As I’m lying in bed with our littlest daughter, soaking up her tiny movements and sleepy squeaks, I’m again reminded how amazing the whole process of birth is. There’s a bump gone from my belly, no aches where there were before, and a newly discovered ease of getting around the house. God knew what he was doing when he designed us, and it blows my mind every time.
I wanted to sit down and put together this birth story before I forget, and I figured a week is the longest my mom-brain will hold onto all the details, so here we go!
From the start of the second trimester, I began to realize that this pregnancy would take a larger physical toll on me than my first. Round ligament and pelvis pain presented itself in a much more prevalent way this time, and I had an energetic 1 year old to chase around the house on top of it. Around 32 weeks, I began to have frequent contractions the lasted a couple hours for a few days a week. On a particular bad day, I called my OB, and they told me to come in for a check up. They then discovered that my FFN test was positive for preterm labor risks and I was running a higher-than-normal blood pressure, so they put me on pelvic rest and changed my appointment gaps from 2 weeks to weekly.
Up to this point, I was feeling calmer about impending birth than I was with my first, but this new information and uncertainly spun me for a loop. Cautiously I hoped, hard I prayed, and after that initial scary day I realized I had made it this far along in the pregnancy, and if she did make an early appearance that she would definitely be viable. So I took it easy around the house, resting often when I could. My mom was a lifesaver this pregnancy, taking Wren every other day to entertain her playful spirit, and give rest to mine.
36 weeks came around, and by now my doctors were very optimistic about lasting full term. They told me it seemed like I just went through a rough patch. Hallelujah! I threw myself into full nesting mode, organizing and cleaning and meal-prepping and cleaning some more. I had about 6 different checklists on my phone for different baby-related things, and my husband and I made a great team, muscling through them. We didn’t even realize how fast the days were going until we hit 37 weeks. That next day, we were having dinner when I started having very strong and persistent contractions. I didn’t think much of it until around midnight, as they weren’t going away and seemed stronger even. I told Alec it might be time, and he sprung into action, loading up the car and dressing a sleepy, cranky Wren, while I showered and got ready. We dropped her off at my mom’s house and proceeded to labor and delivery.
After monitoring my contractions for an hour, they checked me and told me I was 2 centimeters. I was 1cm that morning! They told me to walk for an hour and see if labor was progressing, and afterwards checked me again. I was at a 3 and 75% effaced! At that point I had the option to either walk around the hospital, or go home and labor there. The comforts of home- a cozy bed, a warm shower on my back, a snack, candles and music, were all too tempting to pass up, so home we went. On the way out the doctor said, “Tomorrow is baby day! See you soon!” At home, Alec lit me a candle and made me a sandwich, and I put on some music and got into bed. I suddenly realized how tired was, so I told him I was going to try to sleep between contractions. I remember waking up and moaning in pain a couple times, but eventually my sleepiness won and I passed out. I woke up 2 hours later at 5 am with…no contractions. I jumped up (well, got up as fast as I could) and started walking around the house again to see if they would return. Nothing. My mom even took me shopping to see if activity would trigger them. Nothing! Days went by, then a week. I was having painful contractions every day, but not strong enough to warrant a hospital trip. I showed up at my 38 week appointment exhausted and discouraged. By chance, the same doctor that was there when I went into labor saw me. “You haven’t had your baby yet?” She asked in surprise when she recognized me. I shook my head miserably and told her how rough and painful this last week has been. “I can’t help you before 39 weeks, but would you like to be induced next week?” It felt like the clouds opened and choir music sang from the heavens. I said “Absolutely!” And they scheduled me for induction the first opening of that week- Tuesday, the 8th of October.
The new date on the calendar put me in the best mood I had been in a long time. Gone was the stress of trying to induce labor at home, gone were the worries I would go overdue, and I could actually plan for a set day.
