Born 8/27/14 at 39 weeks, 1 day
Birth story posted 9/4/14 at 8 days old
Having been through this birth thing three times now, I just can’t get over how every experience is so different, and how up until it all goes down, there’s just no telling how it’ll happen!
Ellie’s birth was my wildest, my fastest and my most painful. I can’t say it was my most enjoyable birth since one big part of the experience – the pushing her out – was completely skipped. But because she came so fast, the recovery has been by far my easiest – I can’t believe how good I feel, and have felt from the day she was born. That has had a HUGE impact on my ability to really enjoy these precious first days with my last baby, and I am so thankful for that.
But let me back up!
The day of Ellie’s birth started, of course, like any other day. It was a Wednesday, I was in my final week of work no matter what, and I was just d-o-n-e when it came to actually working. I had our weekly directors’ meeting that morning for nearly three hours, which was a good thing since sitting at my desk had become a whole lot of me doing nothing for the past few days. I remember when I got dressed that morning, I had initially put on black capris and a blue top, but then I decided that I wasn’t going to be pregnant much longer, so I might as well get another wear out of my favorite piece of pregnancy clothing – my striped maxi skirt, which I paired with a black tank top. No belt today – I instead opted for a big necklace. I sat in the meeting and felt cute in my skirt, and I enjoyed feeling the baby move inside my belly as I half paid attention to what was being said. I shifted positions a few times since sitting for any length of time had become uncomfortable. Someone asked if I was ok and I said yes, just a little uncomfortable. I really did feel good up til the very end. I think I got up to pee about three times during our three-hour meeting, too.
I didn’t take a belly pic that day, so this one I took the day before is the last one I have, I think!
After the meeting, I ate the lunch I brought and then was off to my weekly doctor’s appointment at 1:45 p.m. I turned off my office light and wondered, as I had every time I left work for the past two weeks, if I’d be back. I already suspected that I’d probably just head home after my appointment, not because I’d be in labor but because I just didn’t feel like working the rest of the afternoon!
At the appointment, I asked the doc to sweep my membranes so that hopefully things would get moving in the next few days. I so wanted to have the baby by Saturday or so in order to be back home by Henry’s first day of school on Tuesday. She checked me and said I was 3 cm dilated and about 70% effaced, so she’d sweep “what was left of my membranes.” She said she’d be really surprised if I didn’t give birth within a day or two, but to call her Friday morning to schedule an induction for the following week if I hadn’t already given birth.
I walked back to my van in the parking garage, still not sure if I’d go back to work or head home. I texted the girls to let them know how I was progressing, and then I called my mom to give her the update. I was driving now – heading home – and already having some pain from the sweep. It was the night of Henry’s school open house, during which he’d see his classroom and meet his teacher and have his picture taken, and I had been so looking forward to it. I told Mom to be on standby in case she had to leave work and come to us and take Henry to his open house, since I would not have him miss it!
I got home around 2:30 and was now having some consistent pain and cramping. I went up to the bathroom to pee and there was blood in my pad. The doc offered me a pad after my exam and I almost turned it down, but she said just take it – and I’m glad I did! I was excited to see blood and that’s when I realized this may very well be happening today. I had told Henry that maybe we’d take a walk together before I laid down, but the pain was becoming so bad that I told him we couldn’t go for a walk. (Ben was napping at this time.) Upon hearing that, he freaked out and started crying and got really mad at me. Shelly and I both tried to explain to him that mom was having contractions and would probably have the baby soon, and I think he started to get scared in addition to being mad. He just wouldn’t calm down – Shelly had never seen him act that way before, and really, I’m not sure I had, either. I felt bad for him, but there wasn’t much I could do.
I called Dave around 3 p.m. and told him to come home from work now. Then I called mom to tell her she had to leave work please now, too. Then I called Dad and Barb to give them the heads-up, since I wanted one or both of them to come over and be with Ben while Mom took Henry to his open house. It sure takes a village, doesn’t it?! So thankful for our village.
