(In case you missed part 1.)
At 7:45 p.m., Jeff started Wyatt’s bath and I went in my room to try different laboring positions. Sitting, getting down on all fours, and pacing around didn’t feel good. The only position that I liked was standing hunched over onto a counter and swaying my hips back and forth.
When Wyatt got out of the bath, he started crying “mommy put you night-night. Mommy, mommy, mommy!” I dried him off, gave him his massage, and got him in his pajamas in record time. I asked him if it was OK for daddy to read him a story and then I’d rock him. He agreed, and I stayed in his room while Jeff read to him – just trying to get through the contractions without Wyatt figuring out I was in pain. I timed it so I started rocking him immediately after a contraction. I had 2-3 minutes to snuggle my son and let him know what was happening. I told him that when he woke up that mommy and daddy would be away having baby sister, but grandma and grandpa would be here and they’d take him to see us all. I told him I loved him more than anything and that I’d always be his mommy. He told me he loved me, I gave him a kiss, and Jeff finished getting him ready for bed.
I was ready to have a baby now. I got to give Wyatt the perfect good-bye I wanted so badly, and I wasn’t nearly as emotional as I expected because I was so distracted by contractions.
But I also wanted a shower, so we didn’t call my midwife yet. I started running the water for the shower and that’s when things went downhill. With every contraction, I had diarrhea. This happened a few times and I was terrified of how I’d make it to the hospital without this happening in the car – yuck! I hopped in the shower and that luckily stopped it. The water felt great on my back. I loved laboring in the shower and told myself I’d have to do that as we we got to the hospital.
Once I got out of the shower, the intensity of my contractions picked up and the pain moved into my thighs. This hurt like nothing I’d ever experienced before. I told Jeff to call my midwife and get in the car – we had to get to the hospital now.
But I took one last bump shot like a crazy person.
When we got in the car, Jeff called my midwife’s office. The nurse he talked to did not believe I was in labor since I just got discharged from the hospital only a couple of hours before. She kept asking him questions, and then he’d ask me and I was completely unable to answer. I could not believe I had to convince someone over the phone that I was in labor. I’m assuming she eventually believed me because my midwife was waiting for me at the hospital.
The 20 minute car ride to the hospital is when everything changed. I barely felt contractions in my uterus and back anymore, and only felt them all down my legs. It was excruciating. With each contraction, I involuntarily had to arch my back so far that it was like I was doing a bridge in yoga. I wanted to scream and cry, but knew I needed to save my energy. In between contractions, I shivered. I felt like I had a fever and was beginning to feel very weak. My mindset switched from being strong and getting through my contractions to staying conscious. My contractions were 2 minutes apart and I only said one word to Jeff on the car ride there: epidural.
I always wanted a natural birth, but the minute the contractions started going down my legs it was game over. I wasn’t prepared for that and had no idea how to manage that type of pain. And now I had a new fear – I thought we’d get to the hospital too late and I missed my window for an epidural. Instead of trying to relax through my contractions, I tried to fight them to slow down my labor.
Jeff wanted to drop me off at the door once we got to the hospital, but I just screamed “you can’t leave me”. We parked the car and I had 3 contractions from the parking lot to the door. I made Jeff bend down and I leaned over him and swayed my hips. My legs were shaking so badly though that I thought I was going to collapse. We got into the hospital and Jeff told the nurse at check-in that I needed a wheelchair. She said no because walking helps progress labor. I couldn’t talk, but I’m pretty sure I started to cry. Luckily, Jeff knew I couldn’t walk and convinced the nurse I really needed a wheelchair.
They finally got my wheelchair and sent me to the triage room. Sage, my midwife who also delivered Wyatt, was waiting for me. She said she didn’t expect to see me back so soon – she’d only let me go 3 hours before! I just said “help, epidural” and she said she needed to check me first.
I was 8cm dilated. I wanted to cry. I had an awful feeling that it was too late. I knew it’d take an hour or more for the anesthesiologist to get there and I knew I’d be too far progressed by then. Sage told me not to worry, that they’d do the best they could, and then I reminded her I was strep B positive and allergic to amoxicillin. I needed 8 hours of antibiotics before childbirth.
That’s when things around me picked up. Suddenly, everyone wanted to slow down my labor. I heard Sage say she’d like me to get an hour’s worth of antibiotics before having the baby. They tested my blood level and called the anesthesiologist right away.
It’s funny – when you read about the cons of having an epidural, one of them is that it slows labor down. But that’s exactly what I wanted. A break. Everything was happening so fast and I felt like I was struggling to stay conscious. I wanted to stop shivering and relax for a few minutes before having Hadley so I could fully enjoy the experience like I did with Wyatt.
