Here I am, a month after my sweet Stella’s arrival, and time is already moving way too fast for my liking. Welcoming a new baby with a toddler already in the house has been such a different experience. While I’ve soaked up a lot of baby snuggles, it seems to be going by so much faster than I remember it all with Claire.
Anyway, before I totally forget the little details of her birth story – here is goes! It’s a long one because I’m never short on words, so grab a coffee and stay around for a while.
I’ll start with that for the last few weeks of my pregnancy with Stella, I felt 100% completely paranoid about my water breaking. I had no idea why. I didn’t feel like that at all with Claire (note: I can repeat that phrase about literally everything about this birth experience!). But for some reason I just had this huge inkling that my water would break and I was on high alert for it for weeks. Every time I got out of bed or rolled over, I was worried it would break. So that was just odd to feel anxious about for weeks.
The week before I went into labor, I felt so sick all week. I literally thought I had a bug or something. I was having stomach and digestion issues and was extremely tired. Like, more tired that I ever was in the first trimester. It was so weird and I felt like such a bad mom that week because I was literally setting Claire up with TV and snacks all day just so I could nap. I was napping about three times a day. It was insane! So I was a little bit wondering if labor was coming soon because it seemed like my body was up to something. Overall, I just felt off for about four days before I went into labor.
The day I went into labor, we decided to go to the beach. I actually felt such a sense of calm and like I had just “let go” in a way. I had gotten most of my to dos done, the house was so clean, and I think I just felt ready in some weird way (not that I was!). It was nice.
Our last time on the beach as a family of three.
And I randomly snapped one last belly shot while I chilled on the beach. I definitely had a few feelings of “this might be the day” that morning. My husband even made a few comments like that on the drive to the beach. And then in hindsight it all made sense!
Anyway, after we went to the beach we wanted lunch and went to a shopping center to look for some beach chairs and get some groceries. As I was looking at some flip flops for Claire, I turned slightly and my water broke! I wasn’t 100% sure it was really broken, so I didn’t really say anything to my husband. We walked out of the store and went in front of a grocery store where there were some Boy Scouts doing a bake sale. My husband wanted to get something from them and that’s when I realized that, yup, it was really broken. Water was just leaking down both my legs and I said we had to go.
Thankfully, we had jut been to the beach so we had a bunch of towels in the car. I sat on a towel and called my OB. We started to head home and they called me back. They said to head in to L&D right away to test if it was broken. The more we drove, the more it gushed – it was so gross! I knew it was for sure broken, but I didn’t feel like it was an emergency as I wasn’t having any contractions yet. I decided to go home first and get cleaned up, grab Claire’s bag, and then bring her to my friend’s house before heading in.
We dropped C off at a friends and then went to the hospital. For about three hours after my water broke, I still wasn’t really having any contractions. It was kind of weird. I was worried we were heading to the hospital too soon and was kind of sad I didn’t get any time to labor at home. But I knew the risks of getting an infection if I waited too long so I wasn’t going to wait to go in.
When we got to the hospital, they tested me to see if my water had broken and it had. It kept randomly gushing. I was having some contractions a little more now but it was still sporadic. They did decide to admit me even though I didn’t seem to really be in active labor yet. For safety reasons for both me and baby, they wanted me to deliver her no later than about 24 hours after my water broke. It was a little nerve wracking at times to be put on a time limit to give birth, but in the end it all worked out just fine.
They let me labor how I wanted and we just hung out in my room for a while. They checked me and I thought I might be well progressed for some reason, but I was only about 3 cm. I got really discouraged at knowing that and started to worry I’d need pitocin or something later. They said our game plan was to just make sure I was making my own progress. If I had made no or very little progress by 12 hours after my water broke, they would probably start pitocin or do something to get things going.
The contractions did pick up and became consistent finally, but were still very spread out. Compared to my first labor, I was having less contractions but they were much stronger and shorter. I labored on a yoga ball for a while, tried to listen to Hypnobabies some but wasn’t really into it, and also labored in a really nice tub with jets that I had in my room.
They gave me about four more hours and then I was checked again. I was about 6 cm. I was glad to know I was progressing myself, but I felt like I was reaching the end of my rope in terms of my pain tolerance. At this point, my water had broken at about 1:30 pm. We go to the hospital at about 4:30 pm. And at this time, it was about midnight. It seems like my water being all gone was making my contractions a lot more painful. The best way I can describe it was the difference between contracting on a pillow (with water intact) and contracting on a rock (with water broken). I just had no cushion and it all felt more intense.
