So I’m just gonna say it, I’m birth obsessed. I love watching births, reading about births, yes yes YES. I love it. I follow dozens of birth photographers on Instagram and I can only say that I am in love with birth. So much so that I truly believe one day I will become a doula... What a difference a few years makes... So maybe you are equally birth obsessed or maybe you couldn't care less, but I’m gonna tell my story for anyone who wants to hear it. I promise, it’s pretty entertaining.
I was really unsure how to approach writing this post... I think labor is literally the most beautiful thing on the planet and I had many different, more serious versions of this post in the works, but what it really came down to was that my labor was NOTHING like my first and on top of that, nothing like how I envisioned it. Seriously, it was so far from my plan of "silent and calm" that we just had to laugh because it still ended with the most wonderful gift. Now on to the good stuff.
I was having just a terrible night's sleep, up to pee ever hour or so and feeling crampy. Nothing alarming, but bleh nonetheless.
[4am] Cramps [Pain Level] .0025
So at 4 I woke up with more intense cramping. My mind started to race. My inner dialogue sounded a bit like this, “Noooooo... No way... Impossible... Definitely Not... Go back to sleep.” There would be no sleep in my immediate, or distant, future.
[5:30am] Consistent Mild Contractions [Pain Level] .050
I was still in a pretty good state of denial when, apologies for the frankness, the poops arrived. I started to have to get up to use the bathroom every 15 - 20 minutes. I knew what was happening, but still hadn’t had any major signs that it was labor, no water breaking, no bloody show... I still thought that there was a possibility it would stop. I decided to time my contractions before I alarmed The Captain or my Midwife, Jenny. Sure enough every 5-10 minutes I had a contraction. I woke up The Captain and asked him what I should do. We decided to text Jenny and get her opinion. I should note, I LOVE my midwife... like, LOVE HER, LOVE HER. I am so grateful we found her during the move. I can't stress how amazing it is to have a caretaker who's completely and utterly on your side. LOVE.
[6:45am] Regular Mild Contractions + Poo [Pain Level] .25
Jenny suggested that we give it 30 minutes and see, then meet at the hospital to get checked, she would be in her office at 8:15. So I continued to time the contractions which at this point were like dull period cramps. We called in our babysitting squad to watch Mohawk who was still fast asleep. I showered. Shaved my legs. Put on some makeup. Felt super cute. Our savior, Regen, showed up shortly after. Leaving the house was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done... Saying "I love you" and hugging my son, for possibly the last time as my only child, choked hard in my throat. I didn’t want to put him down. Cue tears.
[8:45] Regular Moderate Contractions + less than 2cm dilated [Pain Level] .75
I continued having contractions while we drove. Once to the hospital, they got us into a triage room where they monitored and checked me. I was barely 2 cm and while my cervix was in the right position I was only 70% effaced. Same as I had been two weeks prior at my visit. Talk about disappointed. But I was indeed having consistent contractions. So I was sentenced to walk. And walk. And walk. I was monitored again and they sent to walk yet again. The Captain and I just strolled the unit floor, held hands, laughed... Now that I’m reflecting on the day, I’m so glad we had this time.
[12:30pm] Regular Contractions + 2.5cm dilated [Pain Level] 4
Around 12:30 I was checked again. This time 2.5 cm. I was epically bummed. My contractions were pretty uncomfortable, but manageable. So I just couldn't believe that things were moving so slowly, but I was trying to remain positive and praising The Lord for each contraction because it was bringing me closer to meeting my boy. By this time I was joined by Doula Amber who was helping me through contractions and giving me my options of what I could ask, etc. She was absolutely instrumental in keeping both of us calm and relaxed throughout the day. I talked to Jenny from her office and she suggested going to walk the mall or grabbing a light lunch, but because of our drive she would prefer we didn't go all the way home. I wanted bread and there was a Panera at the mall. Sure. I'd try it. So The Captain, Amber, and I made our way to the mall... Yes, the mall.
