After being induced for my first birth, I really wanted to experience going into labor naturally. I tried all the tricks. Red raspberry leaf tea, tons pineapple and dates (combining with fat, fiber and protein to not spike my blood sugar too badly) acupuncture, bouncing on a birth ball, elliptical, sex, everything. I don’t know if any of these tricks really worked or if our sweet baby girl was just ready to come out and meet us.
38weeks 5 days
I had been feeling tons of Braxton Hicks the whole week. But on Saturday, I went for a couple hour hike and used fallen logs as curbs to do curb walking to hopefully help induce labor.
38 weeks 6 days
Sunday. We snuggled inside during a snowstorm and I tried to slow down mentally and soak in our last days as a family of 3.
Monday. I had my membranes stripped, and was between 2-3cm.
39 weeks 1 day
Early labor starts
8:30am Tuesday I woke up to a contraction snuggling in bed with bjorn and jojo. I had a strong gut feeling that it might be her birthday and I wanted to keep moving so we bundled up and went for a walk. Bloody show during/after the walk. Contractions were coming every 10 to 30 minutes irregularly, some stronger than others.
More bloody show, I was surprised and super grossed out haha, I didn’t see it with Josie’s birth. I cleaned and tidied up our apartment and then I got in the bath tub for a few hours while bjorn went and got everything packed and ready and installed the car seat and my mom played with Josie. It was so perfect having Josie near us but not needing to take care of her. I started the Freya app to track contractions and they grew closer together and got more consistent and stronger.
I’m pretty sure this is when active labor started. Bjorn came into check on me and I started needing to hold his hand through contractions. A really strong painful contraction hit and I couldnt talk or move, i was just frozen in pain. He reached into the water and grabbed my hand, which was exactly what I wanted but couldn’t get the words out. I decided I should get out and keep moving because I’d read that being in the tub for too long could slow labor so I planned on going to help pack or tidy up more to keep my body moving. When Bjorn helped me out of the tub I took a few steps and realized that there was no way I could not be in warm water. So I moved to the shower for another couple hours. Time was such a blur. I could move into different positions my body was telling me, I loved feeling like the baby and I were working together. Squatting, leaning over the shower bench, and resting my head on Bjorns shoulder we’re the most comfortable positions.
Getting ready helped me focus on something else. Our warm dark bathroom was so perfect and the only place I wanted to be. I was so thankful to not be in a gross hospital bathroom. I tried to lie down on our bed to rest but my body felt like it screamed and I couldn’t get up fast enough. It was weird how some positions were excruciating but others weren’t. I think it took me another couple hours to brush my teeth, comb my hair after the shower, and put on body lotion, and a little make up.
More contractions in our bathroom with the lights off, leaning over counter, while Bjorn kept getting ready in between each one. I remember only being able to squeak out “help” as each one hit. He was tracking them on the freya app and in was communication with our virtual doula updating her and getting her advice on how to help me and when we should leave.
We started getting dressed and ready to leave, I had multiple rough contractions on my way to the car and while saying goodbye to Josie. I cried saying goodbye to her. Car contractions were awful. Sitting down for contractions was brutal. I-70 had been closed and we were worried we might get stuck but opened right when we got there.
I walked into hospital with my eyes closed. I could feel my body was making a lot of progress and I didn’t want to get stressed out and risk slowing or reversing dilation.
Checked in at 7cm and went to 9.5 by the time the doctor came by.
Sweating, my blood felt hot, I was so frustrated with the nurses, there were multiple iv attempts, blood draws, and I spent transition labor over the head of the bed on my knees. I ended up begging for an epidural once I was fully dilated because I couldn’t relax my pelvic floor. I was terrified of tearing badly again and I’d spent the last 2 years trying to heal and restrengthen my pelvic floor. I couldn’t resist tensing up and trying to hold the baby in as I felt her moving farther down. A huge part of me felt like a failure for getting the epidural after making it so close to delivery. I wish local anesthetic for down there was a safe option. (I’ve always had a much higher threshold for internal pain and a very low threshold for topical pain, I’ve heard that’s a fairly common redhead trait.)
The nurses told me to start pushing and I asked if it was safe if I could wait a minute. I needed to breathe. I quickly pushed aside mom guilt for needing a second to collect myself and process what was happening before I met my second child. I wanted to tune everything out and focus just on meeting her. It felt like a million things were swirling around in my head- the stress of pregnancy and birth during a pandemic, the fear of catching Covid in the hospital, the worry that I wouldn’t be able to give her enough love since she was my second baby, would she even like me (yep, that seriously went through my head), would my pelvic floor heal enough to the point where I could run and play with my kids? I took a couple deep breaths and my mind magically cleared and I was 1000% ready for my baby. I rolled on my side and pushed her out in just a few pushes. The nurses yelled to feel her head, it was really freaky and gross and amazing all at the same time. With another push I could hear her screaming and another second later she was on my chest. I was instantly overcome with a rush of the most intense love and bliss. Such a miracle. (I know that not every mother experiences this feeling, I feel very blessed and grateful to have gotten to feel this twice. A love for your baby that grows slowly is just as valid, and worthy and beautiful.)
An little over an hour after checking into the hospital she was in my arms. Such perfect timing. I’m really thankful to Bjorn and our doula on FaceTime for guiding the timing on when to leave. I wanted to labor at home as much as possible and I’m really happy I wasn’t at the hospital any sooner or later.
The nurses let me keep holding her since her oxygen levels were good. I started nursing her within a couple minutes. She had the longest finger nails, like creepy old lady finger nails, and had scratched her face on the way out. I immediately put colostrum on the scrapes and they were almost gone by the next morning. The first things we noticed were her fuzzy black hair, her crinkly ear and her perfect button nose. I held her and whispered “I love you” over and over. We had a short list of names and middle names and we easily agreed that she was Adelheid Georgene.