I was moved to a birthing suite, and as soon as I got into bed, I felt the urge to push. I was checked again and I was 9cm. My nurse, Ann, was incredible. I swear the reason we were sent home just to come back was so that Ann would be working. Over the next hour, she was the only person who kept me sane. Jeff was trying to talk me through contractions and held my hand, but I didn’t want him touching me. He felt so hot and Ann was so refreshingly cold, so I literally leaned on Ann during contractions. I felt bad because at the time I couldn’t tell Jeff any of this.
I’ll never be able to explain the pain I felt. Each contraction started in my abdomen and back, but then when it traveled down my legs, I would completely lose it. I’ve never felt so out of control of my body. My back arched involuntarily, I’d cross my legs to try to stop myself from pushing, and I’d shake and sweat uncontrollably. In between contractions, I’d just breathe, try not to shiver too much, and repeat to myself over and over “stay with it”. At one point, I told Ann I was blacking out and thought I’d lose consciousness. She spoke to me so calmly and told me that no matter what happened, she knew I could do it.
Ann suggested I change positions to stay with it. She told me to sit on the bed and drape myself over her so I’d be ready when the anesthesiologist came. This position wasn’t any better, but I was too unsteady to move.
Finally, around 10:30pm, the anesthesiologist came into the room and gave me the epidural. It was a much quicker process than I remember and it was surprisingly easy to stay still through contractions. With Wyatt, the epidural was uneven and the site didn’t heal for weeks, so I did my best to steady myself to stop that from happening again.
Once it was in, it felt amazing to have the pain in my legs go away. I could feel my heart rate coming down, I was shivering less, and my fever was coming down, too – apparently I had one when I checked in. But the epidural didn’t take away my urge to push. Ann told me to really fight it until I was 10cm because she didn’t want my cervix to swell.
At 11:15, I was pretty relaxed so Ann told Jeff and I to sleep until it was time to push. At 11:45, Sage came in to check my progress. I was still 9cm, and the reason my labor slowed down probably wasn’t because of the epidural but because my water was still in tact. She said had my water already broke earlier, I would have delivered Hadley naturally which is terrifying. Props to those of you who can do it, but I could not imagine.
Sage asked if it was OK to break my water and I said yes. Within 5 minutes, I was at 10cm. Ten minutes later, at midnight, I was ready to push. I didn’t push very long with Wyatt, and Sage remembered this. She asked me to hold tight until everyone could get there.
Ann and Sage reminded me how to push and I did a practice push, and they could already see Hadley’s head making progress. After 4 rounds of pushes, Hadley was born at 12:21 a.m. on 4/13/14 – my girl likes palindromes!
She was born, started crying, and was thrown onto my chest. I just stared at her and could not believe how pink she was. Then she started picking up her head and turning it from side to side. I was shocked by how strong and alert she was.
We let the cord finish pulsating before Jeff cut it, and then Hadley latched on like a champ and nursed for close to an hour. I was completely mesmerized by her. She was just so perfect. After how this pregnancy started, I could not believe there was this angelic little girl on my chest.
She weighed in at 7lbs. 4oz. and was 19.5 inches long. She scored two perfect 10’s on her APGAR tests and all the nurses kept commenting on how amazing her color was.
I only had a second degree tear this time, but I still bled pretty badly (yay for being a redhead). I’ll share more about how I’m healing soon – it’s been very different from the first time around.
For now, we are just so thankful Hadley is so healthy. She was back up to her birth weight by day 3, and is just doing more amazing than we ever could have imagined. I just stare at her and cannot believe she’s mine. I can’t believe they’re both mine actually. I didn’t think I could love anyone as much as I love Wyatt but I was wrong – the minute she was born she stole my heart, too. My kiddos are my world and I could not be happier!
Welcome to the world, Hadley! I can’t wait to see how the rest of your story unfolds.
I woke up on Thursday morning, April 10, feeling uncomfortable. That day, I hit the 39-week mark in my pregnancy, and was suddenly ready to be done. I was crampy, had back pains, and was a super crank.
Then I received some very sad news that put my “pains” in perspective. My nanny became unexpectedly ill and she would not recover. She only had hours or days left. My mom was able to tell her that my daughter’s middle name would be Virginia – both nanny’s and my mom’s names – before she became unresponsive. I felt terrible that I couldn’t get to NJ to say good-bye, so I made it my goal to have Hadley before she passed away. Her only other great-grandchild is Wyatt, so I wanted her to know she had a great-granddaughter too before she passed. (I ended up having Hadley the same day my nanny passed away – Hadley was born first. It was a bittersweet day for my family.)
Nanny meeting Wyatt two years ago.
So, I made it my goal to get Hadley out. I went running for the first time in 3 weeks on Thursday and all that pressure I felt on my previous last pregnant run? Yeah, it was gone. I tried a few other old wives’ tales, too, and… nothing.
