Now that I’ve been able to share all the details of Eloise’s birth with my husband, I am excited to share it here as well!
The short version is that I went one day past due, but when Eloise decided it was time to be born she wasted no time getting here!
I woke up around 3 am on January 24th to go to the bathroom and my pants were a little damp. To be totally honest I wasn’t sure if I had peed myself or if my water broke. Because pregnancy is glamorous right?
Well I went back to bed, rolled over and more liquid came out. At that point I was pretty convinced it was my water breaking and not pee.
So like any normal person I went about putting on a full face of makeup and getting all my last minute items in my hospital bag. I wasn’t in a rush because I wasn’t having any contractions…and I was assuming it would be a long day if they had to try to kickstart my labor.
At about 4:30 am I started having a few contractions. Nothing painful or anything so I still wasn’t too concerned.
By about 5:30 am I was ready to go except for eating breakfast and I planned on just eating my toast in the car on the way. I wokey mom up to let her know that I thought my water had broken so I was going to drive myself to the hospital so they could check it out. She wasn’t a huge fan of my plan because she for sure didn’t want to miss the baby being born, but I reassured her that I wasn’t really having any contractions and there was no point waking up Oliver just for us to go spend the whole day in the hospital and leaving him with his great-grandma longer than needed. just as she was agreeing to my plan, Oliver got up so we decided to go ahead and drop him off then my mom and I would go to the hospital.
As I was giving Oliver his breakfast I started to have more contractions. I started timing them and out of nowhere they were almost a minute long and only 2 or 3 minutes apart. At that point I started to think we might need to get the show on the road sooner rather than later.
Once we finished breakfast and got everything loaded in the car, we headed in to the hospital. I was heading up to triage just a little before 7:00 am.
At the hospital
In triage they tested for amniotic fluid and, to nobody’s surprise, found that my water had in fact broken. So I was officially admitted. I was also having contractions every 2 to 3 minutes again.
When I was admitted I was 4cm dilated.
We moved over to the labor and delivery room and got situated. My nurse (who was literally the most amazing person I have ever met in my life and the biggest blessing I could have ever asked for) got to know me and what my goals were for the birth process.
I hated the epidural when I had Oliver and was really hoping to not have one this time, but I was really just planning to roll with whatever needed to happen.
My doctor checked in on me and had the nurse start me on some pitocin. My contractions had stalled out some and were much further apart while I was laying in the bed getting hooked up to the IV and monitors. As soon as I got up out of the bed and started bouncing on a yoga ball they picked back up. So my nurse made the call to just give me a “whiff” of pitocin to make sure I kept progressing since my water breaking meant I could only labor so long. Throughout the whole labor and delivery the pitocin stayed on a 1 or 2 which I was very grateful for. With wanting to go natural I knew that the higher the pitocin got the more intense the pain was going to be, so I was very glad to see it stay low.
The pain was pretty manageable and I kept bouncing on the yoga ball and drinking a ton of water for a while. They had brought me all the paperwork I would need to fill out before leaving, so I was actually able to get a good head start on that while I had time.
When my doctor had checked me around 9:00, I was 5cm dilated and the baby was still pretty posterior. As my contractions got stronger, I started to feel them more and more in my back. When the contractions started to become more painful, I moved up to the bed to try getting on all fours. At some point I got into something vaguely resembling child’s pose for those familiar with yoga.
At that point things start to get a little more foggy. Somewhere around 10:00 I was beginning to ask my mom to remind me why I didn’t want an epidural. She later told the nurse what I had said and the nurse told me I could still have one as long as I could hold still but that she thought I was doing amazing. Which was all well and good because I’m not sure I could have held still at that point. The nurse also offered to try a few different methods of applying counterpressure to hopefully get some of the intensity out of my back. When she applied pressure directly to my beach it helped a bit but not much. Then she tried squeezing my hips in. It didn’t help the pain much but I still swear I could feel the baby shift forward during the contraction. She checked me after that and I was at an 8. Things were moving quickly so she left to go call my doctor to let her know she should come up quickly. She was also calling in another nurse because there was some concern over baby’s shoulders getting stuck since Oliver was nearly 9 lbs. additionally, someone from NICU was called because baby’s heart rate had been dropping during my contractions so there was also some concern about the cord possibly being wrapped somewhere.
While the nurse was calling people, I suddenly had to push. I knew I had only been at an 8 a few minutes prior, but the urge to push was completely overwhelming and there was no stopping it. I kept insisting to my mom that she needed to get the nurse or doctor right now because I was pushing. The doctor on call came in with my nurse and apparently everyone else. Have I mentioned this part is all pretty foggy? Lol. My amazing amazing god send of a nurse talked me through flipping over onto my back and as I insisted to her that I was pushing she told me that was fine but if I was pushing I needed to hold my legs. She also had the decency to not laugh at me when I was hysterically telling her I couldn’t find my legs.
Having had an epidural with Oliver this was a totally new experience for me and I had no idea the urge to push would be so overwhelming. When the doctor told me to slow down pushing it was way harder to do than I thought. I remember being able to rest between pushes the first time. This time I could feel my body and it was ready to get her out ASAP!
I later found out that my poor doctor was running up four flights of stairs at this point because there was only one working elevator. She didn’t make it in time.
Overall I spent less than 10 minutes pushing. I only remember the doctor being there for about 2 pushes. Maybe 3?
Eloise did come out with the cord wrapped around her twice. There was also some meconium present in the amniotic fluid. Luckily the meconium happened at the last minute so she didn’t get much/any in her airway. She actually came out pretty much perfect!
Pushing without an epidural was such a crazy feeling. It didn’t even hurt anymore at that point because I knew we were so close to done. I was still in an absolute fog but was able to look down and see her being born. It felt completely out of body but also completely right all at the same time.
Right away they put her on my chest for a whole hour and it was absolutely wonderful. She was so alert compared to Oliver which I am assuming is because I didn’t have an epidural this time.
During that hour, Charlie also finally got my messages. I had sent a whole string of messages starting at 3 am when I realized my water had broken. We were in the middle of sending a Red Cross message to let him know Eloise was born when he finally got a chance to check his phone. (For those that are new here, my husband is on a rotational deployment and was in the field “without” his phone when Eloise was born.) it was definitely a relief as soon as he messaged me back and I knew that he knew. He even had enough reception to get a picture so that made it even better.
During her first hour, Eloise was rooting around and even latched well which was awesome.
When the hour was over, they took her to get all of her measurements and whatnot. She was only 7lbs 6oz and 19” long. For the record, Oliver was 8lbs 12.9oz so having such a small baby was a shock for me!
All together it was just under 8 hours from when I woke up to her arrival with about 4 hours in the hospital.
As much as I wish Charlie could have been here, I am just so incredibly grateful for how Eloise’s birth played out. My mom and my labor and delivery nurse were incredible and so supportive. And my grandma was wonderful taking care of Oliver while I was in labor. I could not have asked for a better experience!