{Harlow’s Birth Story Part I}

I can hardly believe I’m writing my second birth story. When we brought your big sister home the details of her birthday day stayed fresh in my mind and felt like yesterday for months. I relived it over and over. The day that you came into my arms seems so long ago though. I have to search the corners of my mind to tell this story because it just feels like you have been a part of our family always.  We wished for you and I carried you for nine months but since you have come home we have had such a strong connection I know that our souls have known each other for much longer than that. I can’t help but feel that your daddy and sister feel the same since bringing home another baby has been such an easygoing adjustment for all of us so far. It might seem like ages ago but I will certainly never forget the details of the day you decided it was time to come home.

Harlow Savvy, my sweet girl, this is your story…

39 WEEKS AND ONWARD

My due date was Saturday, October 29th and at my weekly OB appointment the Wednesday prior I was finally starting to make some progress.  I was two centimeters dilated and feeling all over like labor was getting close. On my way out Dr. McCubbin said ‘see you in a week!’ which completely caught me off guard. I must have been wearing the shock on my face because she quickly followed up with ‘…or sooner!’

I had such a strong feeling that I wouldn’t make it to that appointment, but as instructed I scheduled it anyways.

I spent the last week of being pregnant trying a few gentle ways to bring labor on. I was having major lower back pain and wanted to avoid getting induced this time around if I could.  I walked the entire diameter of our small town on a rainy afternoon pushing Lyric in the stroller which did nothing but bring on Braxton Hicks and even worse back pain. So I gave up walking and tried nipple stimulation, which sounds crazy, but I totally think over a matter of days it helped move things along. Within minutes I would get strong and regular Braxton Hicks contractions that I could time. I also bounced on my yoga ball for an hour for so every day. My due date still came and went but we got to celebrate Halloween with Lyric which I was thankful for.

 

NOVEMBER 1st

The night of November 1st I woke up feeling nauseous but was able to fall back asleep without actually being sick. In the morning I started having more Braxton Hicks that quickly turned into cramps that felt like my period. I knew that old familiar feeling and that it meant labor was near. Oscar followed me around all day and constantly wanted me to hold him and I remember taking that as another sign. With both girls he would curl up by my stomach at night and within days I would find out I was pregnant, so the animal intuition is very real!

We took the day pretty easy at home. I spent every minute soaking up what I knew was the last day I would spend as a mother of one. I did some tidying but didn’t start making plans other than updating close family because I was still sure it would be a long long time before it would actually be go time. They say hindsight is 20/20 and I suppose looking back that all those early labor symptoms I had during the day plus what eventually turned to real contractions obviously did mean it was “go time”.  I bounced on my ball lots that afternoon which caused some pretty painful contractions that would come and go every 15-25 minutes. While we were having supper I had to hold my breath a few times but I was STILL sure I was no where near full blown labor. It was Davin’s first night of curling that evening so he went and just made sure to keep his phone on. While he was gone I put Lyric to bed and ran a hot bath which made my sister think I was crazy. She was texting me to keep me company and said ‘sounds like a perfect set up to have a baby…home alone, toddler sleeping, oh and in the bath!’ Hahaha. To avoid her totally freaking me out we decided collectively that I should send Davin an SOS text just to make sure he was paying close attention, and I got him good, right when he threw his first rock.

        

While I was in the bath they completely stopped! Braxton hicks, cramps, contractions, everything. I thought GREAT, exactly what I feared would happen did, and labor stalled. So I watched some TV, ate a snack and waited for Davin to get home just so we could watch more TV and eat more snacks when he did, haha. I was still feeling nothing so I sent everyone 😒 texts and we went to bed around midnight.

Right as I was about to fall asleep contractions started up again out of no where and right off the bat they were strong enough that I had to hold my breath through them. I felt such a sense of calm and excitement that this actually would be the day we would meet our little girl. I was feeling so fortunate that I would be able to labor at home before going to the hospital which was something I had always wished for. But when Lyric came crawling into our bed ten minutes later I didn’t want her to be bothered by me laboring, so I got up. I went pee first and at the same time my water broke and kept on trickling!  I had no idea how much time we would have so I finished packing our hospital bags, texted Davin’s parents and did a few other things around the house which took about 20 minutes. I had hoped that I could get a few more hours of rest so I went to lie down in Lyric’s bed so she and Davin could get as much sleep as possible until I thought it was time to go. Minutes later my contractions were already 1 minute long, every 10 minutes and almost bringing me to tears, so at 2am I woke Davin telling him it was time to go.

