I cannot believe that I am writing my second childbirth story so soon after writing my first. Nine months in, nine months out, the story is now complete. As with my first birth story, I’m not leaving out details, so read at your own risk.
This story starts on my six year wedding anniversary, when Micah and I decided not to get each other presents. We went to dinner at Sopapillas (this will be important later), talked about what a disaster year six had been, and decided to have an awesome year seven. One thing led to another, and two weeks later, we found out that we were pregnant! So much for not getting each other a present.
My second pregnancy was a bit harder than my first, mainly because I spent the days chasing around a toddler. I had more nausea during the first trimester, lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, and a foot injury in the third trimester. Apart from those issues, it was another healthy pregnancy, for which I am grateful.
In case you forgot, Denver was a big baby, 8 lbs 11 oz. He came a week early, sunny side up, and caused third degree tearing. The healing process was a nightmare. With this in mind, my doctor and I were both hopeful that Everett would come early as well, but my doctor started to freak me out around the 34 week mark, worrying about his size. I asked her if there were any indicators that Everett would be big, and she said no. I asked her what she would do to help minimize tearing, and she said nothing. So, I decided to change doctors at 36 weeks. I stayed in the same practice but moved to a doctor who recently had a baby herself, was completely unconcerned with Ev’s size, and encouraged me with steps she could take to help ease the baby out. It was stressful to change doctors at the last minute, and it was worth it.
At the 39 week mark, I was ok with still being pregnant. I was enjoying my last few days alone with Denver and also feeling Everett move around in my belly. At the 40 week mark, I was completely over it. I was up every hour and a half to pee all night. I had serious stomach issues, and they continued until I delivered. One night I was so sick that I thought I was in labor, so my husband and I went to the hospital to get checked out, only to leave an hour later with what I believe was food poisoning. There is a mental element at play in the last month of pregnancy, and you really start to wonder if the baby will ever arrive. There is also the panic of knowing that you are sleep deprived, and this only gets worse in the weeks/months after delivery.
Along with these anxieties, I was finally beginning to panic about Everett’s size, and people kept asking me if I was going to induce. I held firm in my conviction that I would wait on my body and the baby, but it was not easy. At 40 weeks and 4 days, Micah and I decided to go on what we hoped was our last date night before baby. Where did we go? Sopapillas! I felt very calm this evening, ate as much food as I could fit into my belly, and prayed that God would get things moving. My weekly checkup was the following morning, and I knew my doctor would have to start discussing options.
I woke up feeling good, went to the bathroom, and saw blood. I was relieved because it was a sign that I was dilating more. We drove to the doctor, I got checked out, and it turns out I was 4cm dilated and 90% effaced. This was hilarious to me, because I found out that I was in labor with Denver at the doctor’s office, 4cm dilated and 90% effaced! I am clearly not good at recognizing early labor contractions. The doctor monitored my contractions for 20 minutes, and they were still erratic. She asked if I wanted to be admitted, and I said no, that I’d rather go home and wait for things to pick up. She agreed, but she did advise my husband to call out of work. After leaving, we headed to Panera for lunch and then spent the afternoon hanging out as a family of three.
After Denver’s nap, we took a walk, at Micah’s encouragement. I think he was feeling antsy about us needing to head to the hospital, and he hoped the walk would speed things up. I felt great on the walk, with a few contractions here and there. When we got home, we had a snack, and all of a sudden the contractions regulated, coming three minutes apart and lasting for a minute. I didn’t say anything to Micah and went upstairs to watch some shows with Denver. It took about 20 minutes, but it finally registered to me that I was in active labor. I called Micah upstairs, asking him to pack up the car, called my sister, asking her to head straight over, and snuggled up to Denver, enjoying our last few minutes together as an only child. Around 4:00pm, I gave Denver a big hug and kiss and left for the hospital. Thanks again to my sister, Lauren, for taking such good care of Denver while Micah and I focussed on Everett’s arrival.
While in the car, I called my doctor to let her know we were on our way, with consistent contractions still three minutes apart. She called ahead to the hospital and asked them to skip triage and admit me straight away. When we got to the hospital, we waited for a bit before getting checked in, and then we waited for a bit before anyone came to check on me. My husband specifically wants me to include that while we waited, he read me hilarious jokes that he found online to pass the time. Thanks, babe, duly noted.
After waiting for a while, Micah went to the nurses’ desk to ask when someone would come check on me since I was in labor. A nurse came back, told me that I shouldn’t have skipped triage, and that they didn’t know what to do with me. I stared at them, thinking how ridiculous this was, and feeling like I’d done something wrong. Because I was panicking a bit, my contractions slowed down when they hooked me up to the monitor. I don’t think they believed that I was in labor. The nurses then checked my progress, and I was at 5cm. At this point, they realized I was in active labor and assigned me a nurse. She was really kind and reassuring, I calmed down, and my contractions picked right back up.
