It’s been over three months since Emma was born and I honestly, life hasn’t really slowed down at all with her entrance into the world. But, life is grander than ever before and I’m excited to finally share her birth story here. I’ll admit it wasn’t exactly the experience I imagined, but she has been a wonderful little bundle of surprises from the very beginning.
While we thought we were ready to try and grow our family with another baby, after the tests we had when waiting to conceive Will, we knew having another baby might take years or never happen at all.
But, we were surprised and excited to find out we were expecting our second child just about seven months later. And ready or not, I began the sickness stage of pregnancy…except with a toddler. Again, I was surprised. Instead of more severe sickness, I had less actual sickness and more just general fatigue and nausea. Perhaps that was grace from God since I had to keep up with Will during the day. Perhaps it was because this time I had a little girl inside rather than a little boy.
When it came time to think about labor, I was also surprised. Maybe because I had done it before, and I’m sure partly because I was just busier, but I just didn’t spend much time or energy at all preparing for labor for baby #2. No yoga. No baby positioning stretches and postures. We didn’t retake any classes and I didn’t feel that sense of fear or urgency to prepare. I think I was sort of in denial about how fast it was approaching.
My due date was October 18, a Wednesday, but I was perfectly content going a few days past that estimate. Honestly, I wasn’t ready to welcome a new baby into our family. I wasn’t ready at all.
I was sad.
Sad about Will no longer being our “baby” and bummed that we didn’t have the nursery prepared. I was nervous about labor because I knew I hadn’t prepared. I was disappointed we hadn’t had more time to slow down and relax in the season of preparation since Wyatt and I had been so busy with work. I just wanted a little more time to savor the sweetness of anticipation.
But I also knew I didn’t want to have to be induced if I wanted to have another unmedicated delivery. So, a few days over was the goal and I was pretty sure that would happen. Call if faith. Call it intuition. I just thought she’d be born somewhere between the 20th and 22nd. And it turns out, she was.
On Saturday, I woke up finally feeling ready to have a baby. I wasn’t feeling a lot of contractions, but I was more than full term so I knew b and honestly, wanted to have the baby in time to be home and healthy enough to enjoy Halloween with Will. Maybe a silly reason, but I also liked the idea of having the baby on a weekend instead of a week day so I didn’t have to worry about working through contractions while Will was at home with me.
So, we got up, went to breakfast at the Big Biscuit and ran some errands. After Will woke up from his nap, we decided to go to the zoo. Partly because I wanted one last fun activity for him before the craziness, and partly because I thought it would help my contractions move along. Wyatt was a little concerned because we weren’t sure how fast my labor would be. I labored at home a long time with Will, but once we got to the hospital, things really picked up and he was not in any mood to be rushing to the hospital straight from the zoo. But I assured him we had awhile to go and we rode the train and the tram and the carousel and Will had a great time. It was exactly the kind of “last outing” I would have wanted for him, and for us, as a family of three.
I waddled around and leaned on the stroller and took deep breaths and drank as much water as I could. We were there for a couple of hours and I was having contractions every 5 to 10 minutes all afternoon.
We got home and Wyatt worked in the garage making room to pull the cars in in case of bad weather. Our garage is a two-car garage but always full of half completed projects so we don’t park in it very often. I sat in the backyard and let Will run around and play. I tried to time contractions and went back and forth in my head about one hundred times on whether I was in real labor or not.
Finally, at about 5:55 PM, even though I wasn’t ready to tell the world that I thought it was time to have a baby, we decided we should probably make arrangements for someone to come stay with Will in case we needed to head to the hospital in the middle of the night, especially because it was going to storm and I didn’t want either of our parents to have to drive up at 2 AM in a thunderstorm.
So, Wyatt’s parents came up after Will was in bed. I did dishes and worked on Will’s Halloween costume and honestly tried to stick to myself as much as possible to get some privacy. Having people watch me work through contractions is not on my list of things I was looking forward to, but it was necessary to have someone there with Will so that Wyatt could be free to come with me to the hospital whenever we needed.
