This blog is Chelsea’s birth story, and the day or so leading up to her birth. If you have no interest in details, please feel free to skip it. I’ll post an update on home life with two kids soon. 🙂
Miss Chelsea Rose finally decided to make her appearance on June 5, 2015, and she had a bit of help when it came to deciding to appear.
I was due May 28th, and up until about five days after my estimated due date, I was feeling pretty zen about waiting for labor to happen naturally. I was impatient, of course, but Briana was born five days after her due date, so I was sure that Chelsea would be born around the same time. David’s birthday is June 1st, and mine is the 10th, so I was hoping she wasn’t born on either one of those days. I was also hoping that she wouldn’t be born on the 8th, because that is when our lost baby, Riley, was due. Once I passed the five-day mark, I was at the point of “Get her out of here!”
My midwife had told me at my forty week appointment (on a Wednesday) that if I hadn’t had my baby by 41 weeks, they would call me to schedule another appointment for a non-stress test and a possible ultrasound to make sure the baby was okay. They had also told me that at 12 days past due, they would try to jump-start labor so they could have a chance to give me the birth center birth I wanted, since at 2 weeks past due, they have to send people to the hospital if they haven’t gone into labor already.
By Monday, I was beyond ready to deliver, and had had a false alarm thinking I was going into labor the previous Friday. On Tuesday I had an appointment and they told me that I was 2 cm dilated and that I seemed very ready to have a baby. I told them I was ready to go. My appointment that day was with the head midwife at the birth center, and she told me they had a couple other inductions scheduled already that week, but if I hadn’t gone into labor on my own by Friday, they would call me about having a baby over the weekend.
So imagine how absolutely positively thrilled I was to get a call the next day from the midwife I had seen the most at the center, asking “Hey, do you want to have a baby tomorrow?” I practically cut her off with my resounding “YES!”
She told me about the castor oil and how they wanted me to take it (blend it in a blender with three eggs, and then cook it in a frying pan with whatever I wanted to improve/mask the flavor, and then eat it) and what time she wanted me to take it. Then she said she’d see me soon.
I was ecstatic but didn’t tell many people. I didn’t want to be getting constant text messages or phone calls from a million people wondering what was going on. I also knew there would be a load of skepticism from people thinking castor oil was an old wives tale or something, and I didn’t need to deal with that negativity right then.
The next day, right as I was preparing to start my “delicious” meal, I got a phone call asking me to delay for two hours because they had someone who was already in labor there and needed a little more time. I was completely bummed, but at the same time, glad. I was surprisingly nervous about taking this stuff and actually going into labor. I was keyed up and anxious, and the two-hour delay gave me a bit more time to collect myself.
We loaded Briana up into the car and drove to my in-laws house, since she was going to be staying with them when we headed to the birth center. My mother-in-law was nice enough to make my eggs for me when it was time, and I choked them down. The eggs would have been delicious without the oil, but man alive that stuff is gross.
I waited and waited and nothing was happening, and when they called me three hours later, I had just started having some contractions. So they told me to take one more dose, the same way, and that she was sure that would do it. She said she would call me in a couple of hours and check in with me, then have me come in to the birth center. She told me I should take a short walk and try to relax and rest up for labor.
I’m not going to lie. I am not a huge fan of eggs anyway, so when she told me to take that second dose, just the thought of it was enough to make me nauseous. But I tried. I think I ate about three-quarters of it before I literally started gagging and just couldn’t eat any more. My mother-in-law and David both pointed out that the castor oil wouldn’t be able to do its work if I threw it all back up. Yuck!
It wasn’t long after the second dose that I started feeling stronger contractions. They weren’t painful, but they were definitely noticeable and close together. My midwife had warned me they would start out close together because of the castor oil, but not to freak out. I’d know it was time to go if they got really strong.
We put Briana to bed, and soon after that David and I went back to our apartment. I wanted to shower and change clothes, and just get a couple of last-minute things done and be in our own home.
Both sooner than I liked and not soon enough, we got the call and were told to head on down to the birth center so that they could see if I’d dilated any more and if we were going to have a baby that night. They told us to get there at about 11:30, which gave us just a bit before we needed to leave.
