I don’t even know where to begin with this post! I guess first I should thank everyone (and I had sooo many people!) for praying for me to have a smooth delivery this time around. Prayers were very obviously heard! I had a tremendous amount of support after my last post and I am so grateful for the community of love I was surrounded with.
I guess needless to say, we have a baby! On Monday, May 16th, I went to my doctor appointment. I had been debating getting a stretch and sweep done (stripping membranes) for a while. I was 38 weeks and 4 days along and I was debating whether I should do it then, if I went overdue, or not at all. I was so uncomfortable and just done being pregnant (isn’t everyone by that point?). I asked my doctor the pros and cons and weighed my options. She checked me and I was 3cm dilated, and said she was able to do it if I wanted so I said sure. I didn’t think much would happen.
Monday evening (around 5pm) I lost my mucus plug, which never happened with Ellie. I knew it could grow back and it wasn’t a definite sign of labour so I didn’t get my hopes up. At about 10pm I woke up from contractions but they were very inconsistent and didn’t last long. I was up all night (aside from an hour on the couch), but by the time Tuesday morning came around they had stopped. I was feeling discouraged, as I was so tired and all night I thought it was the start of something. Tuesday was a lazy day for us.
Colin got home from work around 4 and I had started having some cramping. I bounced on my yoga ball to try and get baby to descend further, hoping it would kick start contractions again. It did! Around 5pm contractions started and they were between 10-15 minutes apart, 15-30 seconds long. They stayed this way throughout the evening. I made sure to eat a good supper and have little snacks, because I didn’t know the next time I would have food! We put Ellie to bed and I asked Colin to take a picture of me with Ellie, I wanted one last picture of us with her as my only baby. At about 7pm I told Colin I was going to take a bath and see if things picked up. I took some Tylenol and sat in the bath and read a book.
Contractions slowly picked up, but I could still function through them. I decided to lie down and try to rest as I’d been up for quite a while. I couldn’t get comfortable so an hour later I went back to bouncing on my yoga ball. Shortly after 8 I sent a text to my mother in law, who would be staying with Ellie, “I don’t want to get anyone’s (particularly my) hopes up, but I’ve been having contractions since about 5. They’re not regular or too painful so it may be nothing, I just thought you should be prepared before it gets too late if you’ll need to come.”. She said she would be praying. Around this time I went to the bathroom and when I stood up I noticed my water was breaking, and contractions slowly picked up. At 10:40 I woke up Colin and told him to text his mom, that we needed to go. He didn’t believe me and kept sleeping! I texted her and told her she should probably come, and packed what was left of my hospital bags.
She showed up just after 11. By this time I was struggling through contractions and they were very close, but only about 30 seconds long. We made our way to the hospital and we were admitted to the assessment unit around 11:40. The nurse checked me and I was 8cm dilated! They quickly got a delivery room ready for me and by 12 we had a room.
Once we got set up in the delivery room the nurse didn’t really leave my side. There had been meconium in my waters so I needed to be on the monitor, and they had a heck of a time finding baby’s heartbeat! I asked for a monitor that I could be mobile with, but I ended up not leaving the bed much anyway. I mostly laboured sitting on the edge of the bed. When I heard there was meconium I was so upset- I knew this meant no skin to skin or delayed cord clamping, just like with my first. However I didn’t want it to get me down, and I tried to remind myself that it was best for baby. The nurses also tried starting two IVs (that I asked to be saline locked, I didn’t want a saline drip) and couldn’t get any on my left hand. Because she’d tried a few times my arm was incredibly sore, so she just gave up and put two in my right hand.
From around 12-1 I laboured on the edge of the bed and used gas for contractions. It didn’t take the pain away but it helped me relax between contractions, however it made me dizzy and nauseous so I didn’t use it long. At some point in that time I ate a granola bar because I was starting to feel weak. Around 1 am I asked for an epidural, because I was so exhausted. Contractions were so much more intense this time around! They checked me then and I was 9 cm and I had a posterior cervical lip (I hope I worded that right!). The anesthesiologist came and went through everything with me, and I really debated if it’s what I really wanted. He told me he would walk down the hall while I decided, but he had a strong feeling that when he came back I would be ready to push.
Because you need a catheter for an epidural they like you to use the bathroom first, so the nurse helped me to the bathroom. While on the toilet I had 3 contractions back to back and felt a lot of pressure. I yelled for Colin and a nurse came running in and helped me to the bed. They wanted me to flip to my hands and knees to get completely dilated but because my arms were so sore from the IV and IV attempts I told them there was no way that was happening. I sat on the edge of the bed with my feet on the lower part of the bed and had 3 more very intense contractions. The anesthesiologist came back and we both knew that I didn’t need or want the epidural at that point. So I got away without it! With the 3 contractions I told them I needed to push. The resident doctor was standing by my feet with gloves on ready to check how far I was to make sure I could push, she told me I just needed to lean back. I told her that if I leaned back I was pushing! So I leaned back and everyone yelled “There’s a head! Get gloves!”. Colin came up by my head and the nurse quickly ran over. In the next push (as far as I remember!) she was out!
Lydia Charlotte was born at 1:58am on May 18th, 2016. She was 9lbs 15oz and 21.5″ long. She came out so quickly that the NICU team didn’t make it in time. She was placed on my stomach and the resident was happy with how she was doing, so they didn’t bother calling them. I was so happy! I got to do skin to skin for the first hour of her life and we also delayed her cord clamping! This was such a big deal to me because I felt we missed out on so much by not getting this with Ellie. The doctor that had been on call for my delivery also didn’t make it in time. She walked into the room shortly after I delivered Lydia and said, “Oh! You have a baby!”. I did have second degree tearing because her hand was by her face but it was nothing like with Ellie.
All in all this experience was incredible. Because I didn’t labour for long I wasn’t as exhausted (even though I hadn’t slept for over 48 hours!) and because I wasn’t induced or have the epidural I felt everything so much more intensely than before. However I felt so good afterwards (despite the stitching) and I could actually walk with strength. I lost next to no extra blood (they were expecting me to hemorrhage) and I remember Colin looking at me and the floor and saying, “is this normal? This is what delivery is supposed to look like?”. We were both so shocked because there was hardly any blood on the floor. It was so nice to not have to worry about that! I was able to shower right away and start nursing Lydia. This was absolutely the experience I needed to heal from my first delivery. God is so good!