Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Day Ophelia Was Born

I was 12 days past my due date and had tried every single thing known to woman to induce labour and to get our little babe out but she just wouldn't budge.  I drank raspberry leaf tea, bounced on an exercise ball, took long walks, jumped on a trampoline, ate super hot wings, did the deed, had two membrane sweeps, and although I had been at 2cm since my due date nothing was happening.  Every night I went to bed thinking that this would be the night and every morning I woke up well rested and even more annoyed.

Just bouncing away.
So on Friday, September 1st, I woke up early, showered and finished packing our hospital bags while I anxiously waited for the call from my midwife to come in to the hospital to be induced.

It's go time!
Since our first baby was five days early, I expected to be home and settling into a routine nicely at this point, but instead we were heading in for a planned induction. I was a little disappointed but at the same time just so ready to not be pregnant anymore and to meet our not-so-little girl.

According to the ultrasound tech at my 41 week ultrasound, baby girl was looking to be around 9 lbs.  Over 2 lbs bigger than Chloe had been when she was born. I remember laughing nervously and praying that his estimate was wrong because how the hell was I going to push a 9 pound baby out when our 6 lb 15oz baby had to be vacuumed out?!

At 10am we got the call to come in to the hospital, so we picked up my mom who was going to watch Chloe at our house and we headed into the labour and delivery unit. My amazing midwife met us there and started explaining the plan. She wanted to break my water first to see if we could get labour started on it's own without any Pitocin. It didn't hurt at all but there is definitely a lot of water in there because what came out felt like a waterfall and it didn't stop throughout my entire labour. Adult diaper for the win!

Happy to be wearing an adult diaper.
At that point my midwife had us go for a walk to see if contractions would start, and luckily they did.  During our first few laps around the 4th floor I was having uncomfortable but not painful contractions at irregular intervals and when we checked in with our midwife she said that she could tell I wasn't in active labour yet because I was still smiling. She suggested I try some nipple stimulation, which is super weird when your hubby is just sitting there staring at you blankly.  

We went for another walk around the hospital when the contractions started getting stronger and closer together. We started timing them and all of a sudden I got really hungry so I sent the hubs down to the cafeteria to get me a sandwich while I kept doing laps, stopping every few minutes to grab onto a hand rail and breathe through a contraction.

It's weird how you forget what contractions feel like until all of a sudden you don't.  I remember thinking "ah yes, these things friggin hurt", but the excitement made me want them to keep coming.  Once I inhaled my lunch, we headed back to our room so our midwife could check the baby's heart rate.  All was good and at that point she suggested trying to find ways to labour in our room, so I asked to try sitting on an exercise ball.  This brought the contractions on even stronger and it was then that we knew I wouldn't need any drugs to get things really going.

At around 4pm my midwife decided things were really happening and she wanted to check me.  I was starting to not be able to breathe through my contractions and I had some super embarrassing deep moaning going on and it was taking everything out of me to stay relaxed and ride the wave.  Pete was sitting on a stool behind me while I was on the ball putting counter pressure on my lower back because I was having back labour, which is a real bitch. 

When she checked me I was super discouraged to hear that I was only 4-5cm dilated because by the amount of time that had passed and the pain I was in I was sure I was entering into transition and probably at least 7cm dilated. While she checked me it was the most painful thing I've ever experienced and I screamed my head off the entire time, which I'm sure completely freaked out the hubs. That combined with the news that I was only 4cm dilated had me begging for an epidural because I knew at that point I wasn't going to be able to do it without some help.

I went in there hoping to try for a natural birth but knowing that if I needed help I would ask for it, and even though I had told my hubby to discourage me from getting the drugs and to get me to try another type of pain management, he must have seen it in my face because I expected some sort of fight but he completely agreed with me that it was time and so did my midwife.

