September 21, 2016 3:10am – 6lbs., 6.5 oz., 19 inches long…
I don’t even know where to begin. As I sit here trying to find the words to say, all I can think about is how much I love her. How much I love Josie. How much I love my husband. How much I love our family…
…How grateful I am.
Her birth story is much simpler than Josie’s. Why? Well, because I got an epidural this time. And I’m not ashamed of that either. For some crazy reason, as a first time mom, (pregnant with Josie), I thought going all natural was the best way to go. Maybe it is for some women. But it wasn’t for me. And my long, drawn out labor with Josie, proved that either I get that epidural this time with Juliette, or I end up in a c-section. (You can read Josie’s birth story here.)
I refused to have a c-section. Considering it was the worst surgery I’ve ever seen in the history of my nursing school career. Kudos to those mommas who have. Wow, what a hard thing to go through and recover from.
I tried everything after I hit 38 weeks, 5 days to get Juliette to make her presence. But she didn’t budge. She was comfortable in there. I tried pineapple, raspberry leaf tea, bouncing on balance ball (which Josie loved, might I add), walking, going up and down our stairs, castor oil TWICE and sex. The one thing that my doctor kept telling me to do worked instantaneously. Sex. Lots and lots of sex. Three times a day sex. It’s sorta hard when your husband travels every two weeks to have sex when he’s not home, right? And hard when you’ve got this huge watermelon to finagle around. Within hours (that night) we were at the hospital and I was 4cm dilated. That’s some potent sperm, eh?
Flash back to the night before…
I would have sworn that on September 19th I was having legit contractions. We went to the ER, I was triaged and we waited an hour to see if there would be any “progression” (I was only 2cm). And nothing had changed since the OB appointment I had a week before that (before my doctor went on vacation). An hour later, there was no progression. I wasn’t surprised either. So we went home and went to bed. The next morning (September 20th), we had sex and afterwards, I ran some errands. While I was out I was having painful, intense contractions. So much so that they’d stop me in my tracks as I was walking. I remember in the parking lot I had to stop and take a breather. People looked at me like “oh Lord this woman is about to give birth right here.” Once that contraction stopped I start walking like nothing was going on. I didn’t want to draw a group of people desperate to catch this baby if she decided to come out.
I got home from my running around and started to pack up the bags. I already knew at this point that we were heading to the hospital. Mostly everything was already packed up but I knew I had to pack for Josie still. We’ve decided after months of trying to figure out what to do with her, that she was just going to go with us. It was easier that way. She’s so high maintenance with her food allergies and her schedule requirements. It’s almost more exhausting to teach someone how to care for her then to just do it ourselves, even in the event of going through labor.
Once I got to the hospital, they triaged me again and checked my cervix. I was 4cm! That is when they decided to admit me (I would have had to be 3cm to be admitted). I was surprised to know I progressed that fast and thought “wow, she’s coming tonight!”. Not so fast. Once I made it to the Labor and Delivery floor, the contractions stopped. I tried to relax. I pulled out my Essential Oil diffuser, I put oils on my wrists, feet and neck. I put on my diffuser necklace full of lavender (my favorite, by the way). I organized my bathroom stuff so when it was time to shower, I knew where everything was. I basically set up home.
Since my OBGYN was on vacation, there was another doctor on call. Someone I’ve never met. Although I was extremely frustrated that my doctor couldn’t be there, it really didn’t matter at that point. Especially considering the fact that the doctor comes in the room at the very last second, just to catch the baby and stitch you up. What really matters is the nurse taking care of you. She was young and she was fantastic. She was pregnant herself, with her first child. It was nice to chat with her. The care was fantastic.
About an hour after being upstairs the doctor wanted to start pitocin. I was all for it. I was ready for Juliette to come out and come home! I wanted to have her and be discharged ASAP! She started it low and I felt nothing, although my contractions started to pick back up. Again, that’s my high pain tolerance. I guess I was having a lot but couldn’t really feel them. She asked me if I wanted the epidural but I said “not yet”. She looked at me like I was crazy. She mentioned that she feared if I progressed too far and went into transition, it could be past the point of no return and I wouldn’t be able to get the epidural. So with that fear inside and the PTSD from Josie’s birth I quickly said “get that epidural going!”
