Well helloooo friends. It’s been a while! I’m hoping to blog more consistently on my maternity leave, and why not start with the story of how our precious little boy arrived just over a week ago??
Every mother, every child, every birth is different, but I will never stop being amazed at the profundity of the experience of giving birth.
I guess I thought it wouldn’t be so deeply felt this second time around. I thought I knew what it was like to have a human pulled from your body and that maybe after the first it’s not so magical. I’m glad I was wrong.
My labor and delivery with L came on fast and then slow, and I didn’t realize at the time that it had been quite stressful and a little intervention-packed toward the end. It was still beautiful because we met her, but included a doctor yelling at me, some very bright lights beaming at my ladybits, and a room full of people watching for reasons unclear to me (at the time).
C took his time coming out. My labor began 3-ish days before his delivery, with consistent contractions. The contractions came and went and didn’t hurt, so I didn’t pay much mind to them, and I measured only 1.5 cm at my 39 week appt on a Monday. I tried to stay busy with L as the reality that we would soon have a second child hit me. This wasn’t just some lump in my belly, this was going to be a living, breathing human! How would he change our little lives?
On Tuesday and Wednesday, contractions increased in intensity. I could sense our boy would be arriving at any time, his due date was Thursday the 15th, and I was determined to make my last few days with Lu special. We planned to picnic on Tuesday. I called my mom on the way and we both questioned if I should be going out because my contractions seemed to be consistent and stronger… but they went away on the drive, so a picnic was had! Lucy and I sat among the trees in one of our favorite parks, she giggled on the swings and sprayed water from the drinking fountain, and I really tried to be present and soak in everything about us as a pair. Of course I knew that her brother’s arrival didn’t mean she wouldn’t be mine and I wouldn’t be hers, but I have to say I was definitely feeling the loss of our exclusive one on one time.
Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, I had contractions so strong that I begged my husband to stay home from work. I was fearful that, like Lu’s labor, contractions would rapidly increase and he wouldn’t make it home from work in time. He calmed my fears with a promise that he would leave work immediately upon my phone call if I needed him. Well guess what? Contractions stopped again and we were left waiting a bit longer.
Lu and I stayed home and, I’ll admit, vegged out in front of the TV allllll daaaaay. I was definitely uncomfortable and felt my body changing, moving in small ways to make way for baby boy’s arrival. Sometime in the afternoon I began to have contractions again, a little more painful and again increasing in regularity but not frequency.
My husband got home and I felt an urgency to get out of the house despite my discomfort. We decided on dinner at one of our usual spots nearby just in case, and I even insisted we put our hospital bag and Lu’s overnight bag in the car. I would like it documented that my husband did NOT, apparently, feel in any type of hurry. He hadn’t packed any hospital things yet, so I forced him to throw some clothes in the bag. He also insisted this was NOT going to be “it”, despite my uterus indicating otherwise.
I tried to stay calm through contractions at dinner and it ended up being really enjoyable. I took pictures of our “last dinner as three” and we shared dessert. It was special!
My sister in law had asked how I was doing and I debated on her offer to pick Lucy up, but then contractions seemed to slow down again, and we settled in to bed. I worried about waking up too late with contractions, or spending more days in this prolonged and unpredictable state of labor. Luckily, my body had other plans in mind and I had a strong contraction followed by a sort of bubble popping feeling, which I thought was maybe a gas bubble, but which turned out to be my water breaking! I said a little thank you prayer for this clear sign of active labor, ran to the toilet, and yelled at my husband to call his parents to pick up L!
We said a sweet goodbye to our Lucy girl, which I was actually less emotional about than I anticipated (I blame the contractions!), and made it to the hospital quickly. My contractions were still tolerable, but I embarrassingly kept gushing fluid, through my shorts and the towel I brought. I figured modesty goes out the window with childbirth in general and the hospital staff had probably seen it all!