When I hung up with everyone I thought, hmm, I sure hope this isn’t a false alarm, now that everyone’s on the move because of me! But it was pretty clear that it wasn’t a false alarm. I put all my last-minute toiletries in my bag, and Shelly got me a glass of water. I breathed through the contractions and started to feel a little scared – holy crap, this was really happening.
Dave got home around 3:45 and we left right away. Ben was still sleeping, but I gave Henry a big hug and told him to have fun at his open house with grandma and to tell me all about it when I saw him next. He’d calmed down thankfully and I think was just pretty surprised now by everything that was happening. Dave and I made it the hospital right around 4 p.m., and when the valet opened my door, I had to get through a contraction before getting out of the van. He went to get a wheelchair, and I sat down and Dave wheeled me to the elevators. I snapped a picture of us once we were on the delivery floor – we were going to have a baby!
We checked in at the desk and they got us situated in a triage room. I took off my pants and got a gown on and laid down, having very regular and pretty painful contractions now.
A nurse came in and we had to fill out a form, which was annoying, and I told her right away that I wanted an epidural, like, as soon as possible, since last time I’d asked for one and it took 45 minutes to arrive and by the time I got it, I was 10 cm and ready to push. I didn’t really want to experience that much pain this time if I didn’t have to! She was relatively nice about it but basically told me to cool my jets, that they had to check me, and then they had to get a bag of fluids in me, and then they could order it once I was checked into a room and progressing enough. Gahhhhh.
She checked me and told me that I was still only 3 cm, which I’d been at my appointment, and that they couldn’t check me into a room until I progressed more. I was having such pain already that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t progressed any more yet! I felt sort of panicky at the idea of having to labor in that triage room with no epidural in sight, but there wasn’t much I could do. I did get an IV at this point, I think, so that at least I’d be ready for the epidural when it was time. So I laid there and breathed through each contraction, closing my eyes and squeezing the bed rail with one hand and Dave’s hand with the other. This was actually my first birth where I held Dave’s hand – with the others I didn’t want to be touched at all – and he told me later I darn near broke his hand throughout this whole ordeal.
I was hooked up to the monitor and as the contractions got stronger, I asked the nurse and Dave to tell me when I reached the peak of each one. They were so painful and I was proud of myself for getting through them quietly and as calmly as I could. I breathed and counted to five in my head with each breath and told myself that each of these was getting me one step closer to meeting my baby girl.
We were in that triage room for maybe 45 minutes or an hour and the nurse checked me again and told me I was now 5 cm dilated and so they could admit me into a room, and I about cried with relief. They asked if I could walk or if I wanted to be wheeled in the bed to the room and I said definitely wheeled please. I had a few more contractions between the triage room and the delivery room – they were just coming so fast!
I had to get through one more before I was able to hoist myself from one bed onto the other. A few nice nurses introduced themselves, and I told them, too, how fast my last birth had gone and how I almost hadn’t been able to get the epidural and please could you order the epidural now!! They said they had called the anesthesiologist and that he was one floor down and would be on his way shortly. I think at one point I asked them to check me again (no idea why) and a nurse had to tell me that checking me too often put me at greater risk for infection.
The contractions were getting worse and worse and holy hell was I in pain. I was now moaning with each one, and I could hear myself and how silly I sounded but I just couldn’t help it. A few times there was no one in the room except me and Dave and I hated that – it brought me comfort to have nurses in the room, since I could just feel how fast this was happening.
After a few minutes of super strong contractions – and no one in the room but us – my water broke with a loud pop and a huge gush of warm fluid on the bed. I felt the baby move down more and I knew this meant the contractions would come even faster and stronger now, and just that feeling of the fluid everywhere was just crazy and I sort of moaned/yelled ‘my waaaater just brooooke!’ so that those darn nurses would know to get back in here! Kind of comical, really.
