My Birth Story with Delaney Grace
First of all... this is going to be a long post. I mean, how could I possibly leave out any detail of our little one's arrival into the world. I went back and forth as to whether or not I would share the details of Delaney's birth (mostly because I never had the platform to share Caroline's birth story, so it was to be fair), but I am proud of her birth story and there are a lot of people that went into making sure everything went smoothly. But you've been warned, there are probably some TMI moments!
Before I get into the birth story, here's a little backstory. When we were expecting our first daughter, we had no clue what to expect when it came to childbirth - like, absolutely nothing. We went to a birthing class at our hospital and although the hospital where we were delivering is one of the top rated L&D hospitals in Maryland, the class was very old-school and we left feeling more scared than prepared. We were totally clueless as to what to expect! Fortunately, our doctor cleared the air on all our questions and we felt more comfortable. It was also incredibly helpful knowing that one of my childhood friends (who was a tenure L&D nurse) would be there to help. She was a God-send, and truthfully, she may have been more helpful to Brian! Knowing my tolerance for pain, I was thankful I had an epidural, especially since I was induced at 42 weeks. So going into the final preparations with this pregnancy, we felt way more prepared and knew what to expect when we arrived at the hospital.
On to the good stuff...
As most of you probably know, I had massive struggles sleeping the last few months of pregnancy, but it was particularly bad the week leading up to Delaney's birth (I just didn't know it yet!). At the end of November, I began seeing black spots during the afternoon and was semi-lightheaded, and after talking with Brian, we decided that I should call the doctor - they wanted me to come in and make sure everything was okay with the pregnancy ( black spots can be a symptom of preeclampsia). After being monitored for about 45 minutes, they ruled that everything was great! I was mostly excited to find out that I was already 2cm dilated! I only had a few weeks left of my pregnancy. I was hoping for good news when I went back to my doctor for my 38-week appointment - only to hear that I was still 2cm dilated and nothing had changed. It was during this appointment that we decided that I would be induced on January 3rd! I was feeling pretty certain that I would have our baby that day. And I was so excited. Our first was an induction, so I knew exactly what to expect.
Since I was due the week of New Year's Eve (January 2nd) and that's the busy time for Brian at work, we decided that having someone at the house with me would be good in case I went into labor. We were worried that if my water broke, it would take too long for Brian to get home and get me to the hospital. So my best friend, Mary, "moved in" with us the day after Christmas. It was great having the company and Caroline loved having someone to run around with while I felt pretty crappy and wasn't sleeping well, thanks to the severe back pain and Braxton Hicks that I was having.
On December 27th, I had my 39-week appointment and I was feeling pretty positive that there was progress. Well, still nothing. Feeling incredibly discouraged, I went home and told Mary that I needed to up my intake of spicy food and pineapple juice. She was very encouraging and supportive and forced me to go on walks around the neighborhood. Which was all very helpful! The next few days were spent watching movies and playing with Caroline's new toys from Christmas and doing just about anything to keep my mind off of the fact that I was miserable. (Thanks to Caroline's new makeup kit from Santa, we ended up with some pretty fabulous makeovers!)
Each night I would get very crampy and have Braxton Hicks, around 8pm. It was like clockwork during the last few weeks of my pregnancy. So each night, when my BH would start, Mary would get me a heating pad or glass of water. It was like having my own nurse! We tried to keep my mind off of things by watching Game of Thrones or documentaries.
Since there was still no sign of baby, we decided to have our girlfriends over since everyone was in town - which is rare these days! The girls came on Dec. 29 and we hung out, caught up, adn went to dinner in town. Caroline loved having more friends to play with. Thinking she would go to bed after dinner, our plan was to catch up and chat. Of course, Caroline was wide awake and wanted a dance party! We happily obliged. We cranked the tunes and danced our butts off.
And that did the trick.
That night after the girls left, my cramping was stronger than normal and I attributed it to being more active that day than usual - we had gone for a long walk and danced like crazy!. Laying in bed that night, I told Brian that I was really uncomfortable and I remember thinking, "nah, this can't be the real deal - we aren't ready yet!" Well, the joke was on me. During the night, I was being woken up by the pain and contractions, something that had yet to happen when it was just BH contractions. At 7am when Brian's alarm went off, I told him what was going on, and we decided that I should start timing my contractions. For 2 hours, I timed my contractions - 6 contractions from 7am-8am, and 8 contractions from 8am-9am. That sealed the deal: I called my doctor. Being that it was a Sunday, the on-call doctor called me back and said to come in for monitoring.
