Elijah's Birth Story
I'm sitting here, over 2 months later trying to figure out how I want to start this story. Just 19 months after the birth of his older sister and I was amazed at how I felt that I was once again joining Queen Elsa "into the unknown" of childbirth. Sidenote: I'm pretty sure my husband knows the lyrics of Frozen II better than myself and Carlina combined. What a guy.
Anyway, I've mentioned before in my instagram that this pregnancy felt rushed, like it happened in the blink of an eye and suddenly I had another kid in my belly. The only thing I had planned was that I was doing another hospital birth. Medicated or unmedicated? That was up to a last minute decision. Although I had essentially done an unmedicated birth my first time around, I didn't feel mentally prepared for it at all. You can read about that experience in two parts, here and here.
Luckily, at 36 weeks I began to finally prep for my labor, whatever it might look like. Better late than never, right? We finally moved out of our apartment and into our first home (EEK!!). Christmas was coming and things were finally starting to settle when I had one of my last OB appointments before his due date. That's where I made the decision to get induced.
What lead to this decision (which I truly never even considered) was something I had been dealing with for about half of my pregnancy *cue evil music* dun dun dun...PUPPPs (Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy). I have no idea what those big words mean but I DO know this: it is a rash that covers your whole body and makes you feel like you have horrid hives non-stop. Oh, and there's absolutely nothing that helps the itch other than to scratch, take ice showers and burn yourself with peppermint EO. Clothes at this point were optional. I really thought I was doing a great job of toughing it out-- I mean, it was just a rash... people go through MUCH worse, right? Well, I was over it.
Having hive-like irritations for months on end with no relief is NOT a good time. My OB finally said to me, "I know this isn't something we've discussed in detail and you've been a real trooper, but I want you to know that getting induced is an option for PUPPPS patients." She saw my suffering (and claw marks). I took her up on the offer and we got an induction scheduled for December 30th.
I felt so much peace about this decision. Any worry I had about not feeling prepared for labor drifted away and turned itself into "baby boy BETTER stay inside until Wednesday, or else!!"
Every night leading up to his birth I was so afraid that I would wake up to pee and my water would break-- which is what happened last time. But it turns out every time I woke up it was just to pee. *sight of relief.* Christmas Day came and went. We spent that weekend relishing in all the Christmas goodness, knowing that soon everything was about to change, again.
And theeeennnnnn everything kinda went haywire.
My parents and daughter both tested positive for you-know-what (saying the name feels like Voldemort at this point ya know?) So, two days before my induction my husband got tested and was negative. I had to get tested the day before per labor protocol anyway and I was negative as well (praise!!). I'm not sure what I would have done if he hadn't been allowed to be with me! Well, off my daughter went to quarantine with my parents in their RV (God bless them, y'all). As anxious as I was thinking about all that could go wrong with those three being sick, I knew it was in God's hands and I had to focus on what was to come.
Wednesday morning came. You know when you can't sleep because you think you'll miss your flight the next morning??? Well that's how my night went. I was excited and nervous and didn't want to miss our "date"! We got up, showered, double checked our hospital-bags and ran out the door bright and early to get to the hospital by 7am.
After a quick and easy check-in, we were off to the labor and delivery room to try and get this show on the road! We started with the IV's. A few tries and burst blood vessels later (ouch) they finally hooked me up. That was honestly one of the WORST parts of this labor! I'm not a fainter but after so many pokes I was ready to pass out. Then, the pitocin started around 8am. I was checked and already 7cm dilated and 80% effaced (before it even started!) This wasn't too surprising to me as I was pretty far along by the time I checked into the hospital during my last birth. This time, however, I wasn't falling apart from contractions by the time I walked into the room.
My OB asked if I wanted the epidural, just to double check, and I thought "eh, why not!?" It didn't work the last time because I was so far along, but I hadn't even had a single contraction yet so I was feeling a little more hopeful. The anethesiologist came in quickly and oh my HECK...I did not see that pain coming. This was also one of the worst parts of this labor. I guess by the time I got the epidural with my first, I was already in so much pain and debilitating "shakes" that I didn't even register any discomfort??? I don't know. But even after the first lidocaine numbing I could feel something moving around back there and let me tell you....I was not pleased....Thankfully, my husband and nurses (and even the anethesiologist) were all super comforting, helping me focus on anything but the fact that she had a troubling time finding the "right spot." I'm cringing just thinking about it. Whatever--moving on!
Soon, it all kicked in. My epirudal was working for the most part. My left leg never really went numb. Although it wasn't perfect, it wasn't bothersome. My husband and I were both shocked at how relaxing the rest of our time was. We kept thinking "is everything ok?" "is this right???" There is definitely a stark difference between a medicated vs. unmedicated birth. Both are beautiful, challenging, and painful in their own rights but DANG are they different.
Recalling how exhausted I was after delivering my first, I decided to take a little nap. When I woke up I asked my husband to bless me (always bring your Holy Water, y'all), listened to a Hallow meditation, and said both a rosary and divine mercy chaplet. Yes--I had enough time and relaxation to do ALL of that. I was pleasantly surprised when the nurses told me I was having full-on contractions. All I knew was that there was a comfy peanut ball between my knees and Gregorian chant creating the most peaceful labor room atmosphere.
My OB came to check on me during her lunch break and was like "wow I really like your labor music choice." She was definitely half joking and half serious but what can I say, I can't get enough of those monks chanting to my soul. Then, she suddenly said "well I guess I'll eat lunch later because it's time to push!" The delivery team came rushing in and a nurse propped me up, another nuse and my husband each grabbed a leg and the OB said "pick a contraction and go. I'm ready when you are." Because my epidural only numbed one side, I was able to anticipate my contractions without feeling any of the pain that came with them. I remembered my pushing and breathing from the labor prep course I took. Two pushes and 90 seconds later, Elijah came out with a splash-- which his dad dodged like the freakin' Matrix!
There was a little trouble during that 90 seconds where he was stuck and they called in emergency response team, but everyone was so calm I didn't realize anything bad was happening. Then my OB looked at me, told me to give that second push and she yanked him out like a champ. That emergency team was called off and he was immediately placed on my chest. Praise be to God!
The tears of joy ran down our faces. He was perfect.
You know, I was afraid this whole time that I wouldn't feel that way. I was terrified that this birth experience with him wasn't going to be as "magical" as my firstborn, that I was going to see him for the first time and not love him as much. But, in that moment I felt such relief. It sounds silly but I seriously thought "thank God I love him." It was a completely different experience with a completely different little human, but it was just as beautiful and divinely appointed by God.
Well folks...that was that! There really isn't much else to add. If you've read those other blogs you can probably tell that this birth was much less sweaty & eventful than the last.
I was truly astonished at my lack of exhaustion...but in my upcoming blog about postpartum round #2, we'll see how this seemingly easy birth was divinely appointed as well. So, stay tuned!
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My favorite Gregorian chant playlist on Spotify here
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