I've been meaning to post this for a million years! At least this time I posted it within a few months after her birth. With Charlotte's birth story (which you can read HERE) I posted it right before her first birthday. Woopsy! But I'm doing better at least!
To be honest I was really worried I wouldn't remember what time everything happened or what happened in general but thankfully I took screenshots of some of the texts I sent my mom about what was happening and noted the time too. Way to think ahead, Hannah! But I have to admit, I remembered every detail and time that everything happened with Charlotte's birth 11 months after the fact. With Rosalie? I'm really struggling to remember everything 5 months later. Haha I know it's because she's my 2nd though and I've been so busy. Plus, everything happened so much faster and crazier this time around. I think my 2nd hospital stay also had a lot to do with it. I truly think being in the hospital for 3 more days when Rosalie was a week old sucked the last remaining brain cells right out of my head. I thought I was going to go crazy stuck in there again! Haha! (You can read about what happened HERE or watch my vlog about it HERE).
But anyway, she is here and healthy and let's get into the who what when where and why!
November 23rd started like any other day. I painfully rolled out of bed as my hips popped and cracked and somehow I made my way to the kitchen to make myself and Charlotte some breakfast. I got both she and I up, ready, and dressed for the day and barely had enough energy to semi-pick up the house.
Okay, okay...it was still a mess when I left but...I tried! A for effort? ; )
Here's what happened from there...
I brought Charlotte along to my 40 week appointment because coincidentally Tom was working right across the street. He was so sweet and used his lunch break to come over and help me with her. If you've ever taken a toddler to a doctors appointment with you, especially when you're 9 months pregnant, you know why I needed help. Haha!
Anyway, my blood pressure had been creeping up ever so slightly for my last few appointments and when I went for this one it was no exception. Except this time it wasn't slight up, it was wayyyyy up. Dangerously high. I can't remember exactly but it was something like 150/105. Normal is about 120/80. The midwives I see all rallied together trying to figure out what had happened and why someone so young with no other health issues...like ever...AND who was on her second pregnancy would get preeclampsia. Preeclampsia and Eclampsia are most common in first time mothers and pregnant teens (I mean I was only 21 but still not a teen). It is more common if your mother or sister had preeclampsia though. My sister Tara had preeclampsia when she delivered her son Dylan 18 years ago and actually delivered him a month early. So that's really my only link to it. I ate pretty healthy during my pregnancy and I was pretty active chasing Charlotte. I guess genetics won out!
By the way - This is how preeclampsia is defined if you weren't sure what it is :
"a condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, sometimes with fluid retention and proteinuria."
Anyway, they were really worried that Rosalie might not get enough oxygen because my heart wasn't pumping like it should. They hooked me up to a fetal non-stress test (or an NST), hooked a band around my belly to monitor Rosalie's heart rate and another band to monitor contractions. Basically, the contraction band measured how long and how intense my contractions were (even Braxton Hicks contractions which I was having a lot of at that point). And then the heart rate band keeps an eye on the baby's heart rate because when a woman has a contraction the baby's heart rate should go up a little in response. Rosalie's heart rate wasn't changing at all, which signaled that she might not be getting the amount of oxygen she needed in the womb. The head midwife, Paulette, was right on top of everything. She was very straightforward with me and kept me informed the whole time. She decided to do an ultrasound to measure the fluid around Rosalie in the womb and make sure it wasn't leaking out.
For this next part - keep in mind that Tom was really tired on this particular day. He had been working construction allll day long, was hungry, tired, and was only supposed to take an hour for lunch for my appointment. He was getting really worried that his boss might start getting mad that he was still gone. He had been calling and texting his boss to make sure it was okay that he stayed with me for a bit longer so they could monitor Rosalie without me having to watch Charlotte too. (Stress brings blood pressure way up sooo...Toddler + rising blood pressure is not a good combo. Haha!) But anyway, Tom was kinda stressed and worried and his head was all jumbled.
We went in for the ultrasound and the fluid looked normal which I thought was a great sign! But then Paulette said, "Well, you're going straight to the hospital to be induced after we're done here." My eyes got so huge. This was when I knew it was serious... Boom. It was happening NOW. So many thoughts went through my head. "Please, God, let Rosalie be okay!" And then, "My house isn't clean! I don't have my hospital bags! Where will Charlotte go?!" I was a mess. Tom was holding Charlotte and keeping her occupied while texting his boss when I said, "Can you call your mom and see if she can come get Charlotte?" He looked at my kinda funny and said, "Why..."
