I will start by telling you what a beautiful labor and delivery my daughter’s birth ended up being, but I never expected it to be so blissful. I was terrified to have another child the very second my first child was born. It was a traumatizing memory that I thought would have me scarred forever. (Long story short my son was flown via Flight for Life to a high level NICU, and I was told he had little brain activity. Thankfully my son is almost two and extremely healthy, but I didn’t know if we would ever get to walk out of the hospital with him.) This is a birth story that shows it is possible to have a beautiful birth experience after a traumatizing one.
At 37 weeks my doctor checked my cervix and told me I was 4 cm dilated and 75% effaced. She told me I wouldn’t make it to my 39 week induction and to pack my bags (I was being induced to avoid the health crisis we had with my son). As miserable as my pregnancy was (I had many complications) and as much as I wanted our baby girl here, I wasn’t exactly mentally prepared to have her here right that second.
More than that, I desperately wanted my doctor to deliver our girl as she had delivered my son. I knew I wasn’t just another patient to her, and I found solace in being in her care. If I delivered early I couldn’t guarantee her care on a whim.
So, my husband canceled his upcoming trip and we played the waiting game. Later that evening was the first of many prodromal labor episodes I would have. It was complete with a trip to the hospital and unexpected bleeding.
Fast forward to 12 days later I woke up with a contraction. At this point, I was confident my doctor was wrong, and I actually would be making it to my induction after all. I was tired of thinking this was the day when really it was just another prodromal labor episode. I got up and started moving around and was having intense period cramps ever so often. I described my first labor with my son as intense waves of pressure, so I kept waiting for that same type of pain, but this was definitely intense cramps. So was I in labor?
We went for a family walk and my contractions were occurring every 1.5 minutes to 2.5 minutes. They were enough to make me stop, and for my husband to be timing them, but I wasn’t convinced I was in labor.
After all, my first born had me puking and defecating profusely (beautiful image isn’t it?).
The contractions did not have a terribly regular pattern, but they were getting more intense and at times extremely close together. I decided I’d call the doctor and just see if I should consider going in.
The sh*t you can convince your mind of (i.e. you aren’t in labor) really amazes me.
The doctor said to absolutely get to the hospital. We called our nanny to come watch our toddler, and away we went.
When I got to the hospital I was 6 cm and fully effaced. Rather than my nurse doing all of the things to get me prepped, she called a team in to help her due to our pressing timeframe. It was then that I asked if I was in active labor. The nurse laughed at me and gave me a very serious look and said, “Honey, your delivering this baby today”. Hmmm, ok then, let’s do this I thought. It finally sank in that today was the day. Amen.
There was no question about me getting an epidural. I tried for an all-natural birth last time and ended up with my epidural at 9 cm. It was the best thing, and I was kicking myself for not having it sooner. As mentioned before my stomach was terribly upset in my first labor, and once I got my epidural everything calmed down and I enjoyed the experience and actually cracked some jokes and had a smile on my face. So, I definitely planned on an epidural this second go around.
My husband and I danced and hugged through my contractions. We really reveled in the moment. It was actually a very enjoyable moment I knew I would always remember.
At 8 cm the contractions were getting pretty miserable, so I started asking for my epidural. Just when I had a very difficult contraction in came the anesthesiologist. Man, was I ever glad to see her face. I waddled on over to the side of the bed and was as pleasant as I could possibly be for her. She came at the perfect time.
About that time my doctor came in (it was her day off) and told me she would run home and change into scrubs and come back to deliver our girl! Hallelujah! She got back about 30 minutes later, and I was fully dilated and effaced. She asked if she could break my water, and I told her absolutely (Amazing how relaxed I was about interventions this go around, as I never would have had my water broken with my son’s labor).
Kadence Everlane Ashbaugh was delivered roughly 15 minutes later at 1:45 pm. She weighed 8 pounds & 15.8 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. My labor was 6 hours start to finish.
I never felt very connected to her during my pregnancy probably because I was having a hard time being present as I did not feel well physically or mentally, but the moment she came to my chest was pure love. Holy revved up hormones. It was the most beautiful and surreal moment…her eyes were wide open and she just stared at me. I couldn’t believe she was real. For 9 months I tried to imagine her and what life would be with her and she finally was here.
Having her come straight to my chest made such a difference in us forming such an instantaneous bond. Barrett never came to my chest and I couldn’t hold him until he was 4 days old. The bond with my son, which is unbreakable now, had to grow and flourish. My bond with Kadence was instant. The human body can do truly fascinating things.
We did skin-to-skin for a full hour before nurses weighed her or did anything else. She latched perfectly, and has been a vivacious eater since the get-go!
Kadence Everlane has been perfectly healthy since the day she entered this world, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
I will do a separate post regarding postpartum healing because that’s a whole other ball game!