It was at the point that I was gripping onto the bed rails any time I had a contraction. I felt a lot more anxiety during labor and didn’t feel chill at all. I think a mix between having a lot more anxiety this pregnancy and also being put on a time table or feeling like I had to “perform” on demand with this labor, I just was not relaxed. Every contraction was making me tense up more and more, which I know wasn’t helping me progress.
I started crying and had a little bit of a break down about the pain. I went into this labor with an open mind and truly not set on any one birth plan for this birth. I didn’t write a birth plan or anything this time. Although I had an unmediated birth with Claire, I just wasn’t set on that this time and kind of had a feeling I wouldn’t go “all natural” this go around. I really didn’t practice Hypnobabies much and it didn’t seem to help at all with my pain this time. I asked my husband if he thought getting an epidural was a good choice and he fully supported that.
We told the nurse we thought I was ready for an epidural. My nurse was amazing by the way. As soon as we told them, I had my epidural in and working within 30 minutes. They were so quick about it. I was really surprised.
Right before I got the epidural, my legs started shaking uncontrollably. It was really strange and continued for a little bit after I go the epi too. Overall, getting the epi was super easy. The anesthesiologist was super nice and really didn’t hurt at all. Actually having the epidural was so weird, but not in a bad way.
For about another three hours, I labored with the epidural with a peanut ball between my legs and laying on one side. I think I actually sort of got some sleep, or at the very least some really good rest time. The nurse came in to switch me over to the other side. Because I was laying to one side, one leg was totally 100% limp and I wasn’t able to move it but could move the other one. When I was all set up on that side she said she’d give me another hour or hour and a half in that position and come check on me again. She said if I felt any constant pressure though to let her know.
My husband came over and said he thought I should sleep some more, but I was like “no… I think something is about to happen.” My nurse heard that and said to give her a few minutes and she’d come check things out. When she did come back, she barely had to look and was like “yup, I see her head!” From the time she realized I was ready to go and her actually being born was 8 minutes (she said she timed it haha!). So I went from not really knowing what was up to holding a baby in my arms in a very short amount of time. But it wasn’t crazy intense or anything.
They got the doctor and another nurse to hold my leg. Two contractions and two big pushes later, she was out. It was so calm and easy! I was for some reason thinking that pushing with an epi would make it a lot harder. They kept my dosage low enough that I could still feel all the pressure though, just not pain, so I could work with it instead of being told when to push. That was pretty cool.
Very unexpectedly, as I was about halfway done with my second push, they told me to reach down and grab her. So I did and pulled her out myself! I was really really surprised that they didn’t warn me or offer this to me well in advance in case I was like “uhh, no!” But it wasn’t weird at all and pretty cool to have been the first one to truly hold her.
She cried big and loud for just a few seconds and then got all calm on me. I was on such a high that that all just happened and so quickly! Overall, the experience we had at the hospital we went to and with all the medical professionals there was amazing. I would definitely rate the whole thing a 10/10.
Stella was totally healthy and got a 9/10 on her apgars (just had purpley hands/feet). She did nurse right away but not with much zest like I remembered Claire. She was soooo sleepy and slept for six hours straight after that. I actually got kind of worried because I thought she should have been more alert or nursing but we asked and everyone said it was normal.
Stella was (and still is) perfect!
I was somewhat worried I wouldn’t be in love with her right away just because I’ve heard that can happen. But nope! I was totally smitten with her immediately just like last time. I think I could have 10 babies and always feel this in love.
We only stayed there just over 24 hours since we wanted to relieve my friend (who also has a toddler and is pregnant) of Claire. We had them come with Claire to meet her first thing and then they dropped her off the next day in the AM.
I’m so thankful for another good birth experience and that both came out healthy. I really have no complaints! But now that I’ve been there and done both, I have no regrets either way and can say I truly did love both births. I was just in way more pain this time around and going without meds was not in the cards. The epidural was amazing, that’s for sure!
Because this birth was so different than my first, I do think I’ll eventually write a compare/contrast post about the difference of going with and without meds, as I didn’t want this whole birth story to just be about that.
If you made it to the end of this post, I owe you a coffee refill! Thanks for the well wishes and support we’ve received already. We’re definitely feeling the love over here <3
Questions for You:
- Did I leave anything vital out?? I don’t feel like her birth is that distant of a memory but it did take me a whole month to write this!
- Any Cinco De Mayo or weekend plans? I’m going to a friend’s one year old’s birthday party & getting new tires 😉