Disclaimer: graphic content. Stop reading now if you’re not comfortable with TMI regarding birth 😉
I have to admit that the last trimester of this pregnancy was SO different than your sister’s. People told me that it could/would be different but I like to figure things out on my own, ha! I had so much edema and tons of productive contractions the entire last portion of the pregnancy that we were all convinced you’d make your debut early…perhaps even earlier than your sister. Well, you showed us! Every day daddy would ask if today was the day and in all honesty, I had no idea! It seemed like you could come at any second, or not for a while!
August 5, 2014
Crazy nesting. I’m cleaning every inch of the house and wanting to cook. I made Italian wedding soup for dinner from scratch on a whim haha. It felt good!
Still contracting irregularly so I don’t realize that you will be here in two days. Everything is pretty much par for the course.
August 6, 2014
Nesting instinct has settled a bit. I’m feeling more tired than usual and extremely sensitive and fragile. In fact, after dinner I retreated upstairs to be alone. I needed my space and some quiet reflecting time. I’m so glad I had a few minutes to myself. Little did I know this would be the last night as a family of three. 😊
August 7, 2014
2:40am: mildly painful contraction wakes me up. This is nothing abnormal. It’s been happening for weeks. I get up to pee and go back to bed.
3:30am: Another contraction wakes me up. I get up to pee and go lay down again. Could this be it? This same thought has run through my head every night for the last few weeks haha.
3:45-5:00am: Lots of contractions. Hmmmm.
5:30am: I begin to time contractions. Woah, they are lasting about 1 minute long and coming every 3-4 minutes. That can’t be right, can it?
5:45: I nudge your daddy awake and show him I’m timing. He asks if this is it and I shrug my shoulders… Maybe. I don’t know. I get up to pee and continue to time contractions. Sure enough they are steady and regular… Could this FINALLY be it?! I don’t want to start texting people if this is a false alarm, but the contractions are regular now. I’d better start the texting train!
Texts go out to my doula Lindsey and to my mom who was planning on flying home today! Baby girl, you sure do know how to wait till the last second and change everyone’s plans! 😉
To my mom, “I don’t think you’re going anywhere today. I’m in labor!”
The contractions start to intensify a bit and I realize that this may happen a lot faster than last time. I’d better get my butt in gear and finish packing the hospital bag (oops!) and start getting ready!
6:30am: I get in the shower. This helps ease contractions a bit but as soon as I step out, I realize they are even stronger. I’m starting to have to pause and breathe a little harder through them. Omg. I think this is really happening!!!
6:45am: I start putting make up on and doing my hair. Last time I had no make up and the pictures before, during and after were not so cute. (I would realize later that make up or no make up, labor is NOT pretty ha!)
7am: I’m really needing to breathe through contractions now as they are getting more intense. Your daddy and big sister are still asleep and it dawns on me to take one final picture of the two of them in our family bed.
I get teary eyed looking at those pics. Our lives were about to change big time! 😊
7:30am: Contractions coming steady. I’m texting with my doula and breathing hard through each one that is lasting about a minute and coming every 3-4 minutes.
I also text your daddy and let him know he should get up. He hands off your big sister to Grammie and comes to the bathroom to help me.
7:45am: I finish up packing our hospital bag and finish up hair and make up all while pausing for contractions that are getting more and more intense, but still manageable. Daddy asks how he can support me and I tell him that I’m hungry!! Haha!! A pregnant woman in labor needs fuel to power her through! 😉 So daddy heads downstairs to whip up breakfast for me.
8:00am: I took the next series of pictures between 8 and 8:30. I realized this was the last chance I had to document my belly and our little family of three…
This labor was actually pretty great since I was getting a full 3 min break between contractions! That was not the case with your sister. I could totally handle (read breathe through/tolerate) intense pain for one minute if I got a 3 min break! I ate between them and took pictures and texted too haha 😁
8:35am: I texted my doula this
Those thoughts started creeping in my head…I can’t handle the pain, I can’t do this, if I got the epidural I wouldn’t be in pain, why not just get the pain meds?
