Finding the time to write out my birth story has proven to be more difficult this time (hence me also not blogging in over a year- haha my last post was MJ's birth story which is kind of crazy)- I am guessing by baby #4 I’ll be lucky to get it done before the kid is 6 months old. Alas, here is my birth story for Eleanor- only 2 weeks after the fact so still not too bad and I am hoping in my mommy brain fog I am remembering the details correctly. Also this post will be long because I am doing it more for my own memories sake and I want to remember as many details as possible so sorry in advance! I figure other moms who like reading birth stories won’t mind the extra detail ;-)
The keyword for this birth/labor is prodromal- if you’ve never heard of prodromal labor it’s probably because you haven’t experienced it and if that’s the case, consider yourself lucky. This third pregnancy was just tough on my body physically- I think that is just what happens when you get pregnant at 5 months post-partum haha I was lucky and didn’t have near the amount of morning sickness as I did with my other two but everything else was magnified. The physical aches and pains, the fatigue, etc. I am sure it didn’t help that I was caring for my 2 year old (Nick just turned 3 on March 3rd) and my infant (Maggie is 15 months now). I started having intense pelvic/hip pain by the beginning of my 3rd trimester and by the end it was excruciating to just walk and unfortunately at 2 weeks postpartum that pain is still there albeit it is slowly getting better. Anyhow I had way more contractions this entire pregnancy with Braxton hicks starting as early as like 10 weeks and then I started having bouts of timeable contractions around 30 weeks or so. I would contract every 5-10mins, 5 mins apart for hours on end then it would stop- frustrating and exhausting but I was glad they weren’t doing anything.
My prodromal labor officially started on Thurs. March 7th- I had been having lots of contractions and I joked with the girls that it would be ideal timing to have the baby that night or the next day. I had been having so many bouts of contractions that I started to just pretend they were nothing and I would take a sleeping pill to force my body to get some rest and I figured if it was real labor even a sleeping pill wouldn’t help. So they continued on Thurs. night until I finally fell asleep. On Fri. March 8th I had a follow-up midwife appointment. I was super curious if all the contractions I had were doing anything and since I was 38 weeks 6 days I figured I would go ahead and have them check me. This time around my biggest fears about labor were that it would come on fast and I wouldn’t make it to the hospital since we were only at the hospital for about 2 hours before Maggie was born and the contractions weren’t close together when we made the decision to go, if we had waited until they were close it would have been a baby being born in the car lol I wanted to know going into labor how progressed my body already was even though I know it doesn’t really tell me much about how long labor will be, etc. I just felt the need to know- my midwife Cindy checked me at that Fri morning appointment and said that I was definitely in early labor, 4cm dilated, 80-90% effaced and -1 station and contracting all the while though they weren’t the real painful labor contractions that I remembered from my previous labors. I left that appointment with instructions to rest and probably arrange childcare for the other kids. I jokingly made my 39 week appointment for the following Friday but everyone in the office knew that I would have had the baby by then. I had planned ahead and had all the kids stuff packed in the car so after getting this news I called and told Donnie what was going on and went ahead and took the kids to my parents house. My parents had planned on watching the kids for us while I was in the hospital and for the 1st day we were home- the only wrinkle in our child care plans is that not many family members know how to do Nick’s feeding tube stuff so I still had to teach my dad how to do the feeding pump and bolus feeds and give a refresher of how to do Nick’s nightly shots also.
