My Birth Story – Take Two

Baby E has arrived! It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago, I was still pregnant and awaiting the arrival of our newest addition.

Easter (the 27th) was my due date and it came and went with no real signs of labor. On Tuesday the 29th, I had my 40-week appointment with the nurse practitioner, who asked if she could sweep my membranes and I told her to go for it. I was induced with R and wanted to avoid that again.

On Wednesday the 30th, I felt kind of awful and crampy on and off all day. My husband got home around 7pm, and as I began cooking dinner, the contractions started to come regularly. They were 1.5 to 2.5 minutes apart, lasting 30-40 seconds each. We called triage and they didn’t really seem at all concerned about us coming in. They told me to come in if I felt like I needed to, but otherwise to keep an eye on my contractions.

I was hungry so I finished cooking dinner and ate really fast and then we decided to go to the hospital, since it’s 40 minutes from our house and I had a feeling that the contractions weren’t going to let up. (As it turns out, I was correct in that.)

My gas tank was on empty, so we had to stop halfway; my husband says he’ll never let me live it down.

The contractions got stronger by the time we got to the hospital. We went up to triage and I checked in only to have them tell me, “We don’t have any rooms right now.” (Where are your patients supposed to deliver if all the rooms are full?) We sat in the waiting room for a few minutes and ended up being taken back to one of the triage rooms. At the time, it was literally the last bed available. Instead of getting an actual birthing room, they said delivery would happen there. It’s not as comfortable as a birthing room but it’s fully prepped for labor and delivery and it was preferable to having the baby in the waiting room.

It was sometime after 10pm, my mother-in-law had already picked up our older daughter and taken her home, and my husband offered to go get me some sherbet because I was hungry. My mom was with us by then, so she hung out in the room with me while he left. He had been gone just a few minutes when my contractions got really intense and I had five in a row, one right after the other, and the pain was unbearable. I began sobbing and begging for the epidural.

My husband got back just before the anesthesiologist arrived. They placed the epidural and I waited for it to work. Eventually, it made the pain more tolerable for a bit but it never fully went away. That ended up wearing off and my pain was back, and by then, a birthing room had opened up and they wanted to move me and then replace the epidural once we got to the new room.

They wheeled me down the hall and made me switch beds, and then the anesthesiologist came back to move the needle in my back. This time, she had someone with her. They tried two more spots, and the second time did a combined spinal. Both failed. I was not prepared for an unmedicated birth and it was far more intense than I imagined it would be.

They also checked my progress at that point and I think I was at an 8. My husband said that it was during that check that the nurse stated that she was pushing my cervix up over the baby’s head a bit, but I don’t remember her saying that at all. (After doing done research and talking to people later, it sounds like my cervix had a bit of a lip and that’s probably why she did it.)

The baby’s heart rate kept slowing down so they had me get on all fours, which seemed to help her. Moving made the pain a lot more intense and I was pretty uncomfortable. I labored that way for a while with an oxygen mask on my face, sobbing and swearing during contractions. My water had been broken for a bit but now it seemed to be trickling out more and I had a feeling it wouldn’t be much longer before it was time to push.

ElizaThey eventually let me lay on my back again and I continued to beg for something to ease the pain. By the time the anesthesiologist came back again, I was yelling at my nurses that I needed to push. They checked me again, and sure enough, I was at a 10 and ready to go. It took about three long pushes and she was out at 3:19am on Thursday, March 31. She came out so fast that her lungs didn’t get clear in the birth canal (usually that liquid in their lungs gets squeezed out during labor), so we dealt with that for a couple of days.

She was 8 lbs 2oz, 21.5″ long with a head circumference just under 14″. My recovery has been a thousand times easier than it was the first time, but unmedicated birth is no joke. I salute you moms who choose to do it, and do it more than once.

By the way, I never did get to eat my damn sherbet. It melted.

Dear R: On the Arrival of Your Little Sister

Dear R,

Today was March 27, which means that I have officially hit 40 weeks of pregnancy with your little sister.