My doula was AMAZING and responded in a way she knew would reach that inner vulnerable voice in my head. “The pain has a purpose.” Those were my magic words. It may not seem like much, but that phrase would become my mantra for the rest of my labor. I would repeat it over and over again in my head, through every contraction. I would picture my muscles physically contracting, opening my cervix to allow this baby to pass through my body. This was a physically necessary process. That’s all! For me, that’s all I needed. I needed a reason behind the pain. My doula gave it to me. ❤️
8:40am: I lost my mucous plug, also known as the “bloody show.”
8:45am: This is where the texting trail goes silent. This is active labor. This is where the focus and determination are necessary to get you through.
We have an old jet tub in our master bathroom on the new ranch and daddy has the genius idea to have me get in and turn the jets on my back to see if it will help with my intense back labor. This would prove to be the best idea ever! And I now contend, if you have access to a tub while you are in labor, USE IT!!!
That jet on my back really alleviated a lot of the back pain. It didn’t go away entirely, but it definitely helped. What was unexpected was that now I could really feel the contractions (read pain) in my belly that I hadn’t really felt or noticed before because my back labor was so intense! So it was definitely a trade off, but worth it to ease that back labor. I don’t wish back labor on my worst enemy!
I’m not really sure how long I sat in the tub contracting, but it was definitely a while. I would chat with Daddy, as he kept me company, in between contractions and then as I felt a contraction coming daddy would time them for me as I went to my focus place and worked myself through the pain, all the while chanting “the pain has a purpose” in my head. I would moan and rock and try to relax every muscle in my body up allow it to do what it needed to do. This was so hard. I wanted, so badly, to tense up and fight against the pain but I knew that would only draw my labor out. My body was working hard. Let it do its thing, I remember thinking. I must have been in the tub for a little over an hour. I could feel you move and kick and help work your way down into my pelvis. It was magical. We were in it together. 😍
9:45am: The front belly contractions are really wearing on me so daddy suggests getting out of the tub and changing positions for a bit to see if it helps. Okay, that sounds good. He lays a few towels down for me on the ground outside the tub just as another contraction comes upon me. I’m on all fours (how I’ve been dealing with the back labor when not in the tub) and I feel myself focussing again, moaning and rocking as the uptick of the contraction comes over me. OMG. What is that?!? Uh oh. I look at daddy and for the first time, with fear in my eyes, “we need to go to the hospital now!!!” Pressure. That’s what that was. Pressure from you wiggling your way down. You were right there! At this point I was terrified we waited too long and wouldn’t make it to the hospital.
9:50-10:00am: We are making our way to the car and I make it just out the front door before I get hit with an incredibly intense contraction. I collapse into your daddy’s arms and he is supporting the full weight of my body as I work through it. I’m rocking and moaning and squeezing him hard. I think I may have even bit him at one point!! As it passes I begin to get up from his arms when I get hit with another one! Two, back to back. We assume the position again. I see, out of the corner of my eye, our handyman walk by (what is it with us and having random people at the house when I go into labor?!?!? Haha) just as I let out a scream. I must have terrified him. He made some comment about it being time for us to head to the hospital and I remember daddy laughing and saying “yep!”