Again, I was beyond thankful that Mary was at our house. Brian went to work that morning to get everything set up, knowing that he might have to leave. Being that it was the start of playoffs, he needed to get the restaurant set up and the staff situated for the busy day ahead. Meanwhile, my contractions were getting stronger and stronger to the point where I wouldn't be able to walk or talk through them. Mary kept Caroline entertained and made breakfast while I finished packing our bags and got the house in order.
Around 10am, I decided to put our Birth Plan in motion and called my mom, who was going to watch Caroline. I filled her in on the morning I had and she hopped in the car! I had everything set up so Mary could drive me to the hospital as soon as my mom got to our house. In my mind, I was still sure that I would get to the hospital and they would send me home (this happened 3 times during my first pregnancy with false labor pains, so I was prepared for the same thing), so I suggested that my mom hang out at our house with Caroline until I had more information from the doctor.
We got to the hospital around 11:30am and met Brian there who had rushed from work. The nurse hooked me up to the fetal non stress test to check my contractions and to make sure baby was safe. Sure enough, when the doctor came in and examined me, he said, "It's Go Time!" All at once, I felt excited, panicked, scared, nervous, and happy. The rush of emotion was overwhelming, but I held it together as Brian and I got settled into the delivery room. I got hooked up the IVs and monitors and all the nurses and doctors came in to make sure I was ready. I hadn't eaten anything since the night before and since you can't eat once labor begins, I had the nurse stock me up on ginger ale and apple juice.
Since it was Sunday, Brian and I turned on football and "relaxed" a bit. My pain kept getting worse, but they knew I wanted the epidural, so the nurses kept a close eye on how dilated I was (there's a sweet spot that is ideal for getting the epidural). Finally the anesthesiologist came in and gave me the epidural. Unfortunately, I had some trouble with it and it only took to my left side. Fortunately, there were things she could to do to fix it.
After the epidural, the NP came in and examined my cervix and determined that since nothing was moving too quickly, they were going to break my water with hopes to quicken the process. It didn't work. Because I was still having regular contractions but not dilating, they decided to remove the external contraction monitor and use an internal monitor to measure the actual severity of my contractions. It turns out they were regular, but were not strong enough to actually dilate my cervix. So I was given pitocin (the medicine they use for inducing labor) and a small dose of pain medicine since the pitocin can cause terrible contraction pain (since the epidural only took to one side, it was precautionary). The medicine made me pretty drowsy, but not enough to fall asleep, so I watched football and played on my phone (I actually did my Instagram 2018 Year in Review and worked on some emails while I was in the delivery room).
Finally, it was time.
The doctor came in and checked my progress and he determined that it was time to push. The doctor scrubbed up and the nurse had the table and birthing equipment set up, and they called for the other nurses and staff to come in. (Only there wasn't enough time for them to get there!) The doctor positioned me on the birthing table and had the nurse hold one leg and Brian hold the other for support while I pushed. Because I had the epidural, I couldn't feel anything, which makes pushing a bit tricky. The doctor was coaching me even before I started pushing and truly, I had to rely on muscle memory. I used the muscles I thought I needed and in my brain I was focusing solely on pushing.
4 minutes and 6 pushes later, Delaney Grace was born! It was so surreal. It's the singlehandedly most surreal, incredible moment of a mother's life - having their baby placed in their arms for the first time.
I was so amped up on adrenaline and pain medicine after having Caroline that I didn't even have the chance to process it. (Actually - I had to wait to hold her while they examined her since she was 2 weeks late) But this time, when they put her in my arms, it was magic. I couldn't believe it! I won't go into detail of all the afterbirth process, but I was relieved that I didn't have any tearing and that it was a relatively "clean" birth.
Delaney Grace was born at 7:44pm on Sunday, December 30, 2018. She weighed 7lb 12 oz and was 19.75 in. long. We stayed in the hospital for 2 nights (including a very special NYE celebration of carry out and bottle of champagne Brian smuggled into our postpartum room!) and had our bags packed to go home on Tuesday after lunch.
Because we had Delaney during flu season, the hospital visiting policy restricted any child - sibling or not - from entering the delivery/recover rooms. This meant Caroline could not come meet her sister, and I was heartbroken. But our solution was simple: My mom brought Caroline to the hospital on the day we were leaving for home, and we did the introductions before we went home so we could go home together as a family of 4 for the first time.
Immediately, Caroline doted on her little sister and we couldn't be more proud of watching her assume the role of big sister. We settled into home nicely and spent the day relaxing and getting the girls used to their new lives.
We are so over-the-moon in love with our perfect little family.
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