[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s been a month and a half now and I thought I’d better get this birth story down before my memory starts to become cloudy. I had big plans for the Fun Little Ohana blog during the holiday season (gift guides, event listings, etc.) but I’ve been pleasantly distracted by a sweet little bitty snuggly cute baby + her two sisters! Ya’ll know how it is! Anyway, here’s the birth story of my third child. It was truly an amazing birth, I’ll never forget it.
The Birth Story
I’ll start off by saying, this was my most challenging pregnancy physically. I’m a petite woman (5’1 105 lbs). When I’m pregnant I usually gain between 22-26 lbs. With this pregnancy, I only gained 20 pounds. Not bad at all! One would assume the less weight you gain, the smaller the baby would be. But, that was not the case with my third baby. She was much bigger! This really surprised me. The days leading up to her birth were physically demanding and I was more than ready to get baby girl out and into my arms! I was beginning to feel pretty crowded!
So Monday night, November 10th while putting Kay and Lulu to bed, I started having ‘strong’ Braxton Hicks contractions which were pretty irregular but a bit like normal contractions, so I just dismissed them. They kept coming irregularly for about two hours. I started to get a bit nervous because I still hadn’t packed my bag, nor had I packed a bag for the girls who would have to stay with friends since my mother in law was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday. Plus, I had a mountain of laundry to do! Right at my panic point, the contractions stopped. I took that as a warming that within the next day or so, true labor was about to go down and I’d better get myself and my home together.
Tuesday morning, November 11th I woke up to cute little contractions that were NOT Braxton Hicks. They were real contractions and I was excited. It was a familiar feeling and was really happy to get things going. I just couldn’t stop smiling. I told my husband (G) that I was most definitely having real contractions and that I thought we’d see our baby very soon. He smiled, I smiled, we both smiled at each other with that new parent look of excitement. I love that feeling. We knew we were in for another one of God’s moments of amazement watching our third child come into the world.
G felt he might need to stay home for the day and I told him I thought it would be a while before the contractions became super strong and that I’d give him a call. I messaged my pastor’s wife, a fabulous mother of eight, who we’d arranged to have watch our girls in the case baby came before my mother-in-law arrived from Oregon. She was excited and gave me tons of helpful advice including: stay hydrated and keep your energy up, eat some scrambled eggs. All of which I did.
Working Early Labor Like a Pro!
Throughout the day I cleaned the house, did laundry, took care of my girls, and prepared items for a bag (still didn’t actually pack a bag though. I just laid items out on my bed. HA!) I called my mom and chatted with her while eating chicken and dressing. She was shocked I could eat while in labor. I kept telling her it was early stages, but she just couldn’t believe I was so calm and could chat on the phone in between contractions. Yep, early labor. That’s when it’s fun & giggles.
So my cute contractions continued through the morning and early afternoon.
I put my girls down for a nap and I even took a nice nap myself, listening to the rain. I messaged my husband after waking up, suggesting that we should probably take the girls over to the pastor’s house before the contractions became any stronger, as it was rush hour and contractions could pick up and could become stronger at anytime. He agreed and came home.
Saying Goodbye to My Sweet Little Girls
While prepping my babies to spend the night away from G and me for the first time ever, I became sad. Then the tears started flowing. I realized that would be our last moment as a family of four. This was the last time my Lulu would be my youngest, my cuddly affectionate sweet baby. I was sooooo sad. I looked at my big girl Kay and remembered the first time looking at her face and bringing her home from the hospital. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, yet she had survived and is such lovable child. She was comforting me and wiping my tears away. That made me even more sad and so grateful. God is so good. Despite the mundane days of motherhood at home, I realized time was moving so fast and I’d better savor every moment I could.
Both of my girls hugged and kissed me while G explained to them why mommy was crying. It was a such a sweet family moment. I hugged and kissed my girls for about five minutes. Then it was time to say bye. I watched them walk down the stairs with my husband. Both of them calling back to me in their sweet little voices, “I love you mommy!” “Bye Mommy!” “See You Later Mommy!” The tears were flowing and I was smiling and crying at the same time.
Pass the Beef Jerky
While G was away, I ate some scrambled eggs and relaxed in a warm bath and began timing my contractions. G messaged me and asked if I needed something from the store. For some reason I really wanted some beef jerky, like the kind we’d had in Oregon this past summer. So random… But my sweetheart came back with a big bag of some really good jerky, AND it was from Oregon! Oh yeah, he’s a keeper. I was a very happy camper with my big ole belly in the bathtub. He took over manning the contraction timer and I ask him to sit with me and keep me company while I took a bath and enjoyed some jerky.
Ha! Just typing this now makes me laugh. This was definitely one of my favorite moments of this particular birth story. Resting in a warm bath, chatting with my husband and eating beef jerky while he dutifully tracked my contractions while reading a book and eating jerky too. Ha! We looked liked some seasoned pros over here waiting for baby to come.
