RBG is almost two weeks old and it’s been a whirlwind adjusting to being a family of four. Two weeks ago at this moment she was less than a day old, and it’s already starting to feel like so long ago and I wanted to try and document her birth story before I forgot too many of the details.
Her birth went much quicker than McLovin’s, and without an induction (his birth story is shared here.)
That Thursday I worked from home, as I had been the past two weeks. Our cleaning ladies came by in the morning and we talked about when the baby would come – they thought for sure on the 30th. My mother stopped by and brought me lunch from my favorite Italian restaurant – chicken, broccoli and ziti. It was all quite normal. I was a bit tired, and laid down in bed for a little while in the afternoon. Other than that the day passed uneventfully.
The Husband returned with McLovin around 5 or so. They played outside and I prepared dinner, added some things to my hospital bag, very mundane. The three of us had dinner together, then McLovin and I watched a segment of Paw Patrol while The Husband mowed the lawn. That’s when I started to notice I felt off, with some awkward back pain and cramps. Eventually the two of us went upstairs, brushed his teeth, washed his face, and got ready for bed. We went through our whole bed time routine, and I rocked him and sang songs to him and put him to bed. In hindsight I’m so glad I was the one to put him to bed that night, that we had that last bedtime together with him as an “only child.”
As I was putting him to bed the “cramps” became more noticeable. Once I left his room I started timing them and paying closer attention, realizing they were in fact contractions and not the Braxton Hocks variety – they were lower, more “painful” (at times I’d have to stop what I was doing to breathe through it.) I told The Husband what was going on, and based on my timing they were between 5-7 min apart. I also felt at one point a “leak” – not a gush but leaking. Now with McLovin I was induced and labor did not start naturally so I had no previous experience with this so I called my OB. They said as this had been happening over an hour, and because my water may have broken, to go to the hospital to have an NST and they could determine if my water broke.
I was upstairs in our room and The Husband was not in the house, and I couldn’t see him in the yard so I called his cell phone letting him know we had to start moving. He called my mother to come over because she was going to watch McLovin for us and then he came in the house to shower. After his shower he gathered his bag, added some stuff in it and then we headed out. By the time we left it was around quarter past eight. As we drove up the highway I continued timing contractions, which were down to about 4-5 min apart, and focused on breathing. It was a quit ride, no traffic, a nice night and I was watching the planes circle and fly in to Logan as The Husband drove and we must have been driving under the flight path that night.
We arrived at around 9pm and got GREAT parking and went in to the hospital. We checked in to the Labor + Delivery unit, and they were expecting us since my OB’s office called them and told them we were coming and sent our information over. The nurse we met with was super sweet and took us to the procedure room for the NST. I got hooked up for the NST. The nurse took a sample from “down there” to test for amniotic fluid to determine if my water had broken, and the OB who was working that night came in to talk to me. We went over everything again, then they left and The Husband and I were alone for a bit while they completed the NST and waited for the other sample results. Turns out my water had not broken, but the NST showed my contractions were consistent and four minutes apart and “rather strong” according to the reading. The OB checked my cervix and I was 5 cm dilated, so they admitted me. That was around 9:30pm.
I was wheeled in to room 5, which was much smaller than the room I had with McLovin. I was told they usually hold the larger L+D rooms for inductions, as those tend to last longer. In any event, The Husband went downstairs to get our bags out of the car (BTW I love my new Vineyard Vines weekender that I used as my hospital bag), and I got settled in the room. When he came back with our bags he also had bought some Frito’s, and I remember being so.annoyed. at the smell of them. I set up a diffuser and made my “Labor Blend” and took out my oil roller to use (which I only used twice because it went so quickly.) The nurse we initially met with was leaving at 11pm, and our new nurse was actually in early so I had both of them covering me for some time – setting up the IV, going through questions (why does it seem like you have to answer the same questions ten times?!?!). I changed into one of the more comfortable options I’d packed and they brought me a peanut ball to bounce/rock on. We went over my wishes for L+D (no pain meds/epidural, skin to skin, delayed clamping, etc.) and then they left us to try and relax. The contractions were consistent and strong but I was able to breathe and bounce on the ball through them. The Husband rolled some tennis balls on my back at one point as well. At around 10:45pm I decided to lay down and try to rest/relax for what I assumed would be a long night. The TV was on and we were watching The Sandlot (much better than the Duck Dynasty from last time.) I was mostly focused on breathing through the contractions, and then at 11:55pm my water broke. I felt a pop inside, then a gush, then just as with McLovin immense pressure. I buzzed the nurse to come in and told her, and she was smiling and excited and I remember thinking, you seem awfully happy and my pain has increased significantly right now. Then some more nurses came in, that I hadn’t met yet, and I don’t remember what they were doing but they were doing something. And it seemed like they all complimented me on the diffuser blend and how nice it smelled in our room. I remember thinking, geez I just want to push now and I feel like I should push. But I didn’t. The OB came in and I was 10 cm dilated, and then it was sort of a blur and she was sitting with me and basically said, whenever you’re ready! And so I pushed for 16 minutes, and after a lot of swearing and f-bombs she was born at 12:31am. Again, that relief when her head delivered and then the shoulder and it felt like the rest “slipped” out, all the pain just stopped. All told I was in labor for about 6 hours from the first time I felt contractions, and she was born 3 hours after I was admitted. About half the total labor time with McLovin. I was surprised at how quickly it went, but thankful all the same. We had our skin to skin time – unlike McLovin she was rooting and tried to nurse right then, right away – her agpar scores were 9, and again my post-delivery meal of choice (I was starving!) was a turkey sandwich with chips and ginger ale. The nurse helped me to the bathroom to help me clean up and see if I could go and such, and then eventually they wheeled us over to the maternity ward. I don’t remember the time.
In my mind the contractions from the induction were stronger and more painful than from the spontaneous labor; it was easier to relax between contractions and breathe through them the second time. Maybe I was more prepared, maybe my body remembered, maybe it was both. However, I did have a bit more tearing with RBG and that whole “ring of fire” situation seemed more painful with her. But overall I am happy that I managed both deliveries without an epidural, I was mentally present for both. I waited for so long thinking this would never happen for me that I wanted to feel it all, the pain and the sweet relief when they delivered. People would tell me, even one of the MFM doctors I saw in Dr. T’s absence one visit “If you can handle an induction birth without pain meds then I’m certain you can handle a spontaneous birth without pain meds”, and it was true.
So that is her birth story, what I recall of it now two weeks out. Maybe I’ll update this post if a new memory pops up some time – more so for myself so I have a clear complete story. Again it was an amazing experience, and although it was intense at the time the pain feels so far away now. A distant memory in the back of my mind.