She Arrives

If you read my previous post, I can now confirm my suspicions were correct; I was in labor. From the moment I awoke I was having contractions. They started sporadically spaced between 8 – 12 minutes apart but over the hours they began to quicken and regulate. I spent the entire day laboring at home, waiting for my contractions to get closer together so we could go to the hospital to meet our little girl. We created a labor tradition by going to a local diner to indulge in one last yummy breakfast before the birth. With my son we stopped at a greasy spoon on our way to the hospital because I knew I wouldn’t be eating much of anything once we were admitted. With my daughter I was just tired of laboring at home and focusing on the pain so the excursion was a nice and tasty distraction. It was our last meal out together as a family of three.

And in an odd twist of fate, my mom happened to be flying in that evening for the birth. She had booked her ticket literally months before, choosing to fly in five days early because my son had been born early. Little did she know she had selected the absolute perfect time to fly in. We went to pick her up at 6 pm, with me now contracting every 6-7 minutes. We stopped to grab food, got home and ate, and were headed to the hospital by 9 pm when my contractions had jumped to every 3 minutes. I’m still amazed at how perfectly it worked out for my mom.

My labor coaches

This labor was so unlike my first labor I can hardly believe it now as I write about it. This go around I had a textbook labor, everything progressed on its own and in a timely manner. Since my son’s labor started with broken water but no contractions, I spent more than 30 hours at the hospital, mostly trying to get labor to progress. But since I was already contracting well by the time I got to the hospital this go around, my experience was so different and so much quicker. At 9:30 pm we were put in the observation room to monitor my contractions and by 10:30 pm we were officially admitted and shown to a birthing suite. The next hour was spent getting labs done and IV ports placed and then I was finally unhooked from all the machines and allowed to roam. While the nurses filled my labor tub I opted to walk around the room, stopping frequently as the contractions became harsher and harsher. And as soon as the tub was ready I climbed in and spent nearly an hour breathing and squirming through the contractions that were only 2.5 – 3 minutes apart by then.

Contraction support

Around 12:30 am the pain was becoming too much for me and I began to shake and lose focus of my breathing technique. I opted to get out of the tub and requested an epidural. Luckily for me the anesthesiologist was already in the vicinity and was in my room within 15 minutes.  Within 30 minutes I was feeling much better and was able to relax for the first time in about 20 hours. The epidural didn’t quite work correctly though and the right side of my body never fully numbed. I could still feel the contractions, albeit much less harshly. They offered to get the anesthesiologist back to try and fix it, but I actually preferred to continue to feel the contractions so I could tell how I was progressing.

And progress I did! Within 3 hours I went from 5 cm dilated to 10. With my epidural not being 100 percent effective I definitely could feel the pressure of my baby moving down into position. I contacted the nurse about 20 minutes before I was scheduled to be checked again because the pressure was so intense I knew I must be fully dilated. After confirming this my nurse told me we could do a couple pushes as we waited for my doctor to come in and she got me into position and had me bear down.

“Okay stop! She’s almost out. Let me get the doctor in here first,” she told me. My reaction? Are you kidding? One push and you’re telling me she’s already almost out? Both my mom and husband confirmed it. They were about as incredulous as me since they had both been with me for my son’s birth and struggled alongside me as I pushed for nearly 2.5 hours with him.

The doctor rushed in a few minutes later and literally one more push was all it took. I watched amazed as my little girl entered the world, overcome with emotion. This experience was something I never had with my son. The long labor and hours of pushing had left me so physically spent I hardly recognized when he was actually born. I was in a mental fog and just remember them placing him on my chest. With this birth I was able to reach down and help place her myself. I had no mental fog and just felt so in the moment. It was an amazing way to end my pregnancy and labor experiences.

Newborn

Our little girl, Theadora (Thea) was born August 17, 2017 at 4:38 am. She weighed 6 pounds and 10 ounces and was 19 ¾ inches long.

Thea

And as I write this I am happy to say the recovery process has also been completely different and so much easier. I didn’t need any pain medications after birth and although I won’t be taking any long walks downtown or running around the playground with my toddler anytime soon, I’m already weeks ahead of where I was physically with my son.

I feel so lucky to have had such a positive birth experience. And now my family feels complete and perfect. My son has taken to his little sister even better than we had anticipated and I can’t wait to see their relationship grow and develop over the years.

First family photo

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