Holden was born at 8:38 PM on December 28, 2010, a Tuesday. He weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces, and his head was 14.5". He was 22" long.
In spite of my absolute conviction that I would tear apart as I pushed him out, I had only one very minor tear, requiring 3 stitches. That was less tearing than with my 7 pound, 4 ounce daughter.
Labor lasted, from first notice of clock and contraction to Holden's birth, 12 hours and 8 minutes. This was 22 minutes shorter than my first labor.
Perhaps because of the difficulties I had in the labor, the intense pain, and the cord around Holden's neck, I am more firmly convinced than ever that our home was the very safest place for us to be during this labor. Hospital protocols would have cut his cord earlier, but its delivery of life support while we brought Holden around to breathing on his own was crucial. Well-meaning hospital staff would have intervened much earlier when I made my first tentative pushes. If I had made it to the screaming, out-of-my-head point, I surely would have been sedated and sectioned. I'm pretty sure my neighbors could hear me screaming. Finally, Holden stayed with me from the very first moment of his life. He never had to scream alone in a sterile nursery under observation to prove to strangers that he was alive enough to be with his family.
Ultimately, I'm very happy with the labor and its outcome. While I never want to endure that level of pain again, I know that a good bit of it was brought about by my ambivalence over having another child at this point and after so much trouble in our marriage. I know that I was blessed with caregivers who could allow me to suffer, as difficult as that was, until I had resolved myself.