As I sit here on the eve of Thanksgiving, thinking about all I have to appreciate in my life, I am especially thankful for something I had never imagined loving so much: my two beautiful children. Yes, two! In the ten months since this blog has been abandoned, I conceived, gestated, and birthed my and Shawn's second child: a beautiful baby girl named Giselle.
Though I am still on somewhat of a hiatus from blogging, I want to memorialize Giselle's birth just as I have Liam's (which can be found here). Her birth story isn't nearly as dramatic, but is just as worthy of being written.
If you know anything about my pregnancy with Liam, you know that it was difficult. Kidney stones, recurrent urinary tract infections, surgery, preterm labor, hospitalization, bed rest... And then of course, the frantic two hour labor, complete with emergency vehicles, two lanes of a major highway being shut down, and my husband completely missing the birth of our son as he fought rush hour traffic behind the ambulance that transported me to the hospital. But if my first pregnancy was hell on earth... My second was heavenly.
I kept waiting for a kidney stone to form. I kept waiting to go into labor. Every twinge, every Braxton Hicks contraction, I was ready for another week-long hospitalization and somehow figuring out how to take care of a toddler while staying in bed.
But none of it ever happened. Other than spending my days waddling after a two-year-old and enduring the typical aches and pains, it was a pretty uneventful pregnancy. Once I got closer to being "term" though, my anxiety turned elsewhere: the timing and speed of labor.
As I mentioned, Liam's entire labor and delivery was only two hours. My water broke on its own in the morning and by the time I got to the hospital I was complete and had been resisting the urge to push. So I was worried. I have heard that subsequent labors are typically faster, and depending on traffic and the time of day, there was a possibility of not making it to the hospital on time.
While I think home births are wonderful for some people, it was not a choice I was comfortable with, so I chose to birth in the hospital with a certified nurse midwife. Due to my history of rapid labor and a positive group B strep culture, the word "induction" came up a few times in discussion with her. I am very much against induction in most cases, but I am also very much against roadside births. An induction was scheduled for 39 weeks - but this did nothing to ease my fears, as Liam was born at 38 weeks and three days.
On October 24th, I went out to dinner with my husband and son. I ate some hot wings and enjoyed our little family of three. I bathed and tucked in an unsuspecting Liam that night and enjoyed a quiet evening with Shawn. I was 38 weeks and one day.
The next morning, Shawn went in to work early, as usual. I woke up around 6:30, and I felt... Weird. Something was off. I went to the bathroom and got back in bed, and promptly had a contraction. Not a wimpy Braxton Hick; the real thing. I closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep, but seven minutes later, it happened again. And seven minutes later, again. And seven minutes after that. I texted Shawn and told him that I think today might be the day. He headed home and I called my sister, who was already on the road on her way to class. I put on a locket necklace with Liam's picture inside, so my first baby would stay by my heart throughout the day.
Courtney and Shawn arrived at the house at the same time, where Liam and I were ready to go. Still having uncomfortable contractions about seven minutes apart. I was still happy, smiling, and kind of wondering if this wasn't really "it", because I wasn't in agonizing pain like with the sudden onset of hard labor I experienced with my first pregnancy.
We got to the hospital at 9:30. I was four centimeters dilated with a bulging bag of waters. My midwife, Beth, suggested I walk for about an hour and then I would go on the monitor for a few minutes . Liam, Shawn, Courtney and I took to the halls, and an hour later I was six centimeters dilated! My contractions were getting closer together but they still weren't bothering me too much. At this point Beth told me I was a "childbirth poster child"! I was proud. This was easy!
I had Beth break my water, and she told me to do whatever I liked from this point on. I decided to get up and walk. I lasted about two laps around the Labor and Delivery floor, and then things changed. I didn't want to walk anymore. Contractions were incredibly intense. Shawn held my hand and rubbed my back through contractions while I stared at a smudge on the floor. I was in a much different place now and was ready for the whole thing to be over. My sweet Liam asked if I was ok, and if the baby kicked me too hard. I suddenly felt an intense pressure and asked Shawn to get the nurse, and told Courtney that this might be a good time to take Liam for some lunch.
By the time the nurse came in I wanted to push. She told me not to and I wanted to kick her in the face. Instead, I kindly told her that I couldn't fucking help it and the baby was coming NOW. Beth flew in and the nurse got the stirrups out. She started to prop my feet up in them, but Beth said "no - I don't like those! let her be how she wants!" I was grateful because I really really hate those stirrups.
Beth told me to push when and how I wanted. It was a big relief after those insane contractions. After three pushes she started to crown and I wasn't so relieved anymore. I screamed at Beth to "GET HER OUT NOW!" She and Shawn both told me I was doing great, that it was my job to push my baby out, and that I could do this. One more push and she FLEW out into Beth's arms. As I reached for my beautiful baby, my first thought was of how small she was! I had forgotten how teeny newborns are. Giselle was placed directly into my arms at 1:04 pm on October 25, 2012, after about six hours of labor. She was seven pounds and one ounce, and 20 inches long.
I was very pleased with my birth experience and am so incredibly thankful for the support I had in my husband, sister, midwife, and even Liam, who is so in love with his baby sister. Our little Giselle is fitting right into our family, and we could not be more thrilled to have her here.