"Because I'm going to the hospital...?"
His eyes got big like mine had and I could tell he hadn't heard Paulette the first time she said it. "Wait, what?!" he said. Haha needless to say Paulette explained it all to him again. She told me that with my blood pressure being so high I could develop eclampsia from my preeclampsia and start having seizures if it kept getting higher. That is definitely one of the scariest things I've ever been told...
Tom processed everything and called his mom. Another thing I was really sad about was the fact that I didn't have time to prepare leaving Charlotte to go to the hospital. Everything was so sudden! I'll talk more about that in a minute.
It was around 3:30 when they handed me my marching orders and told me to go straight to the hospital. Luckily it was only a 5 minute drive so we were there in no time. The whole way there I was on the phone with my mom telling her everything. She was out of town for work and I could hear in her voice that she was crushed that she couldn't be there with me. Some part of me will always want my mommy when I'm sick or scared but over the years I've become really great under pressure and I think I was handling myself pretty well given the scary circumstances. I've also trained myself to think pretty positively most of the time so I was high in spirits to match my high blood pressure. ; )
We arrived at the hospital and were waiting in the lobby for my mother in law to come pick Charlotte up. I wanted desperately to stay with her as long as I could but I knew I needed to head upstairs to get checked in as soon as possible. It took every ounce of my strength not to burst into a torrential storm of tears as I hugged and kissed little blissfully unaware Charlotte goodbye for the last time as my only child (who was outside the womb that is). I wanted her to stay with me... In my short mental quest to find a way that she could stay with me a little longer I even considered asking the nurses if Tom could bring her up to the room while I was induced; that is, just for a little while until my contractions started getting bothersome. But no...that was surely not allowed. And I knew my blood pressure wouldn't like that. I hugged her so tightly and kissed her sweet little cheeks like it was the last time I'd ever see her and off I went to the elevators with a hole in my heart. But, I was also scared and excited all at once too. Scared because who knew what was going to happen with Rosalie's heart rate, or mine for that matter? Preeclampsia, if left untreated, is deadly for mother and baby. I, and the midwives, were confident that this was early stage but there was still that "what if" stuck in my brain. I was excited though because my positivity was urging me to think about the fact that, in probably just a few hours, I'd be kissing my sweet Rosalie. That alone made all of this so much easier. This was all for my beautiful girl and we were about to lock eyes and lock hearts all at once! I knew deep down that this day, although scary, was beautiful and amazing...
Tom was all dirty from work and we needed our hospital bags. Plus, Charlotte needed some things packed to stay at my in-laws' so he went home to get all that done and send her off with his mom who had followed him there. Meanwhile, I got all checked in and was waiting in triage for someone to tell me where to go. (You can see my experience in triage, my entire induction, and hospital stay HERE.) They got me into a delivery room and that's when Tom showed back up. I was also kicking myself at this point for not stopping to get something to eat before I arrived at the hospital. At my hospital, they usually don't allow you to eat from the time you arrive until you've delivered. It's pretty awful. But whatevs. Right after Tom arrived they started poking my extremely difficult veins about a thousand times to get an IV in. The nurse claimed she was an expert...Um no. Haha she tried for 30 minutes before they had to call another nurse in...TO GET IT ON THE FIRST TRY. Expert my bum! Ha! ; )
They finally started me on pitocin (also called oxytocin) to induce labor. Finally! Did I say finally? Haha I was getting impatient. But about 30 or 40 minutes later I started noticing regular itty bitty barely noticeable contractions starting. I just sat in bed and watched TV while Tom napped in preparation for the fun night ahead. I was too excited and nervous to sleep!
I started feeling my contractions grow in strength as the the hours went by and I found myself "coping" by essentially ignoring the pain and by watching Everybody Loves Raymond while rolling my hips on a yoga ball. I completely ignored Tom when I was in intense labor with Charlotte so I guess this time he figured, "why bother" and he slept.
Sorry, Babe! Haha but I knew he was tired from getting up early to work and I knew it would be a long night so I didn't blame him one bit. I was glad he was resting!
At this point they checked me and I was 4cm dilated and pretty uncomfortable. My blood pressure was more stable which was good! But boy I was starting to feel the contractions. They were harder and rougher. Standing by the hospital bed and rocking my hips back and forth while leaning over was the only comfort I got. My midwife, Sue, was amazing at encouraging me the whole way through.