All in all, I was grumpy and annoyed to feel like I was stuck sort of hiding away and looking for privacy and peace. It wasn’t like there was a raucous party in the other room or anything, but I needed my space to keep my nerves calm and so I could focus on breathing and preparing my heart and body for what was to come.
I ended up asking Wyatt to come keep my company in the bedroom and we decided it was best if I had a snack and tried to go to bed to get some rest.
We laid down around 10 PM, but with contractions every 5 to 7 minutes. I didn’t get much rest at all. At around 3 AM, I woke up Wyatt and we got ready to leave for the hospital even though I didn’t feel like things were moving very quickly yet. Basically, I was pretty sure things would pick up if I was up walking around and I wasn’t getting any sleep anyway so I figured I was just getting more and more tired the longer I dragged it out by trying to rest.
I put on makeup. Wyatt told me he thought that was silly since it was still the middle of the night, but I had the time while he was getting ready and I was awake anyway. I’d feel better if I felt “normal” so waterproof mascara and some tinted moisturizer was a must. Then, we finished packing the bags. He took a shower and made a cup of coffee and we loaded up everything and left for the hospital at 4:16 on Sunday morning.
When we got to the hospital, it was pouring rain, so Wyatt let me out at the door to the emergency room (the main doors are closed at that time) and parked the car. Then, we got taken up to labor and delivery, where they checked me and I was only at 4 cm and 60% effaced. Whomp whomp.
So, we walked around the delivery floor for 2 hours. Literally.
There were a lot of birth photos in the hallways and we tried to talk and keep ourselves entertained, but honestly, it was kind of boring. I got super hungry and snuck a little snack (they don’t let you eat) and drank as much water as I could to stay hydrated, which meant I had to stop and pee a lot. There wasn’t a lot of action on the floor as it was early in the morning and I think they were trying to let any laboring mommas rest as much as possible so it was quiet. We walked probably one hundred laps around the hallways and I felt a little silly for coming in so early with so little progress made, but I was still having contractions, they just weren’t getting closer together.
Finally, at 6:50 AM, they checked me again and decided I was up to 5 cm and 90% which meant I was progressing…not a lot, but enough to be admitted so we were moved to a room and I had to get an IV put in for fluids. They had a hard time getting that set up and it took two nurses and three tries to get that going which was painful because they kept sticking me with a numbing shot and then the needle itself.
I requested they cap my saline intake at the minimum amount the doctor would allow so I could be up and walking around, but they made me keep the monitors on my stomach and finger which made moving around very much pretty difficult and annoying.
Of course, my doctor was out of town so I had the on-call doctor. I had met him before for a regular appointment and he was fine. I’m sure he’s a great doctor but I didn’t love his communication style. He came in to talk about pain management and breaking my water and I said I wanted to wait it out for now. The plan was to stay as low intervention as possible, just like we did for Will. I got the feeling he was a little amused by my stance. Oh well, it wasn’t about him.
At 7:50, they checked me and I had only gained a centimeter.
Contractions weren’t registering well on the machine and I was annoyed I had to stay hooked up the monitor the entire time. All in all, I wasn’t feeling a ton of progress, other than pain. Contractions were intense but not coming any closer together. It helped to have Wyatt push hard on my hips from behind as I leaned over the bed. I tried bouncing on the ball, walking in circles, and honestly just ended up in the same position I had been with Will most of the time…leaning over the bed and breathing as slowly and calmly as possible. Each check from the nurses was painful and disappointing, and I was nervous and impatient and tired.
I had the thought to turn some music on my phone and we listened to my worship music station on Pandora for awhile which helped with my mood. We also gave the room a few bursts from the essential oil diffuser every now and then. Swaying back and forth to the music as I leaned over the bed helped pass another hour or so pretty peacefully. I was in the zone, you might say. Wyatt tried to find a comfortable position in the uncomfortable chair to rest.
As we talked and waited, Wyatt and I decided that if I wasn’t moving along by 10:30, I’d let them break my water but it turned out we didn’t make it to that mark.
(That’s enough words for one post. I’ll share the rest of the story soon in PART 2!)