I got to my parents, still contracting and quickly showed them how to do all the tube feeding stuff, ate lunch and headed home. The ride home the contractions got more uncomfortable but still not intense pain but I needed to breathe through them and they were still pretty consistent but not getting harder or closer together. Donnie decided to come home early that day since we thought for sure it would be sometime that evening that the baby would be coming. Well this is where things get frustrating- the contractions never changed….but no baby came. I was able to get a few hours of sleep thanks to some ambien but it was definitely not restful because of the contractions. The next day (39 weeks exactly) we decided to go up to my parents and pick up the kids. We did some walking and I tried my best to get things going but nothing was really working and I was physically really tired from having contractions for literally 2 days straight. My body just HURT and was so tired- I was really trying to focus on God’s timing and trusting my body but it’s the mental frustration of not knowing what is going on and I was really stressed about what to do with the kids. I didn’t want to use all my helpers and burn everyone out before labor actually happened but at the same time I didn’t want to risk having no one to keep the kids and having to take them with us to the hospital. Plus it is very mentally frustrating to get all excited thinking your baby is FINALLY coming only to have nothing happen other than uncomfortable, exhausting contractions. This pattern of daily contractions continued the entire week! Each day that passed I would go through 3 phases- 1. Sadness that I was waking up, STILL pregnant and contracting, 2. Exhaustion from the physical work of contracting that long and 3. Finally giving up and just trusting that God’s plan was better than mine and when it finally happened everything would work out.
I continued with life as usual- Nick had school every day, I took Maggie to story time, kept up on house work and tried VERY hard to just stay distracted as much as possible.
Finally Thursday night rolls around and not gonna lie, I was very sad to be going to small group after last week going and thinking it was time for baby! I was very blessed during this week of having lots of encouragement from friends and family- my wonderful sisters provided meals so I didn’t have to cook almost at all which was a huge burden lifted off my tired contracting body and that Thursday evening Kate invited us over for dinner at her house before small group. Things seemed to be picking up a bit that evening but I refused to think that it was anything real. I can remember sitting at small group that evening timing my contractions, they were 4-5mins apart, 1 min 30 secs long and pretty uncomfortable. I had to breathe through them and they were physically pretty tiring. They started at about 5:30pm and continued until I finally got home from small group and took a sleeping pill. I was able to fall asleep by about midnight that evening but we were woken up at about 1:45am by Nicholas having a nightmare. I got up and comforted him and realized I was having pretty painful contractions. I tried to go back to bed but it didn’t help so around 3am I decided that maybe it was the real deal so I took a long shower (painful still throughout showering), picked up the house a little, ate some breakfast and finally at about 4am I woke Donnie up and said that things were pretty painful but they were still spaced like 8mins apart, 1 min long and I was completely fine in between contractions. We decided to give it another hour and since nothing had changed (meaning they hadn’t gotten easier) we decided to go ahead and call my dad to come down to watch the kids. I called him at 5am and he headed down- by the time he got here at 6am the contractions were now 4-5 mins apart, 1:30 long and pretty uncomfortable. I was kind of doubting if this was even real since I didn’t want to get my hopes up but Donnie seemed convinced it was time and said he wanted to get to the hospital earlier than later as to not risk having baby at home or getting stuck in morning traffic. We headed to the hospital and got there and I was triaged and was back in my room by about 7:30. It was a BIZARRE experience to be calmly walking into the hospital as compared to my experience with Maggie where it was REALLY hard to even walk to L&D since I was contracting so hard and close together.
When they checked me in triage I was 6cm, 90% and -1 station still, the nurses and even the midwives were all commenting that I was unusually calm and happy for someone at 6cm but at the same time I had been contracting like this for a FULL WEEK! At this point I was kind of used to it but on the inside I wanted to cry and kind of wanted to go home because I was convinced this wasnt the real deal and that I was there for no reason. They went ahead and admitted me because at that point I don’t think they would send a laboring mom home but I was convinced that we were going to be there FOREVER and that labor was going to be awful because I was stuck in a hospital room and bored. The contractions were definitely painful when they came but they still weren’t close together. We went ahead and called some of the sisters and let them know what was going on- Kate, Pam and Kara came and I let Megan know what was happening but that she shouldn’t waste her time coming yet. I labored and bounced on the birthing ball and chatted with everyone and it was a laid back, relaxing time but I was starting to get annoyed and antsy so I went ahead and asked my midwife Paula to check me again and to strip my membranes. At this point it was about 9:30am, she checked me and said I was 7, almost 8 and 100% effaced and 0 station and she stripped my membranes. Holy cow! As soon as she did that the contractions REALLY intensified. I was laboring through them fine but I was just so exhausted and annoyed to be laboring haha I felt like I had been in labor for so long and I felt like I still had a long way to go and things were moving slowly and I just didn’t want to be doing it anymore. Around 10 I told Donnie he should maybe call Megan since the contractions were pretty painful and close together at that time. Around 10:45 Megan arrived and I think I had the midwife come back to check me since I felt pressure and felt like I had to bear down with each contraction. I was wanting an epidural and was basically just annoyed that I was laboring and in pain.