Sue asked me if I wanted her to break my water and I would have said no, but the pain crept into my head and told me to hurry up and get things going so it would be OVER sooner. Haha!
So she did it. And I was ready to get the ball rolling! Or so I thought.
Tom promptly popped his head off that pillow when my contractions became really intense. I was in a lot of pain and nothing I did seemed to help. Tears started rolling down my cheeks when the nurse asked if I wanted to get in the shower to relieve some of the pain. I knew that might help me but I also thought that if I didn't get an epidural right then that I would be in a lot lot lot of pain pretty quickly. I had an unmedicated delivery with my first daughter Charlotte and I knew I could do it this time too without an epidural, but truthfully I was a lot more scared of the pain this time for some reason. Maybe because I knew what to expect? I thought about the hot shower for a second and I knew that was the route I wanted to go but for some reason the words, "I think I just want an epidural" came out of my mouth anyway. It wasn't what I wanted but the pain was talking, not me. The logic in my head said, "No, you can do this!" But the pain said, "No you can't" and I listened to the pain. It's not that I think there's anything wrong with getting an epidural, it's just that, for me, there is a lot of satisfaction in giving birth unmedicated. A lot! When I had Charlotte I felt like a complete warrior and pretty B.A. for awhile. It was like a high! It was awesome. But the pain and fear won this round although I admit I wish it hadn't. It was just a personal goal for me to go unmedicated (besides the pitocin). Much like a runner sets their sights on a marathon, I had set my sights on an unmedicated delivery.
So anyway, the nurse left the room and ordered the epidural for me. Since I now knew it was on it's way I was counting down the seconds until it arrived.
"So how much longer until the anesthesiologist gets here?" I wimpered between contractions. I wanted to change my mind and cancel it but I just...didn't. The pain kept me from speaking up. It held my tongue for me. It's like when someone calls you by the wrong name and you want to correct them but you just...don't. Or when someone starts talking crap about your favorite political candidate. You want to put your two cents in but you don't because you know your life will be easier if you keep your mouth shut. Does that make any sense? I just knew my life would be easier if I said nothing and just let it happen. So I did. OH WELL!
The anesthesiologist finally got to my room! I had ever heard of this happening before but they told Tom that when they administered it to me that it would have to be a sterile environment and that he had to wait out in the waiting room. My heart sank! I was in a lot of pain and from all the videos I had watched and birth stories I had read, the husband was always the one to hold the woman upright. I wanted Tom to be the one that I squeezed and held onto when they gave it to me. I just wanted the comfort of him being there for me. But they made him leave anyway, even after I protested. They sat me up in the bed and made me try to stick the center of my back out as far as I could. Now that was extremely difficult seeing as I was having back to back intense, hard, long contractions. I was crying and panting and at one point during the process I thought, "I hope my breath isn't bad." That poor nurse. I was huffing and puffing in her face. Haha poor girl...
But this is what makes me mad to this day. I was already feeling like I had given up too quickly with getting the epidural. I thought that it would be nice since I probably had a few hours still to go. So I was sitting on the bed breathing as best I could through these contractions and I started to feel extremely nauseous. I didn't have that with my first delivery I don't think so I was confused. I waited a minute and told the nurse what I was feeling. She said, "Oh that's normal. That just means you're in transition!"
If you aren't aware, transition in labor means that your body is getting ready to push. It's the shortest part of labor. When she said that I thought, "I'm almost done. Why am I getting this epidural? Why am I getting this epidural?? Why am I getting this epidural???" But the anesthesiologist was already back there. He had already prepped my back and was seconds away from inserting the needle. Pain knew that and pain told me to keep my mouth shut. So I did. But MAN I COULD HAVE DONE IT! I WAS SO CLOSE!
This meme below is the closest I can come to explaining how I feel about it. I'm the guy on bottom. I mean it's not something that keeps me up at night or anything but it's an unachieved goal that I look back on and think, "Dang it!"
They finished putting the epidural in and laid me down. By the way, I barely felt a poke when he administered it. I still don't know if it was because my contractions were the horrible center of my universe and I didn't notice a big poke, or if it just wasn't painful. Who knows?
So they turned me side to side to make sure it was evenly distributed and within a few minutes I started shaking a lot (which they told me was normal with an epidural) and my lower half started reeeaaalllllllyyy relaxing. Within a few more minutes I was completely and entirely numb from my belly down. I could still move my legs a bit somehow but you could have chopped me in half and I wouldn't have felt a thing. Haha! I kept flicking and tapping my legs to see if I could feel it and it was the strangest sensation because I couldn't feel a thing. Soooo weird!