Similarly to Lu, we waited in triage for what seemed like an absurdly long time, about two hours. The nurse noted I was 3 cm dilated and having pretty spaced-out contractions, so she didn’t seem hurried in getting us up to a delivery room or hooking me up to pain meds. However, my contractions picked up quickly and I was soon ringing the call bell for the nurse and asking her through fearful tears when she thought we would be in a room. I’m not going to lie, I had serious fear with both kids of having an unmedicated birth. I completely admire mamas who go unmedicated, but I knew for myself that I wanted an epidural and was extremely fearful of missing out on one!
I think at this point the nurse sensed my urgency, got me hooked up to an IV and got us up to a room quickly. It was probably about 11:45 PM. It would still be another hour before the anesthesiologist could make his way to my room, so I held on tight to Anthoni’s hand through the next hour of contractions and told myself “Only ______ more minutes” every so often.
Finally, my epidural arrived, was easily placed, and I was able to relax! I was 6 cm and it was 1 am. My husband and I dozed for a few hours, but if you’ve ever been in the hospital, you know how hard real sleep can be. Especially when a baby is about to arrive!
There was one scary point where baby’s heart rate dropped as he descended into my pelvis. The nurse said this was common, but they still adjusted my bed so I was tilted head-down to take the pressure off of him and got me going on oxygen to give him a boost. Luckily, this didn’t last long and it turns out boyfriend had a twisted cord, which accounted for the drop.
Finally, at 10 minutes to 5, a midwife came in and introduced herself. She had the kindest, calmest way about her, and I could tell this was going to be a peaceful experience. She checked my dilation, announced that I was 10 cm, and that it was time to start pushing! I felt a rush of emotion as I realized we’d be meeting the newest member to our family in such a short amount of time. What would he look like? How big was he going to be? Would I love him as much as Lu (yes I really thought this)?
I pushed for a little over an hour, surprisingly enough to me. I thought after birthing Lu at 8 lbs 12 oz this delivery would last a matter of minutes! Let me just say that my pushing experience with Cash was world’s different than with Lucy, and I was so grateful to the hospital staff for providing it! The room was only dimly lit, as it was still early in the morning. The only staff members were the midwife and nurse until the very end, when only two more nurses entered the room very calmly and quietly. The midwife and nurse cheered me on through every push, and in between we chatted and joked. I couldn’t believe how calm and relaxed everyone was, and I was so so grateful to be welcoming baby boy into such a peaceful room!
Finally, with 3 great pushes our baby arrived, just as peacefully as his surroundings. He didn’t care to scream or cry loudly, just let out a few whimpers hear and there. Our hospital is “baby friendly”, so he was placed on my chest immediately and I showered him with kisses and some tears of joy. He had a full head of dark hair and the softest baby skin. I remember saying, “Oh my gosh, you’re so cute!” I didn’t expect to feel such immediate adoration of him, but I guess that’s what happens when you work so hard for 9 months and however many delivery hours to create a sweet new life.
Up until the week before delivery, my husband and I had had a list of a few boys names that we couldn’t agree upon. One night in bed, my husband said, “I think his name is Cash,” and I ran with it because it was the first name we both liked! We agreed to wait and meet him, but as soon as he emerged I think we both knew who he was. Cash Ottavio, to follow his sister’s music-inspired first name and Italian family middle name.
The rest of our hospital story was uneventful. Cash nursed well immediately, which was different than his sister’s struggle with a tongue-tie. He slept mostly while we were there and we both suffered through frequent nursing staff checks and tests. Oh, and he weighed in at 9 lbs 1.5 oz at birth!!
Poignantly, Lu came to meet her brother the afternoon after he was born. I anxiously anticipated some discomfort, maybe some resistance to leaving me in the hospital, but it went so so much better than I had expected! L got a present “from baby brother” and she insisted on holding him right away without any prompting from us. She’s been an exemplary older sister ever since, so tender and attentive to “her” baby with no prodding from us any which way. I couldn’t have asked for more!
It’s been a little over a week with Cashie, and he is a dream as far as babies go. He’s pretty calm except for right when he gets hungry. He already tracks mama’s voice and loves to be cuddled up close to anyone’s face. He’s gaining weight like a pro! Now if we can get this “letting mama sleep past 3 am” down…
Thanks for reading along, and I hope you found something you connected with! Until next time!