Two nurses came back in and the anesthesiologist was with them now, too. The nurse checked me again and told me I was at 8 cm now. The anesthesiologist introduced himself and started asking me all kinds of questions, and I was having a really hard time answering him. The contractions were one on top of the other and I could feel the baby RIGHT THERE and wanting to come out. I begged the guy to hurry, and yet I was not getting a break that would allow me to sit up and get the epidural. Finally I mustered up the courage to just sit up so he could do his thing, but nearly as soon as I sat up, I felt her coming out of me.
I said “she’s coming out!” and oh my gosh, the pressure and pain. I felt like I was being split in two. I heard him say behind me something like “no, she’s not, you’re only at 8 cm.” I kind of wanted to punch him for doubting me and I think I may have started to cry a bit when I said again in a panicked voice “she’s coming!”
He said “then you need to lay on your side” and so I did – and just like that, her head came out!
I asked Dave “is her head out?” and he looked and said “yes!”
Now everyone was scrambling and the nurse pressed the emergency button, and ohhhh, the pain, but then I had one more contraction, felt a crazy amount of pressure and stretching and then whoosh – my baby was out!! I hadn’t even pushed, my body just did its thing and out she came!
It took me a second to realize what had happened, and then I looked behind me and there was my baby, lying on the bed and all covered in gunk. There had been no doctor there yet to catch her, so she literally just fell out onto the bed. Makes me kind of sad actually! But she was fine. ;) She started to cry and I’m not even sure who actually picked her up, but she was handed right over to me and I looked at her face and felt the gunk and blood all over my hands and arms and was actually a little grossed out, ha – and then she peed all over me, too!
I felt SUUUUUUCH relief to not be in so much pain anymore and to have my baby girl in my arms. They had Dave cut her cord, they wiped her off while she laid on me, and they put a blanket and hat on her to keep her warm. After a few minutes of snuggles I asked if I could nurse her right away and they said of course, so I did. She latched right on and it was amazing. I think at this point my mom texted to see how things were going and Dave just texted her back with a photo, this one of me nursing her. So my mom was the first to know she’d arrived, and I think she was pretty shocked that she was already here!
She’d arrived at 5:47 p.m., just four hours after my appointment and less than three hours from when I started having real contractions at home.
Henry was at his open house at the same time I was giving birth to his sister. My mom took pictures and sent us a few. He had a fun time and was very excited about school after that!
The nurses called my birth a “precipitous birth,” which I had to later look up. Just a super fast birth! (And reading this thread about fast labors comforts me, since others agree that while it’s nice to have a fast labor, it is VERY painful to have it all happen that fast, and the way people act when coping with the pain is sometimes embarrassing. I don’t think I did anything TOO embarrassing, but I certainly felt pretty out of control and loud at some points!)
Dave asked the nurse at one point – since things were still fuzzy at this time – if she’d delivered the baby, and the nurse said “well, I delivered the head but the doctor delivered the baby.” Ummm, not. Pretty sure they have to say that for liability reasons, but we’re both certain there had not been a doctor in the room yet and the baby had most definitely ended up on the bed!
After Ellie nursed a little while, they took her and weighed her and did whatever else they needed to do with her. I was excited to hear what she weighed – 7 lbs, 14.5 ounces, which they rounded up to 7 lbs, 15 oz. Just as I called it!
Similar to my experience with Henry, my placenta didn’t detach right away. The OB was there between my legs, talking with me about my labor and pressing on my belly to try and get my placenta to detach. It was painful to have her press on me like that, and I remember saying “aw, man, I thought the pain was over, now I have to push this out, too?” Ha. They actually ended up giving me some pain medication through the IV to help as I delivered the placenta, which did finally come out after probably 15-20 minutes. The medication made me feel loopy, and the OB equated it to having had a margarita or two – yeah, only not nearly as enjoyable!
