As most of our close family and friends know, our third baby arrived on Wednesday morning, June 26. We've been lucky enough to have my mother-in-law in town for a week and I'm feeling inspired to share my birth story! So, read at your own risk... I'll try to share as much as I can remember, even the not-so-pleasant parts. :)
My estimated due date was 6/25. I went close to a week late with my first two, so I was expecting this baby to show up in July. Of course, with this being my third pregnancy, I had Braxton Hicks early on. I got bigger faster and for the last month, I felt a heaviness in my pelvis that I didn't experience with the first two children. As the end of June drew nearer, I was feeling very ready to have this baby!
At the beginning of the week, I felt very irritated with everyone. It was pretty hot outside and I ended up cleaning out my entire kitchen (scrubbing counter tops and floors, re-organizing cabinets, and wiping down my fridge). My older two happily played in the living room and at the end of the day, we made chocolate chip cookies together.
On Tuesday morning (6/25), I woke up to contractions. Nothing too intense but present enough to wake me up from a deep sleep. This was the first time it truly felt like a contraction. Not just a tightening but a discomfort that was sharp with a sensation that stretched across my whole stomach. This was around 1 or 2am, I believe. I eventually fell back to sleep and slept until 7 or 8am. Still feeling crampy when I woke up, I decided the kids and I would go and run our errands *just in case* something was happening. Before leaving the house, I went to the bathroom and lost my mucus plug. With my first two kids, I lost my plug a couple days before labor truly began. I figured it would be the same this time around, too. We made a trip to Target and the post office, came back and ate lunch, then set up our water table and sprinkler in the backyard for the afternoon. I felt pretty great despite the sporadic cramps. My husband came home and we ate a yummy dinner followed by DQ blizzards. :) I panicked a bit after eating mine thinking, "If I go into labor tonight and throw this up, I may hate them forever. That would really suck." Ha!
We climbed into bed around 10:30 and by 11:30, I was up again. The strong contractions were back! In my sleepy state, I really wasn't sure how close they were and I was not motivated to find out. I wanted to sleep! I thought, "Maybe I should download a contraction timer...." so I got an app on my phone and dozed as much as I could between surges. With every contraction, I would hit the "record" button and try to remember to stop it before falling asleep again. When I had enough sense to, I looked at the pattern and realized they were about 7-10 minutes apart. Very consistent and strong, so I figured this must be the real deal! Feeling excited and restless in bed, I decided I would head downstairs to eat a little something and watch Netflix in the living room to pass the time. I woke up my husband to let him know that I was having contractions but wanted him to sleep.
I ate a cookie or two and was finding it hard to find a comfy spot on the couch. I kept feeling the need to pee but whenever I would get to the bathroom I would get stuck on the toilet! I felt a lot of pressure and would lean over the vanity during contractions only to find myself back on the toilet in between. Also feeling a little nauseous and thinking the cookies were not a great snack idea. Plus I was burping up brussels sprouts from dinner. YUCK.
My mother-in-law, who lives two hours away, offered to come and help with the kids once I was in labor. Josh had a dentist appointment at 7am scheduled for Wednesday morning (why he did this I'll never know). I had an appointment at 11am with my doc to check in and see how baby was doing. A bunch of different scenarios popped into my mind for Wednesday's agenda:
A) Have Josh's mom come in the morning and then go to my appointment to get checked. If I'm dilated enough, I'll go to the hospital.
B) Have Josh's mom come early morning so that I have someone to hang with kids while I'm laboring. She can drop me off to Josh's dentist when he's done and we can head to hospital.
C) Call Josh's mom NOW and go to the hospital as soon as she gets to the house.
I went with Plan C. I called her around 2am and at about 4, I woke my husband up and said, "Ummm...I think we should go to the hospital when your mom gets here." He said, "Are you sure? Is this about getting checked? Are you scared? Are you trying to get the epidural ASAP?" I told him I wasn't sure and I just had this feeling and "just wanted to go."
I think we left the house around 5am or so and got checked in a little before 6. When we got to triage, the nurse checked me and my cervix was dilated 8 cm! I could hardly believe it. Actually when she said, "8 centimeters," I thought she said, "A centimeter." HA! My mind and self doubt playing tricks on me, I guess. No wonder I just wanted to sit on the toilet the whole time at home....I was nearing transition! Thank goodness I called my MIL when I did and we didn't wait to go to any of our morning appointments!
I knew I wanted an epidural as soon as possible and got a bit panicky thinking I may not have time for one. My midwife said, "I could break your bag of waters and this baby would probably slide right on out." But because I desired an epidural I think my body worked with me to keep this baby in! My body was pushing though and at one point in time I said, "I think I'm pooping?!" That was wild, because I WAS. Just pooping, in the bed. I vividly remember counting each contraction and waiting for my bag of fluids to be done so that the nurse could call in the anesthesiologist. My husband even looked at me and said, "I know you could do this without the medicine. You would be really proud of yourself." But I was like, "NOPE!" :) I was surprisingly calm for how far along I was and was even dozing off between contractions. I was cool being in the bed, which was interesting because I thought I would want to be up and moving around.
By 7am (?) the epidural was being administered and I was on my way to feeling some relief. I still felt lots of pressure but no contraction pain and was able to move my lower half somewhat easily. By 8am or so, I felt the urge to push and my midwife and doc were both there to cheer me on! I was in a side-lying position and the nurse and Josh supported my legs while I pushed. Babe's head popped out in no time but she got stuck for a second because her hand was up by her face. My doc and midwife helped me navigate when to break from pushing and guided baby out. I reached down to bring her to my chest and then, boom. She was here! Born at 8:46am and she had so much dark hair! I couldn't believe it! In no time at all, she was rooting around and latched on. That was a relief! We snuggled for a couple hours before she got weighed and measured. I didn't tear, which has made for such an amazingly easy postpartum recovery. I was anticipating a harder time since I'm also chasing around my older two but it's really been lovely. The kids love Calista so much. I don't know if it's because it's our third time around or because she's an easy baby, but Calista just blends right in with our family. We are over the moon about our baby girl and thank the universe for a healthy, happy mom and baby. What a fabulous experience! Thanks to the staff at Dupont Hospital and the care team with Fertility and Midwifery Care Center for being so knowledgeable and respectful. And thanks to my husband, who supports me in everything I do and is such a great dad.
Happy birth day, Callie Mae! <3