I'm currently trying to get a baby to sleep. It's the first night I've had real difficulty putting her to sleep so I'm crossing my fingers that this isn't the new norm. She's been pretty mellow so far. I was actually telling someone today how lucky I felt. Of course I jinxed myself. I know better, gotta stop that 😉
As one would expect, life with 2 kids has been quite busy. Although I wouldn't say it's harder yet. I actually think the transition from 0-1 is hardest. It's mostly just time consuming. So much time! But my faithful Music Man has been super hands on and supportive where as the first time I think he was anxious and scared.
I wasn't sure if I was going to write baby girl's birth story but figured I better so I can remember it.
A week prior to her due date I had my mom come stay with us since we're new to the area and didn't have anyone nearby to watch Little Man in case I went into labor quickly or in the middle of the night. I actually thought baby girl would be a little late but since we were up against a c section deadline due to my previous induction and c section with Little Man, I hoped and prayed I would go into labor early.
And I did everything I could to get labor going: walking, acupuncture, oils and supplements, spicy foods, labor inducing salads and well, you know... And nothing was happening!
I went into my 40 week appointment hoping to be dilated to at least a 2 but knowing not much was happening. And I was stressed because I didn't want a c section and I had a full house of in-laws and my mom and it was just exhausting. And although my pregnancy had been fine. I. Was. Done.
My midwife checked me and found I was only dilated to 1 but a little effaced. Not great news, but enough had occurred to do a membrane sweep which would hopefully get things movin'.
I continued to be stressed that night. My temper and stress definitely got the best of me and I had a temper tantrum in front of the family (I later found out this is quite common before labor begins). I was scheduled to have a c section in less than 36 hours, an arbitrary date and time that worked best for an ob I had only seen once my entire pregnancy because god forbid he have to work late on Friday. I went to bed mad because my dreams of a vbac seemed to be slipping away and I didn't sleep at all that night. But I hadn't really slept well for the past 3 months.
The next day was my due date and although I had hoped to have this baby I was super happy to get to go to Little Man's Halloween party at school and I got to dress as a very pregnant Potter. Ha. My doula is a mother at Little Man's school so I got to see her too and she told me she thought I was going to go into labor at 3 the next morning and she would be expecting my call. Man, she must be psychic!
Although I was still anxious about my upcoming c section I had come to terms with it and knew that no matter what, I was going to meet my baby girl very soon.
Later that afternoon Music Man and Little Man drove me to the hospital to get blood work done in preparation for my c section. I also wanted Little Man to see where I would be for the next few days in case I required extra time to recover. While in the labor and delivery unit we ran into my midwife and she was sad to see that I wasn't in labor and I got teary when I told her we were there to prepare for my c section the next morning. She was so encouraging and told me she thought I still had a chance at labor even though I just felt impending doom.
I know I sound so negative about it all but the fact is I really didn't want to have an unnecessary surgery for a pregnancy that was completely healthy. I felt that my previous c section had been absolutely unnecessary and I was a little traumatized by it. I definitely didn't want that again. If a c section had been medically necessary I would have done it in a heartbeat, but it wasn't the case.
Not 5 minutes after we left labor and delivery I received a call from my ob who had spoken to my midwife and he decided to push back my c section to Friday. It doesn't seem like much but now I had 2 extra days to go into labor on my own and I felt a huge sense of relief. It was insane how my attitude changed and I suddenly felt the best I had in a few weeks.
That evening the whole family went out to dinner. My mother and I walked to the restaurant and I ordered a spicy entree. On the was home we stopped by a store to get comfy jammies for the hospital. And my mom and I talked and laughed the whole way home.
It was getting late so everyone started to go to bed and I decided to do something I had not planned to do. Castor oil. I had been told I could take up to a 1/4 cup but I decided to start with 1/2 a tablespoon and see where that got me. That was 9pm. Castor oil is supposed to irritate the intestine and in turn irritate the uterus to help start contractions. So not sure if contractions started from that, the membrane sweep, everything else I had been doing or if it was just time. I guess I will never know.
At 1:27 am I awoke with a cramp and assumed it was an intestinal cramp from the castor oil but I also had the urge to pee. I got up after a bit and had another cramp while in the restroom. But luckily it wasn't anything terrible so I got back in bed. I laid there feeling the cramps for exactly 1/2 an hour and at 1:57 I finally began timing my cramps. 3 minutes apart and almost a minute long! Whoa! Was this labor?!?!
Just the thought got me excited and there was no way I was going back to sleep.
I went downstairs and started doing stuff like wash dishes and do laundry. Had to get my new jammies clean. Then I tried to lay down and rest but the contractions were too uncomfortable so I bounced on my yoga ball and watched House Hunters. At 3:30 I texted my Doula to let her know what was going on. Exactly when she expected me. 😊
At 4:30 I felt the need for relief so I took a hot shower which felt great but made the contractions more intense as opposed to relaxing me. When I got out I called labor and delivery since my contractions were 3 minutes apart lasting almost a minute. They told me to stay home until they lasted more than a minute. So I tried to rest and keep myself busy. Finally around 6 everyone started to wake up. First was my mother. I told her I was in labor and she gave me a deer in the headlights look. She was so surprised.
So we fixed something to eat and got coffee going. Little Man woke up and I got in some cuddles with him in between the contractions that seemed so intense at the time. At around 7 am I couldn't take it any longer and I woke up Music Man and told him this was it. Go time!