“Pass the jerky please. Hold on…. here comes another one. [Contraction] Okay, I’ll take that jerky now.”
News that Really Pissed Me Off
The contractions pains started to pick up and I grew tired of the bathtub. Around 11pm my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. However, they weren’t strong to the point where I felt I REALLY needed to get to the hospital. But, because they were coming close together and it was baby #3, I thought, we should probably head to the hospital just in case baby decided to pop out at any moment. Experience has taught me that each baby and birth are different. I thought maybe it was possible that my pain tolerance for contractions had increased, since it was baby #3. So, in between uncomfortable (but not unbearable) contractions, we prepared to head off to the hospital. My husband called the hospital and told them we were headed in. We asked which midwife was on-call that night and they said no mid-wife was on call. Only physicians.
This made me VERY upset.
I was angry and started crying. I was so pissed off. I didn’t want a physician giving birth to my baby. (Blame it on The Business of Being Born) I wanted a midwife, especially since I’d intentionally seen several different ones throughout the pregnancy to increase my chances of seeing a familiar face in the Labor and Delivery room. Plus, I love Kaiser’s midwife centered birth system. I was very disappointed.
I started sobbing uncontrollably and G started talking me through it. Reminding me that God was in control and that it didn’t matter who was in the room, me and baby would be taken care of. He also reminded me that being upset would delay my labor and pointed out that my contractions had already slowed down since I had become upset. At this point, I knew he was right and that there was nothing I could really do about the mid-wife thing. So, I dried my tears and prepared myself mentally for being ready to battle and fight for every aspect of my birth. (Yes, my husband is awesome.)
A Quick Birth Plan & Trip to the Hospital
G used the Baby Bump app to make a quick birth plan for us to stick to. He went down a list of questions. Including,”Do you want to watch your labor in a mirror? To which I reply, “Ummmmm, Absolutely NOT!” (This is significant later) Okay, so bags are packed, tears are dried, and birth plan is all printed out. We left home for the hospital, ready to see our brand new baby girl. During the drive there, the highway to get to the hospital was closed, but my dear husband had already planned ahead and knew an alternative route. He didn’t miss a beat. Yep, seasoned pros we were!
We arrived to the hospital at 11:45pm, parked, and walked up to the hospital elevator. I had about two contractions from the car to the elevator. Arrived to the 6th floor, I had another contraction. We stopped at the nurses station, they weighed me, welcomed me and showed me to my L & D room. I met my L&D nurse, K (The BEST L&D nurse EVER!). I told her I’d be wearing my own clothes for this labor and not a hospital gown. K checked me. I was disappointed. I thought I would be much further along because my contractions are coming so close together. K was encouraging and suggested that since it was baby #3 it could go rather quickly anytime now. I was encouraged by that.
Ummmmmm….. Yep, I’ll Be Needing That Epidural
K, my labor and delivery nurse asked if I would like to go ahead and have an epidural. Leading into this birth, I really wanted to go for an all natural delivery. However, towards the last month, my baby started feeling really BIG and I chickened out. I told K that I’d prefer to wait a while, as I didn’t want the epidural to slow my progress down. And, that I still needed to poop before being confined to the bed. She asked if pooping was the reasons why I was delaying. (She was a clever nurse.) I admitted that my previous labors had began through the night so my body had all night to get rid of crap, but because this had started during the day, I had eaten throughout the day to keep up my energy and that I still had poop to get rid of it all. I told her, “The last thing I want is to be pooping all over nurses and doctors while pushing out my baby.” Her and G found this to be hilarious, but I was oh so serious. I didn’t want to be remembered as the woman who pooped all over everybody. She encouraged me not to worry about that and insisted that I wouldn’t. She also suggested that because it was my third pregnancy, things could progress rather quickly and that if I did indeed want an epidural I should consider having the epidural before it was too late. Plus, she added, it might help me relax and help things move faster.
I chatted it over with G, who doubled checked that I really wanted the epidural this time and I told him, emphatically, “YES man! This baby feels MUCH bigger than my other two. Now is NOT the time to be trying a natural birth with a bigger baby!” He laughed, Kris laughed, I laughed, the epidural lady was paged. Meanwhile, I used the bathroom as much as I could before the she arrived. Ha!!
In Awe of the Bag
In preparation, an IV was put into my arm and they wanted to give me a catheter. I refused it and assured them I could go in a bed pan. The epidural lady did her thing and around 1:45AM was resting peacefully in my bed going to sleep, watching contractions happen, but not feeling them at all. It felt like heaven. I was feeling good. And I’d brought my favorite blanket from home (gifted to me from my host mom during one of my homestays in Japan. Man I love that blanket!) Anyway, I told G to get some rest and that I’d wake him up when it was time for me to start pushing.
