The Birth Story of Our Second Baby Girl
The Birth Story of Our Second Baby Girl
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as the snow falls outside the playroom window this morning, i have one baby sleeping on my chest and another playing quietly at my feet. everyone seems upset about our march snowfall but i couldn’t feel better about it. it’s the perfect excuse to not leave the house and just be with my girls. and while i could settle for a slow day, i can’t help but browse through the photos of our second baby’s birth and feel the urge to write her story. for the days may be long, but the years are sure short and i want to make sure her story is written down before it dulls in my memory. so here is her story.
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on the saturday before she was born, contractions started. having had a c-section with my first and hoping for a VBAC this time around, i was constantly asking my doctor, “but how will i know i am in labor!? what do contractions feel like? when will i know to call you!?” to these questions, they always just smiled and chuckled, saying, “oh, you’ll know!” and gave me a pink sheet of instructions saying this, that and another thing about signs of labor. and as worried as i was about missing labor signs, i knew on that saturday morning that things were moving towards labor.
but let’s rewind a second. in all honestly, i was so ready to be done being pregnant. i nested. i glowed. i got my rest. i packed my hospital bag. i savored all the belly kicks. i fully embraced my bump. but i was ready to be done. there is something about those final 3-4 weeks of pregnancy that just make you sooooooo over it. the pregnancy insomnia, the sciatic nerve pain, the waddle, the braxton hicks contractions that started at 17 weeks. as much as i love, love, love being pregnant…i was ready to be done. maybe it was because i was carrying around a toddler and a baby bump or maybe it was because i knew the immense feeling of love that would come when meeting my baby. i was just ready.
i say all this to say…i was totally trying to induce labor. once i reached 39 weeks the friday before birth, i labeled the weekend, “project induce labor.” and my hubby was full on board. we were ready. the house was spotless. the baby-sitter was on call for our first born. our house was fully stocked with groceries. the hospital bag was perfectly packed. the mama was tired of being pregnant. so we did everything, including but not limited to: walking, bouncing on a yoga ball, eating spicy food, etc. we did everything google said to do to get things going.
so when contractions started on saturday morning, we excitedly starting timing them with the contraction timer and double checking everything around the house that had already been double checked. this is the part of the story where my darling husband decides to nest. he runs to the grocery store again, takes his laundry to the dry cleaner, vacuums, etc. mind you, i am calm as a cucumber…breathing through contractions on the couch, while the baby napped. i had been nesting for 9 months at this point. i had re-organized the entire house three times, with a label maker and purchased every organizational basket possible. so i was perfectly at peace with my nesting and let my husband experience his little jolt of nesting. it was kind of cute. and it was exciting!
until, the contractions stopped. on a dime, after 6 hours of timing them and having them be consistent, they stopped. for the rest of the day!
ugh, i was so discouraged. i think i even cried. i was so emotionally ready at that point and for them to stop just made me frustrated.
so when they started again the following afternoon (sunday), i didn’t really put much hope into it. i breathed through them, but didn’t get too excited because i didn’t want to be disappointed when they stopped. i was at peace with the fact that this baby would come when they were ready, so i stopped worrying about wanting labor to start. we spent the entire sunday as we normally would, with the addition of me now bouncing more on the yoga ball and eating more spicy food. (because i had to at least try to get this baby to come out) right before dinner, i had my bloody show and couldn’t help but get so excited. things were moving and a baby was coming soon!
after dinnertime, i started to have mild contractions again and thought, what the heck…let’s time them. they kept going throughout the evening and, as we were laying our toddler down to sleep, for some reason i felt the need to hug her a little longer before saying good night. there was something telling me that this may be my last time hugging her as a mama of one. that maybe, just maybe, this baby was coming soon.
and i was right.
after laying her down to sleep, we went downstairs and indulged in the most delicious gluten free brownies ever. we watched a couple shows on tv, timed contractions and at 8:15pm turned in for the night. (8:15 was my bedtime during pregnancy, religiously). after getting all situated in bed and reading for a little while, i told my husband that my contractions were still going and…getting stronger. at that, he recommended that i try to get some sleep. but around 10:45, i was still awake and getting uncomfortable. no matter what position i lay in, i wasn’t comfortable enough to get any sleep. around midnight, i told him that i thought this was the real deal and i was going to hop in the shower. (i always told him i wanted to be freshly showered, makeup-ed and dressed when heading to the hospital because…pictures). having been told that real contractions should keep going despite your position, i figured taking a shower would be a good indicator if this was the real deal or not.
