I know, I know… this post is long overdue. It’s taken me nearly three months to finally write it. :/ But better late than never right?!?
So many of you loved when I shared William’s birth story. If you don’t remember, check it out>>> here. So… I figured I would share David’s with you as well. AND with Mother’s Day right around the corner, I figured, what better time?
As many of you know, my pregnancy with David was a bit difficult in the beginning. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you can read about my miscarriage scare >>> here. That being said, his birth was extremely emotional for my husband and I. David is the baby that we thought might not be. He is truly our little miracle. Every time I look at his sweet face, and stare at his beautiful blue eyes, I think of how lucky I am to get to be in his presence. It is not lost on me how close we were to never meeting.
All I can say is how good God is, how thankful I am, and how lucky I feel this Mother’s Day.
Now onto the story…
In the middle of January – around 36 weeks – I started having false contractions. I would walk to the bathroom at work and have to lean against the wall because I felt like I was going into labor. I realize this was just my body getting me ready for the real thing — but at the time, every day felt like it was going to be THE day. It was the running joke in my office. Every day when I showed up to work my co-worker, Jimmy, would ask, “Did you have the baby last night?” And every day, much to my chagrin, the answer was no.
For those of you who don’t know – beginning at 36 weeks, you start to see your doctor weekly to monitor your body’s “progress”.
***Tangent*** for those of you who have asked, my doctor this time around was Dr. Cynthia St. Pierre with The St Mary’s Medical Group – and I absolutely loved her. First and foremost, her office never made me wait. The one time she was in emergency surgery during my appointment, I was able to see one of the practice’s midwives.<<< That, to me, was so amazing. What’s more, she was just SO kind. She never made me feel stupid when I didn’t understand something. When I was scared, she comforted me. And when I needed reassurance, she was there to squeeze my hand and to send me off with a hug. She was simply incredible my whole pregnancy. Ladies – I urge you to find a doctor that makes you feel this comfortable. Having a doctor you love and trust will make the process so much more enjoyable.
Anyhow, at my 36 week appointment, Dr St. Pierre checked me, and I was 2cm dilated. At my appointments in between, I declined getting checked. In my mind… “What was the point?” It would happen when it was going to happen. My 39th week rolled around – and almost every night I thought it was THE night.
But it never was.
I had scheduled my 40 week appointment on my due date. As I walked into the doctors office, tears welled up in my eyes. I was tired, and I was done playing the waiting game. I was ready to be checked and to see what was going on. Dr. St. Pierre said I was ready to go at any minute – 3.5cm dilated and 80% effaced. Wooo hooo! As I left her office, she gave me a hug and told me to go into labor the next day. She’d be on call all day and all night – and this way she could deliver my baby.
*** Side note: Unless your doctor happens to be on call when you go into labor, more often than not, your doctor will not deliver your baby. <<< I didn’t know this when I first started having kids, and I think it’s something women should prepare themselves for.
I went home feeling a little dejected. I was having NO signs of labor – and in my head it felt like the baby would NEVER come. That night was extremely normal. We had dinner as a family, we put William down, I picked out my clothes for the next day, and I went to bed praying that my contractions would start.
As usual, I woke up the morning of February 16th at 3:30am and took a shower. In the shower I had about 2-3 contractions. They weren’t unbearable and they weren’t exactly out of the ordinary, so I just pushed through them. I remember getting out of the shower and trying to look at my feet. All I could see was my veiny, stretched out belly. I was SO done.
I did my hair, got dressed, made a cup of coffee and by 5:00am, I was off to work. Once I was at work, I immediately knew something was off. At about 6:00 I started realizing that my contractions were coming in waves. I sent out a couple emails, and just by scanning my computer’s clock, I knew these were THE contractions – they were coming about 5-6 minutes apart.
At this point they weren’t unbearable, and since I was in the middle of negotiating a trade, I decided I’d stay at work until I could no longer physically handle it. But in the meantime, I started timing my contractions on my contraction app.
