One of the best pieces of advice a wise mom friend gave me was to jot down little details and document through photographs little things I would never want to forget about the arrival of my babies. Being a first time mom, I truly had no vision for all the tiny details that would fade with time. Luckily I listened to my dear friend’s advice. I have long held in my heart the desire to truly retell the details of my pregnancies and birth stories. Knitting together the details I jotted down, captured in photos, and even those engrained in my heart and soul is honestly a form of therapy. I am beyond excited to share these “Birth” Day stories, which are each as unique, beautiful, and special as my four babies. This first story is about meeting my oldest daughter Baby G!
First Pregnancy Highlights
My first pregnancy was such a beautiful and exciting journey! I had close friends who had just gone through the same journey right before me so I truly leaned into their “big sister” guidance. These same friends had guided me through high school and college so it was so special to have them also guide me into motherhood! Hopefully this series will be a similar resource for expecting, new or seasoned mothers.
I love being pregnant, which is a good thing since I’ve been pregnant for 36 months over the past 6 years! My pregnancy with “Baby G” was my first experience of this JOY! I specifically remember my OBGYN telling me at one routine measurement and heartbeat check appointment that I was “obstetrically simple.” While I’m so very thankful for that I share it not to brag, but to reassure Mom’s that pregnancy doesn’t have to be something to dread! I do remember being very tired and luckily getting to rest a great deal in the 1st Trimester while binging all of “How I Met Your Mother.” In fact, the only time I threw up was when I took my prenatal vitamin on an empty stomach one morning. I also say this with complete respect for mothers who deal with morning sickness or extreme pregnancy symptoms.
As the trimesters progressed I dealt with some minor pregnancy symptoms like ankle swelling and leg cramps at night, but again all was very minor and I truly enjoyed my first pregnancy. I kept active by doing the Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project workouts, which I highly recommend for helping with the ultimate workout….Labor! I loved the nesting urge and felt so loved by family, friends, and co-workers as “Baby G” was showered with special love and lots of gifts to help us prepare. With the nursery done and my due date approaching, my employer was also very gracious to allow me to work from home starting the week before my due date.
“Baby G” was due early March and so I began transitioning from going into the office to working from home about that time. I was honestly relieved to switch from the cute maternity dresses to yoga pants at this point. I also began making it my mission as her due date got closer to up my daily walk length, drink lots of water, and put the finishing touches on my hospital bag. My husband and I had attended both a hospital tour and a breastfeeding class to help us feel prepared. We were truly ready and everything was going wonderfully until…my Due Date came and went!! Friends let me tell you that I did not expect to go past my due date. Mentally I felt defeated, but luckily my hubby, family, and girlfriends again came to my rescue reassuring me that it wouldn’t be too much longer!
With their love and support, I started looking at each day as a gift to get last minute things done. I remember it snowed a few days after her due date and I was thinking okay this will be it maybe the snow storm will bring “Baby G”, but still No Such Luck! I also remember waddling into my final doctors appointment where I had a a non-stress test to make sure everything was still 100%. The doctor shared that “Baby G” was just really comfortable and it was very typical for first babies to take their time! Given I was past my due date they did go ahead and plan an induction in case that was needed. I had heard not great stories about inductions and Pitocin so personally I was really praying and hoping my body would start laboring naturally very soon.
I left that day and went on the longest walk with my dog Dallas while talking to my close friend who was a Mom to two girls and an experienced doula. She gave me orders to start trying all the natural induction methods so I literally bounced on a birthing ball, while eating pineapple and a spicy Chipotle salad! I also remember begging my husband to help me out with another “old wives tale trick” to start labor (if you get my drift!). That night I did notice the first sign of labor, losing my mucus plug and I was thankful for some crampy feelings after days of feeling nothing at all.
Thankfully, in the wee hours of the morning on the day I was scheduled to go in for my induction I woke up with more intense crampy feelings. I was very uncomfortable, but I knew I wanted to shower and while in the shower my water broke, which I knew was a sign it was time to go to the hospital. My friends had shared horror stories of going to the hospital early just to be turned away for not being dilated enough so I knew I wanted to labor at home for as long as I could. Water breaking was a direct ticket to being admitted so I knew it was BABY TIME! Hubby called ahead to the hospital while I finished getting ready.