Now that I had asked for the epidural it felt like the anesthesiologist was never going to arrive. My contractions started getting longer and harder and I wasn't relaxed in any way anymore.  I'm positive I was entering into transition and I needed the drugs stat. I was swearing and begging and crying and the hubs and my midwife were trying to reassure me that it wouldn't be too much longer but every contraction felt worse and I honestly thought I was going to die.

This is when I stopped opening my eyes and started screaming really loud with each contraction. I didn't even recognize my own voice. My poor hubby was probably a nervous wreck. Soon enough the angel doctor came and started setting me set up for the epidural.  I swear she had a halo above her head. It took some time because of the situation with my back tattoo and she explained that there were some risks, but honestly nothing would have stopped me from getting the drugs at that point. I wouldn't have cared if she told me my head would fall off, this was happening.

I barely felt the epidural because I was so focused on sitting still while dealing with by far the most painful contractions yet.  In a few minutes I was lying back down on the bed and starting to already feel some relief. And in a few more minutes I was the happiest Mama on the planet - laughing, asking for a popsicle and considering naming the baby after the anesthesiologist. 

After checking on the baby and getting me settled, my midwife checked me again and we were all surprised to see that I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing. I went from 5cm to 10cm in less than an hour. Exactly the same thing happened with Chloe once I got the epidural with her, so I know now that epidurals are my friend. They just work for me and they make the entire birth experience so much more enjoyable. If we have more kids in the future I won't even try to go without one now that I know what works for my body. JUST GIVE ME ALL THE DRUGS.

This is where shit gets real.  My midwife stepped out to call another midwife in for help with the delivery and Pete and I got our game faces on for the pushing part. I asked for a mirror so that I could see what I was doing and my midwife asked Pete if he wanted to catch the baby. Surprisingly, he said yes and he put on some gloves. 

Here, catch!
We started pushing at 8pm and Ophelia was born at 8:25pm. During the pushing my epidural had worn off enough that I could feel pressure but not pain so I was able to tell when it was time to push with the contractions. At first it felt like I wasn't doing anything, but by the time she was crowing I could tell my pushes were actually working. With every push my face felt like it was going to explode, but I could tell we were so close because I could see all her dark hair in the mirror.

I watched more and more of hear head appear with each push and finally her head was out fully and I was exhausted. Pushing was by far the most rewarding part of my entire labour but it was definitely the most physically strenuous work I've ever done. The midwives got Pete ready and told him how to help the baby's head out while they helped me not to tear. He pulled her head and shoulders out basically unassisted and they helped him place her on my chest. He told me later that the cord was loosely wrapped around her neck and our midwife just casually slipped it off, nbd. He also told me later that I pooped on the table. SHIT HAPPENS. Any dignity you had left by the end of a pregnancy just up and flies right out the window during childbirth.

That was the moment that my heart exploded. I couldn't take my eyes off her except to look at Pete to see his reaction. Tears flooded down my face and I just kept saying "Oh my God you are so fat, how are you so fat?!". And they rubbed her and got her to start crying and she almost immediately latched onto my breast. I got to keep her on my chest while I delivered my placenta, they stitched me up because I had some minor tearing, and we placed bets on how much she weighed. I guessed 8 lbs 2oz and Pete guessed 8 lbs 5oz. After about half an hour they took her to clean her up and weigh her.  She weighed in at 8 lbs 9oz and I swear to God most of that was hair.

Pure bliss.
I couldn't have asked for a more perfect and uplifting birth experience. Having a midwife support us through my entire pregnancy and delivery was a million times better than the OB we had with our first baby.  The feelings in that delivery room were entirely positive and light, we laughed, we cried happy tears, and we bonded with each other and with our new baby in a way that we didn't get to with Chloe right away.

Watching Pete deliver his baby girl was an indescribable experience. You think you love your partner and then you watch them physically bring your daughter into the world and your heart explodes into a million pieces because this boy you met at a bar isn't just the father of your kids now, he's the man you were always hoping he'd be. I'm forever grateful for the way he showed up for me that day and for the way he shows up for me and our daughters every day.

