An old post I wrote back when Rosie was born. Sharing now in honor of her birthday tomorrow 🙂 Her birth story:
July was a very busy month. We moved into our new apartment on July 13th with barely enough time to get settled and ready for our baby girl’s arrival. Thankfully, we had many friends come to help us move and Nick’s family traveled down the week before my due date to help us get more unpacked. This was tremendously helpful! This pregnancy got much harder towards the end. I had more backaches and exhaustion and it was very hard to physically be a part of the moving/unpacking process AND to keep up with my precious Theodore. Having family here to help with those difficult things was truly amazing. I don’t know what we would have done without their help!
Baby Rosebud (a new nickname starting to catch on) has always been very active at night, usually around 9pm-2am. Her movements and stretches got to be extremely uncomfortable. Needless to say, I was starting to feel very desperate for her to come out and I missed being able to play with Theo more actively.
I went to my appointment on July 25th (5 days before due date) and was about 3-4 cm dilated. I went ahead and had the midwife strip my membranes (a natural way to trigger the start of labor). This caused some cramping/contractions for a couple of hours, but nothing more. I went in on July 30th (due date) for another appointment and had the midwife strip the membranes again, hoping this time it might work.
Well, my body was definitely preparing for the onset of real labor because after the appointment I felt a sense of ‘this is my last day’ for the rest of the day. Julie (Nick’s mom) was in town to help take care of Theodore so after the appointment Nick and I were able to go out for lunch (‘one last date’). We thoroughly enjoyed our time. After our date we went to Target to buy a few things for our home we’ve been wanting for a while. Let’s just say I got a little carried away and was being overly dramatic and uncontrolled when it came to looking at and buying baby girl outfits (a sure sign of nesting). Before dinner we took a short trip to a nearby park to enjoy some last time as just a family of three.
The rest of the night I didn’t have much of an appetite and just wasn’t feeling very well but I did manage to eat a small dinner. I started having some contractions around 7 or 8 pm that felt pretty strong but were sporadic, some 10-15 minutes apart and others that were much closer together. I decided to try and go to sleep early but laying down made the contractions worse.
After a while of feeling like sleeping was certainly not going to happen in my state I came back out to the living room and I decided we should all watch a movie on Netflix. I picked Benny and Joon (a fun and quirky light-hearted story), a perfect distraction from my contractions. I used Nick’s phone stop watch to time them. They were getting steady and closer together as the movie went on.
After the movie ended I still didn’t want to get ahead of myself and rush out the door so we waited a little while longer. This time we watched SNL skits on Hulu. …Laughter and contractions do not mix very well 😉 but it was fun.
Finally at about 11:30 we decided that contractions at about 4 minutes apart for at least 45 minutes meant it was time to be safe and go to the hospital. I was worried about waiting too long because Theodore was born so quickly, so we went!
Once we got all checked in and settled (which was about 1:00 or 1:30am) in the labor & delivery room, the nurse (who was SO awesome) checked my progress… I was already 7cm dilated! I was shocked because I was feeling so well. I mean, the contractions were obviously painful but between each one I felt pretty chipper, alert, excited etc… Nick and I were taking pictures and joking around with the nurses. So I was pretty happy knowing that it really shouldn’t be long now.
The nurses helped me get in a comfortable position and let me use a ‘peanut ball’ which I guess is sort of a birthing ball in the shape of a peanut that I propped my feet on to help open my pelvis more without having to use my leg muscles. It actually worked pretty well since I really didn’t feel like moving around much more than that.
The labor started to feel like it was dragging on for me. I was so anxious and ready for it to be over I kept having the nurse check my progress… I think that’s why I felt like it was taking forever (even though it really didn’t, haha). I was finally at 9cm and just was ready to be done. The contractions were very strong at that point. I was getting increasingly more exhausted and tired of it dragging on and still not being ready to push so I asked my midwife to break my water. I don’t know if this was the best decision or not but it worked! After my water broke I just had a few more contractions before I was ready to start pushing.
The nurse suggested I try to lay on my side to bring the baby down more and when I finally worked up the energy and courage to turn it worked instantly before I even turned all the way. I could feel the pressure of her head dilate me to a 10 right away! It was pretty wild. The pushing was INTENSE. I was very vocal, sort of crying, actually let a curse word fly out … I guess all the details are typical. Labor is labor and there is nothing fun about it, no matter how it happens. With Theo I was given a short lasting pain reliever to lower my blood pressure that just sort of took the edge off. This time around though I had no pain killers at all… and boy did I KNOW THAT! Even though what I had before wasn’t anything that strong it definitely made a difference. I felt absolutely everything and was very present in feeling the pain that birthing a baby brings.
One of the reasons I decide to try for a drug free labor experience is 1) epidurals freak the heck out of me, 2) I want to be alert/mentally present and feel in control of my body. With Theodore I was kind of out of it from the drugs they gave me. With Rosie, however, I was aware of everything. I knew when Nick cut the cord, when the placenta was delivered, I felt confident and energetic to hold my baby to my chest and look at every beautiful feature etc… I definitely appreciated that my mental state wasn’t really affected at all with this labor experience (other than being exhausted). Now…would I do it totally drug free again in the future? …we’ll see 😛
I probably only pushed for 45 minutes or so? And she was born at 4:39am on July 31st. She weighed 7 pounds, 4.5 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.
The moment she came out I felt a rush of pure joy and relief. She was absolutely beautiful and just as I imagined her she would be.
I must say that Nick was great through the entire experience. Given the fact that neither of us got any sleep that night he was a wonderful support. He held my hand the whole time. I would not ever want to go through that experience without him there with me. And to see him hold his beautiful little daughter for the first time and tell her how beautiful she is…I want to cry just thinking about it. He TOTALLY fell in love. Those moments were golden.
We love our baby! Theodore does too 🙂