To quickly catch you up, I spent 12 hours in the hospital not in labor, went home and moments later started having strong contractions. We left with me in part 1 on the couch trying to sleep, but instead suffering through decently painful contractions.
Since I left the hospital literally hours earlier, my pride wouldn’t let me return unless I was really in labor. So there I stayed on our couch working through the contractions by myself for 3 hours when suddenly… my water broke. I remember thinking I have to pee (for the 100th time that night) and before I could get up off the couch liquid was gushing everywhere and I swore I just peed my pants. I ran to the bathroom, cleaned up, and then woke Josh up.
After my water broke is when the real party started.
I hadn’t been timing anything up until this point because it was all I could do to focus on getting through the contraction vs finding a timer on my phone and pressing start/stop with each one. The contractions post water breaking were noticeably different and much strong. Holy Ouch.
Josh was in charge of calling the hospital. He called the number we had in the papers and left his name and phone number to call him back on. While we waited Josh timed each contraction and they were 1 – 2 minutes apart and 45 – 50 seconds long. After not hearing back from the doctor I insisted we were driving back to the hospital now, I knew I was having this baby tonight.
(Update: Apparently in Josh’s extremely tired state he had given the doctor the wrong number to call us back on… so we would have been waiting for a long time)
I remember that drive to the hospital well. We had done it 4 hours ago and I felt fine, tired and a little grumpy, but fine. This time I threatened Josh not to drive too fast and I loudly reminded him where every bump and turn was, dreading having the next contraction in the car. Luckily the hospital is 5 minutes away, so I truly can’t complain. Props to women who have to drive 30+ minutes to the hospital, that would be horrible if I was in labor.
We walked back into the hospital, this time taking the ‘I’m in labor’ elevator and saw the same nurses and staff that were there hours earlier. They asked me what my pain level was on a 1 – 10 scale. I’ve never liked this question, how was I supposed to know what a 10 was when I had never experienced a 10. So I answered with the only pain level I could vocalize “It really &*%%$#% hurts”.
And that was the beginning of June 11th, the day Lottie Rose met this world.
Yesterday’s Caroline was happy to sign waivers and forms admitting me into the hospital. When I left, 4 HOURS AGO, they shredded all of my papers (SERIOUSLY PEOPLE?!?), so today’s Caroline wasn’t happy I had to resign everything. Josh stepped in to help me because listening to her ask me questions and trying to form answers was painful for him to watch. They got me hooked up and measured… I as only 1.5 cm. No way, I insisted on bringing in someone with smaller fingers! (OK, I didn’t. BUT SERIOUSLY?) So the laboring began…luckily it moved pretty quick from here on out.
I was never in triage – the first time I was directly admitted by my doctor and the second time they knew I was having this baby now so they returned me to the room I had just spent all day in. This time I wasn’t smiling and joking with the nurses as I was before, I went outside of my body, squeezing Josh’s hand during each contraction and closing my eyes trying to relax during each break. I tried every laboring trick. I got in a warm shower first and while the warm water felt great, the heat and steam in the bathroom made me feel light-headed and weak, so I decided to get out so I didn’t fall. I did love how the warm water was soothing so I climbed in the tub next and more than anything this helped the most. I was able to relax but still hated having to stay in one place laying down during contractions.
I wasn’t hooked up to any monitors so every hour or so I had to get hooked up for 15 minutes to check that all was good with baby. After 6 hours of laboring my body started to want to push. I had heard that when you make it to this point you’re close in transition so I eagerly announced I wanted to be checked. Trying to stop my body from pushing was more difficult/painful/exhausting than the contractions themself. They measured me I was only at 5 cm. (Again, SERIOUSLY?!)
At this point it had been over 24 hours since I had slept and I was exhausted. With it being my first I had no idea how long my labor would last and quite honestly I was afraid I wouldn’t have any energy to push when the time came. It felt impossible to keep my body from pushing, took the breath out of me. I asked Josh for the epidural… (ask is a nice way of saying it).
I went in wanting to have the baby as natural as possible, but I’m not a mom who insists on one way only. I think going into birth you have to be flexible and listen to your body. I never wanted to look back on my birth story and be disappointed, so I went in with not much more of a plan than OUT. My plan was to get the baby out in the healthiest and best way for me and baby. Looking back now I know it was the fear asking for the epidural, not the pain. I don’t remember the pain, but I know as I entered transition, a feeling I can’t explain and never imagined, fear took over.
This is where I have to stop and laugh. In our birthing class they had said to come up with a code word for when you REALLY want the epidural. They know when it gets hard you are going to naturally want the drugs. With a code word, the idea is your partner will know that until you say that predetermined word to hold off. The code word isn’t supposed to be anything birth related so to not be confused in the moment.
SO… our code word was PICKLES. A joke at the time, but now the idea of having pickles was becoming very serious. And now I am in labor begging my husband for pickles in front of all the nurses who are looking at me with very confused faces. I am in labor, insisting I am POSITIVE I want pickles RIGHT NOW.
Out walks Josh to find the nurse who is able to serve me my pickles…. and 20 minutes later in walk my pickles (aka the superhero of the day).
