Today is Little Miss’ second birthday! She wanted to hear her birthday song just as the clock struck midnight. So we obliged, through lots of tears. Then she wanted to be sure we remembered the moment of her birth, so she woke again at 3:15, about the time we left our house two years ago to race to the hospital. As I waited for her to fall asleep again I saw the clock read 3:44, the time of birth. Little Monster didn’t want to miss out on the remembrance so she woke up about then too. It’s only fair, she was in the car for the birth and could be considered a labor coach as she helped me moo like a cow through contractions. Everyone is tired today after an eventful night. We don’t exactly have the adrenaline pumping that we did two years ago….
Many factors played into our decision to plan for a hospital birth this time, including lots of illness and stress in the first trimester, a retained placenta with the first, insurance and finances, etc. We felt it would be best to go with the midwives at the hospital to get the natural birth I wanted but be in the best place for after birth care if needed.
On Wednesday and Thursday my back was killing me. It felt like if I could just go to the chiropractor it would feel so much better. Friday was better, but we cancelled our trip to the Jacksonville Zoo. We went to the local teaching zoo to walk around instead. Saturday was painful again, but this time it felt like I had a foot pushing against my kidneys. Hubby finished putting up the front gate and I finished rearranging and cleaning our bedroom so that Opa’s cradle was in easy reach.
I woke up Sunday morning at 1:32am to pee. As I sat up on the side of the bed I felt a gush that I only assumed was pee and groaned in frustration as I got out of bed. As I sat on the toilet I had a little bit of low cramping, but nothing too bad. I got a new pair of underwear and went back to bed. I got up again at 1:44, ‘peed’ a little more, went to the bathroom and had some more cramping, a bit more intense this time. I also noticed the tiniest bit of blood. I went back to bed with another new pair of underwear and realized I needed to figure out if my water had broken. I got up 10 minutes later to pee again with more cramping, but didn’t have a lot of leaking this time so I still wasn’t sure about the water breaking. When I got back to bed again the cramping had picked up, both in intensity and frequency. I was having to reposition myself and breathe through them and they were suddenly coming every 5-6 minutes. This was too much too fast. This was labor. Hubby was starting to stir and I let him know today was the day, but we could take our time. I decided to take a shower since I couldn’t get comfortable in bed. Hubby grabbed the last-minute packing list, made some coffee, and started getting things together. Labor with my first was 23 hours, so we didn’t expect this one to go too fast. I was hoping for maybe a six-hour labor.
I had several contractions in the shower. Putting the shower head over the cramps relieved a lot of the pain/pressure. I was making very loud, low sounds. They just kept coming faster and faster. I called to Hubby after several of these contractions that we needed to call the midwives. I got out of the shower and when I got back to the bedroom noticed a lot of bloody show on the towel. Hubby woke up Little Monster, took her potty, and brought her in to hang out with me on the bed while he loaded everything in the car. I asked him to put a chux pad on the seat in the car.
Between contractions I explained to Little Monster that we were going to meet the baby soon. I told her I was going to make some really strange noises, but it’s just to help the baby come out. I told her I needed her to help me moo like a cow. She sat on the bed and watched me intently as I labored leaning on the side of the bed, getting in a small squat and swaying my hips, making low, guttural sounds during each contraction. I looked at her between them to let her know that it’s ok and she just smiled and mooed with me. Hubby texted the babysitter to let her know we were coming, because I couldn’t make my fingers work with my phone. I was trying to get dressed during all this too. It seemed like it took me forever, and I never even got my pants on.
Hubby got Little Monster in the car, and was coming back to turn lights off and lock everything up. I peed one more time, changed my pad, and headed to the car with him right behind me. When we got to the car I started watching the clock to see how far apart contractions were. I hadn’t timed them since before the shower. Two minutes. I noticed I was sitting on the plastic part of the chux pad instead of the absorbent part, but knew there was no way I could adjust it as we drove. At least there was something between me and the seat. We had to go slowly for the first 8 miles on the county roads to avoid the local wildlife. He hit a possum. We avoided some deer. Once we got to the highway I told him we couldn’t stop by the sitter’s house to drop off Little Monster, we needed to go straight to the hospital. He sped onto the interstate.
I fumbled around looking for my phone, and when I couldn’t find that I started looking for my contact list to call the sitter on his phone. He was flying down the open road. My contractions continued to be exactly two minutes apart, lasting a minute to two minutes long. There were several where I felt like I had no break between them. I found the contact list but couldn’t dial the sitter’s number. Two exits before we had to get off I was feeling pushy. When we got off the interstate Hubby called the sitter to let her know we wouldn’t make it to her house, and asked if she could meet us at the hospital instead. I’m sure she got an earful of labor sounds in the background.
We got to the hospital 30 minutes after we left the house and he pulled into the circle just outside the doors. I asked him to get me a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk in. He came back out with one, but said there was no one inside. I said, ‘The baby’s here!’ The baby was crowning. He asked what to do. I told him to push my underwear down. He helped me free one leg from my underwear. I delivered the head with the next push. I saw the cord wrapped around baby’s neck, so together we quickly slipped it over the head. The baby came out with the next push. Hubby helped bring the baby to my chest. It was floppy and slippery! As we turned the baby over toward me we heard a quick little cry. The baby was ok! Hubby ran off to find someone to help us and called 911. I heard Little Monster in the back seat whimpering. I lifted the baby up over the center console and showed her it was ok, the baby was here. She immediately stopped crying and signed and said ‘all done.’ Yes, it is all done. She made me smile.
