On Wednesday, March 30th we were blessed with our family’s newest addition, sweet baby Audrey. The evening before Audrey’s arrival, we went to Target for some last minute baby shopping and then to one of our favorite diners for dinner. I remember telling my husband that it felt like a bittersweet moment because it could be our last outing as a family of 3. If I recall correctly, I believe he rolled his eyes at this comment – I may or may not have been making similar comments everyday for the 2 weeks prior. I was extremely uncomfortable during dinner, having inconsistent contractions, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying my last meal (if you must know, it consisted of a greek chicken quesadilla, sweet potato fries, and a cinnamon roll sundae).
Now let me tell you, this is not the birth story I expected to tell… Although I’d been warned by many that all pregnancies are different, I still had it in my mind that things would play out exactly as they did 2 1/2 years earlier with my son. I was so wrong.
I had Jackson 4 days before my due date. Silly me, I thought this baby would also be 4 days early. Nope, Miss Audrey arrived 3 days prior. When you’re so close to the finish line of pregnancy, that extra day of being pregnant can feel like an agonizing eternity.
With Jackson, my water broke at home and things progressed pretty naturally and quickly once we got to the hospital. I received an epidural just in time and after that I literally felt nothing. Zero pain. I couldn’t feel the contractions. I quite literally giggled my way through childbirth. Please don’t hate me.
Now Audrey’s birth was not awful by any means, it just wasn’t quite as seamless as my first. I had been having inconsistent contractions for months, so the night I went into labor I wasn’t convinced it was the real thing. My husband and son both had gone to sleep, but I stayed up because I was having somewhat painful contractions. At about 10pm I decided to download a contraction timer app on my phone. This is when I quickly realized that this was probably the real deal. My contractions were pretty intense and according to this magical app, about 2 1/2 minutes apart.
I woke my husband up and told him I was going to take a shower (I did this before Jackson was born too. I’m not crazy. You just never know when you’ll get to experience the luxury of shaving your legs again). I still wasn’t 100% sure I was in labor. I was waiting for my water to break. After about 2 hours of these dangerously close contractions, I decided to arrange a sitter for Jackson.
On our way to the hospital, my husband and I were talking and laughing. I don’t think either of us thought we were going to leave with a baby from this visit to the hospital. I even had him leave our bags in the car. How embarrassing would it be if we brought all that luggage in for a false alarm? That was not a risk I was willing to take. I definitely was second guessing my decision to even go to the hospital at all. A million thoughts were going through my head. That stupid app probably wasn’t accurate. And my water hadn’t even broke!
Checking in at the labor and delivery triage, I don’t think the nurses thought I was in labor either. I was smiling. I wasn’t writhing in pain. My husband wasn’t wheeling me in in a wheelchair. I just casually walked in and let them know I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes.
About 10 minutes after my arrival, it was confirmed. I was in labor! My contractions were 2 1/2 minutes apart and I was 4 centimeters dilated. We were quickly set up in a delivery room. I received an epidural, although at the time I wasn’t in too much pain. Maybe it’s because of my history of kidney stones, but I guess I have a pretty high pain tolerance.
I won’t bore you with all the details of the 12 hours of labor. But contrary to my previous delivery, I required pitocin and the doctor had to manually break my water to speed up labor. Maybe it was the pitocin, but this time I could definitely feel contraction pain. It was not a horrible labor compared to other stories I’ve heard, it was just not as pleasant as my first.
Of course once you see that beautiful baby, all pain is forgotten. At 1:21pm, Audrey was born! Oh, happy day! She’s the perfect addition to our family and we couldn’t be more in love.
I’ll say it again. All. Babies. Are. Different. With Jackson, I struggled to nurse. He preferred a bottle, and I only produced enough milk to pump for each feeding. Audrey successfully breastfed from the beginning. I’m producing enough milk to feed her every 2 hours. In addition, in the 3 weeks she’s been here I’ve managed to pump A LOT. Our freezer currently has over 400 ounces of pumped breast milk in it, but who’s counting?
The moral of this (long) story? Expect the unexpected. Just because you have had a baby (or babies), it doesn’t mean you’re an expert on THIS baby. Every baby, pregnancy, and labor truly are unique.
I can’t wait to share as I learn more about my babies’ similarities and differences while I experience this new and exciting stage of motherhood.