She will make her arrival into the world any day now, and I have been spending more time thinking about how it will affect you. For three years now, you have been our one and only, the light of our lives, the center of our world, and soon you will have to share the spotlight with this new little person. I’m excited to watch the two of you grow up, to see how your relationship blossoms as the years go on, but I’m also a little sad too.

You have taught me so much in your short life already. I have learned how to be a mother. I have learned how to love someone else more than I could ever imagine loving myself. I have learned forgiveness – not just for others, but for myself too, because I know I’m not perfect, and I know you know this too, and I see you forgiving me when I make mistakes.

I have grown up. I have you to thank for that.

I have also learned just how much I enjoy our one-on-one time. Our mother/daughter dates are something that I look forward to when we’re able to take them, and they seem to be one of your favorite things to do, too. That’s what makes me the most sad; it isn’t just that you will have to learn how to share me with someone else, but that our one-on-one time together will become more infrequent as I attempt to juggle my time between you both, and I don’t want to lose the bond that we’ve created since you entered my life.

Please be patient with me as I navigate this new world of being a parent of two.

Remember that you were first.

You were the first child that I brought into this world. You were the first to teach me about sleepless nights and colic, about breastfeeding and how to change diapers, about my own instincts and unconditional love; you were the one to teach me to have confidence in myself and my abilities as a parent, to ignore criticism when my gut told me that it was wrong, and to accept the fact that I’m not – and never will be – perfect.

You taught me how to be a mother, and I am so incredibly thankful for what you have brought to my life. As my firstborn, you will always hold a special place in my heart, and I hope that we remain as close as we are now as you grow older. I hope that you can look back on your childhood one day with fond memories of your time with me, because I still intend to have as much mother/daughter time as I can with you… even if you find yourself having to share that time with someone else sometimes, too.

I love you so much.

We’ll figure this out as we go.


Learning to Appreciate Every Second of Motherhood

I don’t consider myself overly emotional. I’d like to think I’m pretty normal in the things that make me upset. After having a baby, I think maybe I am moved to tears a little more frequently than I used to be, but no more than what I still consider “normal.” (I know, it’s subjective, but hear me out for a moment.)

Yesterday afternoon, I had a moment with my two year old that hit me pretty hard.

I had just given her a shower and it was nearly naptime. I was seated on the floor of her bedroom, trying to coax to move her closer so that I could lay her down and put a diaper on her. With the towel wrapped around her tiny frame, she stepped toward me and fell into my lap, resting her head on my shoulder. This is what she usually does right after a shower when she doesn’t want me to get her dressed, so I was used to this.

I wrapped my arms around her and rocked a little from side to side. I told her that I loved her and that we would need to get dressed so we could lay down and she could nap. I don’t remember what I did to cause it now, but I had her laughing and she starte to wiggle around. She slipped down and fell so that she was laying across my lap, with her legs hanging off to one side and her head resting in the crook of my arm. As I looked down at her, I realized that this was how I used to hold her as an infant, and I couldn’t remember the last time I got to hold her that way.

And I started to cry.

There was a post floating around on social media for a while about the weight of motherhood, and there was a quote that stuck out to me. “‘One day, you’ll put him down and won’t ever pick him up again’… because he will have outgrown it. And me.” I fully understood the meaning of that sentence yesterday.

My little girl isn’t so little anymore, and she’s getting bigger every single day. There will come a time when our cuddling will stop. She will stop asking me to pick her up. She will stop asking me for stories before bedtime. She will stop wanting me to tuck her in. She will stop hugging me after her showers. One of these times will be the last and I won’t know it until after it’s happened, and that saddens me.

One day, she will stop being the child I know and she will turn into a young woman, and then I will watch her leave and start her own life as an adult. It’s inevitable, and it will probably happen faster than I could ever imagine. These first two years of her life have already flown by.

Sometimes, I need a reminder to appreciate every single moment with her while I can, because I never know how things will be tomorrow. Yesterday was that reminder, and I’m going to make more of an attempt to be “in the moment” and to appreciate the little things she does, because there will come a time when those little things will stop, and then I’ll be left wishing I had paid more attention… but it will come too late.

Always appreciate every single moment. You never know when it will be the last time your child asks for something.