She’s here! Our little girl is finally home with us and we’re loving (most) every minute of adjusting to life as a family of four. Our son is an awesome big brother and besides a few extra toddler tantrums, he’s adjusting very well. But that’s another matter for a different blog post.
Without further ado, here is baby girl’s birth story:
On Friday, April 8th, I started having contractions around noon. I began timing, but they were too far apart and not strong enough to warrant bringing Eric home from work. 10 hours later the contractions lulled. Since we were already 40 weeks & 2 days along, I figured I’d most likely go into labor late that night or early the next morning, so imagine my surprise when I made it through the whole next day still pregnant. This mild start-stop labor continued for the next 6 days despite every effort to encourage her out (i.e. walking, sitting on the birth ball, Spinning Babies, The Miles Circuit, spicy food, Raspberry leaf tea, etc.)
Finally, early Friday morning, I started having stronger contractions that were 5 minutes apart. While I was pretty sure that I wasn’t anywhere close to delivery, I was pretty positive today was the day. I also didn’t want to experience transition in the car, so after a couple of hours, Eric and I said goodbye to our little man and my parents, and headed towards St. Luke’s.
Much to my relief, I kept experiencing regular contractions in the car. When we arrived at the hospital, we valet parked our car and then proceeded to walk around the hospital. We did this for about an hour until my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. I still didn’t feel like they had enough umph behind them, but we agreed I should go into triage and just get checked out.
Upon being examined, I was 80% effaced & 4 cm. I was disappointed not to be further dilated as it felt like early labor was never going to end, but I tried to stay positive. Eric sweetly reminded me that the things can change quickly and that my current cervix check was no reason to be discouraged. I was worried they wouldn’t admit us since I wasn’t 5cm yet, but they did! After asking if we wanted to use a birth tub, which we did, they went to work drawing blood, placing my hep-lock, and explaining the admittance paperwork.
We arrived at our L&D room about 12 o’clock where I immediately disposed of my gross hospital gown and put on my Pretty Pushers gown instead. After 20 minutes of monitoring of me & the baby, we were left to labor in peace. We actually had a lot of fun during this time. Eric and I made jokes, watched Netflix, walked the room, listened to music while I did hip rolls on the birth ball, and just waited for things to progress.
Around 3:30, our midwife came to say hello and see how things were going. Unfortunately, they really weren’t moving along. I was still at 4 cm, or a bit under, as it seemed the admitting nurse may have been a little generous with her measurement. Since we were scheduled for an induction the next morning, we weren’t going home without a baby, but we were really hoping to do it without intervention if possible.
Again we were left alone to focus on laboring. This time was calmer. I was more focused and didn’t talk as much as I gave in completely to each contraction. When 6:30 rolled around, my contractions had begun to intensify and I wanted to sit in the shower for pain relief. Our midwife checked me again–still 4 cm–so into the shower I went.
I stayed in the shower for at least an hour with extremely hot water raining down on me while Eric used the shower wand on my back. This offered tremendous relief during contractions. The shower revitalized me, gave me something to focus on, and helped me finally progress.
My water broke when I got out of the shower briefly to pee and the popping sound startled me. The fluid was clear, so I headed back into the shower to continue contracting while they filled up the birth tub. When even the shower couldn’t keep me totally focused on a contraction, I moved into the tub. It sent a wave of relief through my entire body as I settled down into the warm water. The nurse kindly turned on the jets and I sat against one during really painful contractions letting the strong water pound into the pain in my back. Unable to get in due to hospital regulations, Eric sat on the edge of the tub and held my hands and rubbed my back. He talked me through each contraction reminding me that each one brought us closer to meeting our baby girl.
Transition hit swiftly and aggressively, just like I remembered from my labor with our son. Almost immediately I started feeling the need to bear down with each contraction. Just like with our son, I couldn’t not push. About this time the nurse called for our midwife. They got me out of the tub and over to the labor bed. It was 8:30 PM. In 2 hours, I had gone from barely dilated to ready to push.
Pushing was not quite the relief I remembered from my last labor. I had trouble getting into a comfortable pushing position and I felt really fatigued. Eric and our midwife helped me move into various positions hoping one would be “the position,” but in the end we went with the position that worked the best for me to physically push effectively, but didn’t relive the pain in my back.
Pushing little girl out was hard work. Not only was she looking up, but we were beginning to suspect that she was pretty big. The ring of fire I experienced was super intense, but one final big push brought her out at 9:35 PM. She was alert and absolutely beautiful. Immediately they laid her on my chest for skin-to-skin while we waited for the cord to stop pulsating. After cutting the cord, the nurse took Kaeli over to the baby warmer to check her vitals. She was 9lbs 11oz!! I never in a million years thought I could deliver a baby that size, but I did it!
I could not have had this amazing, empowering birth experience without my wonderful husband. Never once did he waver in his faith in me. Never once did he fail to support me through a contraction. His support was invaluable. It kept me going through transition when I felt like giving up and through intense pushing that seemed to last forever. I adore that he was my birth partner with both our children. You can read Logan’s birth story here.
Little girl arrived after 41 weeks and 2 days. She was completely worth the extra wait time! I’m so glad we didn’t have to induce and that she FINALLY decided to come out on her own instead.
Oh! And if you or someone you know is pregnant, check out my blog post on Packing Your Hospital Bag (Mom, Dad, & Baby) and My Postpartum Recovery. I give the skinny on what items we actually used during labor and recovery, and talk about cloth pads/padsicles, cloth nursing pads, and the beauty of using witch hazel for lady business healing.