I was really nervous at this point. I think I was driving David crazy, but he never showed it. He stayed calm, and that helped me stay calm..er. Calmer. But not completely calm. Ha!
When we arrived, there was another woman in one of the labor suites in labor, and they told us we could wait in the other suite, but they needed just a minute. I felt bad for the lady. She was a first time mom and had been in hard labor for like 24 hours and pushing for an insane amount of hours. She needed to be transferred to the hospital because she was just too tired to keep pushing. Poor mama.
They checked me at about midnight, and I was dilated to a 4. My midwife told me that I felt really “labory” and that if they didn’t break my water now, she had the feeling I would be back in a few hours anyway. She said “I leave it up to you, we can do this now or in the morning, or we can wait for you to go into labor…but personally, you’re here, you have childcare…I say we do it.” I said “Let’s do it. I’m ready.”
I was really nervous about her breaking my water, but she promised it didn’t hurt, and it didn’t. I was a little concerned when she broke it though, because it wasn’t clear, it had a slight green tinge, and I knew that meant the baby had passed some meconium and that it could be dangerous for the baby. I asked about it, and she explained that the amount we were seeing wasn’t worrisome at all, but they would keep an eye out for any changes that would indicate danger for the baby.
I had texted my friends, Chelsea (my daughter is named after her…we will call her “C” to avoid confusion) and Victoria to let them know I may be having a baby and they should be ready to come down. C has been my friend since fifth grade, and Victoria was going to take pictures for us. They arrived right after the midwife broke my water, so David went out to greet them and also to bring in our bag and food and such.
Almost immediately after they broke my water, my contractions gained a lot of intensity. This made me feel a little bit scared, but also excited, because it was finally almost time to meet this baby!
My friends came in, and I was told by my midwife to go take a walk, either around the center or outside. It was really late, but with David and my two friends, I chose to go walk outside. I wanted to get things going, and I felt like some fresh air would be nice. I wasn’t timing the contractions, because they had started so close together, but at first I felt like I was walking a fair distance in between contractions, maybe half a block, and then they started getting closer together, and getting more intense. I was still laughing and joking in between contractions, but pretty soon I wasn’t talking through contractions anymore, not even to swear (which I had been doing quite loudly at first, because a. it helped me focus and b. it was making everybody laugh).
I made it twice around the block and decided I wanted to go inside. I changed into my sports bra because my shirt felt too tight and uncomfortable. After we got inside, the laughing and joking between contractions stopped pretty quickly. The contractions were very painful, and I was concentrating on moaning through them, and later kind of roaring. The vocalizing helped, and I didn’t give a damn at the time how loud I was, because dammit, it was helping. I held onto David for dear life through each contraction, and he was super supportive, even after I told him to stop talking. 🙂
After a while, someone (I don’t remember who, but I think it was one of the two birthing assistants who were there, or possibly it was Victoria) suggested getting in the tub. I hesitated at first because sitting down at all had always caused an insane increase in my level of pain, but I decided to try it. They ran the water and I got in. At first I hated it because I couldn’t hold onto David the way I wanted to through each contraction, but eventually I got into a position that worked for me, and David applied pressure on my back through each contraction, which was actually surprisingly helpful.
I have no idea what time it was when I, very panicked, said “I need to push,” but my midwife very calmly said okay and had me switch positions so she could see how dilated I was. She said I was at a 9 and needed to wait through two contractions before I could push.
That was, by far, the most difficult moment of labor aside from actually pushing the baby out. When your body is saying “push” and your midwife is saying “wait!” Ugh. No fun.
But I survived, and then I was pushing.
With Briana, when I first started pushing, I had an epidural and couldn’t feel her moving down the birth canal. So this was weird. A completely different experience.
All I remember from this time is that every time I was pushing, a chorus of women (and David) were encouraging me, telling me how awesome I was doing, how great and amazing I was, how I was doing everything perfectly right. If I complained I was hot, they put cool cloths on my head. They gave me sips of juice. They talked in low and soothing voices. If I had a question, they answered it as if I was a competent human being, without any condescending tones. They were amazing. It was such a different experience than my hospital birth, with an I.V. in my arm, no drinking or eating allowed, and being told I wasn’t trying hard enough.