Hubby came back to the car on the phone with 911 trying to explain that we were outside the hospital and the baby was born in the car. His phone was only working on speaker phone at the time. He was yelling into the phone but they couldn’t hear anything until he remembered to put it on speaker. I was trying to nurse the baby already but couldn’t latch. He hung up and asked if it was a boy or girl. I told him I hadn’t checked because I was waiting on him. Just then the doctor, nurses and security all ran out to us. The doctor suggested cutting the cord, but Hubby told her we wanted to wait on that. She asked if the cord would reach for her to hold baby while I got out of the car. ‘Yes, it’s fine.’ They got me in the wheelchair, Hubby got Little Monster from her car seat, and we all went inside as they threw blankets on me and baby. I kept trying to take the blankets off because it was a hot and steamy September morning. About 10 feet inside I was gathering the blankets back up again though.
They took us to the back elevator so that we didn’t shock the people in the L&D waiting room with blood dripping down my legs. In the elevator someone, a nurse maybe, asked if it was a boy or girl and we said we didn’t know yet. So she helped unwrap the blankets that had been piled on top of us so we could check. We had a girl!! I said her name out loud.
As we got to a labor and delivery room Hubby let them know we needed to pay attention because I had a retained placenta with our first, and that we wanted to keep the placenta. I announced that I was GBS positive and (obviously) didn’t get the antibiotics I was supposed to. Once I was in bed, they clamped the cord which had stopped pulsing by then and Hubby cut it with Little Monster in his arms. They moved Little Miss to the warming table to check her vitals. She weighed 8 lbs, 12 oz, was 20” long, and had a head circumference of 36cm. Big baby! Hubby checked his phone to see when he dialed 911 to get the time of birth – 3:44am. We waited a little while for ‘a kit.’ As we sat and waited, the doctor held the clamped cord and said she could see the placenta and she was just waiting until she had something to put it in. I asked her about it a few times. I couldn’t believe it could have detached so easily. They rolled in this big cart with a blue cloth over it. Once the cart came she gently tugged the cord and I pushed out a placenta with just a small ‘Ow!’ Now it was really ‘all done.’ My prayers were answered for an uncomplicated delivery and after birth. The doctor stitched me up. I had one long tear, which I felt happen when I pushed the head out. I was walked to the bathroom to clean up a little. Then I got to hold my girl again. It felt like she was on the warming table for half an hour, but really it was only 5-10 minutes. She started nursing right away. The sitter showed up a little bit later with her son. We all oo’d and ah’d over this brand new baby. Hubby walked her out to get Little Monster’s overnight bag and move our car away from the hospital entrance. When he got back they moved us to the recovery wing.
Hubby spent the day with me. He napped for a couple hours on the couch but I couldn’t sleep at all. I couldn’t stop looking at this brand new baby and had so much adrenaline running through me from the exciting birth. I took a shower in the afternoon to get the rest of the blood off my legs and feet. The sitter brought Little Monster back to us in the late afternoon. Hubby took her home to sleep in her own bed and I spent the night alone at the hospital with Little Miss by my side. She was cluster feeding, nursing for five hours with 15 minute breaks here and there, and then slept for five hours straight. She kept snorting like a pig as she ate, and I tried to resist calling her Miss Piggy. By the time I thought to record the sound, she stopped making it.
Our pediatrician came to visit on Monday morning. Because I didn’t get the antibiotics for GBS during labor she wanted to keep Little Miss a full 48 hours for observation. They were going to do a complete blood count on her to make sure all was well too. I asked if there was any chance of going home that day. She said that if her CBC came back absolutely perfect, with the white blood count not too high or too low, then we could go home that day, but we would have to come to the office the next day. I agreed. Blood was drawn in the morning and several hours later the nurse came in to tell us we could go home! We saw a rainbow in the sky as we left the hospital. It was so good to pick up Little Monster from the sitter’s house and bring our family of four home.
My milk came in within 48 hours of the birth. Her poop was already transitioning to the birdseed poop and she was gaining weight at her 2-day appointment. Twenty four hours after her birth she had dropped down to 8lbs 3oz. Thirty hours later she weighed in at 8lbs 4oz. She continued to gain significantly until about 4 months, when she started moving a lot and plateaued at 14lbs. We had to be diligent about watching her for any signs of illness or infection over the first 6 weeks. If she were to get a fever at all, even just with a cold, we would have to take her in immediately for full bloodwork and a spinal tap to make sure it’s not Group B Strep, which can spiral out of control very quickly. But she was a very healthy baby girl!
So I got the natural birth I wanted, although unassisted childbirth in the front seat of the car wasn’t exactly the plan. Labor was 2 hours 15 minutes from the time my water broke. Recovery was so much easier compared to our first. I finally realized how hard of a recovery I had with Little Monster due to the retained placenta and manual removal. Little Miss slept a lot as a newborn, so I was able to get the rest I needed and spend lots of one on one time with Little Monster. She was a highly efficient nurser, nursing for just 5 minutes at a time every four or five hours. The 16 diapers a day let me know she was getting plenty in such a short amount of time.
Happy second birthday, Little Miss!