I finally got the trade done, and by the time 8am hit, I knew I was definitely in full fledged labor.
I sent my boss an instant message telling him I was in labor. I told my coworkers. And at that point everyone in the office basically said,”GET OUT!!!” So home I went.
From our office’s parking lot I sent our Doula, Ashley, a text letting her know I was in labor. She told me to keep timing the contractions, and to give her an update in an hour. She also reminded me – “If you have 3-4 contractions that are 3 min apart please call me and we will head straight to the hospital.”
Gahhh!!!! This baby was really coming!!
My husband, Joe, was receiving a Top Producing Agent in Real Estate award that morning at 11am. Call me crazy, but my whole goal was to relax long enough to let him get his award and then we could all head to the hospital together. Wife of the year?!? I just had to relax and stay calm for 4 hours.
Easier said than done when you’re in labor — at home — by yourself.
When I got home, I changed into comfortable clothes and tried to lay down. That seemed to make things worse. So I slowly started walking around the house and readied our bags. I made cookies for our labor and delivery nurses. I gave Henry some extra love. I just tried to keep myself busy.
At 9am – TMI – I had my bloody show. I never had one with William, so this was totally news to me.
At 10:15am the contractions started coming on faster and stronger. I started to cry. I was so nervous I was going to have the baby at my house alone. Crazy?? Yes… but let’s just chalk it up to the pregnancy hormones. I texted my husband. He said that he thought I should call Ashley- our doula – to see what she thought. So I did.
She picked up her phone in the middle of her workout class and told me she was getting in her car and she’d be on her way. Doulas are effing amazing (I’ll get to that later this week) and Ashley is THE best.
Ashley got to our house at around 10:45 and started laboring with me. I like laboring standing up, so with every contraction, she’d squeeze my pelvis to try to alleviate some of the pressure. We did this for an hour. At this point my contractions were strong, steady and coming faster than before. Ashley texted Joe to let him know that as soon as he got to the house, we’d be leaving for the hospital.
Joe got his award, headed home, and at 12:30pm we all caravanned to the hospital. My contractions in the car were brutal. We drove into the hospital’s valet, and the attendant asked me what my last name was. A contraction hit. All I could do was stand slumped into our car, silently, giving the poor man “the hand”. He walked around the car an got the keys from Joe. I felt so horrible, but then again I figured he was probably used to it.
We made our way upstairs to labor and delivery. They gave us one of the nicest birthing rooms, and we got settled.
Since I knew I wanted an epidural, they started me on IV fluids pretty much immediately. This was at about 2pm. The main nurse assigned to our room, Cookie, was so incredibly sweet. She checked me and I was 5 -almost 6cm dilated. When I got to the hospital with William, I was only 3 cm… so I was very proud of myself.
They said they’d allow me to walk around a bit to try to speed up my contractions and to progress further. My personal goal was to dilate as far as I could without the pain meds, because last time, the epidural slowed my contractions – a lot. With that in mind, Ashley, Joe, and I took a couple of laps around the labor and delivery wing. I’d stop every few feet to have a contraction… and I found myself just leaning up against the wall with my eyes closed. Then we’d keep going.
I felt strong. And I felt in control. It was totally different than it was with William. I felt like I trusted my body and I knew what was gong on. Ashley said to me, “I know you can do this. You probably don’t even need an epidural.” She was right. I didn’t need the epidural. I could have done it naturally… but I didn’t want to. I was too scared. I told her that for Baby #3 I’d take her class and try to do it naturally. But this baby – I wanted the epidural. We walked, and walked, and finally I decided I just wanted to rest.
A couple of hours passed. Around 5pm my mom came to visit. She brought us bagels (my favorite food) and she wished us luck before she headed out to get William from daycare. We had made plans that she’d spend the night with him, and bring him to school the next day. She gave me a huge hug – and left to go get William.