Proud Daddy
Ophelia Claire was born at 8:25pm, weighing 8lbs 9oz with a full head of dark curly hair and a scowl on her face as if she was pissed that we made her come out and meet us. So sorry Opie, but bringing you into this world was one of the best things your dad and I have ever done. Welcome to the family, sweet girl.

Super impressed.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dear Baby

We are patiently awaiting your arrival and couldn't be more excited to meet you. These last few months have filled me up with so much love and I'm not sure how I'll have room for any more love, but I've been told my heart will open up when I finally get to meet you.  Every movement and every kick reminds me how lucky I am to be able to watch you grow in my belly. Your due date is in four days and everyone is rooting for you, especially me because things are getting a little cramped in here.

Your nursery is ready and the house is spotless, and there's nothing else to do but soak up our time together before we become a family of four, forever changed by our rainbow baby.

Your dad is waiting eagerly by the phone for the time I call him to come home from work, and I can tell he already loves you so much because he is fiercely protective of me.  He won't even let me get to close to the curb of the sidewalk when we go for our nightly walks.  He is such a good dad already, so you'll be the luckiest girl in the world when you decide to join our family.  

Your big sister is amazing. She's smart and funny and she's so excited to teach you everything she knows.  There is no one more excited to meet you than her.  She's getting pretty sick of being the only kid around a bunch of boring adults all the time and I bet she can't wait to show you all her tricks, like how to climb on the counter to get to the snack cupboard. Someday you'll be best friends.

Here are a few things you should know about us; we have a lot of fun together, next summer will be your first of many camping trips to Killbear, you have a crazy cat and a really annoying dog, Mommy and Daddy work really hard to give you and your sister everything we had growing up and more, we may not always get along but we will always make up, and we will always get through difficult times. 

We love you so much already and can't wait to welcome you home.



9 Months

This pregnancy has been pretty great.  We had a bit of a rocky start at the beginning when I had an ovarian cyst that caused some bleeding and made me think I was miscarrying again, but turns out this little baby was in it for the long haul.

I graduated from college and started working full time in my third month, just when things were getting a little easier.  Thankfully I had a little more energy and my "all day sickness" was subsiding. I finished work on June 30th, just as sitting at a desk was starting to get uncomfortable.  I don't know how working moms work right up until their due dates.

At 20 weeks we had an ultrasound to find out the sex of our little peanut. I thought for sure this one was a boy and Pete was secretly hoping for a boy even though he said he'd be happy either way. But when we were told by the tech that she was pretty sure it was a GIRL we couldn't have been happier.  My heart instantly felt so full, probably at the exact moment that Pete realized he was about to be outnumbered.  It's all good though, this man was meant to be a girl dad.

This pregnancy has gone pretty smoothy and the only real complaint I had, that stuck with me pretty much from 20 weeks on was difficulty breathing.  I felt like I could never get a full breath, and with the weather getting warmer it only got worse.  Apparently it's a perfectly normal pregnancy symptom and is caused by the increase in blood in my body. But it SUUUUUCKED.

On the up side, my gluten intolerance has completely disappeared. So I've been eating all of the bread, pizza and doughnuts that I can get my hands on, which has been a blessing during my most nauseous days.  Aside from the occasional indulgence, I've actually been eating really healthy this time around.  I've craved a lot of fruit and fresh juices. Specifically mangoes, grapes and oranges.

So as we count down the final days of my pregnancy before my due date on Monday August 21st,(only four days away!!!) here I am clearly trying to cram the details of 10 months into one blog post. Nearing the end I've tried to stay active by going on nightly walks with the fam, who have clearly become bored but are still such good sports always keeping me company

We're all trying to be more patient than the last time around, when at 38 weeks I was already pacing the house begging for Chloe to come out.  She was 5 days early, but if this baby needs more time I'm trying to tell myself that it's probably for a good reason.  But seriously, sleep is getting really uncomfortable. I basically just lie in bed all night half asleep thinking that it could happen at any minute. And it could!

Here's hoping my next post will be a birth story!