project baby #2 {daphne’s birth story}

{warning: this is likely an overly long post for a lot of readers, but I wanted to share details for those who have asked & also to have a record to share with daphne one day. feel free to skip down to the pictures, or skip this post completely!}

As most of you know, I pretty much fell off the map as I neared my due date. In fact, I only blogged up to week 37!  Once I hit 38 and 39 weeks, I kept telling Aaron that I should do my weekly photo, but by 40 weeks I was over it! This is actually the final picture I took of me and the bump, on February 24th, 4 days before I went into labor. You can see I stopped wearing pants (dresses were a godsend even though it was still really cold outside!) and my toiletries and make-up were all packed up and ready to be tossed into the hospital bag (well bags, plural, because I just kept adding things!).

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Physically, those last three weeks, I felt great! I was tired, but I was actually sleeping really well, my heartburn had subsided, the baby was not into my ribs, I had zero swelling, and I didn’t have any (noticeable) early labor symptoms. BUT, mentally and emotionally I was so drained and so ready to be done. I felt like I might go into labor at any moment from February 15th on (that’s the day I had my mani/pedi so I was sure that would do it!) and so I was completely exhausted and anxious by the time my parents came into town on February 20th. We were all worried that they wouldn’t make it in time, but alas, we waited. And waited. And my dad actually extended his trip a few days, but ended up getting on a plane about 5 hours before I had my first labor contraction!

That last week was difficult for me because I felt like I couldn’t plan anything. So we would wake up in the morning and since there wasn’t a baby, we would maybe plan a short outing, just in case I went into labor. My due date was definitely the most difficult day for me, and after that, I felt like I could better handle not being in control (which I very obviously wasn’t at that point!) and try to enjoy these last days with my family and with Eloise before Baby Foot arrived. I also stopped all social media at that point, including responding to any and all texts and emails, so sorry if I was ignoring you!

On February 28th I had my 40 week (well, 39 weeks + 6) appointment with my midwife. I remember checking into the front desk and seeing the on-call board: Sarah was the on-call midwife (my favorite one since she also helped delivery Eloise) and Dr. Foltz was the on-call OB (also my favorite since she was my original OB years and years ago); I made a mental note that it would be a great day to have this baby since those are exactly the providers I would have wanted if I had my choice! It wasn’t until after Daphne was born that I actually made that connection… I think that is what I needed to get things started!

Anyways, my check-up went well with my weight and blood pressure, and baby’s heartbeat. At that point Sarah went ahead and checked to see if and how much I was dilated and I was almost 4 cm! I was really surprised since it didn’t feel like I was having early laboring at all, but clearly all that tightening in my belly (like Braxton Hicks) was having an impact. Since I my body was already dilating on it’s own, it made sense to have my membranes swept (which only is effective if you are already close to baby time, like within 48 hours!). It was so, so uncomfortable (and borderline painful!) and I was honestly uncomfortable for the remainder of the day (cramping mostly). Since I was at 41 weeks, my midwife also had me schedule an ultrasound for the end of the week as well as a non-stress test (to monitor baby’s heartbeat) which are both standard for post-due date cases. Apparently after 42 weeks the placenta stops working as efficiently so close monitoring of mama and baby are required as well as discussion about intervention.

We took it easy for the rest of the day and said good-bye to my dad. By that evening I was really feeling crampy, so I called it a night early to try to get some rest. I got ready for bed and was lying down for just a bit when I had my first (real) labor contraction. I noted the time – it was 9 pm – and tried to go to sleep. Well, that was wishful thinking because the contractions kept coming and seemed to be fairly regular. At 9:42 I called Aaron, who was upstairs watching TV with my mom, to tell him to come down and time my contractions. Within 30 minutes, my contractions were becoming regular (4 to 5 minutes apart and a minute long) and Aaron called our doula, Jennie, to give her a head’s up and have her start making her way to our house. Then Aaron called the doctor’s office to give Sarah, the midwife, an update and they agreed that we would wait for Jennie to get to the house before making any further decisions.

At 10:50 pm, Jennie arrived at our house and I was still downstairs in our bed laboring on my side (with my pregnancy pillow, thank goodness!). My contractions were still consistent, and, spoiler alert, never stopped. Jennie talked me thru my next few contractions, and I decided I was ready to head to the hospital. At that point, the last thing I wanted to do was get in the car because having contractions in the car is the worst, but I also knew that I didn’t want to have a homebirth, so there really wasn’t any choice. Aaron called Sarah back to let her know we were headed to the hospital and that we would meet her there.