2:30AM rolled around, I started to feel a LOT of pressure and I was happy because that meant the epidural didn’t slow down my labor. K came in to check on me and says that based on babies response to the contractions we’re getting close to pushing. She asked to check me and after I rolled over, she looked and my amniotic sack was like, right there. (Literally coming out, like you could see it). She said, “Good news! Your amniotic sac it right there, would you like to see it in a mirror?” I’m like, “What do you mean it’s right there?” She brought over a mirror and positioned it so I could see and sure enough, there was a bag of water protruding out of me. I was really cool to see. I was in awe of the bag!
I touched it and it felt like a water balloon. I couldn’t believe it. The pressure started picking up and I told K I ‘d be ready to push within the next 10 minutes or so. She called the physician, who came in and wanted to check me. I told her I didn’t want anyone touching the amniotic sac and that I’d like to simply see how long I could go without it popping. The physician left and for the next 15 minutes I just sit in amazement looking at this thing. K suggested a labor bar to help with my pushing. She brought it in and I was like, oh yeah boiiiiii!!!!! Time to go to work! It’s time to get this baby out!” Ha! The bar reminded me of something you’d do in a fitness class. I loved it!
So I started trying to push the amniotic sac out without it popping, ever so gently, while hanging on to the bar. I start feeling more pressure and start pushing. The amniotic sac emerged slowly and became bigger and bigger. I pushed more. It became even bigger. By this time, I’m feeling like I must have the toughest amniotic sac in the world and that I should just go for it and push my baby out, sac and all! I felt like I really had to push BIG and i knew it was the head. With one big push, I pushed out my baby’s head INTO the amniotic sac. It was surreal! I saw her face in the sac! I was like, “Whoa, is that her face in the sac?!!!!! Whaaaaat???!!!!”(I’m watching this all go down in a mirror. The mirror actually helped me push more because I kept wanting to see what would happen.) With another super big push her shoulders came and another tiny push the rest of her slid on out and then the sack popped. It was beautiful and I was blown away at what had just happened!
Wanna know what’s even better? G got it all on video!!!!!!!! (I love that man.) I’ve watched that video a good thirty times!
The next few minutes were a blur because I was so caught up in seeing my new baby. She was born with a beautiful round head, thanks to the amniotic sac. She was a pound and a half bigger than my previous two. All in all, the labor from the time we arrived to the hospital to the time she was born was about three hours. So yeah, for me the third baby came REALLY fast and it was truly an amazing experience for me. I loved giving birth to this child. I still can’t believe she was born in the manner she was! Wow! Amen!!
Wow! You Have Your Hands Full!
Postpartum recovery the third time around has been pretty easy sailing. My sweet mother-in-law stayed with us for three blissful weeks, our church showered us with delicious food, and my body has snapped back pretty quickly.
Since I now have three kids, but only a jogging stroller for two kids, I’m trying to figure something out a regular fitness routine. I’m no longer with Stroller Strides Ewa Beach due to our move into town. Not sure I’d like to do Stroller Strides Honolulu. So, I’m now in the process of looking for a good fitness solution that’s super easy, awesome, and can accommodate three kids. I’m considering T25, UFC Honolulu gym, and Fit2Be (specifically for their postpartum ab workouts). I’ll probably do a combination of the three for about six months.
Also, I’ve been out and about several times now with all three girls and I there’s one phrase I hear at least 3-4 while we’re out. “You have your hands full!” This phrase makes me smile and kind of makes me feel weird. I’m not sure why though. Perhaps I sense a feeling of pity on their end? Or maybe they’re just looking for something to say? Who knows… The point is, I hear this phrase EVERY. DAY.
It’s true. Yes I do have my hands full. My hands are full of the three sweet little girls. I love them dearly. They fuss, fight, argue, apologize, shower baby sister with kisses, cry, eat, poop, sleep, hug mommy, on a daily basis. One even screams for about 15 minutes everyday (the smallest one) because she’s sleepy. But, please don’t have pity for me. I don’t have it hard with three kids. On the contrary, three is much easier. Plus, I am blessed to have had three healthy full-term pregnancies and to have been entrusted with these three little lives to take care of everyday, and I am very VERY thankful for them. Everyday isn’t fun and exciting. We have a lot of ordinary moments. Other times we have a lot of drama-filled, please-be-quiet-because-mommy-is-on-her-VERY-LAST-reserve-of-patience- moments, but, I am grateful for every moment and for everyday with them.
Will we have anymore?
Before birthing this sweet little bitty cupcake, I didn’t want another one. It was my third pregnancy and it was a taxing one too. I will admit though, having a sweet and cuddly baby outside of my body, right next to me all day with her intoxicating scent does make me swoon. She was worth every. moment. of morning. sickness. She makes me want to keep having them! But, my family feels complete. We were waiting for her and now that’s she’s finally here, we’re finally a Fun Little Ohana of Five.