Kimora’s birth story could not be any more different than her brother’s.
Manuel and I had started talking about whether or not we wanted another baby. I knew if I had more than one I wanted them to be close in age.
BAM. I was pregnant. We had barely started talking about it, and not really started “trying.” It is supposed to be “harder” to get pregnant while you’re still nursing a baby. NOPE. Clearly my body just does whatever the hell it wants to.
After not knowing I was pregnant with Hixon for so long, you can bet your ass I had googled EVERY SINGLE sign that I had missed. Obviously being sick isn’t the only sign of being pregnant…. So this time I knew. We went away for a weekend on the river with some friends and I felt sick after just one beer. I also felt super hungover the next day from that one beer. I was only a few days late in my cycle (still fairly normal for me) but for some reason I just knew. I kept telling Manuel something was up but he was in denial. Finally, after about a week or so of feeling like something was a little off in my body, I convinced him I needed to take a pregnancy test. I was genuinely so excited to take an “at-home” test since I missed that whole experience with Hixon. Test revealed what I already knew. We were pregnant!
Telling the world was a little easier this time. Way less nervous. Way less shock.
I was sicker with this baby than I was with Hixon but nothing to complain about. I mean I maybe actually threw up once. Still. More than last time. The food aversions were STRONG with this baby though. Eggs? Nope. Chicken? Nope. Anything that smelled funny? Nope. Fish? Hell no. I decided I would just eat peanut butter and toast the rest of the pregnancy. Easy enough right?
But y’all. Being pregnant and tired and a little nauseous and still having to chase around a toddler? It’s no joke. I have never been so physically exhausted in my entire life. Ever. Nap time was serious business in this house. Bed time? Even more serious. All while trying to soak up every minute of Hixon being an only child.
This time I also experience a whole lot of mom guilt. Did Hixon even want a sibling? Would he be jealous? Would he be so sad I couldn’t give him ALL my attention anymore? Did I give him enough time and love? How on earth could I love another baby this much? Maybe new baby would feel left out? So many emotions! I think I cried at least once a day. Damn hormones.
I then realized I was almost the exact same age when my brother was born. And guess what? I don’t feel traumatized. Or left out. I even sort of like him?! Needless to say, as the older sibling, I survived. And my mom and dad survived. And my brother seems ok too. We would all be ok. Hopefully.
Since Hixon was born at 37 weeks, we prepped ourselves for this baby to come early as well. And that she did. Right around 38 weeks, I had a really rough night of sleep. I felt so uncomfortable all night. The next morning I continued to feel sick. Not horrible. Just a little sick. My whole body felt a little off. Manuel had a busy day at work so I called in reinforcement to help with Hixon so I could get some rest. I called my midwife to let her know how I was feeling. I was on strict orders to not wait so long like I did last time. I labored so fast with Hixon (at least until I started pushing) we were worried this baby would come even faster. I stayed in contact with my midwife and doula all day. I was also in constant contact with my parents since they were going to come watch Hixon. But nothing was really changing. I just felt a little off. All. Damn. Day.
Late in the afternoon, I could tell something was changing. I was no longer just feeling a little sick. I was feeling some super small contractions, but nothing crazy. I was so nervous to have everyone rush to the birth center and then nothing happen, so I kept telling them I wasn’t ready. Then I started to panic. What if this really was labor and everyone would be stuck in rush hour traffic!? What if we had to take Hixon with us to the birth center?! He had already made a huge mess in the office at almost every single appointment. I couldn’t have him destroy the beautiful birth room too! I also knew I needed to have Manuel’s full attention and help and didn’t want him to be worried about Hixon. So I started to make a few panicked phone calls and had my doula and parents to have them head this way.
Then it happened. My contractions when from 15-20 minutes apart and very light, to 6-8 minutes apart and taking me to my knees very quickly. At this point we were still at home and Manuel was still on Hixon duty. I began to gather things up to leave while he took Hixon outside. Y’all. He accidentally locked me in my room. We have child locks on the outsides of our bedroom doors so we can lock Hixon out if we need to. But once the door is child locked, you’re also locked in the room. In an effort to keep Hixon out of the room, he also locked me in. And then they went outside. Had this moment been caught on camera it would go viral on YouTube I’m sure. I was 100% sure I was about to have this baby in my room, alone, while they played outside. COMPLETE PANIC. Needless to say, I text him, and he came and let me out. It’s funny now, but at the time, that might have been the scariest moment of my life.