Micah and I then walked the hallways, watched a Predators game on the television, and chatted. I was surprised at how manageable my contractions were, and I felt confident going into my second delivery. Since we had skipped dinner, Micah started to get hungry. Around 8pm he ordered food from a local restaurant and went to the lobby to pick it up. Of course this is when Everett had a significant heart rate deceleration. My nurse got very serious very fast, asked me to lay on my side, and gave me an oxygen mask. I was so worried about Everett, because I wasn’t sure what was going on. I had a similar experience with Denver, during transition, and I never learned what caused it. Well, once Everett’s heart rate came back, and Micah came back to the room, the nurse asked to check me. Lo and behold, I had progressed rapidly to 8cm! Apparently a heart rate deceleration can be an indicator of progress. I bet that’s what caused it with Denver as well.
Quickly, my contractions strengthened, and I had to concentrate more to get through them. I walked around the room, leaned on the birth ball, and eventually laid on the bed and let them wash over me. It was hard to get into a comfortable position, and I was determined to remain calm. After an hour or so, my doctor came in to chat. She was completely on board with letting me continue naturally, told me I was still at 8cm, and that I had a slight cervical lip on one side. She offered to break my water, but I declined, wanting to keep things as natural as possible.
A few more hours passed, and I started to feel tired. Still steady contractions, yet no further progress. Around 11:30pm, my doctor came back into the room to check on me. She offered again to break my water, saying she thought it would force Everett to drop into position and come on out. I was still reluctant, but the nurse agreed that it was the right decision, so I said ok. Let me tell you, it was super easy. Both times my water has broken, I’ve been surprised by the warmth. What a sweet little home moms’ bodies make for their babies. No wonder Everett didn’t want to come out! My doctor told me she expected things to progress quickly from here, and that she’d wait down the hallway.
Hoping she was right, I got out of bed and started walking around again. I felt more water come out during the next few contractions, but I felt mostly the same. Then, all of a sudden, a contraction hit, and I knew it was go time. My calm, even disposition changed into complete panic mode. Everett dropped into position, and my body was ready to push him out. It is incredible remembering it, because with Denver, I never felt the urge to push. With Everett, I couldn’t have stopped the urge if I tried. My doctor and the nursing team ran into the room, I laid on the bed, and my doctor told me to start pushing. I was yelling because I was in so much pain, and I was scared. Pushing Denver out, I was fearless, yet his exit did so much damage. I didn’t want to relive that experience. It took about 20 minutes, and a lot of concentration, and eventually Everett moved down. When it came time for the final push, at 12:27am, I cried out to God, and Everett’s entire body came out at once. He was 7 lbs 1 oz., 20.5 inches long, a skinny little baby. My doctor immediately laid him on my chest, and I remember thinking that he was the most beautiful baby boy. He was crying, and he was here, and birth is a miracle every single time.
Even though he was little, I tore again, second degree. The doctor sewed me back up, which is such an awful experience, and I shook the entire time. On the bright side, I did not have an episiotomy, and the sewing back together seems to have fixed a lot of the problems that I had post recovery with Denver. In some ways, I think I needed to tear again in order to heal the right way.
There are a few other things I remember during the first hour after birth. The first is that Everett would not stop crying. I felt very panicked, thinking that he would be an even more challenging baby than Denver. I was wrong, though. I think he was so cozy on the inside, that it was an incredible shock for him on the outside, and it took him some time to calm down. The second is that Micah gave me a piece of bread, and my nurse freaked out about it, because apparently I was supposed to wait an hour before eating. I still feel upset about this, because I hadn’t eaten in 12 hours, had just birthed a baby, and was hungry. Since I went natural, I thought this was really silly, and I still do. Finally, I had trouble peeing during that first hour, and the nurse told me she’d have to insert a catheter if I couldn’t. All that work going natural, I was not about to have a catheter inserted, and I eventually did pee. I was disappointed, though, that there were all these rules and regulations being put on me when I was trying to recover.
Anyways, we were eventually given the all clear and moved into our new room for the rest of our stay. Micah and I chose to not allow any visitors, and it was an amazing decision, providing us time alone to love and focus on little Everett. Thanks to some lovely nurses who cared for my sweet boy during the first two nights, I got rest and was in good shape by the time we were released.
Birthing babies is an incredibly powerful gift from God. It is so emotional, so physical, and so worth it. I am continually amazed that such a painful process produces such joy on the other side. I kept repeating to myself throughout the labor that it was productive pain, productive pain indeed.