By 6pm I was putting on a brave face. I was ready to be checked again – and I knew I couldn’t take much more. The contractions were strong and fierce, and my whole body was shaking uncontrollably. I remember thinking that if I thought about it hard enough, maybe I could stop the shaking. It had to be mind over matter. But it wasn’t. Nothing I could do would stop the shaking. I was freezing cold, and at this point I started to cry. That’s when I asked for the epidural. They checked me – and I had made it by myself to 7cm.
That, for me, was enough.
The anesthesiologist came in around 7pm and and gave me the best epidural of my life. I’ve only had two, so take it for what it’s worth. Funny story, the nurse told Joe to help hold me up during the part of the epidural where they place the needle in your back. Well wouldn’t you know, about halfway through my epidural, I was like “JOE!!! You’re leaning on me!!!” He was so woozy from watching the needle go into my back, that he had almost passed out on me.
MEN… I tell ya.
At this point we all had a good chuckle about why men don’t give birth. 🙂
My anesthesiologist, like I said, was fantastic. I could feel my legs, but I couldn’t feel the contractions. It was SO perfect. Next, Dr. St Pierre came in. She was on call – and as promised, she’d be delivering my baby! She stayed in the room with us for about half an hour. Just chatting about life, babies, and what she’d be doing the next day. It was awesome. I felt completely at ease, and SO happy. It was so different from William’s birth – it’s really amazing how the right team of people can make all the difference. After our chat Dr. St Pierre left to go see other patients, and she said she’d be back when it was time to push.
At this point I asked Joe to get the camera ready. We wanted some photos of the birth – obviously so I could share them on the blog. Joe grabbed the camera out of our hospital bag and tried to turn it on. It was written all over his face when he turned around. He knew how disappointed I’d be. The camera wouldn’t turn on, because I hadn’t remembered to charge the battery. #pregnancybrain.
It was about 8:30 at this point, and I was so upset with myself. Ashley (like the saint that she is) offered to run to the store to pick up another camera <<< reason #623591362621 why doulas are amazing. So she went to grab another camera and Joe and I just waited.
An hour passed, and as with William, the epidural completely stopped my contractions. Ashley got back with the camera – only to find out that the store had sold her the camera without a memory card. <<< ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME WALMART???
Anyhow – this explains why all the photos in this post are iPhone/Snapchat photos. OOPS. At this point, we just all started laughing hysterically, and decided that the camera wasn’t meant to be.
At 9pm, Dr St. Pierre came back in. Since I wasn’t progressing on my own, she wanted to break my water.
This, again, is why having a doula is really amazing. I looked to Ashley for advice, and she told me to go for it. She explained that I was far enough along that a C section was probably out of the question. My body just needed a little extra umph to get going again. So we made the decision to have my water broken. Dr. St. Pierre came in – and with what looked like a white, plastic, crochet needle – she broke my water. I can only describe it as a very odd feeling. It didn’t hurt, it just felt like a big release of pressure.
At that point my doctor left the room and she said she’d be back when I was ready to push. My contractions started again… and they started STRONG. I pushed my little button for more epidural and it helped – but only for a second. I came to realize, that over the past three hours, my epidural had completely worn off. My boobs were numb, and my toes were numb, but I could feel everything in between. And let me tell you… it was hell. I kept pushing the little epidural button to try and get more numbing but NOTHING was working.
The shaking started again, I was crying, and Ashley had the nurse call for the anesthesiologist. Thank goodness she was around. She gave me another shot of whatever it is they put in you – and slowly the contractions started to melt away. Halelujah. But as soon as the contractions started to go away, so did my blood pressure. I just remember getting very sleepy. I could barely keep my head up. Ashley called for a nurse. <<< Again, thank God for doulas. I got incredibly nauseous, and I knew I was going to throw up. Sure enough, as soon as Ashley got me a bag — I threw up everywhere.
