Now that Baby 2 is just weeks (or even days!) from making her appearance, it seems like a good idea to finally finish writing and post Stella’s birth story. I started writing this in March of 2013 when Stella was just a couple of months old. I haven’t finished it because I’m having trouble editing. I want to include everything, but if I did that this post would be roughly 10 pages long. So I’m left with trying to include only the most important parts, which is impossible because it’s all the most important part.
What I really want to say is this: Stella’s birth was the most amazing experience of my life. It was hard and, at times, not the most comfortable thing that’s ever happened tome. But it was worth it. And not just because I got the best baby ever at the end. It was worth it because it taught me that I’m a strong person, mentally and emotionally, and showed me what my body is capable of.
Here’s the rest of the story…
I’ve been writing this post in my head since Stella was born, but haven’t been able to put in down on paper (or, more accurately, computer screen) until now. It still seems a little unbelievable to me that she’s is really here and that her arrival went even better than I had imagined it would. Well. That’s not quite true. Part of me thought I might have an hour long labor like my mother did with me. That part of me was off by about 10 hours or so… But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I woke on January 23, 2013, Stella’s due date, with a cold. Sore thought, stuffy nose, headache, body aches, but no I’m-going-into-labor-today feeling. That morning I felt bad; I was tired of being pregnant, I was sick and I just wanted to stay in bed. But I knew that I was going to have a baby sometime within two weeks of that day and I needed to do a couple of things at work before that happened. So I went to work. A few hours and an entire box of Kleenex later (not to mention completing the very last project I needed to complete), I threw in the towel and decided to go home for the day.
When I got home, I treated my cold with tomato soup and grilled cheese, then decided to take a nap. As I was arranging my pillow nest and settling in for what was going to be the best nap in the history of naps, I felt… something. I froze for a minute, then realized my water had broken. As luck would have it, Sean had just texted me to see if I was feeling laborey. I told him the situation and he excitedly (anxiously?) called to say he was on his way home.
Needless to say, I was too excited to finish my nap and spent the time until Sean got home excitedly pacing. Once he got home, we went to my midwife’s office, just to be sure that everything was a go for spending lots of time laboring at home. It was and we headed back home to hang out for a few hours. I should add here that being in a car while in labor isn’t super fun. At all.
To speed things up here, let’s just say I spent the next few hours doing things and stuff. Mainly walking, yoga-ing, watching TV, and bouncing on my yoga/birth ball. Around 7 p.m., Sean couldn’t take it anymore and suggested (forcefully) that we go to the hospital. So, we gave our parents and our doula a call, learned the doula had the flu and would have to call in her backup, and we headed to the hospital. Our new doula (who turned out to be awesome!) met us there and my parents showed up about an hour later (despite us telling them not to come yet)…. just in time for us to leave again. Because we were there too early. Which is something I told Sean before we even left the house.
We drove back home. And I cannot stress enough here how uncomfortable it is to be buckled into a moving car unable to move when you’re in labor. So. Uncomfortable. Ladies, do not, I repeat do not, let your nervous husband talk you into going to the hospital when you know its not time.
Once we got home, I went upstairs to do some hypnobabies in bed and took a bath. Sean kept trying to feed. Pro tip: Your in labor wife isn’t going to eat the leftover tomato soup and grilled cheese she had for lunch. To be honest, though, I wasn’t really that hungry. In the end, I let him feed me a banana and some saltines.
While I was upstairs, relaxing and hanging out, Sean was downstairs convincing my parents to go home. My dad did go home after a bit, but my mom stayed around, cleaned the house, did some laundry, and started reading a book. BEST IN LABOR PRESENT EVER.
After a few hours of this (maybe around 1 a.m.-ish? I don’t know. My sense of time is really skewed here.), I started feeling panicky and nauseated. When I got off the bed to go vomit in the toilet (childbirth is a beautiful and magical time), my water broke. For real. Not just a little leak like earlier in the day, but like I was suddenly standing in a puddle broke. Of course I took that opportunity to vomit. In the hall. It was fantastic.
And that, ladies and gents, is when you know its time to go to the hospital.
Again, in the interest of speeding things up, Mom and Sean did necessary cleanup, I changed clothes, dogs got walked, doula got called, Mom drove us to the hospital (again, car rides in labor are excruciating), I declined a wheelchair, requested a room with a tub, spent 20 terrible minutes confined to the bed on a fetal monitor, made it to the tub, and decided to never leave the tub. ever. again. Seriously, I was ready to call in a decorator and make that tub my home. I won’t bore you guys with details and honestly, I don’t remember that much of the next several hours (thank you, oxytocin and other birthing hormone cocktail), but around 5:45-ish, Sean and our doula convinced me to get out of the tub to go on the fetal monitor again.
While I was on the monitor, transition happened. This was easily the most difficult part of birth. It happened so suddenly I didn’t have time to prepare and this was the only time during birth that I was convinced I couldn’t do it. I remember thinking “Oh. This is why people schedule c-sections.” I couldn’t focus on my breath. I asked for an epidural and meant it. And then our doula said “It’s too late for an epidural. You’re at 9 cm.” Just as suddenly as I was convinced I couldn’t do it, I knew I could do it. I was almost there.
About an hour later, at 7:00 a.m. exactly, I pulled my daughter onto my chest. Unfortunately, there aren’t any safe for the internet pictures of that, so here’s one taken a couple of hours later.