I’m pretty sneaky. 🙂 I went and had a second baby without telling you all! Her name is Celia and she was born 7lb 4oz almost five months ago. She is a happy, smiley baby that has already slept 11 hours at night on several occasions! We love her and are quickly getting used to have two little ones. Big sister Lucy is doing great having a little one around (and is also learning how to do time outs when needed).
My husband got me to the hospital just in time – I nearly had a car birth! I laugh now, but it was an intensely painful experience. I intended to get an epidural in the hospital but my labor from the very first contraction to her birth was just six hours. And my husband was sailing in a race for the first three!
If you want to hear my birth story, read on…
Here’s how my labor started.
I’d been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for several weeks, slowly gaining in strength and length. I learned with my first baby not to cancel plans just because my due date was approaching – it just makes the wait longer – so when Dan decided to go sailing on my due date, we strapped Lucy into her stroller and all walked down to the dock together. The boat set sail at 5pm.
5:07pm – My first two contractions swelled on the stroll home with Lucy. Should I text Dan and tell him to come home – disqualifying the boat the crew from the entire race?
Lucy’s bedtime was in just one hour. I needed to make dinner, clean the kitchen, heat up her bottle, and put her to bed. I decided to go it alone. Plus, the contractions might go away. It had happened before with Lucy. But I texted my husband anyway.
5:31pm – I’ve had two short, light contractions since dropping you at the boat. Pls check cell after race in case I need you.
Lucy went to bed early and easily. Phew. I poured a glass of water, turned on my relaxing music, changed into loose clothes, and got into bed. I breathed deeply, fully expecting the contractions to go away. (They often do if you put your feet up and drink water.)
The contractions did not go away.
At 6:25pm, I texted Dan.
They keep coming.
No response. At 6:59pm, I texted him again.
Finally, Dan texted back.
I had no idea what to tell him. With my first baby, my contractions started and stopped for more than a week! Little did I know that my baby would be born in a few short hours.
No telling. If they continue and get stronger, yes. Could just be bc I’ve been on my feet for several hours.
My husband is stuck on a boat while his pregnant wife labors. Does he lose his cool? Nope.
Ya. We are on down wind leg. Near bridge. More than half done.
More than half done, he said. The wind was light, which meant a slow race. What if the wind died all together?
I had no idea what time Dan would be home.
I’m lying in bed, eyeing our half-packed hospital bags. Should I call a friend who said they’d help with Lucy when the new baby came? We had five people on our backup list and some of them would be going to bed soon and turning off their phones. But I was breathing through the contractions and Dan wasn’t even home. So what good would another person, unprepared to see a laboring woman, be?
At 8:04pm, Dan texted me.
Still having them off and on. Hard to tell if they are getting stronger and closer together. Been laying down for an hour and still having them. Should I go for walk to bring labor on?
Sure. Around the block would be ok.
8:41pm – Dan bursts through the door and drops his sailing gear. He finishes packing the hospital bags, just in case this is the real thing. At this point, I’m still thinking the contractions might go away.
He brings me a snack of cottage cheese, and runs next door to get a sandwich for himself. After a few beers during the race, he is worried he won’t be sober enough to drive me to the hospital, some 45 minutes away. He also installs the baby carseat.
8:54pm I messaged my baby group friends on Facebook.
Real contractions starting! Not sure if this is really happening or my body doing a dry run, but keep me in your thoughts tonight ladies!!!
9:04 pm I text my friend Mo, a friend who could help with Lucy.
Think labor is happening tonight. Dan will most likely get in touch. Not sure what plan is. Keep me in your thoughts. Forgot how painful this is.
9:10pm – I straddle the birthing ball (which is the same thing as a yoga ball) and ask Dan to come upstairs and help me get through the contractions. The pain is ramping up and I need him nearby to calm me, to comfort me, to reassure me. He quickly finishes packing the car with the hospital bag and extra pillows.
We move the whole operation into the bath tub, where I sit on a small plastic box in water. The box gives enough to support me, but the pain is so intense I need more water. My water breaks with a gush into the tub.
Dan is timing the contractions, trying to dial the midwife, and texting friends to see who can come over to stay with Lucy. The breaks between contractions are so short – just a minute or two, that by the time he gets through to leave an emergency message for the midwife on call, my screaming drowns out everything else.
Lucy’s bedroom is less than 10 feet away and her door is one of those cheap, hollow ones. Amazingly, she never wakes up.
We go back into the bedroom and I sit on the yoga ball again. This time, there is little relief. I am in agony. In between each contraction, I drop my head onto the bed and can barely answer questions.
I beg Dan to take me to the nearby hospital, less than 10 minutes away, for a c-section. I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it. It hurts too much. I just want the baby out of me.
By this point, we desperately need someone to come over so we can go to the hospital. I can actually feel the baby’s head moving through my body. But everyone on our emergency list is either in bed with their phone turned off or on vacation.
Dan calls our friend Emily even though we never talked to her about helping. She doesn’t pick up. But a minute later Dan gets a text.
9:46pm Did you just call me?
Yes. Can you come over and watch Lucy. In labor.
Yes. Will be there in a few minutes.
Emily pays her tab, rushes out of the nightclub, and speeds over to our house. When she gets out of the car, she can hear me screaming upstairs. It was a hot summer night and the windows were open.
I realize that even if Dan took me to the nearby hospital and I got a C-section, they would have to call in an entire medical team, and that an epidural would be at least 45 minutes away. The far hospital, where we planned to give birth, is also 45 minutes away. I stop asking for the c-section.
9:55pm – Dan makes me a nest in the car so I can straddle blankets and rest my head on the seat. I’m not wearing a seatbelt, which is dangerous, but there’s no way I can sit down in the front seat in active labor. Dan and Emily help me out the door and into the car. I grab onto the seat belts and pull them so hard during every contraction that I will be sore.
The ride to the hospital is more than 40 minutes long.
During the entire ride, Dan reaches one arm back to gently rub my back. He tells me how many friends are thinking of me, willing me to birth this baby.
I can feel the baby sinking lower. Over and over, I scream.
“The baby is coming! I can feel it coming!”
“It’s just pressure,” my husband replies.
10:45pm We make it to the hospital and a contraction hits me in the parking lot. In the lobby, another contraction stops me. The staff is stunned. I’m shrieking, groaning, deeply, then high-pitched. Trying to breathe out slowly even though the pain is so sharp I just want to suck in air.
Finally, someone walks by.
“Get her a room!”
We sail past the ER double doors and into a small hospital. I somehow pull off my sweatpants and underwear and climb onto the bed. I’m laboring on all fours when the doctor comes in and tells me I need to lie on my back so she can examine me. I’m pissed. It hurts the least how I am on all fours, but I flip over anyway. As the nurses try to get a belly band on my so they can monitor the baby, the ER doc makes a discovery.
“You’re fully dilated and effaced.”
“I want an epidural,” I scream. It never occurs to me that, with the door open, every patient, doctor, and nurse can hear me screaming.
“You can’t have one,” the doc tells me.
“I want one anyway,” I scream back at her.
“We’re going to have this baby right here,” she says.
Six minutes later, our second daughter is born.
11pm – I hold her, skin to skin, for about 20 minutes before the nurses persuade me to let them take her a few feet away to perform tests. She is lovely and tiny and instantly knows how to latch.
We are parents, all over again.