Around 7:00pm my parents arrived to take over with Hixon and we were ready to head to the birth center. My fears were correct and my doula was stuck in traffic, but she was close enough to meet us there.
Arriving at the birth center I felt so much peace. I wasn’t nervous like I was last time. I knew I could do this. I knew we were in a better situation this time. I was so excited to labor in the water. All felt right in the world. I also really loved laboring at night. The birth center just felt so peaceful. I was also so happy that midwife Kaitlyn would be walking me through this again. We worked so hard together last time, I knew she would help me have the perfect birth this time.
I was dilated to a 9 and almost ready to push. (A little better than last time…) I labored in the water until I felt I was ready to push. And then it got REAL. The pressure to push was REAL. But we were still waiting to get to a 10 and my body wasn’t quite ready. My midwife offered to “assist” during the next contraction. Some craziness about her fingers inside me while I contracted. I just followed instructions and let her do her job to help get this baby out faster than last time. Low and behold, my water hadn’t broken all the way. Once we got that out of the way I was ready. It was around 10:00pm.
Once I started pushing I had my own little version of PTSD. All those emotions and memories of pushing Hixon for so long came flooding back. I had been telling myself all along I could do this again. But suddenly I decided I couldn’t. I just couldn’t push for that long. I couldn’t be a natural birth failure again. I sure couldn’t have another hospital bill like that again. I NEEDED this to be better than last time. Cue the tears. Luckily my midwife had the perfect, calm, strong words I needed at the moment. I could do this. I had done it before. My body knew what to do.
Know how long I had been pushing? Go ahead. Take a guess.
10 minutes. That’s it. I felt like it had been forever. Once I got my little pep talk from Kaitlyn and realized it had only been 10 minutes I began to feel strong again. It took my FIVE HOURS to get this far last time. I could do this. I WAS doing this! 20 minutes later I was still pushing but making decent progress. I pushed on the bed, and pushed while sitting on the birth chair. (If you don’t know what a birth chair looks like google it. Basically an assisted squat. A super low, legs wide open, look in the mirror to see your baby coming out, low squat.) I got back in the water, along with Manuel so we could have this perfect water birth with Baby Daddy there to catch the baby. A few contractions later, baby’s heartbeat dropped a little so we decided the water wasn’t the best place. Kaitlyn and I had a quick chat about not birthing in the water and instead birthing on the bed. I decided I would obviously do whatever was best for the baby and attempted to get out of the tub. One leg out. Then suddenly things changed. What in the actual hell was that pain?! Everyone realized very quickly that I was pushing this baby out. Right there. One leg in, one leg out of the water. I place ALL my weight on Manuel and delivered that baby right there. Standing up. It was the most excruciating 30 seconds of my life. (By this point with Hixon I was too numb and swollen to feel anything) I felt it all this time. Fire. I got baby’s head out (still standing) and told my midwife that was it I was done. Obviously not an option at that point. I mustered up every last ounce of strength I had and delivered the rest of baby. Screaming. Feeling so primal.
After a few moments of what felt like complete chaos, trying to me and baby over to the bed, we were done! Kimora Hope Darnell made her quick exit at 10:32pm. Only 32 minutes of pushing! And only 3 hours of active labor! My sense of pride at that time was through the roof.
Next step was an herbal bath. Guys, aside from the women being amazing, this was the reason I wanted another chance at natural birth. The herbal bath. Peaceful, quiet, healing for mommy, and healing for baby. And the most gorgeous photos.
I wish I could say introducing Hixon to his sister was the greatest moment ever. But by the time we were settled and ready for him to come, it was almost 2am. He was a little tired. He was more excited about the new toys we told him sister brought with her. Better than crying right?
So here we are. The Darnell Family. Complete. (Maybe…) Two kids under two years old. Chaos and a whole lotta coffee.