10:00am: We make it to daddy’s car and I immediately recline the passenger seat all the way down so I can be on all fours just as another contraction begins. I have no idea how we are going to make it the 35 minutes to the hospital! As we drive away from the house I’m hit by the most intense part of the contraction and I scream at daddy to stop the car. He does but reminds me that if he stops the car for every contraction we won’t make it! Ha, good point! Just then I move from active labor into transition. Oh wow. This is both good and bad. I have no idea how long transition lasts. Will I deliver on the freeway?? The good part about transition is that I got about an eight minute break from contractions. It was glorious. I could have sworn it was the best eight minutes of my life! I laid on my side with my legs/feet up on the dash and I hiked down my yoga pants and underwear. I couldn’t bear anything touching my belly. I confessed to daddy that I was scared we wouldn’t make it, but like the strong man he is he kept reassuring me that we would and that I was doing an amazing job. 😍
I could see the tops of the trees and bits of the sky as your daddy raced us to the hospital. He drove us fast! Except for the part where he had to slow for construction (of course there would be construction while I’m in labor!) AND the part where he got on the freeway and there was an off duty police car that had everyone going 55mph! Aaaaah! When we made it to the freeway he assured me we’d be okay. “10 min away! You’re doing great! You’re doing exactly what you should!”
I felt the contractions coming back. Guess my little break was over! Oh man the pressure, the pain, it was all so intense. I felt some fluid so I thought my water had broken (it hadn’t) and began to panic a little more.
Somehow in our craze to get to the hospital we remembered to call labor and delivery to let them know I would be there soon. Daddy made the call on speaker just as two more contractions hit me hard haha! Guess my little break was over. I moaned loudly and I’m sure the nurse on the line realized we were cutting it close.
I worked through those contractions and was once again rewarded with a break. Oh thank goodness for that break. I needed it. Badly.
10:30am: As we pulled into the hospital daddy announced, “we’re here! We made it! You did it!” And just like that the contractions started up again. I could see the signs for the hospital as we pulled up and as daddy parked right in front of labor and delivery he ran to my side of the car and opened my door. I was paralyzed in the deep pain of my contraction trying to work through it and that oh so familiar hospital smell wafted up to my nose as the sliding glass doors opened and closed with more and more people coming to help. I remember being disgusted at the smell and hating it in the moment. It made me nauseous. I heard my doula’s voice ask how I was doing and daddy answer that the contractions had just started again. I remember thinking, here we go again and trying very hard to take it all in so I could remember every detail the way I remember your sister’s birth. 😊
Then there were voices. Lots of voices. I couldn’t see any faces or how many people were around me, but there were lots of voices. Someone helped me out of the car, I think it was daddy. There was a wheelchair in front of me and people telling me to sit. I tried. Um, no way!!!! There was no way in the world I could sit. More contractions were coming and more pressure and the last thing I wanted to do was sit! With every contraction I was paralyzed and forced to work through it mentally and physically. I would close my eyes, bend as far over as I could, rock, sway, moan, yell, chant in my head “the pain has a purpose!!!” over and over again. I visualized my uterus contracting and my cervix opening. It got me through each time.
Now there was a gurney in front of me and they were lowering it for me to get on. Lots of voices. Too many voices. I got on all fours on top of the gurney and felt them pull up the guard rails just as more pain took over my body and mind again. I was frozen mid contraction but felt myself get whisked into the hospital. We were moving fast. More voices. I couldn’t see anyone. I could only hear them.
10:35am?? 10:40am??: Voices. Lots of people. Chaos. We made it to the delivery room and I was still mid contraction on top of the gurney. Someone’s (a nurse?) hands are trying to remove my yoga pants and underwear while I’m on all fours. But again, I literally cannot move. The voices are telling me that I need to move from the gurney to the bed. Another set of hands tries to put a baby monitor on my belly. I yell at them to stop. It hurts. Just stop! Let me get through this contraction. The voices keep reminding me to take off pants, move to the bed, get the monitor on my belly. It’s way too much stimulation and I feel like I’m going to explode. I can feel my doula working my hips to try to counteract the pain. That’s the only thing that is helping in that moment. I hear my midwife say , “she’s in transition.” I already knew that haha. Finally the contraction passes and I’m able to move onto the bed. I look up for the first time and see A LOT of people and my midwife, Judy, introduces herself. She is an older woman with long, curly, silver hair. I immediately feel comfortable with her and am relieved to see her. It’s all going to be okay. She asks if I need to push and I tell her I don’t think so, I just feel TONS of pressure.
