This little girl (as many of you may know) was in no hurry to be born. She came at 41 weeks exactly, despite my best efforts to get her to come earlier. After my midwife said it was okay, I tried it all!
I took 7 primrose oil pills a day from 35 weeks on, I drank Raspberry leaf tea, and ate 6 dates a day. All in the hopes that I would get my cervix nice and ‘ripe’. As often as I remembered to, I did 10 squats after every trip to the bathroom. I live in a split level house, so I go up and down stairs ALL DAY.
After 39 weeks I got a little more motivated. Leopold was a 38 weeker so after that point I started to feel a bit impatient. I know babies come when they are ready but it’s hard to remember that when you’re miserable and going pee every 5 minutes!
I drank cumin tea, walked every night, sucked dum dums, pumped, had sex, ate spicy food, downed two pineapples in one weekend, danced, and bounced on my birthing ball. Pretty much anything you can find online, I tried. Why not, right? It didn’t hurt, but it didn’t help either. Even hurricane Florence couldn’t coax her out of the womb!
Finally, the day after a lot of trying different things (including dancing to ‘the wobble’ and ‘the baby mama song’), my water broke!
At my appointment on Monday I had my very first cervical check and non stress test (at 40 weeks). I was 1.5 centimeters and I let her do a membrane sweep. This was crazy uncomfortable but I wouldn’t say it was as painful as I’d heard it would be.
The next day (Tuesday) I started losing my mucus plug. Never have I gotten so excited to see something so gross looking! I kept losing pieces throughout the day so I went ahead and finished up some last minute things to prepare for baby (like clearing off the photos on my phone to make space). That’s the day I started dancing and doing extra squats!
Wednesday afternoon I was snuggling with Leopold watching cartoons and had to get up to let the dogs out. My water had broken!! I noticed the clear liquid when I was standing in the kitchen and got a rush of excitement! Sure I had ideally wanted contractions to come first but that was out of my control.
I texted my sister, husband and mother in law to let them know so they could get their affairs in order, but I told my husband he should stay at work for the day unless things started to pick up. My sister lives 2 hours away and was able to leave after a couple of hours.
Around 5pm everyone showed up and we ordered Zoe’s Kitchen for dinner. I tried to keep it light, with a salad and some (amazing) basil pesto hummus. We took a walk around the block (I tried ‘curb walking’ which a friend suggested to open my cervix up) and I put Leopold to bed for the last time as my only baby!
After he was good and asleep (around 9pm), my sister, my husband and I decided to head on into the hospital. When I called earlier they told me to come right in (at 1pm) but I asked to speak with my midwife about delaying as long as possible. She said 12 hours was the general cutoff for how long they want you to wait and that would be 1am, so we could come whenever.
I could feel VERY slight cramping every now and then but my body just wasn’t going into labor yet. It seems to be a pattern with me! After getting checked, I was right around 2cm. They got me into a room and put me on a very low pitocin drip.
I requested a Doula who showed up when her shift started at midnight, and I was just starting to feel some contractions. I had told James and my sister that if I had to be induced again (especially with pitocin) I wouldn’t be opposed to an epidural. I did it without one last time, so why not just try it, since this will be my last baby? I don’t have anything to prove anymore (haha). I was starting to feel stronger contractions and ended up being right at 3cm when I told my Doula and Midwife to go ahead and call the anesthesiologist. By the time she showed up almost an hour later, I was shutting down and breathing through my contractions. It wasn’t totally unbearable but it wasn’t any fun, especially having to get up to pee so often!
Everyone had to leave the room while I got my epidural, and my nurse and Doula held my hands and supported my shoulders while I moved to the edge of the bed, ready for some relief. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the epidural, because I’d heard both success and horror stories!
The numbing shot was the most uncomfortable, and the pressure of it going in wasn’t that great either, but I breathed through that too and felt almost instant relief.
After a few minutes, I felt almost normal! I didn’t feel my contractions and I was smiling and laughing again. It was almost like cheating! I’ve never needed numbing medication for any reason so I was very giggly and couldn’t stop cracking jokes. A favorite among the hospital staff was when they asked if I felt the ring of fire, I said it didn’t feel like fire, just like someone set a cup of hot coffee down on my vagina and then picked it back up again.
Although I was numb, I was still able to move my legs when they needed me to, which was pretty nice. They were impressed but I was slightly worried that it meant the epidural wouldn’t work like it should!
Once I ‘felt like I needed to poop’ and that feeling didn’t go away, they told me I could try to push. The Doula instructed me to act like I was playing tug of war, and push with my abdomen, not with my face (which is apparently my tendency).
I did have a catheter in (sweet relief) and probably could have gotten her out faster if they had removed the bulb that was in place! As I was pushing the midwife had to push it back behind the baby’s head so she could get out! I could feel everything that was happening down below but it wasn’t agonizing, just uncomfortable. I did end up tearing, but it turns out that the way I healed from my episiotomy 3 years ago had been causing me discomfort and that this tear and the subsequent stitching up should help that! So…blessing in disguise?
I love these photos because they really show how different this birth experience was for me. In the last few shots, you can even see me smiling between pushing! You DEFINITELY would not have witnessed that when Leopold was born!
If you’re curious about my natural birth using Hypnobabies with Leopold, you can read those posts by clicking here >>> Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
After about 20 minutes (give or take), she was out! The rest of the goodies from the pinata that was my uterus came out fast and easy as well, and James was able to cut her cord once it stopped pulsing. My favorite midwife who performed the birth and stitched me up took some photos with us before she left, because it would be one of her last births before she retired to office work only!
All of the recovery rooms were full so we stayed in our delivery room from the time she was born, at 8:31am until around 1pm.
My friend Amanda was a saint and came to photograph our experience and stayed as long as she possibly could (sadly she had to leave around 7:30 or so right before the excitement happened!) She stayed up all night with us and then went home to her three little boys (not to mention she’s pregnant with her 4th baby). These photos are all courtesy of her skill and I could not be more grateful to her for capturing them!!!
As we laid in recovery, my husband ended up going to urgent care to have his splinter wound (from a month ago) examined, as it wasn’t healing right. Turns out he still had a HUGE splinter lodged in there! Poor guy!
He came back right before we got moved to the recovery ward on the labor and delivery floor. Luckily this time our room was bigger than a closet and we actually had a pull out couch (even if it was super uncomfortable). My sister ran out to get Starbucks and later, Grouchos, because she’s the bomb! James went home after lunch to pick up Leopold and his mom so they could come meet Finley. Luckily we were able to leave the next day! People had encouraged me to stay that second day and enjoy getting taken care of…but I just couldn’t! James only got 3 days off work and I really wanted to be home with my family for that time. Not to mention the hospital bed was insanely uncomfortable, the food wasn’t that great, and it’s so boring! Being home was 100% the right choice for me.
I don’t think I slept more than 5 hours during my entire stay at the hospital…even after Finley was born, the mix of adrenaline, new baby, and discomfort (and nurses coming in every couple of hours) I couldn’t sleep a wink! Luckily I got a nap at home…even if Finley didn’t sleep much the first couple of nights.