It all started when I let Eric talk me into having a drink with him one random evening…the moral of the story is don’t let Eric pour drinks…or perhaps, it’s get snockered to get pregnant because Matthew happened after 2 bottles of wine…#myuterusneedsastiffdrink
So it was no secret that we said we were done having kids. I realized a little too late that I had some serious postpartum anxiety issues after Matthew; add to that some serious back issues, and throw in a case of PCOS (possible infertility issues) and it just didn’t seem another baby was in the cards for us. We tried on and off for about 2 years with no luck and continued going back and forth on whether I could handle pregnancy and sleepless nights again.
But OF COURSE all it took was us cleaning out the basement to get rid of all of the baby stuff, scheduling Eric a vasectomy consultation, and filling out paperwork to start the adoption process for me to start feeling all “off”…
We visited some friends on July 4th last year for a weekend of fun. Except after one sip of an adult beverage I felt like I was going to throw up. And by 10:00 I was curled up on the couch asleep. Fast forward a week or two and it was pretty clear what was going on. I opened the medicine cabinet one morning and there was a pregnancy test just sitting in the front staring me down. It came back positive within seconds and I may have had a full-blown anxiety attack. Thank you Fit Bit…
I also may have called Eric at work and yelled “What did you do?!!!!”. Of course it’s amazing how quickly you can go from “I can’t do this again” to “ooh, look, a baby!”. Ha!
At this point things get fuzzy because I’m pretty sure I spent the next 6-8 weeks curled up on the floor dying. The nausea was unreal. If I did have to leave the house I loaded my pockets with Preggie Drops and Morning Sickness tea bags (I couldn’t drink it, only sniff it. So yes, I was the scowling woman sitting in the back of gymnastics lessons huffing herbs..).
By this point, I KNEW it was a girl. I have great intuition and also knew Matthew was a boy. We actually paid to go to Becoming Mom for a gender reveal ultrasound as soon as we could because Eric was antsy. He was supposed to come with me, but got pulled into an emergency conference call. So we got to send him teasing pictures all afternoon instead of breaking the news…
Matthew tagged along (man, was he a champ and my little doctor appointment buddy throughout–he LOVED going to the appointments).
We had a little scare at the 20 week anatomy scan. After a hour and 15 minute scan (!) they finally let me in on their find of a coroid plexus cyst, with a quick “OMG DON’T WORRY”. My midwife was angry they even told me about it. It’s a cyst of fluid on the brain, but it’s apparently very, very common. They often go away before the baby is born, but even if it doesn’t it can be a common, non-problematic thing. Of course it could also be a sign of Trisomy 13, which is why the in-depth scan was needed. After some googling, I actually felt okay after my appointment, until I got a call 3 days later from the OB who reviewed my chart and wanted to talk about the baby’s heart problems…Thankfully I was proactive, asked a 100 questions, and realized THEY HAD THE CHARTS MIXED UP! Needless to say I demanded another ultrasound for reassurance, but gah! It was also at this point that I really tried to push Eric for a homebirth, but he said we’d have gut the bathroom afterwards and he didn’t want to take that on. I still kind of regret that and seriously considered just having the baby at home, like whoops? But more ultrasounds mean more pictures of the baby!
We did decide to deliver at Family Beginnings, which is about 45 minutes away. It’s a birth center within a hospital, so we kind of got the best of both worlds (natural, family-centered care with only a hallway between in case of any emergencies). Since they don’t even offer epidurals and many other interventions, I didn’t have to stress and advocate so hard for myself this time around. Eric was STRESSED about the 45 minute drive, especially since Matthew was only a 4 hour labor, but I’m happy to say we made it.
I had prodromal labor for about a week before she was born. At my 39 week appointment, my midwife checked my cervix and I was neither dilated nor effaced. At all. Matthew was born at 39 weeks and I was 3 centimeters dilated a week before that. So needless to say I left that appointment a bit discouraged, especially since they wanted to go ahead and schedule a stress test for the next appointment.
Determined to get things moving we headed to a local outdoor mall and walked for a couple of hours that night. The next day, I took some “bonding” time and went shopping “with the baby”. I feel most of labor is mental, and clearly something was blocking me from feeling completely ready. I know I was still terrified of the sleepless nights to come and was still holding on to the possibility that something was wrong with the baby. So we went to buy cute hairbows and dresses, and I just spent a lot of time visualizing and thinking happy thoughts. It may sound insane, but after an evening walk through IKEA that night, I woke up at 11pm with contractions so strong I couldn’t sleep.
Previous nights the contractions started at exactly 7pm and ended by 9pm. They were 12-15 minutes apart and weren’t really painful, but uncomfortable. But these were definitely stronger. I went into the nursery to the rocking chair and slept on and off for a couple hours. The contractions were still 12 minutes apart exactly, so I decided to hop in the bath to see if I could get things going. Within minutes my contractions were 6 minutes apart. After an hour in the bath and contractions 5 minutes apart, I decided to wake Eric.
We had a poll going with some friends and checked in via text to tell them whoever had today was more than likely going to win. After texting back and forth for awhile, I realized my contractions were back to 10 minutes apart, so I bailed out and commanded no one to talk to me.
