After 39 weeks and 3 days of waiting for our second daughter's arrival, we finally met Charley Lynn on October 19, 2017! Below I've shared the details of my labor and delivery and just how this beautiful little girl made her debut into the world!
I don't know about you guys, but I love reading birth stories. I think with my first baby, I just wanted to know every scenario possible so I could mentally prepare for what was to come. Obviously, each birth story is unique, and I learned that quickly once my own began.
After that labor and delivery, reading birth stories became more of a hobby. I just love reading about how differently that experience can go from woman to woman but how the result is still the same beautiful gift.
If you'd like to read my first baby's birth story, you can find it here!
This story technically starts the morning of October 19th, but I am pretty sure I jinxed myself the night before when I told my parents and my husband that I really felt like my body was clinging to this pregnancy. I hadn't had any labor signs in over 3 days, and I had convinced myself this was going to be another 41-week pregnancy. Little did I know...
Did I Just Pee MYself?
I woke up to a pounding headache. I hadn't had one this bad in a few weeks. As I was laying in bed massaging my temples, I suddenly felt a gush of warm liquid between my legs. I felt the bed to see if it had been enough to soak through, but the sheet was dry. I chalked it up to regular discharge and tried to drift off to sleep again.
Woke up suddenly again to the same gushing feeling, so I went to the bathroom to check things out. I had wet through my underwear and my shorts, so I had to change. But the bed was still dry and it was only a steady little trickle coming out. My husband woke up about this time and asked why I was up so early. I said to him, "Two things. Can you get me one of my headache pills? Oh, and I think my water broke."
His face was a combination of horror and excitement. I told him I wasn't entirely sure because my water hadn't broken with my first, so I had no idea what it was supposed to feel like. About that time I walked into the bathroom again, and immediately upon pulling down my shorts, a huge gush came and landed on the bathroom rug. There was even a little tinge of blood in it. My husband saw and said something to the effect of "Woah. This is it."
Since I wasn't experiencing contractions and I already had an appointment schedule with my OB for that morning at 8:00 am, we decided to just monitor the leaking and bring it up at my appointment. I showered, ate breakfast, had some coffee, and basically prepared for my day as normal.
My mom came over to watch our older daughter and we informed her of what was going on. We woke our daughter up to say goodbye just in case this really was it and we wouldn't be able to see her for a while. We grabbed our previously-packed hospital bag and headed to my doctor.
What's Up Doc?
My OB was running late, so the nurse did all the regular check-up things and then asked how I was feeling today. I told her I was pretty sure my water had broken about 5 hours ago. She knew my doctor wasn't available right then, so she went to get another nurse to help her evaluate. They performed a litmus paper test using a cotton swab and a sample of the fluid I was leaking. The paper was yellow, but in the presence of a non-acidic substance (i.e. amniotic fluid), it would turn bright blue. She performed the test, but was really wary of the results. It was definitely changing colors, but a lot slower than she was used to. The nurses decided to get one of the other OB's in the practice to come help further determine if this was in fact amniotic fluid.
I had never met this doctor before, but my husband and I both really liked him right off the bat. (I really like my original OB, too!) He performed the same litmus paper test and came to the same conclusion: this might be amniotic fluid. He did a cervical check and told me I was 3 cm dilated, which was 1.5 cm more than I was at my week 39 check-up. He said I was also 70% effaced, which was up signifcantly from 0% the week before.
He instructed us to go to the hospital, but also informed us that the labor and delivery ward was completely full. Since I wasn't having contractions and my water had barely broken, I asked him how imperative it was that I went to the hospital right then. He said it would be 'medically irresponsible' of us not to go, but no one could force us. Well, for the safety of my child, we obviously headed straight to the hospital (which was right across the parking lot).
After 30 minutes of waiting for a room and filling out some last minute paperwork, I was told a room had been made available and I was officially being admitted.
And so it begins...
Once we were taken to the room, I changed into a hospital gown and they started doing all the prep work for delivery. This included an IV drip to start Pitocin. I was a little hesitant about the Pitocin because of what I have heard about it making labor way more painful than with normal on-set contractions. But the nurses told me it was the safest way to make sure baby still had enough amniotic fluid during labor because my body still hadn't naturally started having contractions.
It took about an hour for the Pitocin to start giving me contractions strong enough that I could feel them. The amount of Pitocin was supposed to increase every 15 minutes, so the intensity and frequency was going to pick up (and boy, did it).
Epidurals: a Woman's Best Friend
At this point, my contractions were very close together and very painful. My cervix was checked again and I had progressed to 5 cm but still 70% effaced. The nurse said she could start the process of getting me an epidural now, so I jumped on that opportunity real quick.
It took about an hour to get fluids in me and the anesthesiologist to come to my room to place the epidural. So I had to endure a few more rough contractions, but knowing the pain was going to subside soon got me through it.
Once the anesthesiologist showed up, it seemed like he was in and out in 5 minutes. He was very quick and the epidural took almost immediately, but the process was incredibly painful. Seriously, epidurals are not easy to get, but they are worth it once the effect starts taking place. The medicine did gave me the shakes for a little bit and slight nausea, but within about 10 minutes, both of those were gone and I was in a pain-free state of bliss. My husband came back after the epidural had been placed (they don't let husbands be in the room - watching the process apparently causes many husbands to faint!) and said I seemed almost drunk I was so content.