and the contractions continued. by the time i was done showering, they had progressed to the point where i couldn’t walk or talk through them. it was time to call the doctor. i was finally experiencing everything on that pink slip of paper. and after asking me a few questions about my pain and the timing, our doctor recommended that we head in. i kept telling her i didn’t want to come in if this wasn’t the real deal. i didn’t want to call the babysitter over only to have to send her home. to this the doctor said she was pretty sure this was real labor at this point, especially with the mild bleeding occurring.
after showing our sitter around the house and getting the car packed up, we headed to the hospital and arrived around 4:30am. at this point, i was in pain. the car ride was miserable, as i felt that my contractions were more manageable if i was standing or walking. sitting was hard. i remember having another contraction about 3 minutes away from the hospital and thinking, “thank goodness this will be my last contraction in the car,” as i breathed through it. once i was up and walking, i felt that they weren’t as awful.
as we got to our triage room and the nurses started getting me admitted, my worse fear was being sent home. i’ve heard of women being sent home for not being far enough along or for false labor and i was so scared that was going to be me. what scared me worse was the pain i was in. i was worried that they would send me home feeling as awful as i was. once my doctor walked in, she saw the state i was in. while still happy and friendly, i was obviously in pain and even though i was only dilated to 2 cm, she said it would be absolutely cruel to send me home at this point. i was there to stay!
it was at this point that the sweet nurse looked at me and said, “let’s get you to your labor room! and you just let me know when you want your epidural, honey.” to which i replied sweetly, “um, i’ll take that epidural…now.” 🙂
as we walked to labor and delivery, i had a few more contractions along the way and we stopped a few times in the hall to breathe through them. when we walked through the doorway of my labor room, i got goosebumps. this was the room where we would meet our second baby. this is the room where we would become a family of four. this is the room i would walk into pregnant and out of a mother of two. this room wasn’t just another room, but one that we would remember forever in our memories.
around 6:45am, the anesthesiologist knocked on the door with his cart containing the good stuff. i was so happy to see his face, not only because he was going to make me feel so much better but because he was the same person who administered my spinal tap before my c-section with our first only 20 months prior. let’s just say, he gives the best epidurals ever. he is so nice, quick and leaves you thinking, “it’s already in!?” seriously, an epidural god.
as they sat me up on the bed to put the epidural in my back, i started getting nervous. i was in a lot of pain and didn’t want to get an epidural during a contraction. at this point, it’s hospital policy for the husbands to sit down. they don’t allow husbands to stand during epidurals because this is when they always faint. never mind all the blood and gore from actually birth…it’s the epidural that gets them every time. my sweet nurse stood in front of me, hugging me through my final contraction that i would feel. once it was over, she gave the anesthesiologist the go ahead to insert my epidural.
and, just like that, pain free.
i was so relieved to finally be comfortable and allowed to get some rest so i could save my energy for pushing and meeting our baby. the nurse came in with my catheter kit and at 7:12am, right after the catheter was placed, there was a loud POP! my water broke! having not been home when my water broke with our first baby, my husband was amazed at the sound that came from my water popping. it literally was a pop! the nurse was right by my bed when it popped and she said, “well, here we go!”
at 8:00am, the day shift nurses came in to introduce themselves. they instantly learned that we were going to be the funnest couple in the birthing pavilion. because we didn’t know the gender of our baby, we started a tally on the whiteboard and had every person who came in, from the anesthesiologist to the doctor to the nurses, place their bet for boy or girl. we were not only ready to have a baby, but to have a fun experience. turns out, by the time our baby was born, the votes were split down the middle, 50/50.
as we were laughing with our nursing team, it was at this moment that i started feeling funny. i was very dizzy, felt really weak and wanted to throw up. my team of nurses took one look at me and told me my blood pressure was dropping. i remember how nervous my husband looked and he kept telling them, “she is going to pass out. i know that look, she always looks like that right before she passes out.” (he knows this because i am a fainter). the nurses moved fast at that point. they quickly grabbed a bag of i don’t remember what, hooked it up to my IV and within a moment, i felt a rush of cold through my arm and felt a million times better.
