Ella is four weeks old today, but I’m just now sitting down to write her birth story. When I was pregnant, I was hopeful I’d get to experience going into labor on my own this time, but it just wasn’t in the cards.
Just like with Abbie, all my appointments from 36 – 40 weeks had the same result – no dilation. At one appointment, my doctor told me I was “maybe a fingertip” dilated, but honestly, I think he was just trying to make me feel better. When I showed no progress at 39 weeks, we went ahead and set up my induction for November 3 – I would go to the hospital the night before to get started, just like I did with Abbie.
Since I had an induction date on the calendar, I went ahead and had my last day of work set as Friday, October 28. It was weird to leave work that day and know for sure I wouldn’t be back for months, but it was nice to have a final day to wrap everything up. I took some time for myself on Monday and Tuesday while Chris took Abbie to daycare, and tried to make sure everything was ready to go. Wednesday I went to Abbie’s swim class with her and my mother-in-law, and it was really nice to have one last day with my girl.
Wednesday night, my in-laws came over to stay with Abbie. We had to be at the hospital at about 9pm, so we were able to put Abbie to bed one last time as an only child. You guys, I was so emotional when we left… I knew Abbie’s life was about to change dramatically and hoped she could handle it.
We got to the hospital just after 9pm, got checked in, and got set up in our room. The nurses then came in to check me and place the Cervadil to help me dilate. Since I went through the same process with Abbie, I was expecting to once again be at zero and get the Cervadil… so I was shocked to find out I was 2-3 centimeters dilated. Shocked. Since I was already starting to dilate on my own, the doctors decided to skip the Cervadil. They got my IV in place for the next day and left us for the night.
Chris and I settled in for the night, wondering if I would start contracting. We planned to start Pitocin in the morning, so I let my mom know to stay home and get some sleep since nothing was happening that night. I took a quick shower and we put on the last game of the World Series to distract us – I fell asleep just after the rain delay started and woke briefly when the Cubs won.
I do almost wish I would have had a regular OB appointment on that Wednesday so I would have known I was dilated – I would have loved to sleep in my own bed that night rather than the hospital bed!
I didn’t sleep great that night, knowing what was coming in the morning. About 5am, I finally got up and texted my mom to find out she was already there and in the parking garage. Chris went to the hospital cafeteria to grab some breakfast… which I told him to eat there since I wasn’t allowed to eat. Seriously, that’s the worst part of induction – your last meal before arriving is never enough.
The nurses had shift change right around 7, so my nurses for the day came in to introduce themselves and get my Pitocin started. I also had to have antibiotics since I was Strep B positive. After that, my doctor came in and checked me – still 2-3 centimeters. After that, we sat and waited for my contractions to start.
It didn’t take long for them to start and get consistent. With Abbie, I got my epidural pretty much right away, but I didn’t with Ella. Before I knew it, my contractions were getting more and more intense and harder to breathe through. About 9:30, I had a really big contraction, followed by my water breaking. It broke all at once – the big gush of liquid that’s unmistakable.
After looking at my water, the nurses told me there was meconium in it, and that the NICU nurses would be on hand once Ella was born to check her out. While they claimed it wasn’t a big deal, the idea of it freaked me out, and it was on my mind the rest of the day. Of course now that my water had broken, my contractions got more and more intense, and I knew my limit – I needed an epidural.
There was another mom in labor next door to me who was supposed to get her epidural first, but she decided to consult with her doctor first and I got mine first. My mom left the room and I leaned on Chris and one of my nurses (that I desperately wish I could remember the name of because she was so helpful and calming) as the anesthesiologist placed my epidural. It was in place by about 10:30… and I felt better immediately. So much better, in fact, that I then took an almost 3 hour nap! I did the same after my epidural with Abbie and count those two naps as the best two naps of my life!
When I woke up, the contractions were still coming, and by 4pm, I was at 9 centimeters. My doctor thought Ella would come by 5, but I wasn’t ready to start pushing until about 5:30. After 30 minutes of pushes, Ella came into the world at 6pm on the dot. The nurses whisked her away to make sure her airway was clear, and I heard her cry as I frantically asked if she was okay. Both Chris and my mom started crying, and before I knew it, Ella was on my chest.
She was 8 pounds, 5 ounces and 21 inches long, getting a 9 on her APGAR tests and delighting us all with her full head of brown hair. She laid on my chest and held tight to my finger, calming down immediately – I will never forget that initial grip she had and how holding my finger calmed her.
I delivered the placenta right away and got stitched up from my second-degree tear while my mom stepped out to call the rest of my family and Chris and I got our first moments with our second daughter. Thankfully, my blood pressure and heart rate stayed normal, so I was feeling better almost immediately after Ella was born. The nurses then gave us an hour or two in the birthing suite, and I ordered my first meal in 24 hours from room service – a breakfast burrito that was the best thing I could remember having in ages. Ella nursed for the first time while we were in the birthing room too – latching perfectly and easily, and she’s eaten well ever since.
They moved us to family care then, and Chris and I settled in for our first night with Ella. A nurse came in to give Ella her first bath (which she cried all the way through), and we started to learn how to take care of an infant all over again. So much came back right away, but I also forgot things like burping after feeding… I felt a bit like an idiot after that. It looked like we’d go home Saturday, but we pushed to be able to go home Friday night if it was possible. I missed Abbie and my own bed!
To be continued – next up, my girls meeting for the first time.