Before I had Alice I was terrified to give birth. People often asked me if I was planning to take birthing classes or anything like that, but the whole thing just gave me a lot of anxiety. It seemed so foreign and scary. While I admit that childbirth is a WILD ride, it’s also really amazing. Both of my deliveries have been relatively quick, and low stress. Here’s what happened this time.
I had been showing signs of labor for a few days already. I was having sporadic and painful contractions and I could tell Rosie was getting lower and lower. I was surprised she stayed in as long as she did. The evening of the 26th we went and played games with my sister and her husband. We got home around 10:30 and went to sleep. In my nighttime prayer I said, “Please tell Rosie it’s time to say goodbye to Alice. It’s time to come be with us now.” By some miracle, I fell asleep quickly that night.
I woke up again around 2:30. I was having more painful contractions. I got up to go to the bathroom and before I could finish washing my hands I was having another contraction. I had woken up several times in the night that week with consistent contractions, but they never lasted very long, so I tried not to get my hopes up. I decided to do my hair while I timed the contractions. They were four minutes apart. Four minutes. Four minutes. Four minutes. I was sure this was it! I knew that intense labor would still be a little ways off, but with Alice things had progressed so quickly that by the time we got to the hospital I was shaking and throwing up from the pain. I did not want a repeat of that so I went into the bedroom to put on a fresh set of clothes. When I walked into the room Dallas sat right up
“You ok honey?” he asked me
“I am great!” I replied
“Wait, really?” He was surprised by my answer.
“Yes, really. Want to go have a baby?”
“Is it time?”
“Ok let’s go!”
We gathered our things and drove to the hospital at 3:30. My contractions were still regular, but not picking up too much at this point. We got to the hospital and went up to labor and delivery. As the nurse checked us in at the front desk, I did some squats. We got checked into a triage room, where they would monitor me for a little while before deciding if I should be admitted. I changed into a gown and they checked to see if I was dilating. I was still only a 1 1/2 , which I had been at my last doctor appointment, but my blood pressure was high and I was having consistent contractions so they decided to admit me and help me along.
When they led me to the room, I realized I was going to deliver Rosie in the exact same room where I delivered Alice. I felt like this was such a blessing! What a beautiful little reminder we would have Alice there with us.
Since I was officially admitted I called my mom and sister to let them know it was baby time. It was 5 a.m. at this point, and I had wanted to let them sleep as long as I could. I had Dallas go get our things from the car, including a framed picture of Alice I wanted to be able to see throughout labor.
They monitored Rosie’s heartrate for about an hour before starting me on any Pitocin. It took longer to get consistent readings than expected. We had some trouble she was going crazy! She would not hold still for a good 10-minute stretch so it was about 6:30 before we could really get things going. My contractions were holding steady, but still low key. I had decided I wanted an epidural again and the anesthesiologist came in to do that. We talked about it and decided to do a low dose epidural and he could come adjust it if needed. They also started me on a little bit of Pitocin to help me dilate. A little while later the on-call doctor came in to break my water. They use this little crochet-hook tool to do that and he had a bit of a hard time getting it to give way. He muttered to himself, “stubborn bag” which I decided is my new favorite insult, and he got it to break.
Just as he was finishing up, my mom and sister came in the room. We hung out and chatted for a while and played some card games. I was able to relax with my epidural so I took a nap for a few hours.
When I woke up from my nap I put on my makeup to pass the time. My contractions were starting to become more intense and I was getting pretty uncomfortable so I had them increase my epidural a little bit. I asked if we could play cards again to distract me from the pain. At this point it was about 12:30. They checked me again and I had dilated to about a 5. A half hour later I asked them to check me again because I was experiencing a lot of pressure. I had gotten to an 8. The nurse said she would call my doctor and have him head over and she would check me again in another half hour. Luckily my doctor hurried because 5 minutes later I was ready to push. I hit the call light and the nurse and I had the following conversation,
“Can I help you?”
“Yeah, I think my baby wants to come out now”
“We’ll be right in”
I was dilated to a 10 and everything was ready to go in about 2 minutes. When my doctor walked in the room I held up two peace signs and said, “LET’S DO THIS!”. I was so ready! Even though I was uncomfortable, I was excited to get Rosie here. My first contraction I pushed and after the second push my mom exclaimed, “HAIR!”. I could see in the mirror that she was right! Somehow, I was giving birth to a child with a head full of hair! Alice, along with basically all her cousins, was born totally bald so it was such a surprise to have a baby with hair! I pushed for two more contractions and she was out! I could not believe it!
(^ That first picture is one of my favorites because Dallas is saying to me "You are doing an amazing job" Click the picture to go to the next one)
Everyone was still a little on edge for a few moments because Rosie did not breathe right away. I heard a nurse say, “come on, let’s get a cry”. As my doctor suctioned out her mouth, I could tell he was focused and intense, but also calm. I heard him mutter, “Come on, come on”. He reassured me, “she is still getting nourishment from the cord”. I would have been scared, but I was confident in his abilities, and he seemed to really have everything under control. After the third suction, I heard her take in her first breath, and she let out a little cry.
Everything had been so intense and high energy while I was pushing, but the second she was breathing and laying on my chest, everything was calm. I got to hold her right away. As I held her I looked down at her sweet face. “That was pretty weird, huh?” I said to her as I tried to imagine what it’s like to be born. Apparently I also said, “If I were a lion I would lick you clean.
(Click the picture to go to the next one)
She just had small cries, but she was doing well. My doctor showed me the placenta and the amniotic sac. It was neat to see Rosie’s little home for the last 9 months. After a few minutes Dallas cut the cord, and they took her measurements. She was a bit smaller than Alice, 6 pounds 12 ounces compared to Alice’s 7 lbs. 14 oz. and a little shorter (19 inches and Alice was 20). The difference was surprising to me.
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When Alice was born I remember my whole family was anxious to hold her, but this time I got to just enjoy my sweet Rosie for a long while. No one rushed me. Dallas came right by me and wrapped his arms around us. The world did not exist outside that room. I finally had my little girl. I thought about the life ahead of her and the things I would teach her. I thought about how I would probably spoil her a little too much. I thought about how she had just been in Heaven with her sister. It was then that I remembered the prayer I had said the night before. Suddenly I knew that Alice was close, and our little family of 4 was all there together.
I soaked in the moment and just felt so grateful. Grateful to relax. Grateful to be healthy. Grateful for my doctor. Grateful for a loving God. But mostly grateful for my beautiful little family of four.