They gave me my baby back and we snuggled awhile, and then I had to make my first bathroom trip before they’d send us to the room where we’d be staying. A new nurse came in to help me, and I remember thinking what a not very fun job that’d be – hi, nice to meet you, now please escort me to the bathroom and help me get this blood all cleaned up. Blech.
A wheelchair arrived to get us up to our room, where we arrived around 8:15 p.m. Mom and my dad came with the boys very soon after and it was just awesome to introduce my boys to their new baby sister! They were very sweet and excited, and I couldn’t believe how good I felt so soon after giving birth. I was positively on a high. We snapped some adorable pictures and got a video of Henry holding her for the first time while Ben just grinned away beside him. Melt my heart.
They went home a little before 10 p.m., and my dad spent the night at our house with the boys. Dave and I were starving, having not eaten since lunch, so he ventured out to a grocery store and came back with sandwich makins, cheese and crackers, trail mix and cookies. Yum!
The nurses came to check on me quite a bit, and they had to keep pressing on my stomach to get the blood out and see where my uterus was. It hurt SO bad to be pressed on so roughly, I hated it. The following morning I had my IV taken out and it took about five minutes to get all the tape off my skin. Seriously, there is so much pain that comes with birth!
We went to the nursery around 12:30 a.m. to watch her have her first bath. She had SO much gunk caked in her hair, it was nice to see it all washed out. And wow were there a lot of babies in the nursery! We counted eight in there, and it was so funny to see all these brand new humans and how unique they all looked. Ah, babies.
Dave slept a few hours that first night, but I didn’t really sleep. Ellie slept all night, but she’d swallowed a lot of fluid on her way out so she was spitting up and gagging a lot, and I had to keep cleaning her up and suctioning out her mouth. She had no real interest in eating, so I just cuddled her on my chest.
The next day saw quite a few visitors – Shelly with the boys in the morning, and then Julia, Amanda, Dad and Barb, and Mary and Jim, all back to back, in the afternoon and evening. Dave brought the boys back that evening, too, when Mary and Jim were there. It was great to see everyone but boy was I tired! I didn’t get much of a chance to rest that day, and then that evening, Dave and the boys headed out around 8:30 and I was alone for the night with my baby. And oh, it was a rough second night. She nursed at 8:30 but then it was all downhill from there. For the next four or five hours I was up with her, trying in vain to feed her while she just cried and freaked out at my boob. I walked around the room, shushing and bouncing her, and I was so deliriously tired and felt just helpless. It was the low point, for sure!
I sent her to the nursery around 2:30 a.m. and they brought her back within an hour since she was just crying so much. Poor girl. I think her belly was really bothering her, since she just kept spitting up fluid. She didn’t eat that whole night, and I just did what I could to comfort her. They took her for something … vitals, I think? a blood draw? I’m not sure … around 4 a.m. and the nurse told me that if she was sleeping afterward that they’d keep her awhile so I could get some sleep. They kept her from 4-5:30 or so, so I got about 90 minutes of sleep – my first sleep in two nights!
Dave took the boys to Kelly’s that morning, which was their last day there. They brought cupcakes as a treat, which I’d asked Shelly to bake with Henry since I wasn’t home to do it! He came back to the hospital to be with me for that last morning before we were discharged. I took advantage finally of one of the spa bath tubs there, which I’d been looking forward to and which was total heaven. The night before when Dave was there with the boys, he’d brought me a gift – a necklace from an Etsy seller with all of our kids’ names, which I’d hinted that I wanted. I was glad he came through – my first gift from him after having one of our kids! About time, Davey. ;) They also brought me a copy of US Weekly, which Dave said had been all Henry’s idea. It was much appreciated!
We did all we had to do in order to be discharged, I changed Ellie into her first little outfit – the pink pants with the whale cardigan – and they sent someone up with a cart and a wheelchair to get us on our way home. We got home around 1 p.m. and had a few hours to just chill before Dave got the boys at Kelly’s. They were so excited to have their sister home, and just like that, we were starting our lives as a family of five!