He came in, kicked out Josie and my husband and all I can say is three words. It was awful! Probably almost as awful as childbirth. I won’t lie. Af first, he couldn’t find the right spot, there were several pokes, I felt a huge jolt down my left leg and into my shoulders and then another painful feeling into my right leg. It was a cold feeling and certainly didn’t feel right. Immediately after he “got it in”, I felt a rush of dizziness and sweating. My heart was racing! I felt like I was drugged (duh!). I kept saying “this isn’t right, this isn’t right. Why do I feel like this? I’m super dizzy and I feel like I’m going to throw up.” I didn’t do too much research on an epidural (aside from what I knew from nursing school), simply because I didn’t want to scare myself out of it. Because I knew the pains of natural labor were much worse then the “what if’s”. The likelihood of something terrible happening was slim. I needed to remind myself of that. But in that moment, little did I know, that the anesteologiest was giving me a loading dose of opioid medication. It’s what we call in the medical field, a larger than needed dose. It felt awful!
About 10-15 minutes after he left and I was “resting”, I started to shiver and shake uncontrollably. At this point, it was so frustrating because I was cold and I couldn’t even talk. I tried to call my mom but I looked pathetic. It was insane! My teeth were chattering and it was as if I was having a constant seizure. It was awful! I begged the nurse to turn off the epidural. I said forget it, “I’ll just have this baby all natural again.” Yes. It was THAT bad. So she decided to turn it off and within about 20 minutes, the shaking had stopped and I was still numb from the waist down. My legs felt like balloons. I couldn’t touch them with my hands without freaking out. If I wanted to move my legs, I needed someone to do it for me. I lost complete sensation.
I started to feel those hard, painful contractions but I fought through it. Maybe about 35-40 minutes after the epidural was off, I had one big contraction. I felt my water literally expand under pressure like a water balloon being squeezed in the palm of your hand. Then all of a sudden “pop!” My water broke! And at that point, within seconds the contractions were awful, awful painful. “Oh I remember this!” I said as I was quickly reminded of Josie’s birth. I told the nurse in a sarcastic but very honest way, “okay, turn back on that epidural!” So she did. I think I pressed the button twice, which gives you a burst of medication every 20 minutes. After that I felt like I had a good amount of medication in me. There was no crazy shaking or convulsing. The loading dose he gave me was out of me, thank God. I just know that he gave me way too much medication from the beginning. My body couldn’t handle it. It was just too much. And definitely not needed. I didn’t want to be drugged. I just wanted to have the “edge” off. But even so, I didn’t care if I felt contractions here or there. I just didn’t want the trauma to replay of Josie’s birth.
To my surprise the epidural was God sent. I literally felt absolutely nothing. Not a thing. Not even pressure. The nurse checked my cervix again within about 10-20 minutes after my water broke and I was 10cm and her head was right there. I was ready to start pushing. I felt her down there but it didn’t feel like the “pressure” they were telling me I would feel. I don’t know, maybe my idea of pressure and their idea of pressure was different. The nurse had me put one leg up in the stirrup and she held the other. At this point it was about 2:00-2:30am. Josie was still wide awake and my husband was exhausted! He was running after a toddler and had no sleep. He was ready to go home. I, on the other hand, was ready to push this baby out! Let’s do this!
After I had my leg in the stirrup, I gave several big pushes. I probably did about three pushes before her head was right there and visible to the outside world. How exciting! She told me to not push anymore but try to hold her there. And the nurse ran out to call the on-call doctor to let her know that one or two more pushes, and she’ll be out. So within 15 minutes the doctor showed up (discheveled and tired looking), ready to deliver this baby. She was very, very nice. A professional, and good at what she does, you could tell. I immediately felt the need to push and push and within about another three pushes, Juliette was out. I felt nothing. Not a thing. No pain, nothing. I was literally in shock. I kept looking over to my husband and saying “I feel nothing! This is completely different than Josie’s birth! This is amazing! No wonder so many people have so many kids! I could do this again.” He just gave me that blank stare.
I required a few stitches but the rip and tear was nothing like Josie’s. I had a second degree tear and I felt nothing as she stitched me up.
I spent the night with Juliette and Bobby and Josie headed home for the morning and went to bed. When they woke up, they came back to the hospital to hold Juliette and visit with us. We were all exhausted after Juliette came. It was a completely different experience when you bring another baby into the mix. Josie’s birth was so new. And Juliette was so expected. We knew what to do and I was so relaxed and content. I’ve been down this road before. I knew what I was doing and it was reassuring. I wanted my husband and two-year-old daughter to go home and get some rest. I assured them that that was okay.
Today, a month later, as I sit here and try to think of all the important and not so important details of her birth, I remind myself that time goes by so quickly. It’s incredibly scary. I will post about her one month update soon. I’m working on that too. It’s just so hard to keep up with a blog when I’ve got a nursing baby, plus a two-year-old to care for. And she’s a handful. So in the meantime, take a moment to read Josie’s birth and get a glimpse of how very different the two were and enjoy these beautiful photos of our precious Rainbow Baby we tried 17 long, hard and faithful months to conceive. She’s pretty amazing…