BABY TIME

When he realized what time it was and he had only slept for a couple hours his first question was if he had time to make a pot of coffee to go. I paused for a second but told him he had 10 minutes and I would wrap Lyric up be in the vehicle. I held her in my arms for the two block drive and tried to keep her asleep but even in the dark I could see her big brown eyes looking up at me wondering where we were going in the middle of night. Then she saw Oscar on Davin’s lap and his paws perched on the steering wheel and the first thing she said was ‘yook mommy, Oscar’s driving!’ We all laughed and tears instantly formed in my eyes. My sweet sweet girl wasn’t going to be my only baby soon. I told her we were going to Baba and Gido’s because it was finally time for mommy and daddy to go to the doctor to bring her baby sister home. She repeated what I told her, in disbelief and excitement that after all these months, we were finally making good on our promise to her. I squeezed her so tight and told her I loved her and that we would see her really soon. Davin took her from me and carried her and Oscar into the house before we were on our way.

Right on the outskirts of town we realized Lyric’s bag was still in the back seat, and Davin forgot his all important anti-perspirant so we turned around. When we finally got on the highway it was 2:45am, contractions were 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long and I couldn’t breathe or talk through them. I could feel them all over and in my back this time which I didn’t have at all when I was in labor with Lyric so this was a new and very unwelcome feeling. Between them I was able to maintain a conversation as we chatted on the way into the city. About what I have no idea, but I remember Davin asking me what they felt like and trying to explain it to him without reaching into his guts and pulling his organs out one by one.

It’s just over an hour drive to the hospital from our house so I knew we would be cutting it close since I was at 5-1 and 1 for an hour already and tipping the pain scales at around an 8.5 out of 10. When we got to emergency Davin dropped me off at the front doors while he parked and it took me what seemed like a small eternity to get through the doors. Even though he had to park on the opposite end of the hospital and walk across the parking lot he still made it back before I reached the triage desk. Once that really dreadful lady made me stand there and answer all of her stupid questions about myself I begged for a wheel chair. No sooner did this nice man came tearing around the corner and have me upstairs in a New York minute. Right when we got to the L&D desk he gently tried to shoe me out of his chair so he could be on his way but my contractions were so strong and at the same time the rest of my water popped while I was sitting there. He finally gave up and told the nurses he would just come back for his chair. Sorry not sorry, dude!

I barely made the 20 foot walk to the triage room, I mean BARELY, but I did, and got changed into a gown. I knew they wanted to make sure I was ‘actually in labor’ and that having to wait out that assessment period while they checked for themselves would nearly put me over the edge with how much pain I was in because I remembered the exact same thing the first time. Sitting and lying down so they could check and monitor me was the most painful position for me during both of my deliveries. When the nurse said I was almost 5 centimeters the first words out of my mouth were ‘ I want the epidural! You call that man and tell him to meet us down the hall. I don’t want to be told that it’s too late or he’s too busy…you make sure he knows I want him here!’ I said it with a smile on my face but just enough conviction that she would get my message. The nurse kindly agreed but said ‘well, let’s just wait until we get down the hall and get an IV in because without it you can’t have one.’ Next thing I knew I was contracting and PUSHING. Right away she told me to stop because my cervix would swell from the pressure of pushing before being fully dilated…but I couldn’t help it! My body kept involuntarily pushed with every contraction after that.

I couldn’t walk so they wheeled me down to the delivery room and all of a sudden the pain was so intense I was shaking. I must have been in transition and contractions were just barreling one on top of the other and I was starting to feel like I needed to either get the epidural like NOW or I would reach my breaking point. It had only been a few minutes since they last checked me but because I was still pushing with every contraction they checked me again, and now I was 8. The anesthesiologist arrived and tried to get me to walk around the bed and sitting upright but it literally felt like the pain was paralyzing me from moving anywhere.  It was by far the hardest physical struggle I had ever experienced! With Davin’s help I was finally able to move to the other side of the bed and sit still long enough for them to get the line in. But immediately after it was in I had the strongest contraction yet and my body started pushing with all its might causing me to bare down. One of the nurses checked me {or maybe she was a doctor? I’m note sure since she appeared out of no where} while I was sitting there and next thing we know she says ‘yup, we’re going to have a baby right now, lie down.’ I literally couldn’t believe the words that just left her mouth and I’m quite positive that Davin couldn’t either. It was literally a matter of seconds later that I had laid down, pushed five times and was holding our baby on my chest.

part II

Birth photography photos by Honey Lime Photography

 

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January 23, 2017 - 12:37 pm

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