Sue, my midwife came in as they were turning me side to side and told me she would check me. She poked her head up and said, "Well, there she is! I see her!" I couldn't believe it! I felt nothing. at. all. But there she was almost... They broke down the end of the bed and instantly the room had more nurses in it all in a synchronized flurry readying everything for my sweet Rosalie's arrival! Tom was kissing my forehead and I was still in awe that I wasn't feeling a thing.
They told me to grab my legs and push as hard as I could muster. I really tried but the epidural was so strong that I couldn't tell at alllll how hard I was pushing, or if I was pushing at all! They told me to push harder and I asked if I was even pushing. It was so weird! I didn't like that about the epidural. I would have had no idea what was happening if Tom hadn't been talking me through it. They kept saying, "Here she comes!" but it felt like I was just sitting on a park bench minding my own business. It was a very foreign feeling to me!
After only 4 pushes our beautiful Rosalie was born! She was a tiny 6 lbs. 5.9 oz.
That was quite a difference from the more than an hour I pushed Charlotte with no meds! But she was here and on my chest now. It was a beautiful moment! Truthfully I've never been one to cry when my babies are born. I always thought I would but I just haven't! I think I'm in shock when they're first born to be honest. I don't think my emotions quite know what to do with themselves in that moment. One second you're laying there and the next your own, new child is laying on top of you. My mind is like, "WHAT JUST HAPPENED. WHERE DID SHE COME FROM. I JUST GAVE BIRTH AGAIN. AAAAAAAAAAAA!!! THIS IS AWESOME. I'M SO B.A." Haha that's not an exaggeration either! It's just total shock.
She didn't cry for a moment and I was worried for what felt like forever (it was about 5 seconds) but she finally let out a huge scream! She whaled and whaled until we started doing skin to skin. She calmed down instantly and sucked on her finger while she looked all over the room. I was instantly in love with her, just a much stronger version of the love I had for her for 9 months before that!
And Tom is always so cute when I have a baby. He literally cheers me on the whole time I push. He tells me every detail of what's going on, whether I'm listening to him or not, and he encourages me so much! I couldn't do it without him. He's just the absolute best. I love the crap out of that man! When Rosalie was born I remember seeing him tearing up. He had his arms folded and he was just kind of bobbing up and down saying, "Babe she's here! You did it! She's here! Hi, Rosalie!" It's making me tear up just thinking about it. He's a sucker for a good daughter... ; ) I love you, Tom!
After everything was over, I had fed her, and I was all ready to go, they moved me to a recovery room around 5:30am. Tom and I were both exhausted! But I had a kind of energy about me because of the adrenaline I had just experienced! I just wanted to kiss and love on my Rosalie. She was finally here, safe and sound. No effects from the preeclampsia. My blood pressure continued to go down like it was supposed to. (Delivery is the only cure for preeclampsia and eclampsia.) I was able to get up and walk around a few hours later, although I was slow and careful, but I was fine.
Our older daughter Charlotte came to meet Rosalie just about 12 hours after she was born.
It. Was. The. Single. Most. Adorable. Thing. I. Had. Ever. Seen.
We are all happy and healthy and soooo blessed to have our Rosalie! I thank God every day that there was no harm to her from the preeclampsia. Some babies and moms aren't so lucky.
Here's my vlog where I filmed the whole day and my whole hospital stay! (No I did not film the actual birth. I'm not comfortable putting that out there for the world to see. But here is our experience nonetheless!
I hope you enjoyed reading about Rosalie's adventurous birth! She is such a perfect little addition to our family an we're just over the moon that she's ours forever.
Let me know in the comments below if you had a similar experience with one of your births. Or even if you just want to share - no matter what "kind" of birth you had! Was it what you wanted? Did your pain speak for you or did you do what you really wanted? I'd love to hear all about it!
Love you all!
My name is Hannah and I'm a lucky wife to Tom, and mama bear to two sweet girls - Charlotte & Rosalie. Coffee, lipstick, sunshine, and dresses are some of my favorite things! I love to blog about God, motherhood, "wifeyhood", food, health and much more.
Click the button below to follow me on Bloglovin'! It's kind of like the Facebook of blogs/bloggers. It's so much fun and I hope to see you over there :)