Hey everyone! I realize it’s been over two weeks since I announced to you all that we were had at “Hello” when our baby girl decided to join our family. Many of you shared your well-wishes on my previous post, as well as on instagram and I want to thank you all! We couldn’t be more thrilled to have a new little life in our home.
I have tried my hardest to catch up on as many of your blogs as my sleep deprived, mom-brain can handle (while jammin’ out to Barenaked Ladies… random, I know…). Now, I think it’s about time that I dished a little (okay, maybe a lot– you guys know I’m long-winded 😉 ) on her birth story. I promise it’s nothing too gruesome! Also, if you’re in the mood and just love hearing baby stories head over and congratulate bloggers Whitney and Sarah on their brand new additions! Little cuties are just popping up all over the blogosphere!
As many of you readers may already know, I started having contractions on and off (often known as prodromal labor) during the first week of October; just shy of 37 weeks pregnant. I was miserable, in pain, uncomfortable, and majorly DONE with being pregnant. I know that it sounds terrible to say that but, after having a nearly flawless pregnancy the first time around I didn’t go into this one expecting the complete opposite. Not that the baby wasn’t healthy or anything but, from the morning sickness, to the swelling, to the walking with a cane because of the pressure on nerves in my back… I can’t think of anything else that has made me feel as close to bed-ridden as carrying this little lady.
I went to the hospital triage to make sure everything was okay, as I mentioned in a previous post, and was sent home baby-less, dilated to one, and only 40% effaced. I was frustrated by this point that there was supposedly nothing my doctor could give me for pain, I didn’t have the option of induction (which I also didn’t want), and before my son was born I never dilated past one centimeter so the numbers weren’t giving me any confidence I’d get relief soon either. Don’t get me wrong, ladies… as I’ve said MANY times, it’s a wonderful privilege to carry a life inside of you. But, at some point, every woman has their emotional and physical limits and at nearly 37 weeks, I was close to surpassing mine.
The days passed and my hubby was as encouraging as could be. In all honesty, we probably would’ve been starving and camping out on the couch if it were up to me to take care of myself; especially with a toddler running around. He was amazing at arranging his work schedule to not take any business trips at the time and was an amazing help with the kids. My every thought was consumed with how to speed the process of getting this baby expelled from my body so that I could not only get back to feeling “normal” but, love on the little bundle I’d waited for so long to meet. Jon was extremely supportive in this also, even when I was extremely emotional (which was pretty much the whole time) and made sure to go walking around the neighborhood with me…etc., so that we both felt productive.
When week 38 rolled around my intermittent contractions has pretty much come to a halt and I was sure that I was doomed to be pregnant forever. A feeling that any woman who has ever carried a baby past her due date knows very well. My little man was delivered two days overdue and those last two weeks of pregnancy were the toughest for me then too.
So, on the day that the number 38 came knockin’ at the door (October 14th) I tried to stay as positive and proactive as possible. I kept busy with E and baked treats but I also tried out a few “natural induction” methods. I won’t go into a lot of detail about that because 1) I know that there are many different opinions concerning what is and is not safe or when you should/should not try these throughout the course of your pregnancy. (If you have any particular questions you can always email me.) And, 2) I am of the mind that nothing will work to make your baby come faster unless your body is already prepared to cooperate. Plus, there is no exact, scientific proof that (in this pregnancy or the last) these methods were what caused my labor to begin or that it was strictly coincidence.
I started having what I thought were contractions at 3:30 AM on October 15th but, I couldn’t be sure. With E I had tried so many tricks to avoid medical induction and had eaten spicy food right before I went into labor, I mistook my contractions for food poisoning!! That being said, I laid awake reading blogs for about any hour before I decided to get up and walk around the house in attempt to allow my “cramps” to worsen. Well, I walked… for 45 minutes I made loops around our living room, kitchen, and dining room. Nothing happened. If anything, the pain got better. Exhausted and discouraged I headed back to bed. But, once I got there, I felt like I still couldn’t get comfortable. Almost like right before your ibuprofen kicks in to relieve you of your menstrual cramps… I tossed and turned and twisted but, all I felt was discomfort and achy.
Not too much time had passed when I figured I would get into the shower. Warm water always helps me when I’m not feeling well and I thought, if anything, it would at least help me relax enough to get some sleep. I knew that in just a couple of hours our 19 month old would be waking up and I would need energy to get through to nap time before I could rest again. Thankfully, the shower did exactly what I expected and I felt quite refreshed so, I stole some of my hubby’s sweatpants and climbed back in bed…again. This time, I was able to quickly fall into a deep sleep. However, that slumber was short-lived…
At 6:50 AM I woke up suddenly, in the midst of a dream, to my water breaking. I grabbed Jon’s hand and said, “Baby, my water just broke. We have to go to the hospital now.” I was oddly calm until I started moving around and it became apparent that I wasn’t in any pain….yet. The exact scenario that I didn’t want to happen was for my water to break at home before my contractions started to peak because that meant when I got to the hospital I would be sitting around virtually waiting for the pain to come and find me. I’ll admit it, I was scared. More scared the second time around because I already knew what the intensity was like and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle it again. Oh, and did I mention that an epidural wasn’t part of my birth plan? I didn’t have one with E and I wasn’t banking on one for baby girl.