We got all our stuff and hopped in the car to make the drive to the hospital. Of course there was traffic. LA rush hour on a Wednesday. And being in a car in labor was awful. In fact, being confined while in labor was not my thing at all. But we got to the hospital in under 30 minutes and were taken care of immediately.
I walked right into L&D and everyone was expecting me because my c section was still on the books. All the nurses seemed happy that I was getting to labor. I was hooked up right away and my contractions began to slow. Totally normal and my doula had prepared me for it. My midwife wasn't on call that day but a midwife I really liked was. Thank god! She checked me and I was only a little past a 2. She decided to do a little sweep to get things going and my water broke, whoops!
At that point I expected things to really get going (boy was I wrong) so I called my doula and told her it was time to head over. But that's where things start to get fuzzy and run together. For the next 10 hours I walked and walked and walked and then got monitored for 20 minutes and walked and walked some more. I was rarely in my room.
I walked around the whole hospital grounds and am pretty sure I scared some people when I stopped in random places during a contraction; holding onto a random pilar or railing, I definitely got some funny looks. Laboring in bed was awful. Pressure on my tailbone was horrendous and caused so much pain so even though I was getting tired I kept walking. I dragged my mother and doula up and down flights of stairs. One lady stopped us and accused them of forcing me to walk the stairs. They were mortified but it was pretty hilarious.
Around 7pm I started to feel the exhaustion of walking and actively laboring for 18 hours. I changed rooms, took a hot shower but was feeling extremely uncomfortable. I got checked and was only 4cm so the midwife suggested trying a tiny bit of pitocin. I was exhausted so I agreed. And within 20 minutes the drop had started and things got super intense.
Contractions began coming on top of each other lasting a few minutes at a time. The contractions prior to pitocin felt like something was wrapping around my whole mid section and back and pinching me aggressively from inside. Painful but I could deal with it. With pitocin the contractions felt like continuously being punched in the stomach for minutes on end. I lasted just over an hour and at 8:30 I asked for an epidural. I wanted to try natural but I felt I had been going for too long and I needed some rest or I didn't think I'd be able to get the baby out. I was checked again and was almost 5 which is farther than I progressed in my induction so I felt good about my decision. By 9 my epidural was in and all my support started taking turns resting and getting dinner.
I was suddenly so relaxed and before I passed out I was checked again and I was past 5cm. I slept from about 9:30-10:30 and it was amazing. I could still feel the contractions and some discomfort. Epidurals don't seem to work that great on me. But it worked enough.
We were told I was going to move rooms again so they gathered my stuff and at around 11 I was in my new room and the midwife checked me again. I was past 7cm!!! And I started to feel so hopeful. Maybe I could do this. She told me to ring for her when I felt pressure in my butt. Right before midnight I rang. She came to check me again and was super surprised when she found me to be complete.
The shift change began at midnight and the doctor that was taking over and the midwife thought I would take much longer. The doctor later told me she didn't expect me to start pushing until 7am!!! Thank god I wasn't in labor for another 6 hours.
I was surprised that I started pushing with only the help of my nurse (who was amazing) and my support team. The nurse was on one side and my doula was on the other. My mother was in a chair out of view of my lady business and Music Man was filming it. A few other nurses were in the background but it was very peaceful. The lights were dimmed, voices were calm and supportive and it was just me and my mirror. You bet I wanted to see what was going on!
I didn't realize they were going to do this but they turned down the epidural so I could push more effectively. Since it wasn't really working on my right side anyway it seemed like I could feel EVERYTHING. I could feel the baby move down a little and at 12:30 I got to try pushing. At 12:31 I began to regret the decision to have the mirror. My vagina was fine. No big deal, just a vagina. But being able to so clearly see my butt was a nightmare. No one should ever have to see that. So glad I have it on video and I can relive it over and over again. 😉
The pushing part was kinda fuzzy too. I think my mind started to block the memory almost immediately because it was so painful. And I was very vocal. More so than any other deliveries that day. I didn't have one of those orgasmic experiences or even one where the baby flies out. It was hard work. Excruciating really. And I saw the whole thing. I watched the head start to descend and then go back in. Not only did I feel my body getting ripped apart, I got to see it. Magical stuff, this child birth!
It felt like I was pushing forever but it was only about 30 minutes before the doctor came in. She was surprised once again. Not only had I progressed in labor so quickly but in pushing too. She later told me she thought I would be pushing for close to 3 hours. Now that's a nightmare.
At this point I was feeling so much pain but there was no turning back. And at least the end was near. I watched as the head began to crown. I felt the ring of fire and felt the shoulders and elbows as they passed through me and squished out. And at 1:19 my daughter was born by successful vbac surrounded by an amazing team in a supportive hospital and was barely wiped off before she was placed on my chest.
Unfortunately she didn't scream or make much noise right away even though she was moving and pink and healthy. And she bagan to choke a little on what seemed like fluid left in her lungs. So they put her on the heating table across the room and tried to give her oxygen but it wasn't helping. They called in a pediatric doctor to advise them. The room changed from calm to bustling at this point. It ended up the oxygen hadn't been working correctly but she recovered super quick and showed us her powerful lungs.
I was distracted by the baby so I don't even remember delivering the placenta but I do remember getting stitched up. I only had minor abrasions but it did require 2 stitches. Not fun but pretty easy considering. My support team hung around for a bit and we finalized her name before everyone left to get some much needed rest.
Holland Astoria Hawkins was born at 1:19am on 10/31/13 weighing 7 pounds 11 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long. She has her brother's eyes, her mom's nose and her dad's huge feet. And our Halloween treat is loved to death by all of us!