I have a bunch of blog post drafts that I wrote the day before I went into labor…but I haven’t looked at this site since March. But sadly, the fourth trimester is over and I’ve emerged from my postpartum fog. I loved that newborn bubble those first few months where nothing else mattered but taking care of the babies. I’m feeling like I’m ready to start feeling like my old self again so I thought I’d start where I left off, with B’s birth story.
Giving birth to B healed me in a way I didn’t know was possible. My first baby’s birth was beautiful in its own way, being my first baby … but it was also traumatic in so many ways. It was so hard to give birth to M without an epidural and I ended up with a broken tailbone. I was in so much pain for the first months of M’s life that I really could not enjoy her the way I had imagined I would enjoy my newborn.
B’s birth was peaceful and beautiful. It was such an incredible experience that I wish I could relive it. I never thought I could feel so calm and in control during labor. And the moment she was in my arms, my entire world felt complete.
My mom had come the day before to make sure she was here to watch M when I went into labor. We had planned to spend a few days cleaning and doing last minute things to get ready for the baby. I am so glad she came when she did because the next day, I went into labor.
I went to bed at 9. At 10:30, contractions woke me up. Nick was sleeping so I got up and got into the bath. I didn’t want to wake him up – I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible because I knew we were in for a long night.
I started timing my contractions in the bath. It was late at night, so I couldn’t text most people, but I knew that my friend E would be awake because she was living in Europe at the time. I started telling her what was happening and she was cheering me on. Finally, I decided to wake up Nick and he called the midwives. They wanted us to stay home a little bit longer, but I felt my contractions getting stronger and I wanted to get to the hospital so that I could get an epidural. I didn’t see the point in waiting around at home in pain when I knew what was coming.
Nick woke up my mom to let her know what was happening. I got dressed and hugged my mom goodbye while Nick loaded up the car with our ridiculous amount of bags.
Thankfully the hospital is only a few minutes away. We got there and the midwife, Nichol, was waiting for us. There are about 5 different midwives so I didn’t know which one would be there whenever I went into labor, but I was really happy to see Nichol. I felt super comfortable with her.
One of the great things about having a midwife is that both times, I have been their only patient. Nichol asked me what my plan was for pain management. I didn’t have a plan. I could and maybe I will write an entire post on my decision to get an epidural when I already had given birth without one, but I had decided with another midwife in the practice that I would see how I felt in the moment. I knew from the moment my contractions began that I was going to get an epidural because I wanted to get some sleep. I didn’t want to be up all night in labor and then have a baby to take care of.
I felt like with my first baby, I was so focused on my plan that I didn’t stop to consider how I was actually feeling. But I knew that I needed an epidural this time. I started to get flashbacks and I knew that I didn’t want to go through what I went through with M gain. It was also like 2 or 3 am at this point and I knew if I got the epidural, I’d have a chance to get some sleep before having the baby.
I got lucky again because the nurse anesthetist was available and came to give me the epidural right away. It must have been a light dose because I was still feeling pain. I didn’t know what it was supposed to feel like, but the nurse said I should feel pressure but not pain. I was definitely feeling pain.
I had to get a catheter and then I threw up a few times. It took a while to get the nausea under control with zofran and for the nurse anesthetist to come back with a stronger dose of the epidural. This was the only thing that really upset me about the whole process because everything took so long. I wanted to get more sleep than I got. As soon as everything was sorted out, I took a nap. I slept for about an hour when Nichol came in and said her shift was over and a midwife named Sarah was taking over. I had only had one appointment with Sarah so I wasn’t sure how I felt about her being there but she ended up being absolutely incredible.
The whole time, Nick was right by my side. Once I had the epidural and nausea under control, I told him to try to get some sleep. He rested on a couch but I don’t think he slept at all.
Sarah told me that my body was ready to push, but she wanted to wait a little longer because I was still getting antibiotics for GBS. While we were waiting for the final dose to finish, Sarah talked to me about my birth plan and slowly and calmly got the room ready.
Everything was so calm, it was nothing like anything I’d ever heard of or seen. I didn’t have many requests, but the ones that I did have were important to me. It was nice to be able to talk about everything that was going to happen and not be in pain or panicked.
I told Sarah that I wanted a mirror so that I could see the baby coming out. The midwives had wanted me to use a mirror when I was delivering my first baby, but I thought it would be too distracting. I have a friend who used a mirror for her birth and she told me that it really helped her focus and see which pushes were working, so I knew I wanted to try it this time.
I only wanted one other thing. Once the baby’s head and shoulders were out, I wanted to be the one to finish pulling her out. I wanted to reach down and put her on my chest myself. I did that with my first baby and it was the most incredible feeling.
After we finished talking about everything, Sarah said it was time to push. A few nurses came in to help. I never felt an overwhelming urge to push but I did feel the contractions. So whenever a contraption would come, I’d look into the mirror and push. I remember the pushing being almost unbearable with my first, but with B, it barely hurt. I focused completely on that mirror.
Since I broke my tailbone giving birth to M, my midwives had come up with a plan for me to push on my side. They said that would help take pressure off of my tailbone and help prevent that from happening again. I didn’t see how I was going to be able to push on my side but I think that the epidural helped me with that immensely. It ended up feeling like a really natural way to push for me.
I pushed for almost an hour. Later, hearing that kind of surprised me because I pushed for 90 minutes with my first baby and I thought my second one would be significantly shorter.
Pushing didn’t bother me the way it bothered me with my first baby, and I’m sure that’s because of the epidural. But the mirror helped so much mentally, too. Every time I pushed, I could see her head emerge a little bit more. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. Finally, her head was almost out…. then it was out. Then I had to really focus and push as hard as I could to get the shoulders out. Finally, I felt the biggest sense of relief – her shoulders were out. I reached down and pulled her onto my chest.
B was here.
I held her on my chest while the nurses wiped her down and checked her out. She didn’t cry right away which scared me but the nurse said that was normal.
Immediately, she nursed. That was the most amazing thing, seeing her latch and eat just moments after she was born. I could not stop looking at her fingers and toes and beautiful face. She was finally here. And she was perfect.