My Childbirth Story
Do you enjoy a good birth story? Due to COVID restrictions, there were many special people who weren’t able to witness the birth of my third-born baby girl. So I decided to write my story and post it here on the blog instead of my usual content.
Do you remember old school TLC (short for The Learning Channel)? Back in my college days when I had cable in my dorm room, which I thought was a total luxury,I was a sucker for the classic TLC shows, A Wedding Story and A Baby Story.
I’ve always wanted to be on one of those documentary shows, so I decided to write my own version of A Baby Story chronicling the birth of my third child. I hope you enjoy reading it!
I remember thinking pregnancy was wearing on my body with my second child. After I had her, I secretly determined that my body was done growing life. I had two beautiful children, and both my husband and I felt our family was perfect. We had no idea that God had another sweet little blessing planned for our family.
Last July, in the height of the pandemic, I was shocked to learn I was pregnant. It took a while for the news to set in that 2021 would add a sweet baby girl to our already bustling household.
Fast forward to last month (March), and I had somehow made it to the ninth month of my third (surprise) pregnancy. This was the first pregnancy in which I’ve ever worked full time as a teacher; the other pregnancies, I was only working part time. And though I love being a teacher, I was really struggling on the job. My planning period is the last period of the workday, and I would often collapse into one of the comfy chairs in my office and fall asleep 😴.
I had previously thought the first two pregnancies were rough on my body, but I was in for a rude awakening with this one. Because I had started out a few more pounds heavier than I wanted to be, I ended this pregnancy about 10 pounds heavier than my other two, making it the most weight I’ve ever carried in my life. Those of you who’ve seen me in person know that I’m a short, petite gal. And I’ve made peace with that, but carrying around 50 extra pounds on my short frame made literally everything harder.
From sleeping (haha, yeah right!), to peeing every 5 minutes (barely an exaggeration), to just walking down the hall or God forbid, up my stairs at home, it all hurt!
So I made it to the week before my blessed scheduled induction, and while I was still working, I desperately wanted to be on leave. It got so bad one morning before work, I left my house in tears and cried the entire drive to work. I was just over it all and couldn’t even imagine making it through an entire 8 hour work day. The next day, I had my last doctors appointment before my induction the following weekend, and I pleaded with my doctor to allow me to begin my maternity leave two work days early. She was kind enough to immediately sign off on it.
Thank Goodness for an Early Leave!
I felt so much relief once I started my leave. And I made a plan: Thursday and Friday, I would enjoy the extra time I got to spend with my 3 year-old. She had been extra clingy to me anyway in anticipation of the new baby’s arrival, so I thought some Mommy/ daughter time was just what we both needed.
Thursday started out perfectly. My toddler slept in, so I was able to get up at my leisure, go downstairs and start the day with my favorite silent-time ritual and my cup of sweetened coffee. I sat on the couch and soaked it all in. I made a plan to incorporate some gentle exercise in my day. When my daughter woke up, I made her breakfast and then we both sat on the couch enjoying a lazy morning.
Around 11:30, I decided to pay some bills online. I sat down and noticed I was having a Braxton Hicks contraction. Only this time, I felt it in part of my lower back. No, it couldn’t be…
Unexpected Hospital Visit
After a few more of these uncomfortable contractions, I texted my husband: “Stay close to your phone. I don’t feel good and we might need to go get checked out.”
I had been waiting on my mom to come pick me up so she, my daughter, and I could go grab a quick lunch.
When my mom walked into the house, I was lying on the couch in pain. The first words out of her mouth were, “what’s wrong?”
I filled her in on the contractions I was having and told her I wasn’t sure I was feeling up to leaving the house- unless it was for a check up at the hospital. The hospital is a good 30 minute drive, so I didn’t want to go unless I felt like my body was trying to go into labor.
My contractions were 6 minutes apart. Because they were steady and consistently painful, I asked my husband to come home so he could drive me to the hospital.
Once he arrived home, we packed up our SUV, I kissed my daughter, said bye to my mom, and my husband and I headed for the hospital.
About halfway into our drive, I was dismayed when I realized that I’d barely had a contraction the entire car ride so far. I even told my husband that maybe we should just turn around and head back home. I was pretty sure my earlier contractions were just a false alarm. He said we were halfway to the hospital so we might as well get checked out anyway in case my body was actually trying to go into early labor.
Back Home Again? Or Not.
We got to the hospital and the parking lot was more packed than I’d seen it on any one of my previous visits (my OB’s office is in the same building as Labor and Delivery). My husband literally drove around for five minutes looking for a spot. Even Stork Parking for laboring mothers was completely full😒. Finally, finally, we found a spot in the very back of the parking lot and I didn’t even mind the walk. I thought it might help start up my stalled contractions again. I had already told my husband that I predicted we’d be sent home anyway. Been there, done that with my first pregnancy and it wasn’t anything fun. Still, I expected it.
When we got inside and stood waiting for the elevator, a sweet, older woman stared at me in astonishment and asked me when the baby was coming. My husband said, “We don’t know; maybe today!” The woman replied, “I think so!” I decided to take that as a good omen.
We got up to the Labor and Delivery floor and were taken to a small triage room. I changed into the beautiful hospital gown waiting for me (seriously, can’t someone design some prettier looking gowns, maybe pink ones for laboring mothers?) and waited for the nurse to check on my labor progress.
I was 38 weeks, 5 days, so if my body was in labor, this would be the earliest I had gone in labor with any of my babies.
The nurse was really sweet. She checked me and said that I was only 2.5 centimeters and not really having contractions. I told her I felt foolish for even coming in and wished I hadn’t. Not to mention, at this point, it was 2:00 and I hadn’t eaten any lunch because I wasn’t feeling so hot earlier. Now, I was hungry and regretting the decision to skip lunch.
The nurse mentioned that with this being my third baby, once labor did start up, it would go quickly. She said the doctor on call would more than likely send me home in an hour, but just to be safe, she would check my progress again before sending me home.
I lay there hungry and bored, waiting for the time to pass. Unfortunately, the small television hanging in my room had a hand-written sign saying “out of order”. I ended up watching part of a cooking show on my phone, but turned it off when it made me too hungry.
An hour later, the same nurse came in to recheck my progress. I was still only 2.5 centimeters dilated, but she noted that my cervix had softened considerably on its own in an hour. She said she felt like I was doing “labor-y things” and hoped to convince the doctor to keep me another hour.
I was still pretty sure I would be sent home, but now we had to wait yet another hour to be rechecked.
Within the next hour however, my body started having regular contractions again. When the nurse checked me a third time, I had dilated to almost 4 centimeters, and this time there was no question of my admittance. Baby girl 3 was coming today!
Let’s Do This!
Once I was admitted, we got moved to a labor room about four times the size of the triage room I’d just been in.
I don’t know what it is about a labor and delivery room, but seeing that baby bassinet for the first time I enter the room always gets me. It’s like I realize that soon, my little baby will be out of my body and nestled into that bassinet. It’s always a surreal and emotional moment for me.
Once I got settled into the bed, that’s when the real fun began. Starting with a COVID test from the same lovely nurse who had advocated for me to stay. It was my first COVID test, and it might have been the most unpleasant thing I had done to me while giving birth. I mean, is it really necessary to reach brain matter? That’s how deep the swab felt up my nose. The result was negative, thank goodness.
I met the doctor who would be delivering my baby, and she said she wanted to start me on pitocin to speed up contractions. It was a little after 4:00 pm now. I told her I was fine with the pitocin, as long as I knew my epidural was on the way- give me all the drugs! I wasn’t in a ton of pain yet, but I didn’t need to wait to feel labor come full force to want relief. The doctor also said that many of her patients had missed their “epidural window” that day, which means they waited too late to get the epidural for it to be effective. I certainly didn’t want that to be me!
The doctor also had to manually break my water. Fun factoid: my water has always had to be broken by a doctor in the hospital. I’ve never had it break on its own. I guess I have an extra strong amniotic sac or something. I read a statistic that said only 15% of pregnant women actually have their water break on its own.
The Epidural That Didn’t Quite Take
While I was having my water broken by what looks like an oversized knitting needle, my husband had decided to run home to grab items for his overnight stay and to visit with our other two children. The nurses advised him to “hurry back quickly” so he wouldn’t miss the birth of our baby girl who was coming soon.
One of my L&D nurses gave me a liquid medicine to swallow to hopefully keep me from puking from the epidural, which I had done with my last labor experience. The medicine was supposed to be grape-flavored, but it really tasted like grape flavored-pee if you ask me. Still, I took it like a champ and swallowed it as quickly as possible.
Five minutes later (and no epidural yet), that nasty medicine came right back up. My body was not having it.
My husband arrived back in time for me to get my epidural. I know some people are freaked out about the epidural being a large needle going in your back. This doesn’t really bother me at all. If I can’t see the needle, I can take the discomfort. Plus there is the wonderful, blessed relief that comes about 15 minutes later when the epidural kicks in.
By this point, I was starting to feel those stronger contractions and was looking forward to relaxing a little once the epidural started taking effect. Unfortunately, that didn’t really happen. I became numb in my left leg pretty quickly, but my right leg seemed unaffected for the most part. In fact, I started to feel the contractions going down my right leg, and they hurt like a mother. I was 5-6 centimeters at this point.
Those painful contractions made me puke yet again, but this time, I was crying, contracting, and puking all at the same time. I begged my husband to help. “What am I supposed to do?” he asked. I asked him just to hold my hand while I puked. I’m sure that didn’t feel helpful to him, but it was still comforting to me.
The nurse decided to turn me on my right side where I was feeling the pain in an effort to distribute the epidural to that part of my body. Once she helped me do that, she told me I should start to feel some relief soon. She said she was leaving for 15 minutes, but if I started to feel contractions in my backside, it probably meant that the baby was in position for birthing.
Sure enough, 5 minutes after the nurse left, my contractions moved from the front to the back. I wondered if that meant it was almost time to push. I was starting to feel like I needed to.
Welcome to the World, Little Girl 👧
When the nurse returned, I told her how my contractions had relocated. She said, “Oh, really,” as if she wasn’t convinced. Then she checked me and said, “That’s because there is a baby right there!” It was time to push.
It’s amazing how the labor room comes alive when it’s go time. Within minutes, I had a flurry of nurses quietly preparing the room for my daughter’s arrival. I was worried the doctor might not make it in time as I was feeling the need to push now. But, minutes later, she came in the room. It was now about 8:40 pm.
I started the pushing process, and luckily, the epidural blocked enough of my pain that I wasn’t hurting, but could still feel plenty. I finished one set of pushing and felt the baby’s head so close to coming out.
On the second set of pushes, my beautiful girl slipped out gently, but her arrival made her mad.
My husband and I laughed through our tears as our baby screamed in protest of her ejection from the womb before she was placed on my chest.
I spoke to her quietly to help her calm down. It must have helped because one minute she was screaming, then the next minute, she was quiet and peeing on me. That was how she introduced herself to me outside of the womb.
Family of Five
I never would’ve dreamed even ten years ago that I would be a mother to three children! Currently, my household consists of my husband, me, our dog, and three children, 7 and under.
And I just have to say, my cup runs over!
My days and nights are long and weary. I often write “take a shower” on my to do list so I feel like I’ve accomplished something major at the end of another day, but I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
I thank God for this beautiful baby, currently napping next to me as I type this post. She was the blessing I didn’t even know I needed.
Thanks for reading- especially if you read all the way to the end! It was important for me to document my third and more than likely final birthing experience because I know the sweet little details can often fade from memory through the years. Normally on this blog, I’ll post helpful content for parenting and goal achievement for moms. I hope if you’re a mom, you’ll return to my blog from time to time to check out the content. I hope you find it both fun to read and inspiring!