My blood pressure had been 78/54 and that, my friends, is too low. They gave me a shot of epinephrine, an oxygen mask, and soon enough I was back. As good as new. Labor is effing nuts you guys… effing nuts.
The nurse came in to check me again at around 10pm. I was 9cm dilated. I remember thinking to myself… it won’t be long now! At this point I started to get really nervous. We were about to meet our new son – but because I had just gotten my 2nd shot of the epidural, I couldn’t feel anything. Like… absolutely nothing. Would I be able to push? Would I be strong enough? I started to freak myself out. Ashley assured me that I would be absolutely fine.
At 10:45, the nurse came back to check me. I was 10cm dilated. The baby just had to drop a little and we’d be ready to go. But there was some bad news. My doctor had been called into an emergency C Section. We could wait for her, but there was no telling when she’d be done. OR we could have one of the midwives in the practice deliver our baby. The nurse left the room and she said she’d give us a couple of minutes to decide.
You guys… you should have seen Joe’s face. I’m laughing now just thinking of it. One of the best parts of being married, and being best friends, is that I know exactly what is going on in my husband’s head – at all times. He pulled out his phone and started typing.
“You’re googling what a midwife is… aren’t you?” I asked him. He shoved his phone in his pocket and just smiled… “No!….Well… Yes!”
Ashley and I started laughing together at this point, and Joe just grinned sheepishly. Basically if you’re like Joe and you don’t know, midwives can do everything doctors can do – but they can’t perform a C Section. The name sounds very odd and old fashioned – I know – but midwives, just like doulas, are the $hit. FYI.
At this point, I didn’t care who was delivering my baby. I just wanted him out. Ashley assured me that the midwife on call- Laura Oki – was one of her favorites. Pretty much within 5 seconds I decided that she would deliver my baby. I just wanted to start pushing as soon as possible. I think this is when you know you’re ready. When you just start calling the shots and you don’t care what else is going on.
At 11:15 pm I started pushing.
In the room we had, Ashley (our doula), Joe, our midwife, Laura, and two amazing nurses. It was the best birthing cheering squad in the whole world. I am not going to lie to you – the second time giving birth was blissful. It was amazing how the muscle memory was just there. I couldn’t feel a thing, but I trusted that my body knew what it was doing.
With William, I pushed for three, long, excruciating hours… but this time, it was apparent that wasn’t going to happen again. I pushed for 15 minutes, and at 11:27pm our beautiful, sweet, David James was brought into the world.
They placed him on my chest immediately for skin to skin, and as you can see, I just cried.
He was so perfect, so beautiful, and so peaceful. He cuddled into me immediately and we started to nurse. I delivered the placenta, got stitched up, but I don’t remember any of it. I just remember staring at his perfect little face. Joe literally had to pry him out of my arms to hold him. He was so sweet, so peaceful, such a little angel, and he still is to this day.
The next day, Friday, we stayed in the hospital, recovering and getting the little rest we could. Our friends came to visit, and we just loved on that little munchkin. On Saturday morning, my mom brought William in to meet his new baby brother. All the doctors and nurses in the hospital were completely smitten with him and his “big brother” scrubs – and in true William fashion, he ate up all the attention. It was truly magical.
I didn’t think it was possible to love another child as much as I loved William, but it happened. It was like my heart just grew. All of a sudden we were a family of four, and it was as if it was always meant to be this way. It was, and still is — perfection.
Call me crazy, but as we left the hospital that afternoon, all I could think was…
“God willing, I can’t wait to do this again.” 🙂
Until next time….
Congrats 10 times over!!! Many hugs to you and your boys ( all of them)
Reading this was so strangely satisfying as I sit here waiting (and false labor waiting…over and over) to give birth to my own baby! Are the last days of pregnancy not just the most hideous game of psychological warfare ever?! Seriously! So very happy for you and your adorable family. There’s nothing sweeter than this! Xoxo