[1:15pm] Active Labor [Pain Level] 5-8
We arrived to Cordova Mall around 1pm. I made my way to the Panera bathroom where my contractions took a big leap in intensity. I scared an employee half to death, but assured her I wouldn't deliver my baby on the bathroom floor. We headed next to Victoria's Secret because I had not packed undies, nor even wore them to the hospital [they were super unnecessary last time, oops] and if my water broke we didn’t want to leave a puddle. So picture it, if you can, mama swaying back-n-forth picking out undies and eating bread while having pretty intense active labor pains. I made The Captain take pics because, ya know, you can't make this shit up. With undies in hand we started walking towards a department store and the restrooms. This walk seemed to take 10 years. By time I had my new skivvies on I was certain I was going to give birth in the mall bathroom. I informed my crew that I had to get the hell out of there. As we made our way out, Amber mentioned trying out a reflexology massage place near our exit. Couldn't hurt to try, right?! So for 20 minutes a lovely Chinese woman rubbed my legs. She was very concerned about my due date and assured me she could help. Well, for the first half I swear I was in heaven. I didn't have any contractions for nearly 10 minutes. But then they started back... Oh Lord, did they start back.
So we paid and on the way out to the parking lot every contraction was just as intense. I was moaning and thrashing in the mall parking lot. The car ride back to the hospital was the worst. I started feeling like I was going to throw up and somehow just kept thinking about how badly I wanted to hold Mohawk. I was realizing that never again would I only have my first baby. I couldn't control the tears. Full blown ugly crying. I continued to bawl, dry heave, and painfully contract. The combo of the 3 made for a dramatic hospital parking lot show. Amber got me a wheelchair and we proceeded to make our way to labor and delivery.
[2:45pm] Intense Active Labor + 9cm dilated with bulging bag of waters [Pain Level] 9.
When we arrived at the nurses' desk the women looked concerned and in a tone I didn't appreciate said, "well honey, we are gonna have to find ya a room." I remember smiling at her and thinking, “bitch, I will cut you.” That's possibly the only negative thing I could say about my entire hospital labor. Luckily. They had saved me a room. So by 3:15 I was in my room. A nurse checked me and things had changed dramatically, she put in a call to Jenny immediately. I had dilated 7.5cm during my time at the mall. The Captain was so amazing, putting my chapstick on, rubbing my back, making all kinds of funny sounds with me... Having him home and there was just amazing. so for roughly 30 minutes, I labored in the quite, peaceful room.
[3:45pm] Pushing [Pain Level] 10.
Jenny arrived and after remarking, that she knew I was going to pull this kinda move, she said "let's push and meet your baby!" Ummm come again?! She just got there. Shouldn't she buy me a drink first?! I began pushing on my side. I had the most amazing group of women, Jenny, Amber, amazing nurses, and most importantly, The Captain, cheering me on. But let me just say it, the side push wasn’t registering with me. I was not understanding or connecting the pushing, but to my excitement Felix was still in his bag of waters. So my dream of an en caul birth was nearly realized and the side push is apparently more gentle on baby and mama, but it was NOT working. I ended up scooting on my back and with 2 pushes to go, my water broke.
[4pm-ish] Water Breaks [Pain level] 7 hundred million billion.
But I just absorbed that pain and used it to power my final 2 pushes.
[4:05pm] Baby Felix is born [Pain Level] Non-existent due to state of oxytocin induced euphoria.
And like that, I had a baby. Praise The Lord! After 8 hours of early labor. 3.5 of active labor. And 20 some odd minutes of pushing. Baby Felix was born with zero interventions, not even so much as a heplock or monitor. He was placed immediately on my chest and we all had a good cry!! I still cannot believe he’s here. Even staring at him right now. I just can’t believe. Already a one upper, he was 11 days early, beating out Mohawk’s 10 days early record...
I’m so grateful for everyone that helped welcome F-guy earth side. It wasn’t what I was planning, but it was beautiful none the less. Happy Birthday Felix!!
+A huge thanks to Ashley of Against the Grain Photography for our amazing photos!+