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I had just come home from grocery shopping, and laid out all the ingredients I needed to make dinner… when I felt a leak into the thick ol’ pad I was wearing. This was close to 3 pm on a Friday.
I didn’t think it was accidental pee (which happens to us pregos from time to time) because I had JUST gone to the bathroom 2-minutes prior, but I still had my doubts. Maybe it was a dumb idea to wear such a thick pad because now I can’t tell how much leaked into the pad.
So I calmly went upstairs and changed into a thin pantyliner. If the pantyliner got soaked, it would be easy to tell. Within 30-min, that had also been soaked through. That was confirmation enough for me, so I called Sam to let him know.
This all feels so similar to last time, almost like déjà vu. I’m oddly calm just like last time too. My contractions haven’t started yet, but if it’s going to continue to follow the trajectory of my last pregnancy… labor should begin within the next 2 hours.
We will see what happens!
I just went to the bathroom and wiped away a TON of mucus tinged with blood. TMI? Sorry, I’m documenting this milestone so I don’t forget. I sat there for a bit debating whether or not I should take a picture. I decided against it (lucky you!).
When I lost my mucus plug/bloody show the first time around, I saw it floating in the toilet, about the size of a bright red dime. There was no doubt in my mind what it was. My water broke the following day, and labor came shortly after.
Anyway, I better hurry and eat my lunch in case I go into labor or something. I hear second pregnancies progress much faster so I may not have days to spare. Baby Jaren – my one request to you is that you stay put until rush hour is over. Let’s start our relationship off on the right foot.
In the meantime, I’m going to eat, watch TV, and try not to scare my husband.
Sam: oh man!cancel the dentist apptdont drive ANYWHERE!
This post is inspired by a question my very-pregnant friend asked me. She wanted to know if hiring a doula was worth it and asked about my experience with mine. Like me, she wants to try for a natural, medication-free birth and has been preparing herself by taking Bradley Classes.
This was my response:
When we decided to hire a doula, my line of thinking was… you only get ONE shot at this first pregnancy thing. There is no second chance, and I wanted to give myself the best chance possible for success. As a first time mom, you don’t know what the hospital is like and you don’t know what medications you should/shouldn’t give your baby. You’re in labor and not able to think that clearly… I was likely to agree to anything the doctors & nurses suggested. However, I wanted to make the most informed decisions possible for me and my baby. A doula has that experience to guide you and tell you what’s coming next from beginning to end. Knowing what came next helped me stay calm and assured. I felt like I knew what I was doing, even though I had never done this before!!
During our labor, our doula was an invaluable asset. She really guided Sam and I felt soo supported by my husband. He in turn felt like he really contributed and was a part of the birth process rather than a helpless bystander. We felt like ONE and we were stronger for it. When I was in unbearable pain she suggested different positions that helped a lot. When I felt like I needed an epidural she kept me focused and reminded me what I really wanted. She was soothing and patient and fully present.
Then after labor, when the nurses were asking our permission to give Noelle this shot or that shot, we were able to say yes to some and no to others. Some shots are procedural, but not really necessary. Our doula gave us direction in an unbiased way. Based on her thoughts combined with what we had learned in our Bradley Classes, we were able to make informed decisions without simply following the status quo. Our doula also stayed an additional 2-hours post-delivery as a lactation consultant to help our baby latch correctly, so breastfeeding was never an issue for us. The story doesn’t end there…
Noelle was diagnosed with Jaundice and had to undergo blue-light therapy. I was upset because her bilrubin levels were only borderline (and my gut sense was that her bilrubin counts were artificially high because she’s naturally yellow due to her Asian heritage). I did not like all the poking and prodding they were doing to her. I also felt we could’ve done the therapy at home, but they forced us to stay an additional day at the hospital and Noelle had to have UV-light therapy in an incubator. The nurses also tried to supplement my baby with formula under the advice of an on-site Pediatrician. I refused and our doula stood up for us. If I didn’t have my doula as my advocate I might’ve just said OK to everything the hospital threw at us. Shoot – what did we know, right? We were just green, newbie, first-time parents at that point up against “medical professionals”!
Our doula came by every day to check up on us. One night, she even swung by when she was on a date night with her husband! I will forever remember her immense care and concern for us even though she’d done a million births by then. We could’ve just been “another family” to her, but we weren’t. She treated us like we were the most important thing in her life at that moment because she knew it was the most important time in life for us. She went above and beyond “the hours” that we paid her. She could’ve just walked out of that hospital 2 hours after delivery and fulfilled her duties, but she did so much more…
In the end, I walked away with an amazingly positive and memorable first birth experience. I look back on that day and smile. It’s ONE day in your entire life. It’s a day you’ll always remember and can never get back. It’s a day I didn’t want to leave to chance, so that’s why we decided to hire a doula.
Not a single regret.
Our daughter arrived in perfect form on Thursday January 6th at 4:29am.
I always had a feeling my due date was wrong. Though most people say firstborns tend to be fashionably late, I sensed our daughter had other plans. Instead, she thought it’d be fun to surprise me by arriving 10 days early. This is our story..
