May 6, 2020
For a few weeks before my due date, I over-analyzed every movement and sensation I felt. With Connor, I just KNEW the second I went into labor that it was the real deal- the contractions just felt different than my Braxton Hicks. I kept telling myself that this time I would just know too, but I found myself paying extra attention to everything I felt. Probably because being in quarantine for 8 weeks didn’t leave me with much to distract. But sure enough, I woke up at 2am on the morning of May 6th (39 weeks pregnant exactly) when I heard Connor on the monitor, and right away I felt a small contraction and I knew it was time. I didn’t say anything to Kevin right away because I wanted us both to get some sleep, but after lying restless for about an hour, I decided to get in the shower and start double checking our bags in case things started to move along quickly. So at that point I let him know. Obviously, he couldn’t sleep either so he got up to do the same. My plan was to wait as long as possible before calling my dad to come get Connor since it was the middle of the night. By 5am, my contractions were about 7 minutes apart but not too intense. I was getting ready to call my dad, when I realized that 20 minutes had passed since my last contraction. I was confused, so I started to re-time them. 20 minutes. Then 7. Then 14. Then 6. What was going on? Was this false labor? But it felt so real. At around 7am we decided to go for a walk to see if we could get things moving along and more regular. It seemed to help, but when we got home things slowed down once again. I was so discouraged and wasn’t sure what to do. Do I call and get Connor where he needs to be? Or wait in case this isn’t real? At around 9, I decided to call my parents to come get him just to be safe, even though my labor was still super irregular. I am so glad I did because immediately after calling her my contractions ramped up- all of a sudden they were consistently 5 minutes apart and building in intensity. After Connor got picked up a half hour later, they were down to 4 minutes apart and we decided to head to the hospital.
The 20 minute car ride was brutal and I kept trying to breathe and relax my body through the contractions. I kept telling Kevin how I forgot how much labor hurts- those minute-long contractions feel like they last forever. We arrived at the hospital and went right up to triage. I was 7cm dilated and my midwife told me baby’s head was “right there.” It was such good news to me because it meant that a lot of my labor was behind me at that point. When I had Connor, I had a postpartum hemorrhage right after delivery. Because of my history, the plan was for me to have an IV port in place so that I would not be hooked up to an IV during labor and delivery, but if I did hemorrhage it was in place as a precaution. The nurses attempted to place the port three times before finally getting it on the fourth try. Not entirely their fault, I don’t have great veins. BUT, horrible when you are experiencing extremely painful contractions every 3 minutes or so and they are also digging at your arms with needles. Eventually they got it placed and we moved out of triage and into the delivery room.
Once in the delivery room, my plan was to labor in the shower. I had an unmedicated birth with Connor, and as that was my goal again this time, I fell back on what worked for me last time. I loved laboring in the shower with Connor- Kevin kept the hot water aimed at my lower back and it made each contraction (somewhat) more bearable.
This time, I was about to get in the shower when I just had this feeling that I didn’t have time. My contractions were very intense at this point and I felt like I wasn’t getting a ton of relief between them. I was “slow dancing” with my husband and breathing through them. I tried sitting on a birth ball but immediately stood back up because it was so uncomfortable. My water still had not broken. I knew from past experience though, that I could be ready to push and not have my water break. With Connor, I was 10cm dilated and fully effaced and my midwife asked if I wanted her to break my water so that I could start pushing. I just had an intuition that this was happening the same way- that I could be pushing if my water would just break. I asked my midwife if she could check my progress, and she let me know that I was “complete” and that she could break my water and baby would descend quickly. Wanting to do anything I could to stop the horrible contractions, I told her to break it. I pushed for 25 minutes and I won’t lie- it was excruciating. I had my husband next to me and I essentially wrapped my arms around his shoulders and burrowed into him as I pushed. When baby finally arrived, Kevin told me that she was a girl! We were both expecting a boy, so to hear we had a girl was such a wonderful surprise. She also had a full head of dark brown hair, which was also a surprise since Connor is blonde.
Thankfully, I did not have any issues with bleeding this time around. My midwife did give me pitocin in an IV as a precaution, and the nurses were fabulous at checking in on me throughout our 24 hour hospital stay. I did find out AFTER Margot arrived that she was “sunny side up”- which means she was facing up when delivered instead of facing down. I am VERY lucky we didn’t have any kind of complications and I’m not sure how I avoided the horrific “back labor” that I have heard comes with sunny side up babies. My midwife also was amazed that the delivery was quick. She told me that usually babies in that position take a LOT longer to push out. Thankfully, I did not have to endure pushing for an extended period of time (but my heart is totally with all the mamas who spend hours pushing- you are all amazing).
Throughout this pregnancy, I had so many fears that I wouldn’t bond with this baby like I did with Connor. So much of my heart is wrapped up in Connor, I didn’t know how there could be room to love another child the same way. But what everyone says is undeniably true- your love doesn’t divide, it multiplies. I cried as they placed our beautiful little baby girl on my chest and my heart was overflowing with love and happiness. My husband and I looked down at the baby we created together and it was every bit as magical as it was two years ago when Connor entered the world. I feel so close to Kevin in the moments immediately following delivery, too. Natural childbirth is HARD and Kevin is the biggest support for me. He listens to me, trusts me, encourages me, and does exactly what I need to help me through- even if I may change my mind about what that is 100 times throughout the process.
We are almost two weeks into life with our girl, and while we are super tired, we are also extremely grateful and enjoying being a family of four!
If you’re interested in more- check out Connor’s birth story!