10:40am??/10:45am??: Here we go again! I instinctively flip over onto all fours again. Somehow daddy is there again and he grabs my hand and his face is close to mine. I can smell him. More voices and laughing. I hear my doula tell them to be quiet and take the talking outside. Bless her. I’m focusing hard but the pain feels like it’s taking over my body. It finally passes. I remember muttering something along the lines of, “I just need a break. I can’t do this. I just need a break.” I don’t think anyone responds. They know these are the final words of a woman in transition about to deliver.
The midwife asks if I can flip over so she can check me. I tell her I can’t. I physically and instinctively cannot be on my back. So she checks me from behind and guesses that I’m at about 8 cm, but cautions that’s not very accurate because of my position. I feel the nurse try to adjust the monitor on my belly again and tell her to stop. I can’t have anything or anyone touching my belly.
All of a sudden the contractions started to build again and I grabbed for your daddy and pulled him close. Omg. Omg. OMG!!! This one was different. My midwife was rubbing my back and hips and out of nowhere it turned from comforting to way too stimulating and I needed her to stop! I managed to get the words “no touching no touching” out of my mouth and my doula got her to stop.
That’s when I felt it. A sensation I have never before felt. It was primal. It was instinctual. It was all completely out of my control. The urge to push had come. I screamed, “I need to push!” and before I could give any more warning my body started to push you out. I was bearing down and could feel your head start to emerge. Just then my water broke and I felt it gush from my body. It was the most surreal and animalistic feeling. I was not in control anymore. It was like someone had pushed the override button on me and my body took over. This was happening. Now.
I heard my midwife say, “I see lots of hair!” I could feel my body trying to work your head out. Another contraction came and with it, an even greater sense and urgency to push. I bore down again grunting and pushing. I could hear people telling me I was doing great. Good. Because I was not in control at this point! I could feel your head begin to work its way out. In a weird way, amongst all the pain and pressure of the contraction, it felt so good to push. So good. Another contraction begins and my body begins to push again and I hear the midwife say, “okay, you’re going to feel the ring of fire next!” Hmmm okay. I didn’t even care in that moment. Ring of fire? Bring it. I’m pushing this baby out! I pushed and your head came out. I felt it come out! OMG. And for the record, I never felt the ring of fire. The pressure was still there. I knew it was your shoulders next. I was anxious to push your shoulders out. There was SO much pressure. Another contraction. Here we go. I’m squeezing daddy’s hand hard. I’m grunting. I’m pushing. Hard. One shoulder, then the next shoulder and…
10:50am: I felt your body emerge from mine. You were born. You were free. You made me a mommy again for the second time. The pressure and pain were immediately gone. Woah. The midwife is telling me to flip over and grab you. I turn over and pass my right leg over top of you and grab you to my chest. My beautiful daughter you’re here in my arms. You’re amazingly perfect and crying and in that moment I am so thankful. We did it. Together. I can feel you are still attached to me. The placenta has not yet been delivered. I can feel the umbilical cord between my legs and know that these are the final moments of us sharing this body and space. I never want it to end. I can still feel you on my chest, slippery and new, breathing your first breaths, crying your first cries. I don’t think I will ever forget those beautiful moments. Daddy leans over and gives me a kiss. He looks amazed and proud and thankful and also relieved. His girls are both safe.
Post delivery: I gave one final push and out came the placenta. That last push felt good. It was bittersweet. It was over. Once the umbilical cord stopped pulsating and the midwife was sure you’d gotten all the blood from your cord she asked daddy if he wanted to cut the cord and clamped it. It’s so fitting that daddy be the one to separate us. I wouldn’t want anyone else to have that privilege. I watched as daddy cut the cord that had connected us for so long, that had nourished you, that had made us one.
And just like that, you were free and this world just got a little better and sweeter. Welcome my precious, beautiful girl.
August 7, 2014 at 10:50am. 7 pounds and 13 ounces at 20 inches long. Born with a full and shimmering head of black hair!