But today I want to share my birth story, why not start at the end, right? I don't have any notes like I did with Harry so I wanted to write it all down while it was still somewhat fresh in my mind.
So on Monday, April 17, 2017 I was a "strong" 4cm dilated and 70% effaced at my last prenatal appointment.
Fast forward to Thursday, April 20, 2017 when I took a shower after dinner. I was 36 weeks 5 days pregnant, and the baby had dropped a few days earlier. I was feeling soooo much pressure at the bottom of my stomach. Ant got home from work around 7pm, just as I was getting out of the shower. He came up to our bedroom to say hi and I immediately started complaining about being pregnant. This pregnancy was even harder on me than my first, and to be honest, I was so ready to be done. As I was talking, wrapped only in my bath towel, I felt a small warm gush down there.
I ran to the bathroom, and I wasn't quite sure what was going on. (Remember, this is a birth story. TMI warning!) Well, I obviously knew it was one of two things. Either my mucus plug (which I had lost about a week prior, but they can regenerate), or my waters.What I noticed was somewhat of a mix between mucus and water. There were also a couple small streaks of blood.
At that point I tried not to get my hopes up, so we went about our evening as usual. We put Harry to bed around 8 o'clock and then Ant and I enjoyed some chips and guac while watching TV. Every so often I'd feel another little gush, and every time I'd go to the bathroom, but I still wasn't convinced it was my waters. Spoiler alert: It was, and I should have gone to the hospital at that time.
Around 9:30 I started having contractions, and soon after I started timing them.
As you can see, the contractions weren't very regular, but they were getting stronger in intensity. I could still talk through them, but after two hours I decided it was finally time to call my doctor and head to the hospital. That evening I had also been in contact with my dad, who had planned on visiting us the following day. After talking with my doctor I called him and told him it was officially "go time." Our plan was to drop me off at the hospital and then Ant would take Harry up to my dad's for the night before coming back to the hospital to be with me. (Oh, I should also mention, we moved! We now live about 45 minutes away from my dad's house.)
So, after getting Harry up and all our bags in the car, we were off to the gas station. Yep, our car was nearly out of gas, so we had to make a quick stop before heading to the hospital. While we were stopped at the gas station I realized it had been over 15 minutes since my last contraction and worried that this was going to be a false alarm. But once we started driving again the contractions picked up. Since it was so late, Ant dropped me off at the ER entrance of the hospital. It was a little after midnight at that point, and I quickly said goodbye to Harry and Ant and a hospital employee wheeled me to the ER's registration desk. I had to show them my ID and insurance card and fill out some paperwork. The contractions were definitely strong at that point, and it was getting harder to talk through them, but I wasn't screaming out in pain. After I was done at the registration desk I waited a few more minutes for an L&D nurse to come get me.
I was taken directly to a labor room and immediately changed into a hospital gown. Before getting into the bed I decided to use the bathroom one last time. All was fine until I got up to wash my hands. A huge contraction started that had me screaming out in pain. A nurse rushed in and helped me to my bed where I was hooked up to the monitors.
My memory of the next 20 minutes is a little foggy, but I'll try and recount it as best I can. I had Gestational Diabetes, and I remember a nurse checking my blood sugar, which was in the 90s, a fine number. I must have also gotten a blood draw, but I don't remember anyone doing it. The only reason I know something happened was because I had a huge bruise on my left arm (funnily enough I got an even bigger bruise on the same arm from a failed IV placement while I was in labor with Harry).
At that point my contractions were incredibly intense and I was screaming out in pain through each one. I also remember grabbing the side of my bed in trying to find relief. One of the many nurses now in the room checked me for dilation, and to my surprise, I was 8cm dilated. Once I heard that number I freaked out. I had been thinking I would be 6cm. I immediately and frantically asked for an epidural. One of the nurses said they would try and get the anesthesiologist in the room ASAP, but I knew she was lying. Giving birth med-free was never, ever, ever part of my birth plan, and once I realized that was happening, I started to cry and screaming out, "I can't do this!" The nurses were all wonderful and kept reassuring me and calling me a rock star... remember, Ant was still driving Harry to my dad's.
Just a few minutes after being checked for the first time I was checked again, and had progressed to 9cm. Things were moving fast, and I vaguely remember a nurse removing my glasses and giving me oxygen, probably because I was freaking out so much.
Because things were progressing so rapidly, an on-call doctor came in and introduced himself. In the moment I was too scared about my impending au natural birth to care that my doctor might not deliver my baby. Though at one point I heard someone say that my doctor had just arrived at the hospital, followed by someone yelling, "Don't let her change, she needs to come straight here!"
After being in the bed for maybe 15 minutes I felt the urge to push. I didn't say anything, but I started to push a little through my next contraction. One of the nurses could tell what I was doing and encouraged me to stop since my doctor was still on her way. Fortunately she arrived a minute or two later. I'm assuming she checked me, but who really knows; next thing I remember is the nurses grabbing my legs and helping me get into the "birthing position."
