Happy weekend y'all! Today marks a week since we welcomed little Elli into our family! So crazy that we already don't know what we did without her! Her delivery was so much different than Liv's, and I can't believe how quickly my body has snapped back this time. Today I'm sharing her birth story!
This whole pregnancy I've been saying that I was going to have a Thanksgiving baby (as opposed to the original due date of Dec. 10th). On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I went to sleep with pretty annoying contractions, but nothing major, but by 2am I woke up and couldn't fall back to sleep thanks to the contractions getting stronger and closer together; N woke up and we both hung out waiting for them to get even closer/stronger before heading into the hospital. Thankfully by 5am they let up, instead of progressing, so I went to clinic as scheduled and saw patients for the morning! And then I rushed home after and took all of the pictures I wanted to before baby arrived and finished packing my hospital bag thinking we were getting really close to her actually getting here!
Thanksgiving came and went with no events, I hosted it at my house since my family didn't want me traveling home (and the last thing I wanted was to be stuck in Thanksgiving traffic when I went into labor)! On Black Friday I had my 38 week OB appointment, Liv and I spent the afternoon playing at the park and then went in for my appointment - and to my surprise when the OB checked me I was already 3cm dilated. I knew this didn't mean much - I could have sat at 3cm dilated for another week and a half, but it did mean those contractions were doing something. That week I had been drinking this delicious third trimester tea that was supposed to get your uterus ready for delivery - who knows if it was a placebo effect or not, but I really do think it did something! The days I drank two cups (or steeped two bags at a time) I felt more contractions. At the very least in my mind it tasted delicious and was really calming to drink.
By Friday night I was a little more uncomfortable; N was working late at the hospital and his mom (who lives with us and is a huge help with Liv) was out of town at her other son's house for the Thanksgiving week. I pretty much threw on Christmas movies with Liv and camped out on the couch unable to do much more. I put her down by 9pm and tried laying down myself, but couldn't fall asleep because my uncomfortableness soon pronounced itself as straight up contractions. When N got home around 11 or 12 the contractions were already stronger and coming about every 15 minutes. By 1 they were coming every 7 minutes, and I decided this was probably gonna go down tonight. Then it hit me that although I had my hospital bag packed, I had nothing packed for Liv - bringing her when I went into labor was not part of the plan, but N's mom was out of town! So I waddled around the house frantically, pausing to bend over on hands and knees with each contraction, packing things up for Liv!
We drove to the hospital, I think we got there around 2am, and went straight upstairs - by the time I got there I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes and they were becoming pretty unbearable. They checked me and I was 6 cm dilated and very obviously in labor - they got a room ready for me immediately but could not get IV access - I had two blown IVs before they got a crappy 20 or 22 in me (a tiny needle that isn't ideal), and finally I could head to my labor room. By that point I was yelling with every contraction - as much as I wanted N to be there for me, I didn't want Liv there, so I had them stay out in the waiting room. When I got to my labor room the OB checked me again and I was already 9cm dilated. I never wanted to be that mean lady in labor, but I was pretty pissed that anesthesia wasn't there to give me my epidural yet; I yelled at them (more out of pain, not to try to be mean to them lol) to page anesthesia stat. I was not trying to miss my epidural window! They came not too long after and thankfully placed it without much difficulty, although the contractions were now one on top of the other and trying to sit hunched over without moving was so hard!
It took a while for the epidural to kick in, but eventually it did start to help, and I finally felt comfortable having Liv and N come into the room. I think that was more my fear - I think I could have delivered without an epidural, but it certainly would not have been quiet, and I would not have wanted Liv there (which means N couldn't be there either) - and that I wasn't ok with. So getting the epidural was more of a necessity so that I didn't have to deliver all alone. By now I was fully dilated and my water had already broken on its own not too long after I had gotten the epidural, but the baby was still a bit high up. I think I labored for about another half hour or so, and then when they checked me it was time I could start pushing! One of the downsides of the epidural is that if you have too much anesthesia you can't feel the contractions or focus the efforts of your pushing in the right spot - I made sure that the anesthesia was titrated down to the lowest setting so that I could still feel, but not be screaming in pain. So with every contraction I pushed, and thankfully Liv (who was wide awake that whole time) finally passed out on the couch in our room. After about a half hour of pushing, my nurse (who was absolutely amazing) had me put my hand down, and the baby's head was right there!
They had the OB come in to deliver the baby, and she came in with another OB as back up because of my history of shoulder distocia. The OBs gowned up, I pushed one more time and out came the head! But the baby did have the cord around her neck, and they couldn't decide if I should push again or if they should try loosening it before, I'm honestly not sure what they did but I soon pushed again and delivered the rest of the baby in one push! They put the baby right on my chest and N whispered that it was a girl and I pretty much bawled my eyes out. It was the most amazing feeling ever, I'm so happy we kept it a surprise!! They cleaned her up quickly and immediately gave her back to me and I just held her - no whipping her away to the NICU like they had to do for Liv. So much of this labor was so different from Liv's. I didn't even tear, which I was terrified of happening - last time the episiotomy really made the healing process so much longer, and the 24 hour labor and hours of pushing led to postpartum urinary retention and chorioamnitis and just a really tough time after having Liv. This time was just so different. We got to the hospital a little after 2am, and Elli was born at 5:30am.
The best part was Liv waking up when we moved to our postpartum room and us introducing her to her baby sister - she was half asleep and the most adorable kind of excited! And even better (and in stark contrast to Liv's delivery), N was able to stay with me the whole time (last time he still had to go to class while I was in the hospital). My mom came into town to watch Liv while we stayed at the hospital over the weekend, and we spent the time cuddling up in the bed with our brand new babe and ordering Indian and Italian takeout and watching movies on his laptop, and trying to come up with a name! And even more shocking to me, that same morning I was walking myself and using the bathroom myself and that night I took a shower - basically I felt like a human within the first day of delivering, something that took days and days the first time. I left the hospital walking (and carrying our bags lol, N carried the baby in her carseat and the rest of our bags) instead of in a wheelchair. And now one week after I feel pretty much back to completely normal, which is just so hard to believe! And I have two girls and an amazing husband (who also gets paternity leave - another fantastic thing) and I'm just soaking up this time with them; I couldn't be more thankful.