Oh where to begin! Well, my Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, due date came and went, and I started to feel like our baby girl would never make her grand entrance. I knew I’d eventually be induced if that was the case, but I still had hope that she’d come on her own.
After Wednesday I decided to try and not dwell on her late arrival too much. I was already out on maternity leave, so I wanted to make sure to at least have 1 thing to do every day. On Thursday Camille and I grabbed lunch at Royal Thai Cuisine and then got some frozen yogurt. It was really nice chatting about both of our pregnancies – expectations, fears, hopes; all that good stuff. I had a really great time!
Then on Friday I thought about going to see Captain America. Ben must’ve read my mind because he texted me a few hours after he left for work and said he decided not to go in – his request? Let’s go see Captain America then head to Field Guide for lunch! Perfect.
I met up with Ben at MacArthur for an 11AM showing and stopped at H&M first to pick up a few cute things for Elliot and our impending arrival.
The movie started and every now and then I’d feel some pain in my lower abdomen. I didn’t think anything of it though since it was more than bearable. The movie was great, and it took my mind off things… just what I needed! It was around 1:30 when the movie ended so we walked over to Field Guide to grab some lunch. I work right next door so I stopped in to say hi to Elaine, but I decided not to say hi to anyone else. As weird as it may sound, I felt bad being there still pregnant… like I was doing something wrong, haha! We then walked next door and of course Dave and the guys asked when baby would be here… I wish I knew! I ordered the Party One and a Chocolate Cinnamon Bun, and Ben got the White One with the works. Yum!
During our lunch I noticed those same lower abdominal pains and decided to tell Ben. We both shrugged them off and then headed back to the mall to get our cars and go home.
Once we got home we decided to take Eegor for a walk. Again, those same pains kept coming back. I started to wonder if the beginning of the end of this pregnancy was near. After Eegor’s walk I decided to lay down for a bit while Ben mowed the lawn and then went to pick up Elliot at daycare.
When Ben got back with Elliot, Elliot requested that we go to the park… he had his sunglasses on and his Spiderman phone in his hand and was ready! How could we say no to that?! We obviously obliged, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to do some more walking and see what these pains were all about.
At the park I took a seat on a bench and payed closer attention to the pains I was having. They seemed to be starting to get more frequent, though not consistent or very painful. Watching Elliot and Ben play together was a good distraction, and I felt so blessed so be in that moment with them on that beautiful day.
We headed back home, ate some dinner, and put Elliot to bed at 7PM. I then took my position on the couch and decided complete relaxation for the evening was in order. The pains continued, but again, still not very painful or consistent. I texted my doula, Lacey, and let her know regardless just in case. I also then decided it would be a fabulous idea to finish off my Ben & Jerry’s Hazed and Confused core ice cream. So so good!
Around 9PM I decided I’d head upstairs to bed. I noticed my pains, which I started to officially call contractions, were getting a little more painful and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to sleep. Nevertheless I felt it would be best if I at least tried. Well, I tried and I would doze off for 5-20 minutes to be awoken by another contraction. I started timing them using my handy iPhone app, but they were still pretty inconsistent. I was told to call the midwife when my contractions are no more than 5 minutes apart lasting for 1 minute for at least 1 hour – the 5-1-1 rule. Since I still wasn’t there yet I decided to continue waiting. I did decide to tell Ben to make sure we had a plan for Elliot and Eegor though, just in case. Ben’s sister Charity and her husband Chris were officially on-call.
As the hours went on I could tell things were starting to pick up, and at 3AM I decided to call the midwife to see what she thought. I gave her the scoop and she said it would be best that I come in. We packed everything up, I took a quick shower, and around 3:45 Chris arrived to watch Elliot and Eegor. I continued breathing through each contraction, managing the pain as best I could.
We arrived at the hospital around 4AM and got checked in. I actually ended up getting wheeled up to the 3rd floor behind another woman in labor whose water had broken, so her trail led the way. I felt bad for her, but I was grateful to be able to smile at the situation as the nurse wheeling me said that never happens.
So I was wheeled to the Midwifery Center and they began hooking me up to be monitored for 30 minutes, which is standard procedure. It was funny because the nurse said I was having a contraction and I was like, “Really? I don’t feel it.” – sweet! After those 30 minutes were up, Beth, the midwife on call came in to check and see how dilated I was. I was convinced, especially since I wasn’t really feeling any more contractions, that I would only be 2cm and they would send me home. Well, low and behold I was 6cm! I was shocked. Ben swiftly called Lacey to let her know and she was there within 25 minutes. Phew!
Since I tested positive for Group B Strep (a common thing), I had to be hooked up to an IV for 30 minutes to get a dose of antibiotics to ensure I didn’t pass anything to the baby during the delivery. In fact, this is supposed to happen in 4 separate doses at 30 minutes each but since I was so far along already no one thought I’d make it. This just meant baby girl would need a blood test after birth to confirm nothing was passed to her.
After the first dose of antibiotics was done, I got out of bed and decided to labor standing up. Our doula, Lacey, was so on it. She suggested I try certain positions to ease the pain and everything she suggested was very helpful. Having both her and Ben there was amazing, and I would highly recommend getting a doula if you want to attempt an unmedicated birth. Heck, even if you get an epidural having that extra support is amazing. After laboring standing up and on a birth ball, I decided to get into the birth tub and try that out. It felt great. The buoyancy from the water was a nice relief for all the lower abdominal contractions I was having. But boy, let me just say that these contractions were SO much more bearable than the back labor I had with Elliot.
While in the tub my contractions started to get more and more intense. Keeping my focus and taking cleansing breaths at the peak of each was key for me not losing control. It was really hard, but I just took one at a time. Again, Ben and Lacey were wonderful.
Around 7AM I noticed the sunrise. It was seriously a Godsend and such perfect timing, because that’s when things started to get even more difficult. Beth checked me again and I was at 9cm… almost there! Soon after I felt a ton of pressure and knew it was time to push. Beth asked me if I wanted to give birth in the tub and even though I had no previous plans of having a water birth, at that point I had no desire to move. Then it was pushing time! It’s funny because every time I pushed I would dunk my face into the water. I don’t know why, but I guess since you hold your breath when you push it just felt natural to me. It took all my strength and after about 20 minutes of pushing, which is when my water finally broke on its own, I could feel her coming out. Beth gently guided her to the front of me and I lifted her out of the water. At that point I couldn’t control my emotions. It was so surreal – lifting my daughter out of the water and into this world. I cried, I smiled, I told her she was beautiful and that we loved her so much. Ben was overcome with emotions too… we were just so happy she was finally here! After the umbilical cord stopped pulsating Ben cut it.
At 7:37am on April 5th, 2014 Mila Marta Parker was born, weighing 7lbs 10.5oz, 20.5 inches long.
I wouldn’t change either of my birth experiences for anything, but this one was much easier. I didn’t tear and my contractions were much more manageable. My recovery so far has been smooth sailing (knocks on wood) and Mila is such a doll. We are home now and enjoying life as a family of 5 (Eegor included of course).