October 8th came, and after getting ready bright and early, we called labor and delivery. They told us to be there in an hour, so we were able to eat breakfast and have some time together. When we arrived at the hospital, I did some paperwork in the admissions office, then headed upstairs to the delivery ward. We skipped right by the triage rooms and got to an actual delivery room. They gave me a gown and socks, and told me to dress and get comfortable in bed. I could hardly believe it, it was really happening! They took my blood, inserted an IV, got me on some fluids and monitors for the baby and I, and checked me. I was still at 3cm and 75%, but my cervix was very posterior, and it would have to be forward and more effaced to put me on pitocin. The nurse said to prepare for a long day and explained their plan of attack. They would give me Cytotec orally every 3 hours until the contractions kick in and my cervix was effaced and forward. Not the fast start to induction I was hoping for, but it was something! It took 3 rounds of this before I was ready for pitocin. In that time, my mom-in-law brought us lunch, Alec and I watched Harry Potter, and my mom brought Wren to visit me. The contractions were stronger now, but still surprisingly manageable.
I decided to get an epidural so I could rest as much as possible before delivery (I thought it would take at least 8 more hours until then)
This I honestly regret. My body metabolizes the medication extremely fast, so it wore off in an hour, (as it did twice with Wren) and the process of getting the injection is pretty stressful and uncomfortable. I did get to rest a bit right after though, so there was an upside to that decision. After the epidural, I was 5cm and completely effaced so the doctor broke my water. She barely touched it and it broke everywhere! Immediately afterwards, I was 6cm. I had pain-free contractions for an hour until I felt pain in my lower abdomen. Then in my back. Then, oh my, everywhere. My legs that were numb where starting to tingle, the sign that the epidural was wearing off, and quickly. Within 2 minutes I was in the most pain I’ve ever been in. I was able to breathe through them this time, but I was struggling. Can I do this? I can’t. No way. I can. I have to. My thoughts bounced off of one another wildly until my angel, rock, best friend of a husband came alongside me, telling me to breathe, that I got this, that we are about to meet our baby. Wow, I love him. I suddenly felt the urge to push, so the nurse checked me and confirmed I was complete, and ready to go. We tried a few practice pushes when she noticed the baby was sunny side up and wasn’t far in the birth canal. In pain, I arched my back on the bed and pushed, and for whatever reason that brought her head right down into position. My nurse said she had never seen that before! After that there was no stopping her. My nurse called for my doctor as I had one more practice push before she told me not to move. We got word that my doctor was literally delivering another baby at the same time, so she called for another doctor to hurry over. Meanwhile, I’m trying my hardest not to push, but I could feel my contraction pushing her out little by little. Finally someone rushed into the room and I recognized my doctor, she made it after all! Another contraction was coming on so I pushed this time. I didn’t experience the ring of fire with my first but holy crap, did I get it this time! It was so intense, but pushing was so relieving. Four more pushes and she was out! Our beautiful baby girl was born at 2:50am with the cutest little cry and a FULL head of swarthy hair.
I literally had to push out my placenta and it was SO huge, my doctor said it was one of the biggest she’s seen. She also said my uterus was in beautiful shape and I could have 10 more babies if I wanted, but let’s forget about that! Thanks, but no thanks. I asked how badly I tore and was relieved to hear it was one tiny natural tear that only needed 1 little stitch!
The afterpains were so intense I could barely focus on loving on my sweet baby. The nurse asked me if I usually had bad period pain, which I do- Not so much after birth control and a baby, but I used to vomit and black out from how painful they were. She ran and got me a toasted bagel so she could give me some motrin. Thankfully that eased the afterpains so I could talk to and snuggle my girl.
From there we were wheeled into the maternity ward for the remainder of our stay and recovery, and a good night’s sleep. The latter did not happen as our babe began cluster-feeding right away, but I was too high on cloud 9 to care.
We named her Juniper Rose, the beautiful name her father picked out for her. We are so in love with every detail of her and I’m often astonished I even produced such a lovely little thing.
Wren is loving being a big sister and wants to kiss and snuggle her as often as I let her. We are still working on being gentle. 😉
As far as recovery, it has been such a drastic difference between my deliveries. No pain from my tear and stitch, no hemorrhoids, no nipple pain from breastfeeding. Cramps lasted a couple days, but the only pain I’m feeling now is some lingering round ligament pain. It’s annoying, but I’d rather have that than delivery pains! Seeing as Juniper will be 1 week old tomorrow, I’m so happy I’m feeling this great. I can’t be out and about all day just yet since I’m still bleeding, but we are able to go out for short amounts of time!
We are so thankful for the health and wellness of this little blessing. To our little June-bug, we are so happy you are here. You are such a mellow, sweet joy, and add to our family in such a beautiful way. The love we share together has somehow increased tenfold…and that’s all because of you. We love you forever.