Before I even had one child, I thought I wanted four.
This was obviously influenced by my love of Parenthood.
After we had our first, it changed to, “Let’s have 3 by 30.”
And now that we have two sweet girls 19 months apart, my husband and I both know we’re good.
After being for married four years, we decided to try for our first.
Getting pregnant and being pregnant was an easy process with both of my girls, and I have never taken it for granted that it was this way for me. However, like most moms, the labor part was by far my most difficult chapter.
We decided to not find out the gender for either of them, and I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend that. It made both deliveries all the more exciting to have my husband announce, “It’s a girl!” and, “It’s another…girl!”
My second daughter entered this world quickly and pain-free.
You’ll understand why I make a big deal of that when I tell you about Baby #1.
It was week 40, and I was ready to have this little one OUT of me. We were packing up our house and moving to Richmond three weeks after baby was due. In my mind, I wanted the most time with my baby before the move. So when my doctor told me that baby was locked and loaded for delivery, I did everything possible to get it going.
Walking and doing squats at 40 weeks weren’t super comfortable, so I also paid a quick $20 for a 3 p.m. foot massage at a nearby salon. (Best. $20!) My mom was there with us, so after I put my oldest daughter to bed, my husband and I took a few laps around the neighborhood.
Around 10 p.m., I tried to lay down and rest. Instead, I found my way to the kitchen and ate a few peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwiches (the best pregnancy food). I took a shower, made sure all the bags were packed, and oh yeah, I was breathing through the contractions. I had started bleeding, so my husband and I left for the hospital at midnight.
We were quickly admitted, and I was 4cm with a pain level of maybe 5 (again, all in comparison to Baby #1). Within 30 minutes of arriving in my labor/delivery room, the nurse said, “Okay, let’s get your epidural set up!” I said, “It’s okay I’m feeling good right now,” to which she responded, “Honey, no need to be brave.”
I know, I know. Some of you are cringing at that line. But as you’ll understand when you read on about my first delivery, I needed someone to encourage me to get the epidural. This time around, instead of feeling fear and pain, my mindset was clear and focused.
“It’s another girl!” was proclaimed at 9:21 a.m., and they immediately placed her on my chest. My husband and I both cried.
I cried because I had no idea that birth could be both pain-free and empowering.
With my first…
I reached 41 weeks, and during an ultrasound, the technician said, “Well, I hope you have everything you need because you’re having this baby today!” I had barely any fluid left for baby to stay safely put, so while they never labeled it an “emergency,” I was pretty quickly rushed into a labor/delivery room where I was given a pill to begin contractions. A few hours later I was given Pitocin and had my water broken.
Fast forward fourteen hours, and I got the epidural. My “plan” was to go as long as possible without it. It was the sweet relief I needed to find some rest and gain my confidence.
Two or three hours later, I remember telling my husband to check the covers behind me, as it felt like the sheets were bunched up on my lower back. Little by little, this uncomfortableness turned into horrible pain that shot around my entire back. For another hour I moaned through the pain while my (fantastic/amazing/mama-bear) nurse soothed me, comforted me, and told me, “Honey, you’re pretty much doing this naturally.” GREAT. Not what I signed up for!
For whatever reason, my doctor was nowhere to be found, so I ended up pushing with no doctor or staff and only my husband and nurse beside me. I’ll never forget the nurse holding my left leg and my husband holding my right as she guided me through breathings and pushes.
Let me also note that I don’t curse. But when you’re in labor, you turn into a different version of yourself, so my words were flying around the room. I was mad that my doctor wasn’t there yet. I was afraid of the pain my body was feeling. I was anxious to know if my baby was a boy or a girl. And I was super hangry having not had any food for almost 24 hours.
Finally, the doctor arrived for the final few pushes, and my husband stood with her as our first baby was delivered. “Dad, what do you think?” … “It’s a girl!”
I wanted immediate skin to skin contact with my baby, but honestly, I forgot.
I was so purely exhausted from the process and the pain.
I remember laying there on the bed while they bathed her. I asked my husband, “When can I eat lunch?” Ha! But as soon as I held my baby girl, I forgot how tired and hungry I was.
I didn’t forget the pain…and I don’t think I ever will. I wouldn’t want to anyway. The worthwhile pain I felt as my child entered the world echoes so much in her life—from her first few months of horrendous sleep habits (exactly why I do what I do now!) to watching her learn how to make friends (not always easy). I am thankful for her birth story, as I know the entire plan was already outlined by her Creator.
So while I don’t think we’ll be hitting 3 by 30…or even 3 at all, I am so proud of myself and my husband for our walk together through two totally different birth journeys. We did it, Honey, and I love you for holding me (literally) every step of the way.