My little Eloise Claire was welcomed into our family on Monday, April 4th 2016 at 2:29 pm. She weighed 8 pounds 3 ounces and was 21 inches long. We are almost 4 weeks in with having her home with us, and she keeps surprising us with how different she is compared to how her big sister was as a newborn. Everyone told me not to compare your new child to how your older child was as a newborn, and it is so hard not to! So far, Eloise keeps me busy with the laundry because she always spits up a ton after she nurses, she is a pooping machine, and she hates to be swaddled. All opposite her sister.
The story of her birthday is one that is calm, peaceful, and uncomplicated.
At my 40 week appointment, which was a Thursday, my midwife asked if I would like to go in to start an induction Sunday evening if the baby didn’t come on her own. My body just about had enough with being pregnant. I was basically unable to move without experiencing an intense amount of round ligament pain, so I was ready to be done even though I told myself I would avoid an induction and wait it out at all costs. I was hesitant at first when my midwife suggested the induction and at first I told her no, because my experience with Pitocen with Phoebe was an absolute nightmare. Luckily, my midwife likes to start with the most minimal interventions possible. She told me we would start my induction using a cervical thinning drug called Cytotec and that would kick my contractions into gear. I felt much more comfortable with this route and scheduled my induction for Sunday night.
I spent my last few days with Phoebe going to the park, playing outside, and being with her one-on-one as much as I could. I wanted to shower her with all of my love, affection, and attention before the new baby took over my life. One of my biggest fears about having baby #2 was leaving Phoebe for a few days to be in the hospital. She must have sensed my anxiety, because she was so calm and not phased at all when we said our good byes.
Once we were admitted into the hospital, the nurse came in to start an IV and the midwife checked to see how dilated I was. For me, one of the worst parts about having a baby is that stupid IV. My blood pressure sky rockets just thinking about getting it put in. I jokingly said after the IV was put in that I wouldn’t be surprised if that started labor for me. Once they put the monitoring belt on, we found out I was already having contractions about 10 minutes apart!
I had my first round of Cytotec at 9 pm and was only 2 cm dilated. My body eased into the contractions and I was able to labor throughout the night without any pain medication. The contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes apart and were tolerable.
I had my last round of Cytotec at 6:30am and was only dilated to 5cm. The contractions were becoming more intense and coming every 3-5 minutes. I was starting to not be able to talk through them and decided to have the doula come to the hospital to help me with managing the pain. My mom and aunt also arrived around 7:30. It helped to have the extra support in the room and was a good distraction for me.
I reached that point when the contractions were too intense to just breathe through and was starting to cry through them. My mom took a picture of me right after I had a bad one. I remember thinking, “Put that F*@$%ing camera away!”, but I’m glad I have all the pictures that my mom and aunt took, as unflattering as they may be. I had no plan to have an unmedicated birth. I just wanted to be able to manage the pain better this time, so that I could get out of bed, move around, and not be so out of it with the drugs. By 10:30, I made the decision to get the epidural so I could get some rest before I had to push. I was beyond exhausted from being awake for over 24 hours and needed to rest before the big show. The contractions were horrible, intense, and I was begging for the anesthesiologist to get her rear in gear and give me the epidural. It took about an hour from the time I requested it until I actually got it. The midwife broke my water right after and said I was at 7cm. I was proud for making it drug-free to 7!
Finally relieved, I was able to rest for about an hour before they gave me a “whiff of Pitocen” to get my labor back into consistent contractions. The epidural slowed them down to 7-9 minutes apart and I just wanted it to be over, so I agreed to have a little Pitocen. It must have only been 30 minutes after having the Pitocen that I could feel that feeling. With each contraction, I felt the pressure of the baby’s head coming down and I knew it was time to push.
The nurse (Nurse Chris) who helped deliver Phoebe was also the nurse that was on call for baby #2. Nurse Chris checked me and said I was 9.5 cm! She started to get things prepped and called for the midwife before she had me start to push through the last 1/2 cm. It only took about 3 pushes for me to get to 10cm and I don’t think they were anticipating that because there was a mad dash to get the midwife, baby nurses, and the equipment prepped and in the room.
Once the midwife arrived, I started pushing with every ounce of energy and strength I had in my body. My midwife didn’t make me do the 3 rounds of 10 second long pushes, but instead told me to push only when I felt like I had to. Pushing this way was so much better and made delivery easier in my opinion. I was so alert and in tune with what was happening and I could feel exactly where she was in my body. Once I got her head out, I could feel her shoulders pass through and my midwife guiding me with how and when to push. She was sitting on the end of the bed, with no bright lights, no medical blankets covering me, no stirrups, and none of the doctor fanfare. It was so calm and normal feeling, like I wasn’t a medical patient who needed doctor intervention. I loved it.
Once her shoulders were out, it only took a couple more pushes to get the rest of her body out. I remember hearing the midwife say that she was almost out, and I put my hospital gown down so I could see her come out. It was the most miraculous thing I’ve ever witnessed. The midwife gently placed her down on the bed and the nurses came over to start suctioning her because she had a little meconium. The best part of all- no tearing. Not having to deal with stitches has made the recovery so much faster, less painful, and much easier to deal with.
Eloise came into the world kicking and screaming a loud, newborn cry that was music to our ears. The nurses suctioned her for a couple minutes before they put her on my chest. Her skin was so soft and she had that wonderfully intoxicating newborn smell that I wish I could bottle up and save forever. She calmed down once she was placed on my chest and Dave and I were sobbing tears of happiness, elation, and joy. My little piggie baby wanted to nurse almost immediately, and she knew exactly what to do. She nursed so sweetly that Dave couldn’t help but snap a few pictures of her latched on.
We were moved into the postpartum wing a couple hours later and I couldn’t wait to have Phoebe come to meet Eloise. I was nervous that Phoebe would be upset to see me hold another baby. I had Eloise in her crib behind my bed, but when Phoebe came into the room she ran right past me for the crib and screamed, “Baby sist-ohhh!!!”. Thank God she was thrilled to meet her new sibling. Phoebe wanted to hold her, touch her nose, give her the paci, and she wanted to sit in the little hospital crib too.
The very next day, we were discharged from the hospital and went home to begin the new chapter in our lives as a family of four. Overall, this labor and delivery was everything I had hoped it would be. The extra support I had in place made a huge difference in my ability to physically and mentally manage the pain, and the “hands-off” approach of my midwife made such a difference in how the whole day went. We are so in love with this new little girl. I was never worried about how I would find room in my heart to love another child as much as I love Phoebe. Eloise fits perfectly into our little family, and we are so full of joy and gratitude to be blessed to be her parents.