I honestly don’t recall too much about the drive from our house to the hospital because the contractions must not have been that intense. Trust me my other labors have much more exciting car rides, so stay tuned to this series, but this car ride was not memorable. What was memorable was getting to the hospital and being admitted. I recall meeting the sweetest nurse and sharing my desire to be as mobile as possible during contractions. She was happy to hear this and so she encouraged Hubby and I to began walking the halls as my contractions intensified. In hindsight I realize that all my labors have moved fast and honestly my first wasn’t much different. If you google average labor you will find that on average it takes between 12 to 24 hours, my first labor lasted only 10 hours total. I remember being fine walking the halls with my hubby one minute and then begging my hubby to go back to the room because the contractions were so intense.
I was having back labor and it was very, very painful, so when a contraction would come I would be frozen in pain. Luckily that sweet nurse taught my hubby how to apply counter pressure by pushing as hard as he could on my lower back during the contractions. This gave me relief and helped me make it through each contraction. My nurse, observing how my contractions were increasing in strength and frequency, called my doctor to check my progress. At that point I was 5 centimeters dilated and my doctor said it was a good time to make the decision on whether I would like an epidural or not. I was so very uncomfortable and ready to welcome relief so I opted to get the epidural. Honestly, I remember the IV going in my hand for the fluid I needed to receive prior to getting the epidural hurting more than the actual epidural.
Once I got the epidural it was like a “Hawaiian vacation!”. I was able to get an orange popsicle and I was finally able to actually carry on a conversation again. This is saying something about my pain level because I am a “talker” and I’ve rarely met a stranger, but I was in so much pain I couldn’t speak. The epidural did the trick and truly allowed me to rest a bit before the literal final push! I remember getting to have some quiet time with dim lights while I had a big “peanut” ball between my legs to help “Baby G” turn. With the epidural working I let my Mom come in to say “Hi” give her a hug before she headed back out to the waiting room. My husband and I had already made the decision it would just be us in the room when it was time to meet baby. I do encourage first time Moms to make the decision of who will be in the room early to avoid any day-of drama.
When I began feeling more pressure, my sweet nurse came to check me and sure enough I was finally fully dilated and ready to push! The nurse and my husband coached me for a while on how to push and then once I was more effective with my pushing she called my doctor in for the final few. My other deliveries have been without epidurals (sometimes not by choice) so I don’t have anything to compare it to, I do think my only epidural experience was text book. I was at the perfect wearing off stage because I could feel pressure and just enough pain to know the strength of my pushes.
I’ve heard other friends complain that they were so numb the epidural made pushing hard and others say they wished they hadn’t even gotten one because they felt everything when it came time to push. I think I either lucked up and hit the sweet spot or my nurse was just a miracle worker! Either way I had a truly wonderful epidural experience and within 30 minutes of pushing my baby girl was in my arms! The nurse had told me to prepare for up to 2 hours of pushing and in my mind I was already thinking there is just no way!
Meeting “Baby G” was surreal. To this day I will always remember her full cheeks and fuzzy head of dark hair. “Baby G” was my biggest baby at a bit over 8 pounds, but I credit that to her staying in a whole 8 days past her due date! She also latched within an hour of birth and I was lucky that the same amazing nurse who helped deliver her showed me how to express colostrum for her first meal. The first hour after delivery with just me, hubby, and our precious girl was heavenly. I did have a small tear that required a few stitches, which was not painful given the epidural hadn’t completely faded. After getting more bonding time we moved from our delivery room to our hospital room where all the first meetings with family and friends from the waiting room finally took place.
Post Delivery and Beyond
Post delivery, I was one proud momma craddling baby as I was wheeled from the delivery room to the post partum room for the remainder of our stay. Once again, I was thankful for a new, just as sweet nurse showing me the ropes of how to care for both myself and baby! Yes, I knew the basics from my girlfriends, but it was nice to have the nurse help me create a soothing ice pack pad, fill the peri bottle with warm water for me, and share the secrets of Dermaplast! I was surprised by how often the nurses came to press on my stomach, which isn’t the most pleasant feeling and check on baby, but I was a first time Mom just soaking in the full experience.
While caring for myself and baby my husband and I were also juggling so many wonderful visitors from family to friends all getting to meet our new bundle of joy! The final memories I have of my first post-delivery experience was how wonderful the hospital food was (what a surprise!) and how amazing the first shower after delivering felt. Before we knew it our sweet baby G had passed her car seat test and we were heading home as a family of 3! I also never want to forget our dog Dallas giving “Baby G” approving, sweet sniffs as we brought her through the door of our home in her little car seat. Life would never be the same, but we had no way of knowing at that time how unbelievably more precious and beautiful it would become with our sweet girl!
I can’t wait to share my other three “Birth” Day stories soon, which as each so unique and hopefully just as empowering as this one!