supplements, walking, squatting, dancing, bumpy car rides, and some good old fashioned and natural prostaglandins (wink, wink, nod, nod) – and none of it worked for me. Although the acupuncturists would say that my treatments all helped during delivery.
Induction was scheduled for Saturday 3/4/17. Luckily, I was 2cm dilated and 50% effaced at the start. After filling out all of the paperwork, I got my IV around 10am. There was an hour of waiting for the Pitocin to kick in (which meant happily watching an episode of Game of Thrones) and then 2.5 hours of walkable contractions. The Pitocin was increased to 4 and there was no more walking through the contractions. Two and a half hours of tough contractions meant trying to find the most ‘comfortable’ position possible. I moved from the toilet to the tub, to standing in front of the sink, shifting my weight back and forth, side-lying on the bed, other-side-lying on the bed, on my hands and knees, with the peanut ball, and when I made it back to the toilet, the urge to push was ridiculous. None of this was like I remembered it, but all of it was like I hoped for. I managed without any pain medication and this baby was coming!
My midwife this time had a very different approach than the first. With Desmond, I knew when I was ‘ready’, my water was broken for me, I pushed when I was told, and I delivered a perfect baby. This time around, I was told to push when I felt the urge. My water broke when I started pushing. Twenty-five minutes after I started pushing, we met Phoenix Bentley Santos. He was 8lbs 7oz, 20.5 inches long, and when he was placed on my chest, I cried an ugly, uncontrollable cry. Dave cut the cord, Phoenix got cleaned up, and then he latched like a champ. There can’t be another feeling like this in the world.
Here we are 11 weeks later and I am remembering our birth experience with a smile. Phoenix is adorable, smiling, starting to giggle, discovering his hands, loves to be swaddled, sleeps well, and let’s just say he is gaining weight like he’s at the buffet every day. I am loving getting to know him and can’t wait to see what he will look like and how he will be as he learns to talk, walk, and play. I am loving watching the brotherhood between Phoenix and Desmond – and every day something happens that melts my heart. I am not in a rush and know that my feelings could change, but I already hope I will be lucky enough to do it all over again.