We pack up our last-minute stuff (and by we I mean Aaron), and say good-bye to my mom, and get in the car around 11:30. I had a number (like 4 or 5) of contractions in the car, but luckily since it was so late, there was no traffic (even on I-5) so we made it to the hospital pretty quickly! Aaron pulled into the hospital’s parking garage at 11:40 pm. After parking, I had a few contractions on the way into the hospital, but luckily we had Jennie with us and she was able to help me as Aaron navigated us up the elevator, thru the security desk (you don’t need to show ID if you are in labor!), and up to L&D triage. My contractions were getting stronger and much more intense. At 11:50 I was checked in and at 11:55, the nurse checked and I was 7 cm dilated. I remember looking at Jennie and telling her that I needed a break. I also remember making a reference to wanting something to help with the intensity (an epidural), but no one even acknowledged it! Not because they didn’t care, but it was WAY too late by then! And really, I wanted an un-medicated labor, but I probably would have given anything to have just a minute of rest at that point! The nurses wheeled the triage bed directly to the L&D suite.

At midnight my labor was strong and from the time I got onto the triage bed, I kept my eyes closed. That was the only way I could handle the intensity of my labor. The nurses wanted me to move from the triage bed (stretcher) to the actual hospital bed, but I refused. I remember them telling me I would be way more comfortable and then I wouldn’t have to move after the baby was born, but there was seriously no way that was going to happen. I also remember seeing Sarah at this point with her scrub cap on and ready to deliver. And almost immediately upon entering our hospital room, I felt like I needed to push.

At 12:05 am, Sarah checks and I am fully dilated. She gave me the green light to start pushing even though my bag of waters was still fully intact. Once the baby started crowning, everyone could see that baby’s hair floating in the amniotic sac, which was apparently really cool. (Rarely babies are born completely in the amniotic sac, called in the caul, and it is seen as a sign of good luck!) After the baby’s head is born (and the amniotic sack breaks on it’s own), her shoulder gets stuck below my pubic bone (shoulder dystocia). I was too focused on pushing (and the pain/intensity) to really realize the severity of the situation, but Aaron has told me he was terrified. I remember hearing someone (it was Sarah) call “SHOULDER!” and then being turned onto my back by the L&D nurse (as I was pushing on my right side at the time) which was horribly, horribly painful! Apparently this was to get back-up in case the baby couldn’t turn and pass under the bone, and a physician and NICU team arrived immediately. There is a series of maneuvers that are used in this (rare) situation, and luckily, Sarah was able to get the baby turned and I was able to continue with a safe and healthy delivery in about 90 seconds. Baby Foot Lower was born at 12:19 am on March 1st!*

Despite the slight complication at the end, Baby’s APGAR scores were high (7s I think) and no visit to the NICU was necessary. And while technically the Baby’s gender was a surprise, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear it was a girl! Baby remained unnamed for at least a few hours (we were already in the post-partum room) as Aaron and I weren’t decided on a name.** We each had a name that we liked; mine was Margot and Aaron’s was Daphne. I will let you guess who won!

We were able to skin-to-skin almost right away (me and Aaron both) and by 12:50 am Baby was nursing for the first time. I remember the moment I first held Daphne that it felt so strange, like I was cheating on Eloise. It was such a weird feeling because when Eloise was born, at that moment, I was holding the little one that made me a mama, but with this second baby, I was already a mama… she felt like a stranger for just a moment! (I have heard other second-time mamas have felt the same way!)

So even though she made us wait (and wait) until March to be born, once she decided, she was here in a hurry: just over 3 hours in all.

Welcome to the world Daphne Lucille! I wouldn’t have been able to have done any of this without Aaron, Jennie, Sarah, and all of the L&D staff, and my mom who stayed with Eloise. Plus, we had so much support from friends and family. We really are so blessed!

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And here’s Eloise’s birth story if you are interested!

*March 1st is also Aaron’s dad’s birthday, so Daphne shares the day with her Papaw.
**Many of you have asked what our boy’s name would have been, and since the likelihood of us having a third child is basically nil at this point, we have been sharing it (though we reserve the right to it if we ever do have a boy!): Fitzgerald Benjamin. Fitz as a nickname. Benjamin is a family name on both sides: Aaron’s oldest brother, and the middle name of my dad, brother, and grandfather.
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