1/5/11 @ 5:00 pm
Wednesday 1/5/11 was supposed to be our last official “date night” that never happened. We took a quick nap before heading out to dinner, but when I stood up to use the bathroom in the middle of the nap, I felt a small gush of water soak my pantyliner. Despite that, I wasn’t sure my water had really broken because it wasn’t even enough to leak onto my underwear, so I changed my pantyliner and still proceeded to get ready for dinner. Within a few minutes the liner was soaked again. This time, my husband insisted that we call our doula to make sure this wasn’t anything serious. She confirmed his suspicions that my water had indeed broken, and it was best for the two of us to spend the night at home. She predicted labor to start within the next few hours. She was right.
We wanted to labor at home for as long as possible so that we wouldn’t be stuck in the hospital for an endless amount of hours. My husband picked up some Wendy’s for dinner, loaded up the car with our packed bags, and we went about our night as usual. I was still in disbelief that I could soon be in labor because I wasn’t feeling any contractions and our baby wasn’t slated to be due for another week. I was surprisingly calm.
1/5/11 @ 7:00 pm
At 7pm, the contractions started and we started timing them. They were uncomfortable but bearable and not too painful. They felt like dull, cramping sensations that wrapped around my core. We decided to take a night walk around the neighborhood in hopes of keeping my mind off the contractions and speeding up labor. By 10pm, the contractions were lasting 45-60 seconds and about 4-5 minutes apart. We still weren’t sure if it was too soon to go to the hospital, but I trusted my instincts and we decided to drive to the hospital at about 10:30pm.
1/5/11 @ 11:00 pm
We arrive at the hospital about the same time as our doula. She saw me contracting, but suggested that we wait a little longer before heading in. She didn’t want them poking and prodding me too soon. Within 5 minutes, the contractions got so intense that I could hardly talk or breathe. It took us 20 minutes to make the short 5 minute walk from the parking lot to the hospital entrance.
1/5/11 @ 11:30 pm
As soon as I’m admitted, we give our nurse the birth plan. Then she measures my cervix and confirms that I am 5 cm dilated. I get hooked me up to an external monitor for about 30 minutes to monitor the baby and the intensity of my contractions. I have to say, I had the best nurse ever. She was completely willing to work with my birth plan and laid out all my options without pushing anything on me. Even my doula (who experienced plenty of births at Hoag) said that this was by far the best nurse she’s ever come across at Hoag.
I spend the next couple of hours walking the halls and do my best to stay focused and relaxed through the contractions.
1/6/11 @ 2:00 am
By now, I was exhausted and in so much pain. I had walked the halls, sat on a birth ball, taken a shower… all attempts to help relieve the pain. My legs were shaky and I desperately wanted to sit down, but every time I tried to sit the pain would intensify since the baby was sitting so low in my pelvic area. I had no choice but to stand on my wobbly feet holding onto something the entire time.
My husband was with me every step of the way and gave me so much support. I was quiet and trying to go to my quiet place, at times calling out for an epidural. Actually, it sounded more like a whimper: “ep-i-dur-aaaaal…. pleee-aase… I’m. so. tired….” – But he knew that that was not what I wanted and encouraged me to work through the pain. He reminded me of Philippians 4:13 - “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, so that’s what I meditated on throughout every contraction. The nurse checked my cervix again and confirmed that I was now 7 cm dilated. Progress!! I was definitely in full on active labor.
1/6/11 @ 3:50 am
I hit 10 cm shortly before 4am, then came the strong urge to push and bear down. Not having any pain medication allowed me to push and go with the natural rhythm of my body. I didn’t need anyone telling me when to push – my body just knew. With every push came a scream of agony. But when I heard my husband and the nurses tell me that they could see her head, that they could see her coming… it made me that much more motivated to keep going. I was almost there…
The moment her head popped out, I knew – it was like BURNING FIRE down there!!! Later on, I found out that the medical community call this the “ring of fire”. But with it came incredible relief. I then delivered her shoulders and she came out in one big whoosh – it’s something I can only describe as complete euphoria. They immediately laid her on my chest for skin-to-skin contact… with the slimy blood, mucous, and all! I was in awe and couldn’t believe I was holding my child in my hands. I was finally able to see the daughter I had carried within me for 9 months face-to-face for the very first time. She was so alert and latched on right away. We bonded immediately.
After that, you’d think I’d be exhausted but I must’ve been running on adrenaline cause I was more awake than ever. My birth experience was amazing and better than I could have hoped. After an experience like that, my belief in a God of miracles is even stronger. Within a day or two… He even allows us to forget about the pain. Today, most of the pain is a distant memory. All I feel is love and more love for the daughter who depends on me with her life.
Noelle Olivia | Jan 6th, 2011 @ 4:29 am | 7 lbs 15 oz | 19.75 in. long
“Please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so”
There were a lot of things I didn’t know about pregnancy and labor until I got knocked up, like having a Birth Plan! I really thought you just go to the hospital as soon as you enter labor and the doctors do their thing. Now I know that something as important as birth requires planning and foresight. People create birth plans because when you’re distressed and frazzled during the day of labor, you forget certain things and doctors forget too.
Here’s our current birth plan:
Are/were you clueless about birth plans like me? Did you have a birth plan prior to giving birth?