After I got the epidural they remeasured me and I was at 8 cm. So in 30 minutes I had gone from 5 – 8 and was now in transition. I was getting the epidural while I was in transition, the worst part was trying to sit still. They waited with me through a few contractions because I physically couldn’t sit on the bed, but eventually they had a break and drugged me up.
I insisted it wasn’t working because I swear I felt major pressure down there, at that moment the nurse said I was at the top of a contraction which I quickly said “O… then it’s definitely working”. 🙂 If I was contracting without the epidural I wouldn’t have been able to speak, think or lay there at all. It is still bizarre to me how my body went from pain to feeling nothing. Honestly epidurals still make me nervous, but during my first birth they were part of my story.
The nurse told me to take a nap.
The fact that I could even hold a conversation or discuss napping was ridiculous. My body was in labor without me, it was doing the work for me… and I didn’t have energy to do anything but nap. So I did. For 45 minutes I gladly conked out, and when she measured me for the last time after I woke up I was 10 cm and ready to push!
More than anything I was glad the epidural didn’t slow me down from progressing quickly. Josh was just glad to be having a conversation with me. For the last 6 hours my eyes were closed and I didn’t say more than 2 words. (If you know me you know this is not my norm)
The nurse came in and asked me about my birth plan. I remember being in shock that I could even have that conversation, during labor the words birth plan didn’t come to mind. My birth plan had things like cutting the cord and draining the blood, and baby on my chest right away and low interventions. Well, baby Lottie had her own plan.
We did one practice push and the nurse quickly said she’s calling the doctor and this baby was going to come quick. She also said she saw meconium (aka Lottie had pooped everywhere inside) and to be on the safe side she was calling the NICU team in to clean her up and make sure she didn’t inhale any. The NICU team was definitely not in my birth plan, but they did a great job of explaining what was going to happen and subsiding any worries.
Six NICU nurses joined me along with my doctor, my nurse and a few other nurses who I think were just there for entertainment purposes. OK, kidding, but seriously there was a party in that room and I had lost all modesty when it came to covering up or caring who was watching. I started to push and at that point I had one goal: to get that babe out.
I had great coaches and the pushing went by quick. 30 min later at 11:48 am we welcomed Lottie Rose into the world. She came out crying and what a glorious sound that was. She was covered in poop so they needed to clean her up and whisked her over to the table. Josh followed Lottie over as they weighed, measured and wiped off as much meconium as possible, while the doc finished up with me. He did a great job of talking to me and keeping me calm throughout the process, but I can’t tell you what he said, I was 100% focused on my little girl crying with joy.
Once they wiped her off, we cuddled for two hours, poop and all. I remember this moment so vividly. You hear about falling in love with your baby from the moment they are put on your chest, I didn’t know in that moment of being a first time mom what it meant to love her like I do now.
I remember thinking as a first time mom – What do I do next. How do I hold her. How do I feed her. I already let the doubt creep in. I was in shock. I simply held her and stared, I was in love – but I was in shock. Minutes ago this crying bundle was inside of me and now I was holding her in complete disbelief. All of the noise around me stopped and my world became all about her.
I think to my second baby being born in a few days and I already have a peace around the birth and comfort in knowing when they place the next baby on my chest there will be no hesitations or worries. My love will overflow because I know what it means to open up my heart and welcome in another member of my family. I can’t wait for this moment, one that I don’t think I fully soaked up the first time around, mainly because I didn’t fully comprehend.
She latched on with the urge to suck right away. She fed for probably 40 min on each side. The nurses were great but I wish I had a lactation specialist there because her latch wasn’t great in those first few feedings. She royally chewed me up. For the next few weeks I spent every feeding trying to heal the scabs and make breastfeeding less painful. I’ll fill you in more on my love-hate relationship with breastfeeding I struggled with over the next year of her life.
We had a baby girl!!
We couldn’t believe it and were definitely surprised with all her hair. You spend 10 months imagining what your baby will look like. Who’s eyes and smile they will have. Josh and I were both bald and then blonde as babies so nowhere In our imagination did we dream of a brunette girl. She was already perfect and instantly fit into our now family of three, as if she had always been there. The first two hours with her flew by.
I had bought two polos for Josh, a bright pink and blue one for announcing if we had a boy or girl. Josh went out to the waiting room to announce the name and gender to our family, proudly wearing the pink polo! This is the moment I spent pregnancy dreaming about. The it’s a… Moment in the hospital. And it couldn’t have been more perfect! I wanted one last surprise for our parents almost as much as I wanted it for us!
My first meal after post birth was the French toast which if you’re at IU North I highly recommend! We cleaned up, packed up and went upstairs so our family could come visit. The next 48 hours were a blur of friends and family visiting and us just staring at Lottie in disbelief.
The first night I don’t think either of us slept. Literally Lottie cried all night. I held her for physically as long as I could keep my eyes open and then I would wake Josh up and pass her to him. He would do the same thing and that was our story for the first night. Passing Lottie between the two of us every 45 minutes or so. It was a long night! The second night she must have felt bad for us because she slept a lot – thank goodness!
It took me two years to finally publish Lottie’s birth story, but now I’m looking forward to my second birth story. We are waiting to find out if Lottie will have a sister or brother, and what roller coaster this next baby will send us on! We can’t wait!