Friday morning, I woke up feeling super wet and all of the lymph nodes in my armpits were swollen and painful. A few nights before, I felt a pop in my stomach. I thought it was my water breaking but nothing ever came out that night. But… maybe I had a slow leak? I called my midwife and she agreed that I should be checked before the weekend just in case.
I passed 2 of the 3 amniotic fluid tests – my fluid wasn’t pooling and didn’t fern under the microscope, but it turned some special paper blue. I also hadn’t made any progress in the past 1.5 weeks – I was still 3cm, 70% effaced, and 0 station. My midwife said I may have a high leak and she’d check me again on Monday and then decide what to do.
My heart sank. “Decide what to do” in my head meant I’d be induced. I didn’t mention this publicly, but it was my dream to go into labor naturally this time. With Wyatt, my water broke but labor never started, so I needed pitocin. I never felt a real labor contraction – pitocin ones are totally different – and I just wanted that experience so badly. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it was some weird goal of mine.
Still, as I was leaving the office, my midwife told me that maybe she’d see me in the hospital on Sunday because she was working. This was odd because it’s exactly what my other midwife said to me on my last visit before I had Wyatt.
Even though I was really upset about nanny and my lack of progress, the next 24 hours were pretty amazing otherwise. Jeff and I went to my favorite restaurant early Friday. We were home in time to take Wyatt on a long walk before bed, and he was so happy to run through the neighborhood. And that night something amazing happened – I went to bed at 10:30 pm and slept 8 hours uninterrupted for the first time in many months. Instead of getting up and doing work, I decided to lay in bed until Wyatt woke up. He slept until 8am, which is crazy late for him. Jeff turned to me and said, “you’re going to go into labor today because this was the perfect morning.”
It was a nice day, so I went on a run/walk after breakfast. It was 3.25 miles, but I ran one of the middle miles completely – at a 10:55 minute/mile pace. I felt really good on my “run” and wondered why I ever stopped in the first place.
When I came home and went to the bathroom, I noticed some blood when I wiped. But it wasn’t enough to be alarmed. Then, I went to go pick up my BFF from the airport and we went to lunch. I went to the bathroom again and noticed more blood. I was starting to get a little concerned.
Once we got home, I called my midwife and she sent me to get checked at the hospital. Jeff and I took our bags just in case, but I knew we’d be coming home. It was 4pm and Wyatt was still napping. I didn’t want to wake him to say good-bye because he didn’t fall asleep until late. There was no way I was having a baby without saying bye to Wyatt. None.
On the way to the hospital, I started having contractions. They came every 5 minutes but were more bothersome than painful. At the hospital, I was sent to a triage room and they hooked me up to the monitor. The nurse said, “do you feel those contractions you’re having?” I said yes, but that I wasn’t in labor. She laughed at me. Then I explained how I didn’t get to say bye to my son and that I wanted to eat a good dinner before having a baby. I begged her to let me go home, and she laughed again. So did Jeff.
My midwife came in and checked me. My cervix was a little thinner, but I wasn’t any more dilated. She said the blood was probably my bloody show and that I ‘d likely go into labor soon. I told her that I really wasn’t ready to have the baby yet – I had to see Wyatt one last time to let him know what was happening and eat dinner first. She checked me again, was silent for awhile, and said OK – I could leave! I was so happy.
We were discharged at 6:30 pm. Jeff and I picked up Chipotle on the way home and stopped at Redbox for a movie. I thought my contractions were getting more painful and closer together, but I tried to ignore them.
By the time we got home, I was definitely in more pain. I could barely eat and it was getting hard to talk. I thought maybe it was labor, but I knew I had to time my contractions for an hour before we could be sure – the last thing I wanted was to go back to the hospital for no reason. Except, I kept forgetting to hit my app to time my contractions. I wanted Jeff to focus on Wyatt, and I was concentrating on different ways to breathe and get through my contractions. I kept having to reset the timer. When I was actually entering my contractions, they were 3 minutes apart and lasting for about a minute each. I thought it was user-error, though, because that sounded too close together.
It was getting close to Wyatt’s bedtime, so we took him out in the backyard to run his energy out. This is when I knew it was the real deal. I was hunching over the steps on his swing set with each contraction, and almost unable to speak. In fact, Wyatt was the only person I’d talk to. I couldn’t waste energy speaking to anyone else.
I was thrilled. I got my wish and went into labor naturally. I finally felt what real contractions were like -- they hurt but weren’t as intense as I imagined they’d be. Each contraction wrapped from my lower abdomen around to my lower back – completely different from the Braxton Hicks I felt earlier in pregnancy that were up higher. I assumed we had plenty of time because they weren’t that painful. I refused to leave before putting Wyatt to bed and showering.
A decision I would soon regret…
Our baby girl made her swift appearance first thing on Sunday morning!
Say hi to Hadley! We love her so much.
born 4/13/14 at 12:21 a.m.
7lbs 4oz, 19.5 inches
I’ll share more soon!