After a few pushes, my midwife asked if I could go over to the bed, because she was pretty sure Chelsea’s arm was up by her face and that her arm might get stuck on the way out. I asked if it was dangerous, and she said that it wasn’t dangerous, she just might need me in a different position to get her out. So I said no, because laying down or sitting had hurt me so bad before. (I asked David later if she seemed annoyed when I said no, and he said “not at all.”)
When the baby crowned, I completely panicked for a moment, but David and my midwife and everyone else had me back in my zone in seconds. After the baby crowned, I think I pushed once more before my midwife was suddenly telling me I had to stand up. I was like “how in the hell am I gonna stand up?” She said “we’re going to help you” and suddenly four sets of hands were hauling me up onto my feet, and my midwife was telling me to hold onto the edge of the tub.
She was right. The baby had her arm up and her shoulder was stuck. I held onto the tub, yelling at them to get the baby out, and then swearing and screaming “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” Well, she was pulling the baby out, because she was stuck.
I felt the baby come out, and I didn’t hear her cry, and I couldn’t see what was happening. “Is she okay? Is the baby okay?” I was frantic, and even after they told me she was fine, I didn’t relax until I heard her start to cry.
Her cord was abnormally short, so they very carefully passed her to me between my legs and helped me hold her until I was sitting down again. I couldn’t lift her to my chest, so she was sitting in my lap with her face on my tummy. She was beautiful. And all that pain that I had been experiencing fell away, and everything in the room sort of fell away, and all my worries of not being able to love a second baby as much as I had loved my first seemed ridiculous, and my heart…I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, and I just fell in love with her. Just like that. My rainbow baby.
They waited a few minutes and then clamped the cord so David could cut it. Then my midwife said “okay, we’re going to deliver the placenta.” I expected her to tell me to push, like they had at the hospital, but she just sort of put pressure on my belly and moved her hands down while maintaining that pressure and whoosh, there it was. I looked at her and said “That’s it? Wow!” And then, because I’m weird, I asked if I could touch it. She said “sure!” It was sort of odd to see this organ that had supported life in my uterus for ten months, but cool, too. And, because I’m an oddball, I think it’s cool I got to touch it. 😛
My midwife had me hand the baby off to David so they could get me cleaned up and onto the bed. They helped me strip off my wet sports bra and wrapped me in some towels and got me into bed. David brought the baby to me and I just stared at her. I couldn’t get enough. I asked for help with breastfeeding as I had no idea how to latch her on. I had pumped for Briana, but she had such issues latching that after the first couple weeks I never put her to the breast. I felt like a complete novice. She latched on, and it was amazing, and I understood why people say breastfeeding helps you bond.
I told Victoria and C, who had been amazing through the whole thing, that they should go home and get some sleep. They both had places to be that morning!
Eventually the birth assistant had David bring the baby over to the scale, and they measured her and checked her out and gave her the vitamin k shot and put that goopy stuff on her eyes.
Miss Chelsea Rose was born at 4:13AM on June 5, 2015, after 20-30 minutes of pushing, weighing 8 pounds and 8 ounces (exactly a pound heavier than her older sister was at birth) and measuring 21 inches long.
We got her footprints in the baby book, they gave me some paperwork and after care instructions. They took my vitals and made me eat because my blood pressure was too low, and then they took my vitals again. And then, at 6:15, they said we were free to go! They would be by the next day for the 24 hour newborn screening. So different from the hospital, where they made us stay overnight and then almost a second night before they would discharge us!
We went home and crashed for a couple of hours, and then we showered and headed to my in-laws house so that Briana could meet her little sister. And that was that. We had a new little person to get to know!
I’ll write another blog as soon as I can about life with a toddler and a newborn. It’s been interesting to say the least.
But I’ll end this blog by saying that Chelsea is already a month old, and we love her to pieces, as does her sister. Time is flying by even faster now that there are two Little Loves in the house. I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to keep up!
Happy Mama of Two