I was feeling defeated like it was going to take forever- Paula had offered to break my water and I was debating if I wanted to have her do that to get things moving but I was also afraid of how much more intense it would make the contractions. As I was debating this my water broke on its own- it felt like a huge gush but apparently it was only a small leak because the other women in the room didn’t even realize it had happened. At that point I asked Paula to check me again because it was a LOT of pressure- she checked me and said I was 9cm with a lip of cervix left and that the baby was +1 and right there. She said she could try and move the little bit of cervix that was left and once she did it would probably be time for the baby to come. I agreed and got in a position for her to check me- with the next contraction I thought she was moving the cervix because it was so painful but the next thing I know Paula is saying “wow look at all that hair!”. Things moved really fast- my contractions were non-stop at this point and once her head was out all the amniotic fluid that had been plugged up by her head came flying out which was pretty humorous from my perspective haha At that point I realized things were so painful because the baby was coming out! This whole thing went SO fast that all I remember was yelling “ring of fire” and screaming a few expletives at the top of my lungs… I think I pushed maybe 4 times and baby was out! I remember being so confused the whole time because I didn’t realize when that it was REALLY baby time when Paula was checking me- it was surreal to reach down and feel the baby and be able to half hold the baby. I don’t know why but I am always so shocked at this part of labor- its so surreal and I am always confused and amazed that I am ACTUALLY having a baby haha We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl this time and after some slight confusion Donnie told me we had another daughter! I was SHOCKED!
I was completely convinced this entire pregnancy that it was a boy, so much so that I sometimes forgot that we didn’t know for sure what we were having. Eleanor (Nora) Rose was born at 11:31am, she was 8lbs 1.8oz and 20.25in long- she had a SUPER short cord, but was perfect aside from that- our nurse was amazing and let me have 2 full hours of skin to skin before the baby was ever taken from me which I LOVED being handed my baby immediately after birth and having that sweet time with her. I will say that this delivery was MUCH harder on my body- one of the main reasons I like having unmedicated child birth is because of how awesome I feel pretty much as soon as the baby is born- with Nick and Maggie I felt AWESOME, such an adrenaline rush and so elated and feeling like a champ and just over the moon. This time- that feeling didn’t really happen- all I felt was pain L I don’t know if it was because she was a full lb. bigger than Maggie, or if it was because I had so much physical pain leading up to the actual delivery or if it was because my body was mad that I was doing this again after doing it only 15 months prior- or if this is just par for the course with a 3rd baby but it surprised me. The amount of pain that I felt almost immediately was disconcerting and the recovery even in the last 2 weeks has been much more difficult. My body feels as though I was beat up/run over by a truck- the healing has been slow which is funny since I’ve rested more after labor this time than I did with either Nick or Maggie. It has been so uncomfortable that I am wondering if I will have another baby unmedicated or if I will just get an epidural next time around haha Nursing has also been a battle from the get go and I am now recovering from mastitis which is always fun with 2 toddlers and a newborn- things are hectic and busy even without me trying but nonetheless having a newborn around again has been AMAZING!
Nora is a wonderful, sweet, snuggly little baby and I am enjoying her more than I thought I would- I knew things would be a tough transition to 3 kids 3 and under but it has really been a nice experience and when I look at her, at this sweet 2 week old baby, I can’t help but feel like she just fits. I can’t imagine our family without her already and watching my other 2 children love on their sister really is the best feeling ever. She is already such a blessing to our family and worth every second of stress and discomfort and pain- she is such a joy!