a half an hour later, dr. m came in to announce she was on shift and would be the official doctor to deliver our baby. i was so excited, for we really liked her and i was so happy to have her being my delivery doctor, she has such a maternal and soft personality. at 8:30am, she announced that i was dilated to 4cm and 90% effaced. i was so excited to be progressing and thankful to be experiencing labor.
but 3 hours later, no change. i was stalled at 4cm. it was then that dr. m decided we should try a small amount of pitocin to get things moving. i wasn’t a fan of the idea and had a strict “no pitocin” rule in my birth plan. being a newborn photographer, i have heard so many birth stories and every time i heard a birth story that was painful…it was because of pitocin. having had a c-section previously, the doctors told me that i would only be allowed to have a very minor amount of pitocin because of the risk of complications occurring from a previous c-section.
we decided to take a little while to decide and the doctor gave us plenty of time to talk about it privately. the one thing i love about dr. m is her patience. she thoroughly answered all of our questions about pitocin and, in the end, we decided to give it a try. at 11:50am, she started me on a tiny dose of 1 mL/hour and said she would be back to check on me in a few hours.
a few hours passed and at 3:00pm, i was still at 4cm. dr. m upped my pitocin a little more to see if that would help but at 4:30pm, still no change.
it was at this point that i realized my VBAC was failing and i was going to have another c-section. i was at peace with the idea. my first c-section was the easiest thing and a wonderful experience with a fast recovery, so i was fine with the idea. we started talking to dr. m about the c-section and my husband wanted to make sure all of our questions were answered, specifically if we could have more children if i had 2 c-sections, to which she said, “absolutely!”
while i was ready to have a c-section and at peace with the idea, dr. m wasn’t about to give up on my VBAC just yet. as a last ditch effort, she decided to try upping my pitocin to 4mL/hour around 7pm and said she would be back in 30 minutes to check on me. at this point she said we wouldn’t be having a baby today, but definitely by tomorrow. as she left the room, our nurse walked in and asked if i would like to try laying with the peanut ball to see if that would help dilation.
immediately after i was on the peanut ball, i started feeling my contractions intensify on my right side and panicked. the nurse increased my epidural and helped me shift on the peanut ball to make sure my epidural stayed evenly spread out. after 30 minutes, dr. m came back in to check me real quick.
and we will never forget this part. at 7:30pm, dr m. looked at me and said, “bethany!”
i opened my eyes and looked right at her, confused at her excitement. i had been stalled at 4 cm for almost 12 hours so i wasn’t expecting any change and was ready to be prepped for surgery.
“bethany!” she repeated. “you are dilated to 10cm and you are ready to push!”
um, what? how in the world did i go from 4cm to 10cm within 30 minutes?
and that is when everything started moving really fast.
dr. m called all of the nurses into the room and everything was prepped for delivery. baby blankets were brought in, my bed was transitioned into a labor bed, gowns were put on, new team members were introduced.
at 8:00pm, i started to push. with my husband (who is the best labor coach i could ever had dreamed of) on my left side and a team of 3 nurses on my right, i pushed for a short 30 minutes and heard a cry at 8:33pm as my husband announced, “it’s a girl!” and i saw our sweet baby for the very first time. the nurses were laughing, as she cried before she was even all the way out. and that is how her APGAR score was a 9.9. 🙂
seeing her for the first time was indescribable. i won’t even try to put into words the love i felt for both my second baby girl and for my husband. it was pure joy.
for my first natural birth, dr. m was antonished at how perfect it was. i pushed for a short 30 minutes and, thankfully, only had a papercut of a tear. i couldn’t have been luckier. and if you ask us today, we are still in complete shock of how quick and easy the entire birth was. i had spent the last 9 months wondering about how our birth would play out and praying to experience natural child birth and, in the end, it was everything i wanted it to be.
at my 6 week check-up, my doctor asked me which birth i preferred…my c-section or my VBAC. to be honest, they were equally easy. while my VBAC was quick and easy, i felt that my c-section recovery was easier. but no matter what, i am so blessed to have been given both experiences. and to be given two beautiful and sweet baby girls. however, the best thing about having a VBAC the second time around was being able to be released from the hospital quicker so we could go home to our 20 month old…we missed her terribly.
every mama i know loves to tell the story of their childbirth(s). everyone’s story is so beautifully different and special. i am so thankful to have had two very peaceful births, both very different from one another. and just how i will remember all the sweet little things my girls do each day, i will always remember the beautiful days that each of them were born. always.
to read more about my journey with motherhood, be sure to check out what posts are trending below.