LHW arrived on August 9, weighing in at 6 lbs 9 oz. Here she is with her big brother:
As other parents have been telling me, it was such a huge joy to see how happy he was to meet his baby sister for the first time. The three of us are still adjusting to calling her by her real name instead of Ayfee.
I was 38 weeks and 1 day on the day I delivered. Since WZW came two days before his due date, I was thinking/hoping I’d have a little more time before she arrived, but I guess she had other plans. Because of the glucose intolerance, I’d made it a priority during my maternity leave to stay active. Honestly, my main motivation was still to be able to get away with eating carbs and sugar thanks to the workouts.
The week before the delivery, I’d done my usual long hike a couple of times, including two days before she came. Because of the pelvic instability pain limiting me from hiking daily, I’d found a local pool where I can do laps and pay a daily fee (as opposed to many places requiring membership). The morning of the delivery, I’d gone to the pool for the second time. I’d contemplated if I’d go enough times before I delivered to warrant purchasing a monthly pass, but good thing I didn’t!
I swam at a leisurely pace but did swim a mile. Right after, around 10:15 am, I went to the restroom and saw blood. It didn’t look like just bloody show, which is more mucous with some blood, and often happens close to delivery as the cervix is starting to open. With WZW, I’d had a small trickle of bloody fluid when I first broke my water, but it didn’t look like that, either.
I knew that the appearance and amount of blood I saw, since it wasn’t either of the above, was a little worrisome. So I called Labor & Delivery and headed straight there after the pool. I didn’t even have a chance to shower all of that chlorine off. In some cases a lot of bleeding could indicate a placental abruption, when the placenta starts to separate from the uterus. This can happen with an event like a high speed car crash, or can happen for unknown reasons spontaneously. If it happens, the baby would be losing oxygen and would need to be delivered via emergency C-section ASAP.
Once in Labor & Delivery triage, they monitored the baby and her heart rate pattern looked great. I was 4 cm dilated, 80% effaced, -2 station and having mild contractions, maybe about every 7 minutes or so. Thankfully nothing concerning like abruption appeared to be causing the bleeding. So even though I hadn’t been feeling any significant contractions, the bleeding must have been from my cervix changing as I was entering early labor.
Since my labor went pretty quickly with WZW, considering he was my first baby, I’ve been concerned that things might go a little too quickly this time around. I certainly didn’t want to deliver in the car.
They monitored me on Labor & Delivery for over two hours, and I didn’t appear to be going into full labor yet. The bleeding slowed down. They rechecked my cervix, and it was 4-5 cm dilated; minimal change from the initial exam. I was aware that by going home, there was a risk that things could move quickly once I started active labor. But I preferred to go home and wait it out, not to mention shower. It also gave us a chance to arrange for WZW to go to my parents’ home for the night. At that point, it was the early afternoon.
I continued to feel mild contractions throughout the day. At about 8:45 pm, I started to notice them get stronger and closer together. Not horribly painful like full on labor, but definitely a change. Again, given my fear of delivering in the car, I called the hospital and we went back in, because I had a feeling I was transitioning into active labor.
When we arrived, the midwife checked my cervix and I was now 6 cm dilated, so I was definitely staying in the hospital this time. She said that once things were situated, she could potentially break my water. That often helps things progress more quickly, especially in women who have had babies before. If the baby’s head is still high, it may not be safe to rupture the bag. But if the head is low enough, it’s something that is often done on L&D.
We are a little more cautious with women having their first baby of doing it really early. In case the labor doesn’t progress quickly, you’re now introducing a higher risk of infection because the barrier between baby and the outside world has now been broken. So if a woman remains with a broken bag of water for many hours before she delivers, there is a risk of her developing an infection called chorioamnionitis. The baby’s heart rate could go up, and the mother could develop a fever. She would receive antibiotics. Even after the baby delivers, he or she would be monitored more closely and have additional testing done.
In my case, once the nurse finished the admission, placed my IV and such, I told the midwife I would like to go ahead and have her break the bag of water if she thought it was appropriate. At that point, I was having more regular contractions that were uncomfortable, but not the level of pain I remembered with WZW when I was in full-on active labor. She checked my cervix, and it was now 7 cm dilated, and she went ahead and broke the bag. It was 23:32.
From there, I noticed that the level of pain with contractions intensified to the active labor pain I remembered with WZW. I wouldn’t be able to maintain a conversation through them, and I would need to try my best to breathe through them.
Then before I knew it, the contractions started coming super close together, to the point that I couldn’t get relief between contractions because the pain never fully subsided. I felt pain all over. The nurses ask you to let them know if you feel the urge to push or urge to have a bowel movement, because that usually indicates that the baby is about to deliver. I can’t say I felt that necessarily, but rather I was in so much pain, I didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t necessarily sure the baby was about to deliver, but thankfully had the wherewithal to tell my husband to call the staff because I did know from experience that sometimes things can go very quickly after breaking the water.
They came back in, and the midwife checked and said the baby’s head was right there. They quickly got things set up for the delivery, and she told me to push. Unlike with WZW when I pushed with my contractions, this time I was just in constant pain. I didn’t wait for the next contraction to push, but rather had my husband and the nurse help me get my legs up to hold, and then pushed a little to nudge her out.
I was in the most intense pain of my life for a short time, and then before I knew it, she was out and it was over. She was born at 23:45, just 13 minutes after the midwife broke my water.
She delivered in what we call OP (occiput posterior) position, which is when they are facing front. It doesn’t happen as often, as babies usually prefer to fit through the birth canal facing towards mom’s back. And usually ladies who deliver OP tend to report feeling back labor. In my case, I think because she was small (WZW had weighed 7 lbs 5 oz) and delivered so quickly, she happened to come out that way. I never felt any particular back labor symptoms.
Postpartum, I’ve definitely noticed that the physical pain is less than I had with WZW. After having him, I remember feeling that my whole pelvis hurt- like all of the bones in the areas around the vagina where things presumably had to separate a bit to let him out. It wasn’t just from the stitches. This time around, I had a smaller tear, a first degree laceration that was more on the inside of the vagina, so less bothersome for me using the restroom. I don’t even need that bottle to rinse after using the restroom, and can use toilet paper like usual.
The pelvic instability pain is there but not as bad as it was before I delivered, so I haven’t been wearing the SI-LOC support belt 24/7 like I had been. I feel for the ladies who have more significant physical symptoms, and for sure after a C-section, because the pain and immobility would be way more significant.
One reader commented after having her baby that it was nice to get her body back. It was much easier for her once the baby was out, compared to being very pregnant and dealing with a small child. I feel the same way, though I’m lucky that WZW at nearly 4 yo didn’t require me to lift him in the late pregnancy. While I’m still a little sore and recovering since it’s only been a few days, things like bending over that were uncomfortable to do while very pregnant are now much easier.
Not to mention, I feel so free now that I can eat whatever I want. It is wonderful to be able to eat carbs and sugar without worrying I am affecting the baby’s blood sugars. For the entire pregnancy, I’d feel gross after eating too much, which limited how much I ate. That is also better. This new freedom plus the sleep-deprivation is a recipe for weight gain, so I will have to be cautious in the long-term. But it’s really nice for now.