I’ll do another post on our first days/weeks at home, but just briefly – it’s been amazing. Seriously blissful and serene and incredible.
I think our first days and weeks at home with Henry were pretty nice, since he was the first and we had no other kids to deal with, but we were also nervous first-time parents with no clue what we were doing, and I had a lot of back pain and stitches from an episiotomy, so I was sufficiently miserable. And the first days at home with Ben were fairly brutal, too. No sleep, hemorrhoids that were excruciating, stitches from tearing, and a little boy who had his world rocked and was pretty whiny and clingy.
This time, though?
The recovery, as I said, has been astoundingly so easy and mostly painless. That whole ritual after going to the bathroom of a peri bottle and then Dermaplast spray? Not necessary at all this time. No tearing or stitches. Barely any swelling. No hemorrhoids since I didn’t even push. No back pain. Just … nothing. It’s wild and I can’t believe how lucky I feel to have been spared all that this time around.
And Ellie is an absolute rock star baby so far. I say so far, of course, since she’s only eight days old and I know things could change very quickly as she wakes up from this sleepy newborn phase!
But she eats like an absolute champ, latching right on and going to town. I did have some cracked nipples the first few days since her latch was kind of shallow, which I never experienced with the boys. Her second morning home she spit up blood and we totally freaked out, but after Googling we realized my nipples were cracked and she was likely sucking down blood along with the milk. Ew! Luckily it only happened once more and then not again.
She sleeps constantly, and when she’s awake, she’s content and alert and freakin adorable. She has not had one crying jag that has lasted for more than a few seconds. She’s peeing and pooping a ton, and also spitting up quite a bit, so she has her sleepers and outfits changed a few times per day. Par for the course, I guess. She has no cranked neck like her brothers had (which ended up being torticolis with both), and no clogged tear ducts like both her brothers had. Her umbilical cord fell off already today at 8 days old (it was 11 days for both boys), and the very best thing of all? She sleeps!!
Now again, I know this could change, and fast. But considering my boys didn’t sleep longer than a couple hours at a time for months (especially that darn Benny!!), I will enjoy this while it lasts. Three nights ago and two nights ago, she slept a stretch of 4.5 hours each night, and then last night? Six and a half hours!! Basically all night! Amazing.
She’s been sleeping in the living room in her rock n play, with Dave staying up til probably 1 a.m. or so on baby duty while I get a few hours of sleep, and then we trade and I sleep on the couch the rest of the night. The past few nights, I’ve been up til 11:30 or so since she wants to eat a ton and be awake from like 9-11:30, but then she sleeps quite a bit after that. I think we may move her upstairs starting tonight so that we can both sleep in our bed, and she can start getting used to her room. We’ll keep her in the rock and play for at least a few more weeks/months, I think.
And her brothers? They are nuts about her. Like, more into her than I would have imagined. They are both so excited to see her any time they’ve been apart from her. Henry asks multiple times a day to hold her, and Ben likes to get up in her face really close and say “hi! hi baby sister!” It’s really cute, too – we all call her Ellie, but Ben for the most part calls her Eleanor. She is a lucky little girl to have two brothers who love her so much! And seeing the three of them together just makes me heart explode. I have the family I’ve always dreamed of having, and it’s pretty incredible.
So that’s the story of how Ellie came into the world!
She is an absolute dream come true and I am over the moon that she is here and safe and healthy and positively perfect. I couldn’t have imagined what a beautiful little girl she would be, with so much hair and a pretty little face that looks like a doll’s face. Her fingers and toes are loooong, and her legs are skinny and she makes the cutest little squawks and sounds already. I can’t get enough of her smell and her snuggles and I am just completely in love.
I kind of can’t believe I never get to do this again, but I’m trying not to think about that and just enjoy every second of life with this sweet little newborn of mine!