One of my favorite parts of being pregnant is the build up to birth – I LOVE surprises so the whole not knowing when or how it’s going to happen exhilarates me.
After giving birth, I love looking back and seeing how everything played out.
Eden’s due date was March 1st but I had a strong feeling she would come early. On January 24th I wrote in my journal: “I have a gut feeling she will come early – like middle of February early. It just feels like she will be here sooner than anticipated. But pretty much EVERY pregnant woman has a ‘hunch’ her baby will come early so we will see!”
My goal was to be completely ready for her arrival by February 15th, aka two weeks before my due date. I knew it was unlikely she would arrive that early, but being ready felt much more peaceful than the possibility of having a baby while not completely prepared. That turned out to be a good plan because she came early in the morning on February 15th!
The day before was a normal day. It was a Sunday so I spent time with Justin and Levi. In the afternoon I treated myself to a pedicure for Valentine’s Day. I wanted cute toes for labor & delivery… little did I know that would be taking place less than 12 hours later! I’m glad I was able to sneak in one last quality ‘me’ time before having another baby.
I brought home McDonalds for lunch (my pregnancy craving/guilty pleasure this time around.) After that I wanted Justin to take a 38 week bump picture (I would be 38 weeks the following day) but he was kind of dragging his feet and I didn’t push it so the picture didn’t happen. I said we would take it the next day. I regret this as that would have been my last bump picture!
In the evening we went to house church. We ended the day by eating popcorn and watching ‘To All the Boys I Loved Before.’
After being asleep for maybe an hour, I woke up at 12:30am feeling like I had to pee. Very normal as I basically pee every hour throughout the night when pregnant. As I rolled over I felt a gush of fluid in my underwear. The exact same feeling I had when my water broke with Levi. Or did I just pee myself? (The exact same question I had when my water broke with Levi…)
I ran to the toilet and couldn’t decide whether or not I had peed myself. It didn’t make sense that I would as I had just gone to the bathroom an hour before – also I had never peed myself in bed while pregnant so why would I now?
After my water broke with Levi, I crawled back in bed and waited around for a while. At the time I didn’t know my water had broken – it was my first labor and I didn’t know what to expect. Within the next hour I got contractions that made me cry/curse/fall to my knees/bang my fist on the floor. When I showed up to the hospital they said there wasn’t time for an epidural because it was time to push. I tried to push but my body was too tense, so at the last minute I was able to get an epidural which was AMAZING. As soon as I got it Levi came right out! From water breaking to Levi being born was less than 5 hours. And they say your second comes faster…
I did NOT want to risk not getting an epidural this time around. I also didn’t want to risk giving birth anywhere other than the hospital (even though I would have loved telling that story…)
At the same time, I didn’t want to wake up Justin and our on-call person for Levi and rush to the hospital in the middle of the night only to be told it was a false alarm.
I didn’t know what to do. I thought I might be leaking liquid but I couldn’t tell if I was making that up. I Googled “how do I know if my water broke” and texted a friend who is a postpartum nurse, “Any chance you are awake? I can’t tell if my water just broke or not and wanted to pick your brain.” She was awake so we started texting back and forth. She said it sounded like my water broke but couldn’t say for sure.
I started throwing my everyday toiletries into my hospital bag just in case.
I woke up Justin to give him a heads up my water might have broken so he could also be ready just in case.
“Are you having contractions?” he asked.
“Well, no…” I said.
“Then we shouldn’t go to the hospital.” Basically, go back to bed.
We got into a tiff where I told him I’d rather be safe than sorry in this situation. I told him I was scared.
Soon after I could DEFINITELY tell that I was leaking. The argument was settled – we were heading to the hospital. It was 1am at this point – 30 minutes after I felt that initial gush. Much more efficient this time around.
We walked into the hospital through the ER and down the hallway to the maternity ward. I was having complete deja vu to when we arrived at the hospital for Levi’s birth less than 2 years before – the only difference being this time I could walk without pain and that time I was doubled over in a wheelchair. (A pretty big difference though…) I wasn’t in pain but I was in shock. Even though I made sure to be ready for her arrival by February 15, it still took me by surprise and was hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that she was, in fact, coming. I was shaking and a little teary-eyed.
We arrived at a desk where a man handed me a phone to talk with the nurse on call. “I think my water broke,” I said with a cracked voice.
I assumed what would happen from there is I would get a cervical check to see how dilated I was and if my water had broken. Instead, the nurse handed me a hospital gown, told me to get changed, and to get on the bed. She asked how far apart my contractions were – I told her I wasn’t really having any. She took my blood pressure and started putting all my information into the system (including the last thing I ate – popcorn.) I was confused – she was admitting me based on the fact I said I thought my water had broken?
After a while she got around to the dreaded cervical check. I warned her that I’m pretty much a baby when it comes to cervical checks (I’ve only been checked once before – when I was in transition labor with Levi). Up her arm went and immediately I started writhing and moaning in pain. It felt like her arm was up there FOREVER. Finally she finished and told me it was hard to tell exactly how dilated I was because I was moving around and so tense (whoops) but that I was 6 or 7cm dilated – probably 7, she said.
Off to the labor and delivery room we went. As I was wheeled in, I was chatting with all the nurses like we were old friends. I met my main L&D nurse – Fabi was her name. She was awesome. Over the course of the next hour or so I was hooked up to an IV, answered a bunch of questions, and got a Covid test (both nostrils – didn’t go that far up.) Fabi kept saying how I would have this baby by 7am and ‘hopefully’ there would be time for an epidural.
