First of all, I want to thank you for your congratulatory wishes and sweet comments here on my blog and on social media in regards to the arrival of our baby Reese. I’ve been reading each and every one of your comments, and I continue to feel so blessed to be part of such a supportive and loving community. You all are truly the best!
I’m finally sitting down to write out Reese’s birth story – one of the most incredible experiences of my life. You see, those of you that are new to the blog and/or didn’t know me when I had Hunter, probably don’t know that Hunter’s birth was incredibly difficult and scary. While bringing Hunter into this world was easily one of the best things I’ve ever done, it was also the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced and I don’t wish what we went through with him upon any parent. You can read all about his birth story here if you’re interested. Needless to say, when I got pregnant with our baby girl, I was hit with some anxiety, worrying that it’d be similar to Hunter’s birth. I prayed every day of my pregnancy with Reese that I would be able to have a healthy and safe delivery that was fast and able to be done without a bunch of drugs. I would read birth stories online and hear my friends’ birth stories that were “amazing” and such a “positive experience” and longed so badly for that as well.
And now, I can say that I had a birth story like that for myself. It was truly the most incredible experience ever, and a huge answer to prayer.
Let’s rewind to Friday, October 2nd – Reese’s “due date” (I put this in quotation because we all know due dates should be more like a due MONTH). I woke up that morning and half way joking, half way serious, told Cody that I was depressed to be waking up on my due date with no sign of anything happening any time soon. I had been carrying her so low for the entirety of my pregnancy that I was convinced she was going to come early, but apparently she had other plans. Needless to say, it made it a little rough as the days passed and I got closer and closer to my due date with no baby in sight.
I got up that morning and got ready to go to a play date I had planned with some other mom friends to keep my mind off things and to focus on enjoying my last days with just Hunter. I went downstairs to the kitchen and as I was making my breakfast, I felt a trickle run down my leg. I wondered if it was my water but told myself not to get too excited, and decided to put on a pad and keep an eye on it throughout the morning. After about an hour of being at our play date, I felt some indigestion and had the sudden urge to go to the bathroom. So I did, and also noticed that my pad was a little wet. I mentioned this to a couple of my mom friends,, and they recommended going to the doctor just to make sure I wasn’t leaking amniotic fluid. I also started feeling some more noticeable contractions that felt like menstrual cramps at our play date, but they weren’t super strong or regular, so I didn’t think too much of it considering I had been getting on and off contractions all week. At the advice of my friends, I decided to stop at the doctor’s office on the way home to make sure my water didn’t break. My midwife checked me and didn’t seem to think it was my water, but she did note that my cervix had progressed since my doctor’s appointment two days prior and my bag of waters was “bulging”. She also made a comment that baby was probably going to be coming soon! I didn’t get too excited though because really, “soon” could mean as early as that day or as late as a week or two later.
Hunter and I got home, and I continued to have some contractions that were coming and going. They would be pretty noticeable for a couple hours, and then they seemed to back off for awhile. I tried to lay down and take a nap, but I was antsy and decided to fold laundry and clean instead. I went to the bathroom after I put Hunter down for his nap and there was some bloody discharge when I wiped. I remember reading/hearing about the “bloody show” being a pre-labor sign so I got a little excited, but I also remembered that once again, it could mean that labor could still be a week or more away. As the afternoon went on, my cramps went away for awhile so I started to think that nothing would be happening any time soon.
We had plans to go over to our friends’ house for dinner, so we left to go over there when Cody got home from work. I continued to get bloody discharge and my cramping came and went throughout the evening, but nothing too regular or intense. I began to think nothing would be happening that night. Then right around 9:00 PM, we were sitting on the couch and I realized that I was getting some more painful contractions and they seemed to be coming at regular intervals. I decided to start timing them, and sure enough, they were coming about every 5-10 minutes. Right around 9:30 PM, I told Cody we should go home because I wasn’t feeling well. We told our friends to be on watch since they’d be taking Hunter if I went into labor that night until my in-laws could get him.
I continued to time my contractions, and they seemed to be getting a little closer together – right around every 4 to 6 minutes. I decided to hop in the shower, and while I was in the shower, my contractions got more intense to the point of not being able to talk through them. I had to stop what I was doing and entirely focus on getting through each contraction. At this point, they were starting to wrap around to my back. I remember Annette telling me that when they start to wrap around to your back, that’s when things are likely getting real. I got out of the shower and decided to call my midwife. She said I sounded “fine” and said I sounded like I was in early labor, encouraged me to labor at home for as long possible, and to call her back when the contractions were more intense. I wondered what she exactly meant because I certainly didn’t feel fine, and at this point, the contractions were coming every 3 to 4 minutes. I was also getting to a point where I had to drop to my knees and go on all fours to feel comfortable through each contraction.
I decided to go downstairs and try to watch a TV show with Cody to distract myself. As soon as I got downstairs, I found myself hunched over our living room chair when my water broke all over the carpet (lovely) during a contraction. It was the strangest sensation as I had no control over it! I immediately ran over to our front entry way to get off the carpet and called my midwife again to tell her my water had broken. She reminded me that I technically still had 24 hours until they had to do anything since I wasn’t Group B Strep positive, and encouraged me to continue to labor at home for as long as possible. About 10-15 minutes later, my contractions picked up even more and I told Cody we needed to go the hospital pronto.