I pushed (and screamed) through the next three contractions, and our daughter was born!
April 21, 2017 - 12:48am
5 pounds 8 ounces - 19.75 inches
So, Ivy was born at 12:48am, and literally the first thing I did was reach for my cell phone to call Ant (my phone shows I called him at 12:49am). As the phone was ringing I thought to myself, what the hell do I even say? Ivy was crying so I turned on speaker phone and when Ant picked up the phone I blurted out, "Meet your daughter!" To which he responded with a voice cracking, "WHAAAT?" He hadn't even made it to my dad's house yet. I spoke to him and Harry for just a few minutes, and of course they couldn't believe she was here already.
After we got off the phone I delivered the placenta and my doctor stitched me up. Another reason why I wanted an epidural, because let me tell you, getting numbing shots was not my idea of a good time, owwww!
Ant dropped Harry off as fast as possible and made it back to the hospital a little over an hour after she was born. I'm sad he wasn't there for the birth of his daughter, but I'm proud of how I handled the whole thing on my own. It was truly the craziest experience of my life! I'm just glad that if I had to give birth without pain medication the unbearable pain only lasted about a half hour. Thanks for coming fast and furious, little girl!
Oh, one thing I forgot. I was GBS+ this time around, which meant I was supposed to get antibiotics during labor. Since things progressed too fast, I don't even know if they were hooked up before Ivy was born, though I did tell the nurse I needed the antibiotics as I was being wheeled up to my room. Being GBS+ isn't dangerous to me, but because Ivy was born without the antibiotics we have to be very proactive if we notice a fever or any change in her behavior.
Because of my Gestational Diabetes Ivy had to get her blood sugars checked a number of times in the hospital. Her first check was on the low side, but still in the "okay" zone, and all her other numbers were right on track. Other than the extra blood sugar checks we had a pretty uneventful hospital stay. Ivy was healthy and ate without issues so no NICU this time around! Because of the GBS we had to stay in the hospital for at least 48 hours (just to monitor any symptoms, which she didn't have), and we were released on Sunday afternoon.
And that's the story of how our beautiful Ivy Lu entered the world. Ivy is now three weeks old and has been such a joy so far, we just love her!
A few other things about her birth...
- Recovery was easier in some aspects this time around, and harder in others. I was up and using the bathroom around 7am, and that experience was way less terrifying than I remember with Harry- and I didn't even do it until he was over a day old because I was on an IV drip for 24 hours after his birth. In general I felt really good after the delivery, except for the after-birth contractions. OMG, they were so much worse this time around! Not long after she was born I was given morphine and some kind of narcotic. I was allowed to take up to two narcotics every six hours, but after my initial dose I refused them. Ha, that didn't last too long! The contractions were too painful and I ended up asking for the meds. I mostly stuck to one pill, but took two at one point since one pill only dulled the pain. Ant wasn't with me when I took both pills, and honestly, I felt a little unsafe being in the room alone with Ivy. I felt very loopy on the meds. At the time she was sleeping, but had I needed to do anything with her I would have called for a nurse. After that I stuck to one pill and once I got home I suffered through the pain for two days since I didn't bother getting the prescription filled.
- My doctor said she doesn't usually believe in "push presents," but she said after what I went though I definitely deserve one!
- Now, the thing that scared me more than anything about birth was the baby's actual exit through the birth canal. I had this perception that that would be the worst part of the entire experience and that the contractions would be a piece of cake in comparison. But, ya know what? The exit didn't hurt at all. All I felt was relief!
- I found out that all the nurses (and there were a lot since Ivy was preterm) thought I had driven myself to the hospital. Fortunately that wasn't the case, but it would have been pretty hardcore if it was!
- From the time I woke up the morning of the 20th to the time I next slept was at least 36 hours. I'd never been up that long in my entire life, but after she was born my adrenaline was pumping and I just couldn't sleep. Plus, nurses were in checking on us so frequently it was impossible for me to get any rest.
- From the start of my pregnancy I was sad that Ivy wouldn't have a cool birthday like her brother, who was born on 11-7-11. But I realized after she was born that she actually has an awesome birthday! 21-4=17, which is kinda neat, but the coolest thing about her birthday is that it's the exact opposite of mine! Ivy is 4-21, and I'm 1-24. I'd always wished my birthday was 1-23, but now I'm so glad I was born the day that I was.
- Would I give birth without an epidural again? Not by choice! We don't plan on having any more kids, but if I were to get pregnant again I'd definitely want pain meds, but I'm guessing labor would go even faster (if that's possible), so I probably wouldn't have time for an epidural. My main concern would be to not have the baby at home or in the car!