It seemed like it took FOREVER to get into a labor & delivery room. When you’re in that much distress, every second seems like 10 minutes. Not surprisingly, I ended up at the hospital just after shift change (like last time) and one a day when there were 26 other babies born! (Also, very similar to last time.) I requested a room with a labor tub because I was certain that I would be okay as soon as I got into warm water again; channeling the euphoric feeling that my shower at home had given me. I was focusing very hard on my breathing pattern and I wasn’t able to
hold crush hubby’s hand like last time because I had to brace myself against the pain. I just remember wriggling my ankles around and around while feeling like my legs were literally being torn from my hip sockets. The thought of getting into a bathtub and zoning out was consuming my mind, especially since it worked so incredibly well when I was in labor with E and I was hoping it would help me stop vomiting.
Unfortunately, when they wheeled me into the L&D room, I immediately started crying because there was no tub. Both (yes, we only have TWO!) of them were in use. I just kept saying, “I can’t do this without being in water. I just can’t. I can’t!” But, regardless of my emotions, I knew that at this point there really was no turning back time. So, I asked to get into the shower. My nurse, who was quite wonderful, took a while to give me the go-ahead for the shower because my blood pressure was spiking and she wanted to keep monitoring the baby to make sure everything was going smoothly. Only after she got a clear reading on baby girl’s heartbeat for at least 20 minutes did she unhook me from everything (except my IV of penicillin, because I was Group B Strep +) and let me work my way onto the floor of the shower… There I was. On all fours. Focusing as hard as I could on each and every drop of water hitting my back, instead of the wrenching pain that was coming more and more steadily. My mom just staring at me, looking slightly shaken, ever ready to get my ice chips…etc, and Jon standing next to me — becoming a human IV pole for my constant flow of meds. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk. All I could do was close my eyes and try to aim my attention where it was needed most.
After about 45 minutes in the shower I felt a ‘heaviness’ and wanted to get out of the water and be checked; meanwhile, praying it was time to deliver this baby. To my surprise, the shower, although not as comfortable, had worked its magic just about as well as the bathtub had previously and I was already dilated to 10 centimeters. I thought, “Yay! A few more minutes and it’ll all be over!”…. WRONG! After a “practice” push, my nurse informed me that even though I was fully dilated, baby’s head was being blocked by a “thick ring” and until that went away I wouldn’t be allowed to push or I would rip my cervix. The BEST news… (obvious sarcasm)
By this time, I was writhing in pain and I was starting to panic. Up until then, I had been able to remain relatively calm because it was all going basically the same as everything did with E. However, this cervix ring being thrown into the works was all new for me and I wasn’t sure how to handle it. In the end, I decided I would just get back into the shower, although my subconscious was pushing the thought of medication to manage the pain.
This time, the water coming out of the faucet could’ve been 50,000 degrees and I wouldn’t have felt it. I was on my knees, gripping the handicap seat so hard my knuckles were turning white, and I was essentially passing out for short intervals at a time. I felt like I couldn’t hear and I my vision was blurry. I couldn’t even lift my head… The only thing that kept me sane was looking over and seeing the tips of hubby’s converse shoes next to me on the floor. I kept whispering to him, “Am I doing okay?”, “I don’t think I can do this anymore. I just wanna give up.” After about the 50th time I repeated that, he knelt down and looked me in the eyes and said, “Baby, what do you wanna do?”
In the back of my mind, I felt like less of a person but, I NEEDED an epidural if I was going to continue. My energy was running so low, the nurse said she didn’t know if the “ring” would go away in minutes or hours, and I just needed rest. I had to make my way back to hospital bed through contractions since they weren’t relenting and, as bad as it hurt, nothing compared to the searing fire that I felt up my back and down my thighs while I laid in bed waiting for the nurse to come back and prep me for the epidural. All the while, beating myself up for crumbling under the pressure and not being able to push through the pain like last time. (Just my personal feelings, of course. I don’t judge ANYONE for having an epidural during labor! Each person has their own pain tolerance and birth plan. This is only my experience.)
Just as the nurse walked back into the room, the tension released a bit, and I was suddenly yelling that I needed to push! The nurse had a doubtful look on her face that anything had changed since she had only left the room a few moments earlier but, when I “practice” pushed again she had to stop baby girl from coming out. Needless to say, I never got prepped for the epidural– it was too late; I couldn’t have been happier. And she kept reassuring me, if the doctor didn’t make it into the room in time, she had delivered plenty of babies. At that point, I would’ve let her! But, the doctor made it in and after about 5 minutes (4 pushes) I had my baby girl in my arms!
Next to me, Jon and my mom were both crying and I was just relieved to not be in pain. Oddly, I didn’t cry at the birth of either of my children. I’m so amazed at how a woman’s body can go from being in an insurmountable amount of pain to suddenly forgetting it all and being enamoured with the new little life they are holding in their arms.
The last two weeks we have spent our time enjoying one another and trying to adjust to being a family of 5! It’s still kind of unreal that I have a daughter!
She is eating like a champ and we are working on being as good a sleeper as E. She’s made some major strides in just 2 weeks and I’m looking forward to seeing her grow/change more and more.
Here are a few more photos of our sweet girl: