I just love a good birth story. Maybe it’s my nosy nature, or maybe I just find birth that fascinating, but either way, when I see one pop up, I’m intrigued. In my last few weeks of pregnancy, I can’t even tell you how many times I searched “second time mom birth story”, as if the stories of others would somehow give me an indication of what to expect for my second birth. Spoiler alert: They didn’t. One of the things that you will hear from your care provider and doula the most is (annoyingly) that every birth is different. And they are. But alas, if you’re a momma-to-be searching for answers, or if you’re one of my
nosy curious friends, then here is MY second time mom birth story of my sweet little hurricane baby.
Like most moms-to-be in their last weeks of pregnancy, I became desperate for an answer to the taunting question, “WHEN, Oh when God, will I go into labor?” I scoured the internet, questioned my mom friends, and dug out my magic eight ball for answers. I was most curious about the average timeline for how long it usually takes labor to start after certain things happen, but I could never find a clear-cut itemized time line, so here is mine, disgusting and embarrassing details and all. (For reference, my due date was June 28th, 2017.)
June 7th, 2017:
Doctor’s appointment, 2 cm dilated, 80% effaced. *Note: I did not get “checked” in my first pregnancy, and I kinda regret doing it this time around because a) it hurts and b) it doesn’t mean ANYTHING when it comes to predicting when your labor will start. All this information did was torture me into thinking that the baby was coming soon. Wrong.
June 13th, 2017:
Lost mucous plug. (Yes, #TMI.) I was also having contractions all Sunday night, so at this point I was EXTRA convinced that actual labor would start any minute. Also wrong.
June 14th, 2017:
Doctor’s appointment. 3 cm, 85% effaced. Okay, she’s GOT to be coming soon… right???
June 21st, 2017:
Still pregnant. Doctor’s appointment: Still 3 cm, 85% effaced. *devastation*
June 25th, 2017:
I decide that the physical misery and mental anguish is too much and that I’m done working.
June 26th, 2017:
I am convinced my water has broken and activate the phone tree. Turns out you shouldn’t be 39.75 weeks pregnant and try to “hold it”… There’s nothing worse than having to deal with peeing your pants and simultaneously being emotionally destroyed that it’s actually NOT labor starting.
Note: If you think your water has broken, lay down for 30 minutes. If when you stand up there is still leaking or another gush, it’s most likely that your water did break. If not, welcome to my pee pants club.
June 27th, 2017:
Attempt to “walk it out” with my mom at a 50 acre architectural salvage yard. Does not work.
June 28th, 2017:
My due date. 40 weeks pregnant. I asked Lane to go with me to my doctor’s appointment. We talked about it at length, and decided that if my midwife would strip my membranes during that appointment, that we were going to go for it to see if it would send me into labor.
Use this information with caution, because I’ve heard many stories of pregnant ladies who have had this done and really regretted it. Also, in my opinion as a general rule, the less intervention the better when it comes to the last weeks of pregnancy and labor.
However, if your body is ready, stripping your membranes – which is essentially where your provider “stirs things up” when they check your cervix – can kick things right into action. Apparently there is some little patch of labor-starting hormones that they can stir up, and if you’re body is ready for labor, it usually begins within 24-48 hours after having your membranes stripped.
The actual process was pretty uncomfortable, but when it was over, I was 4 cm and completely effaced. Just as I’d suspected, my body was super-duper ready, because my labor began 45 minutes after we left the doctor’s office.
Since my first labor with Lila got stuck in a four-day prodromal labor hellscape, I was completely convinced that the contractions I started feeling when we left were not the “real” ones, so I didn’t really take them too seriously.
Lane and I had a great day together. We went to eat lunch at a super cute place by the beach, and I only paused from inhaling the most delicious nachos of my life when I was timing a contraction.
We then went to check on one of Lane’s jobs, and then to Homegoods because I’d moved all the furniture in my office around that morning (because moving furniture at 40 weeks pregnant is totally normal) and wanted to get some office accessories. Somewhere in the candle aisle I thought… “hmmmm maybe this IS the real deal?” when I was unable to walk or talk through one of the contractions that hit me. That did not, however, stop us from going to Target next.
If it was really labor, I wanted to stock up on a few last minute supplies for Lila before we went home. By the time we were leaving Target, my contractions were between five and eight minutes apart. The doctor will tell you that you shouldn’t go to the hospital until your contractions are five minutes apart, one minute long, and have been consistent for one hour, so I still thought we had plenty of time.
We picked up Lila from school and called my mom to come over, since by this point it appeared we’d be having a baby soon. When we got home, my contractions stopped. I was devastated. I knew that it was totally mental, so we went on a walk and then got in the hot tub to try to relax and get things back on track. (*Don’t do this if your water has broken.)
We laid down at about 11 p.m. and my contractions started back up. Lane got a few minutes of sleep while I timed the intensifying contractions at about 15-17 minutes apart. After about an hour and a half of that, I woke Lane up and told him that I was really in pain and that I wanted to go to the hospital, even though my contractions were still pretty spaced out.
I got out of bed and went to the bathroom and had a big contraction. I must have made some kind of heinous animal noise, because Lane immediately rushed in and said, “I know that sound. We need to leave NOW.” And he was right. My contractions instantly went from 17 minutes apart to a fast and furious three minutes apart. I called our precious doula and she said she’d meet us at the hospital.
It was a little after 1 a.m. on Thursday morning (June 29th), so thankfully the roads were clear and we made it to the hospital in about 20 minutes. When we parked and got out I started having the mother of all contractions and very briefly paused to sit on the curb. Thankfully I got the will to get up and power through it, because as we approached the sliding doors it looked more like a scene from Walking Dead than labor and delivery. There were two other women zombie-walking through the parking lot towards the doors. I did not give them a second thought as I watched the elevator doors close to whisk us to the second floor maternity ward in front of them.
As the doors opened, a nurse was standing ready to usher us straight into triage. It only took a minute to figure out that they were not waiting for us, they’d been waiting for one of those pregnant parking lot zombies… because like good women in labor, they’d called ahead to let the hospital know that they were coming in, and I had not. But it was too late, they’d already taken me in first and started admitting me. #pregnantzombiewin
The doctor came in to check me and all I remember is screaming “no no no” and begging for the epidural man. I was five centimeters dilated and most definitely in very active labor.
They whisked me through the halls to the labor and delivery room. I was on my back while they got me in the hospital gown, hooked up the I.V. and drew blood. On your back is the absolute WORST position to manage the pain of contractions, by the way. I was moaning this insane guttural sound that I could never duplicate while not in labor. I was sweating and crying and every time I could feel another contraction coming I just repeated “no no no please no”…
Lane was visibly upset watching me in so much pain and kept threatening everyone’s life if they didn’t get the epidural man. Kara, my amazing friend and the world’s best doula arrived, and I just remember looking at her and crying “Kara help me.” At this point contractions were still about three minutes apart.
The room was a flurry of activity, so many nurses in and out prepping the room and prepping me and asking 47 million questions for admission. I also blindly signed 90 pages of stuff… I have no idea what it was, I could have sold them our house and my body for all I knew, but I didn’t question anything because I knew I couldn’t get epidural man until all that was done.
When the nurses were kinda done with me for the moment, Kara swooped in like an angel and started pressing all the buttons on the bed to get me off of my back with a quickness. It was amazing how much easier the pain was to manage sitting up. The contraction monitor was behind me, and Lane and Kara could see when one was coming before I could feel it. I’m sure they tried to hide it, but it was easy for me to tell by their faces when they saw it coming, and I would start repeating “no no no no no” again.
I didn’t get to sit up for long before the nurses came back in to check me again. I think at that check I was 8 cm, meaning I’d progressed from 5 cm to 8 in about 45 minutes. At that point I could tell that my water was about to break, and I even announced it right before it happened.
A few minutes later the heavens opened and the epidural man wheeled his magical cart in. I knew that I was so close and was terrified that they were not going to be able to get it in place before it was time to push.
I didn’t want to be the cause of the delay, so I used every ounce of concentration and will-power and sat up and as still as I could. As soon as I knew that the epidural was in place and the medicine was flowing, I told them what I’d been sitting there denying (in the event that meant it was too late for the epidural), and that was that the baby’s head was coming out.
They must not have believed that I progressed from 8 cm to 10 and ready to push in about ten minutes, because they calmly said, “okay we’ll check you in a minute”, to which I replied, “that’s fine but I’m telling you her head is coming,” which prompted them to check immediately and guess what? I was right.
One contraction later and I was numb and so happy. The doctor was on her way in, and we were about to meet my baby girl. While we waited for the next contraction (a.k.a. PUSH TIME), I told the doctor and nurses that I was so glad this was finally happening because I was tired of keeping my legs shaved for them. Kindly they replied, “that really wasn’t necessary” as they all stared at my most private of parts, spread-eagle and with no less than 82 surgical lights illuminating the area.
About five contractions and fifteen pushes later, at 3:43 a.m. Lennox Elise Jones was born and lit up our lives.
Once we were settled, the nurses took off to tend to the other women I’d cut in line and we were left alone until about 8 that morning. They then informed us that we’d need to move to the “overflow” wing of the maternity ward, because they were packed with Hurricane Matthew babies. Lennox was one of FOURTEEN babies born at that hospital that day.
I’d like to point out that Lane and I were on a cruise when the hurricane hit Jacksonville, and it had been our plan to try for a baby on that trip all along, but apparently everyone in Jax got sick of board games while the power was out for those few days, because there was most definitely a hurricane baby boom and we were caught in the middle.
Not only were we squeezed into a tiny “overflow” room, but they also forgot about the epidural thing sticking out of my back and the I.V. sticking out of my wrist for about 12 hours. I had to “hold it” for almost two hours for a nurse to come help me out of the bed to pee for the first time (you’re not allowed to get out of bed for the first time after the epidural without a nurse present), and when the nurse finally made it in there she was in such a hurry that I thought she was going to bust one of my stitches as she man-handled those mesh panties onto my big sore butt.
There were some other annoying things that happened, but the whole point is that as soon as we were allowed to bust out of there, we did. So Lennox was born at 3:43 a.m. Thursday morning, and we headed home at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
You may remember that I was terrified that I would experience all of the horrific post partum depression feelings that I had after my first baby, and I am so thrilled to say that I have not felt that way at all. Yes, emotions have run high at times, and there have been a few tears, but I’m not uncontrollably sobbing and hiding in my closet this time, which has been amazing. I am enjoying my time at home with this sweet girl and her sister and count my blessings all day every day.
So there ya have it, my Hurricane Baby Second Time Mom birth story. Yes, this is sort of a diary for me, and something that I hope my girls will someday want to read, but I also hope that it gives a desperate mom-to-be out there some hope, info and perspective…
I could barely remember the misery of the last few weeks of pregnancy, or the pain of labor the instant that I saw my daughter’s face. I guarantee that it will be the same for you the second that you lay eyes on your sweet baby.
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