Once that whole process was done, I was checked again and had progressed to 7 cm dilated and the baby had moved down more into the birth canal, which was a sign we were getting much closer to delivery. At this point, all we had to do was wait, so both of us took a much needed nap.
The nurse checked me again and said I was still at 7 cm dilated but 100% effaced. The baby was still too high, as well, so she laid me on my right side and placed what they call a 'peanut ball' in between my legs to open my hips and encourage her to come down. I couldn't even feel my legs at this point, so getting them up on the ball was quite a hilarious feat.
Ah, Push it - Push it Real Good
Salt-n-Pepa anyone? Ooh baby, baby, ooh, baby baby...
The nurse checked me again and said my cervix was finally at 10 cm dilated. She also could tell the baby had come down significantly. She seemed surprised and went out to get the doctor headed my way because delivery was going to happen within the hour based on everything going on down there.
She had me do a test push since I have previously delivered and am somewhat familiar with the necessary technique to push. I took a deep breath and held it for 10 seconds while pushing like I needed to go to the bathroom (sorry, TMI, but that's how it's done!). She seemed surprised again and said "oh yeah, you know how to do this. Let me go get the doctor. And don't push anymore!"
My original OB was not available (he had an emergency with another patient), so the doctor who had checked me at my appointment earlier that day was the on-call doctor who would deliver our baby. I was totally okay with this because, as I mentioned earlier, we liked him a lot. He made the whole process not so serious and had a humorous, calming effect on the whole room.
Once the doctor came in and was prepped, he had me do a series of 3 pushes in a row, then told me we had to slow down because I had moved the baby a whole 6 cm in just that series. He called me a 'champ' because I was apparently really good at pushing - not something I ever thought I'd be proud of hearing!
He didn't want me to tear, though, so we took a brief break before doing another series of 3 pushes. I couldn't see anything and obviously couldn't feel anything (thanks, epidural), so I was shocked when he said at the end of the last push, "there's one shoulder."
The doctor finally pulled her all the way out and my stomach caved in (such a weird feeling, by the way). Charley Lynn was finally here! I got teary-eyed and noticed right away how small she was compared to what we expected based on our last ultrasound and our first child's birth size.
This hospital's policy is to do skin-to-skin for an hour before doing any tests, shots, or even weighing the baby. So we spent the next hour breastfeeding and just soaking her in. She looked so different than our first daughter. Her hair and eyes are lighter, her face seemed smaller, and we discovered she has dimples just like me! And she was a great feeder right off the bat.
Once the hour was up, they took Charley to clean her up and do some tests, measurements, and give her a Hep B shot. They used this time to take my epidural out, get me cleaned up, take my temperature, and get some food headed my way. They are very adamant about getting you fed fairly soon after delivery, which was okay with me considering I hadn't eaten anything but ice chips since 6:30 that morning.
The nurse told me I only had to have one stitch because of a tiny tear, which meant my recovery should be relatively pain-free (last time I had an episiotomy, so it was a little more of a repair than one little stitch). Still, I was grateful for the little squirt bottle and pain-relieving spray they gave me because, well, childbirth is rough on the body no matter what happens during the process.
Something I noticed as the epidural wore off was a hot, itchy rash all over my chest and abdomen. This didn't happen with my first, so I asked the nurse about it. She said it was pretty normal for coming off of the epidural, but it drove me crazy for about an hour before it started to subside.
Once Charley was done with all her procedures, they brought her back to me to feed again. They reported that she weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and measured 19 3/4 inches long. Her head circumference was 13 1/2 inches and her coloring looked really good.
She fed like a champ for the next few hours, and that first night was full of feedings, her first meconium-filled diaper, and her first bath around 3:30 am (per hospital policy, they don't bathe until 8-24 hours after birth).
The next morning, my original OB stopped by and apologized for not being there for my appointment or delivery. He said the doctor who did deliver me ran him through how it went and was happy that it was so quick and easy for me. He also asked how we were feeling about when we wanted to check out. We told him if everything checked out with baby, we'd love to be out Saturday morning versus Saturday evening, which is when we were originally told we'd be discharged. He said he would start the paperwork to make that happen, so that got us very excited (we just would rather recover and take care of a newborn in the comfort of our own home).
A little later, my parents brought our other daughter to the hospital to meet her baby sister for the first time, and it was an absolutely adorable event. Morgan kept calling her 'baby,' even though we reminded her of her name several times. She also informed us any time that Charley made a noise by saying "baby cry!" It was truly precious to see her concern for her little sister.
We asked if she wanted to hold her and at first she seemed very interested, but once we had her in her lap, she pulled away and wanted the baby off of her. We will have to keep working on that...
We also gave Morgan her big sister hospital gift and watching her open it was really special. She immediately started trying to give the toys inside to Charley, which just made my heart melt. She also immediately wanted to eat some of the candy that was in there (at 9:30 in the morning).
Overall, this labor and delivery as well as hospital stay was even better than my first (and I really loved my first experience). I felt very blessed by the nursing staff that was on duty during my stay and for the hospital's overall accommodations. Bringing a child into the world is a beautiful event in general, but when the hospital stay only adds to that bliss, it just makes the whole event seem that much more magical.
I would LOVE to hear some of your birth stories (like I said, it's seriously a hobby of mine to read them), so please feel free to share below some similarities, differences, and your overall experiences with having your own children!