It was SO WEIRD how slow and calm the whole process was this time around. I wondered if this is what it was like for so many other women when they are admitted. With Levi, it was all pain and adrenaline and a blur because everything happened so fast.
At one point a nurse asked if we had a name for the baby. I looked at Justin – we were between two names but hadn’t landed on one yet. I leaned toward Eden and he leaned toward the other name. We were planning to talk about it again… but here I was about to give birth. (Note- I am not someone who wants to pick a name after giving birth.) “It’s Eden,” Justin told the nurse. “Really?” I said to him. “Really.” So that was that.
At 3am the anesthesiologist came in to give me my epidural – her name was Hope! She kept mentioning how she had been woken up from a DEEP sleep, to the point where I wondered if I should be nervous that she was about to stick such a huge needle in my back.
Before she came in I had started to feel some minor contractions – they were uncomfortable but not unbearable by any means. Fabi told me to let her know if I felt pressure and/or if I felt like I had to poop. As Hope was getting ready to administer the epidural, I felt pressure, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to risk not getting the epidural. I wanted it for pushing and aftermath (aka delivery of the placenta + getting stitched up.) It made the experience with Levi so peaceful and I hoped for that again.
The epidural was in by 3:15. It takes around 30 minutes to kick in – they monitor you during that time to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions. At 3:45 Fabi and all the other nurses left the room – she told me to take a nap. FAT CHANCE I thought as I was still in shock and trying to process what was happening. My mind was racing.
Justin passed out on the couch.
I was on my side with an exercise ball in between my legs for a couple of hours (it’s supposed to help move things along.) I felt pressure a few times but didn’t call Fabi because I didn’t feel like I had to poop. She came back in around 5:45 to empty my bladder. “Might as well check to see how far along you are,” she said. I braced myself for another cervical check but her hand barely made it in. “Oh, she’s RIGHT there,” Fabi said. “Time to have a baby!”
In no time the lights were turned on, my feet were propped up, and additional nurses and the midwife came in. It almost felt like whiplash.
I wondered how I was going to get the energy to push. (I also wondered how long I had been ready to push – I guess that pressure I had been feeling was a sign after all!)
I started pushing. The nurses coached and championed me along the way. I felt like I had to try/push harder than I did with Levi – I’m assuming because I was more relaxed before pushing this time around. I was surprised that pushing with a mask didn’t really bother me. At one point Fabi asked if I wanted to take it off. “Can I?” I asked. “Of course,” she responded.
I pushed through 5 contractions and then she was out. It was 6:10am – less than 6 hours from water breaking to birth. I started crying right away – it’s just such an emotional moment! There’s nothing like it in life.
They put her on my chest – the first thing I noticed was how loudly she was crying. Levi was pretty calm when they put him on my chest – Eden was not.
As I was cherishing those first few moments with her I could tell something was going on down there with the midwife and nurses – they seemed very focused on whatever was happening. They were more serious than just going through the motions of delivering the placenta. At one point Fabi told me I was bleeding ‘a little more than they would like’ so she was going to give me a shot. Soon after everything seemed fine again. I never asked exactly what happened – I wish I did!
Over the next hour or so Justin and I were left alone with Eden. I started breastfeeding her – she was a champ. I had the shakes, meaning my body was uncontrollably convulsing (something that can happen post-delivery due to the sudden change in hormones.) It was exhausting. Then, out of nowhere, I felt like I was going to throw up. I told Justin to grab a bag or bowl or something but before he found anything I was leaning over the side of the bed barfing all over the floor (while still holding Eden…)
We called a nurse in – she said it was probably due to the shot I had.
Food was brought in. I ate it and took the tylenol and motrin the nurse gave me. Two nurses helped me get out of bed and go to the bathroom – I was pretty weak from the shaking and vomiting.
I got into a wheelchair so we could transfer to another room. As soon as we started moving I felt like I was going to throw up again. So we stopped and waited a few minutes. The nurse grabbed a barf bag just in case. I asked if she could wheel me realllllly slowly. Even so, I still felt sick. We approached an elevator. The nurse told me there was no other way. We made it through the elevator but when we were in the hallway I started violently vomiting – the nurse had to grab Eden from me and call another nurse for backup. By the time we made it into the room I had saliva dripping from my mouth and tears streaming down my face. I was a hot mess. I crawled into bed and didn’t even want to hold Eden. I was just so depleted.
Thankfully, by the time lunch rolled around I was able to stomach food, which helped me feel a lot better. I spent the rest of the day soaking in those precious newborn snuggles – I couldn’t get over how small she was!
I loved my birth story with Levi so much that I couldn’t help but want the same for this birth. I knew it was VERY unlikely that I would have a similar birth experience so I tried to mentally prepare myself for anything (because with birth, anything goes…) Well, turns out I pretty much got what I wished for. With both births I woke up to my water breaking and pushed the baby out within 5 hours. The biggest difference is with Eden I didn’t really have contractions/they didn’t really hurt? (which is crazy to me…) and we got to the hospital a lot faster which made the whole process a lot smoother/less frantic.
Who KNOWS what my third birth will be like – definitely feels like it will be a wild card. Stay tuned for that one! 🙂