We called Grandma to come get Matthew. He had the option to come to the delivery, but decided to go to Grandma’s instead. He now regrets that decision. He’s declared that the next person that has a baby has to take him along. 🙂
I was still feeling pretty good and wasn’t certain if we should head to the hospital yet, but with the history of quick labor and the drive, we headed out. Eric couldn’t have been too stressed though because he asked if we could go through Starbucks. And OF COURSE I had a bad contraction and started moaning right as he was ordering. Three ladies came to the window and asked if I needed anything while glaring at Eric. He was just like, “The tea and cookie is for her!”
The ride wasn’t bad at all, only having 4 contractions in the car–MIND OVER MATTER. Ha! But by the time I walked into the hospital, they were back to a few minutes apart and strong. Or so I thought…they checked my cervix and I was only 4 centimeters and my water hadn’t broken…oh wait! Water broke! Thanks, Nurse! OHHH, hello real contractions. Things progressed quickly at this point (2 hours from water breaking to delivery!).
They started the tub for me–I wasn’t planning a water birth, but I did want to labor in the tub. Let me just be clear that while some ladies can wear a bathing suit or gown while birthing, I cannot. I don’t want anything touching me. So I stripped down to all my pregnant glory and hopped in. But I. Could. Not. Get. Comfortable. I was feeling all the contractions in my back, which was horrible. So I finally found this weird crab-walk position in the tub that felt ok and then looked around. I had 2 midwives, 2 nurses, and Eric sitting against the wall staring at me. Um, hello? So I made a joke about feeling like a circus animal on display, and they asked if I wanted them to leave. Um, yes…
Interestingly the water was not helping this time, so I got out and tried to find a comfortable spot. The only thing that felt ok was bending over the sink in the bathroom while swaying and dipping my hips. I remember trying to hold on to Eric’s shoulders during one contraction, then freaking out halfway through the contraction because I was afraid I was going to get fluids on his shoes. HE WORE BRAND NEW SHOES TO HAVE A BABY. WHO WEARS BRAND NEW SHOES TO HAVE A BABY?!
I ended up squatting next to the bed to deliver. I still don’t think my thighs have forgiven me for that. They put the baby on the bed in front of me after the midwife caught her and my first thought was “Oh my God, she looks like Matthew!” and my second thought was “she’s so tiny!” They predicted she was going to be tiny–she wasn’t, but after having a 4 year old, she looked tiny! Eric was smart enough to stay on the other side of the bed this time (after passing out while watching Matthew’s birth).
After lumbering onto the bed (not the easiest thing to do after squatting for 3 hours, pushing a baby out in 3 pushes, and still having the baby attached to the umbilical cord), she latched on and nursed right away. Like STRONG latch. Wide awake. And she peed on me. Twice. Spoiler alert–she pees on me ALL THE TIME. I also remember the midwife telling me I had no tears and me telling her to check again. Ha! I had a labial tear with Matthew (who knew that could even happen?) and I was convinced I had to have torn this time because the midwife had her hand in the birth canal holding a cervical lip out of the way while I delivered. Bodies are amazing things…
I kept her with me for at least 30-45 minutes while they cleaned the room, then they asked if I wanted her weighed and measured–8lbs, 4oz, and 21.25″–not so tiny! This was some amazing bonding time, but I was glad to hand her off. They were worried I was hemorrhaging because I wouldn’t stop bleeding. I also hadn’t eaten anything since 6:00 the previous night, and hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in a week. So yeah, *I* almost passed out this time. After they took the baby I couldn’t even sit up. The good thing about natural care is no one panicked, they were just like honey, order some food. And a lot of it! I ordered a meal for both Eric and I and ate both of them plus food I had packed. Ravenous, I tell ya.
They did give me a shot of pitocin to try to stop the bleeding, and gaaaaah the pain was horrible. Every time she latched on, I’d have contractions so strong I’d get nauseous. And then I’d have to go to the bathroom. So I’d hobble to the bathroom with a baby latched on. #secondtimemom (For the record, no hemorrhaging. My body was just DONE with the whole pregnancy thing and was kicking the remaining fluids out like crazy).
After ordering food two more times, we turned in for the night. The nurses checked on us at 9pm and said they wouldn’t come back in until 6am. Heavenly! And then Eric and I woke up at 1am and thought the baby was dead because she was still asleep. So I woke up and nursed her and then the nurses woke us up at 6. So yeah, WE GOT A SLEEPER!
That morning we packed up to go home and got moved to a traditional hospital room (out of the birth center) while they did the routine bloodwork. And OMG this is where things went downhill. Her bloodwork came back showing mild jaundice, so they couldn’t discharge her. Matthew had a more severe case and they told us to take him home and put him by a window. We used the on-call pediatrician since we were so far away, and she was a moron. If I ever see this woman on the street I will have to resist beating her. So after a bunch of drama that I can’t even think about without getting angry, and an extra night in the hospital, we made it perfectly clear that if they didn’t discharge her we were leaving anyway. This came after they told me I had to start discharge because I had no medical reason to be there, but the baby would have to stay. Ha. Hahahahaha. Um, no. Try me, people. Try me.
Oh, and this is all going down on Easter Sunday. So we missed Easter with Matthew. And my birthday. And a beautiful sunny 75 degree day, where said jaundiced baby could you know, be OUTSIDE IN THE SUN. And to prove I’m not just being dramatic, our pediatrician apologized that this happened to us and was outraged along with us…gaaaahhhh.
Poor Matthew had a crazy weekend, but after Grandma brought him home and everyone stopped gushing over the baby, he looked at me and whispered, “Is it my turn to hold her yet?” And just like that, everyone was smitten.