Cody went into superman mode, packed up the car, called our friends and parents, and woke up Hunter since our friends would be meeting us at the hospital to get him. I called my midwife to tell her we were on our way to the hospital and that I couldn’t take it anymore. The fifteen minute drive to the hospital was torture. I knelt on the floor and crouched over the passenger seat because sitting down was unbearable. We finally got there, I hugged and kissed Hunter before handing him over to our friends, and we made our way into the emergency room lobby since it was after hours. As we walked in, a pool of water followed me as my water continued leaking all over the place. It was embarrassing, but I had no control over it. We checked in and a nurse came to get a wheelchair for me. She quickly wheeled me out of the lobby as I was screaming, crying, and moaning. I can only imagine what the people in the waiting room were thinking of me. Ha!
The sweet nurse was practically running me down the hallways to get me to labor and delivery. She dropped me off in triage and I instantly fell out of the wheelchair onto my hands and knees. Apparently I wasn’t supposed to do that because another nurse started pulling me up to get back on the wheelchair and told me I wasn’t allowed to be on the ground. I don’t think I was being very nice at this point because the wheelchair was the LAST place I wanted to be. We finally got to the delivery room and I started yelling for an epidural. Deep down, I had really hoped to give birth without an epidural, but at this point, I just wanted some sort of relief. The nurse explained that she needed to monitor the baby for at least 20 minutes, check me, get my blood drawn, and call the anesthesiologist before an epidural could happen. I saw the bath tub and asked if I could get in, and she told me the same thing – she had to monitor the baby for 20 minutes and check me before I could do that either. I just started crying because I didn’t think I could do it anymore.
After monitoring the baby for a few minutes, getting my blood drawn (as the contractions were coming, mind you…), and taking my blood pressure, they did an internal check. She announced that I was already 8 centimeters dilated and fully effaced! I could hardly believe it. Music to my ears! At this point, she couldn’t allow me to get in the tub and it was likely too late for an epidural. I tried to pump myself up at this point and tell myself that I could do it – I was so close! Then, the contractions just got worse and worse, and I started doubting myself. I remember thinking “I can barely get through these contractions, and I still have to push her OUT! How am I going to do this?!” Looking back, I realized that I was likely in transition at this point – one of the most intense and painful parts of labor. I continued to labor on my hands and knees, and my body started to naturally go into a rocking motion. It was practically uncontrollable so I just rolled with it and continued to labor on my hands and knees, rocking my body back and forth as I squeezed Cody’s hand through each contraction, which helped distract me from the pain.
Just about 20 minutes later, I felt overwhelming pressure and had the urge to push. The nurse checked me again, and I was at a 10 so she told me to start pushing – YAY! This part was tough for me. I beared down with all that I had through each contraction, but I felt like I was getting nowhere. Then my midwife reminded me to push for longer because I would push her a little forward and then she’d go back to her original place. Once I got the hang of the longer pushes, she came out in about 4 pushes. The ring of fire I had heard about is oh so real, but I was amazed at how quickly it went away after she came out.
At 12:43 AM, just about 45 minutes after we got to the hospital, we welcomed Reese Laureen into the world.
They instantly placed her on my chest, and we had over an hour of skin to skin before they took her off to get weighed and measured. She was alert and latched on right away and has been a great little eater ever since! I think I just kept saying, “I did it! She’s here!”
I pushed out the placenta soon after and surprisingly had no tearing. After we bonded for awhile, they took her to get weighed and measured, and we discovered she was 7 pounds 15 ounces and 21.25 inches – over 2 pounds heavier and 2 inches longer than her older brother. She’s a long and lean little thing!
We enjoyed visitors throughout the day on Saturday, and Hunter got to meet his little sister for the first time. It was such a touching moment and is something I will never forget. I wondered throughout my pregnancy if he truly understood that he was going to be a big brother, and in that moment when he first met her, I realized that he understood better than I ever knew. He just kept kissing and hugging her, and saying, “Baby sister!”. It was the sweetest thing.
We tried to rest throughout that night, and were ready to leave by late Sunday morning. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, that’s for sure!
Things have been going well since we’ve been home. Reese is continuing to be a great eater, but she thinks it’s fun to keep me awake from about midnight until 3 AM, so that’s been a good time. Hunter is adjusting well so far, and he absolutely adores his baby sister. Every time he wakes up, he immediately looks for her and wants to give her a hug and kiss. It makes my mama heart melt every time I see them together!
As for me, other than being a little more tired than usual, I feel great. I am still in disbelief at how different things have been this time around. Unlike last time, I’ve had zero swelling and my bleeding has already slowed way down. I’m also incredibly grateful for how well breastfeeding is going this time. We had a rough go around with it when I had Hunter, which has made me truly appreciate how well it’s been going with Reese so far.
I’m giving God all the glory and continually thanking Him for a healthy baby girl and a positive birth experience!
Thank you again for all of your love and support! I’ll be back Friday with a yummy recipe and a giveaway for you!