I remember coming home from volunteering at a church event with my older girls and just being completely EXHAUSTED! My girls were 4 and 2 at the time so keeping up with them already kept me busy, but this was a next level tired.
I mentioned it to my hubby and he just gave me a knowing look. Sure enough, I went and tested and we were expecting “Baby #3”! We hadn’t necessarily been trying, but we had been on vacation a few weeks earlier and I knew I might not have been very consistent with my BC. Luckily on that very trip we had already been discussing our desire for another little one so we were elated that it was again happening a bit sooner than we even expected!
As I’ve shared before I am very lucky that aside from the extra tiredness I felt during the first trimester, I did not experience any nausea or sickness. In fact, I truly embraced the changes my body was going through partly because I had the experience and confidence that my body (like all female bodies) are capable of amazing change. I still remember the worry and fear that subsided at our first OB appointment where we saw our little baby and heard the reassuring whooshing of the heartbeat.
I also remember the fear and worry that came only a few more weeks later when I began bleeding. Thankfully, my OB was very calming about this and they squeezed me in for an ultrasound that did not reveal any reason for bleeding and more importantly revealed a very strong heartbeat.
This pregnancy also flew as we focused on making new memories and soaking in all the firsts with our daughters Baby G and Baby A who were now 4 and 2! Another small concern during this pregnancy occurred during the anatomy scan at 20 weeks when our OB shared that she noticed the umbilical cord insertion on the placenta was a bit off. She drew a very helpful target and shared that it was a bit off of the proverbial “center” and that they would continue to monitor baby and I to ensure this did not get worse. I will also never forget finding out right in the room during that ultrasound that we would be adding another little girl to our family when the ultrasound tech said we would have a little “sister tribe”!
With my first two daughters, I only received ultrasounds at our first visit and the anatomy scan, but the only silver lining to the worry and extra prayers that went along with the marginal cord insertion was the ability to see our little Baby L more often via ultrasound. We were also relieved to learn that as the doctor predicted and the placenta grew the cord insertion had corrected naturally.
I focused on enjoying the rest of my pregnancy with Baby L because in many ways I felt, it might be my last given my hubby and I had always talked about having just three kids. Baby L was showered with the sweetest Tea and Diapers Sprinkle and we felt love from family and friends for our new addition. I also vividly remember having more insomnia and a very strong nesting urge as my pregnancy with Baby L was coming to an end. I had so much energy and I remember that even after her due date came and went I was actually thankful for the each extra day to finish all the things on my “before baby comes” to do list!
Pre-Labor and Labor
If you’ve been following my series you’ll notice that I typically have a separate section for pre-labor and labor, but truth is there was NO warning or transition for this labor! I have heard the old wives tale in the birth community that “third babies are the wild card” well our third baby, Baby L, fit this perfectly.
My due date was February 29, but that cool Leap Year birthday came and went. In fact my February baby was now going to be a March baby since I was already 3 days past my due date. I had spent the day working remotely from home and using my lunch hour to stock up on freezer meals and fresh flowers from Trader Joe’s. I vividly remember kicking a soccer ball back and forth with my girls in the yard because it was a lovely March day in North Carolina.
We did the normal bedtime routine with both girls and I fully expected to have another few days before Baby L joined us. I actually feel asleep putting my youngest to bed, but woke up feeling very uncomfortable and crampy. I went in to tell my hubby who was also sleeping that I wasn’t feeling well and that I thought we might need to alert my parents. He sort of rolled over and was like, “Are you sure this time?”
See a week earlier, while having one of my more intense insomnia episodes, I had felt very strong contractions and sent everyone into a panic when I thought my Braxton Hicks contractions were the real deal. Grandparents were alerted and on there way over at a very late hour, when I realized it was just a drill not the real deal. So this time I honestly didn’t really even trust myself when things started again.
But this time was not a drill and as I was asking John to gather our bags my cramps turned to intense back contractions in a matter of seconds. I had a strong urge to use the bathroom and then my water broke in our downstairs guest bathroom. I remember at that moment knowing this was going to go fast. I quickly told John that we couldn’t wait for my parents who only live about 10 minutes away and I think he heard the panic in my voice. We live about 30 minutes from the hospital I deliver at and I just had a feeling from how intense the contractions were that we would need all that time!
John told my Mom who was turning down our street that we were leaving. Our girls were sleeping so my hubby peeled out of the driveway as my Mom swung in to be with them. I had grabbed towels for the car seat and I started sitting as we drove to the hospital. However, with each contraction the back pain was so strong I had to change positions and I ended up getting the most relief from being on my knees while hubby drove and used his other hand to help apply counter pressure when the contraction would ramp up.
I had to truly go inside myself and be in a meditative state because the pain was extreme. I remember screaming one time and my hubby just telling me to let it out. He has always been exactly the support I need during labor. I also kept praying we would get to the hospital quickly. Since it was the wee hours of the morning luckily my husband recalls that we got all green lights and there was a point when he thought about pulling into a fire department because he wasn’t sure from my screams that we would make it to the hospital. He made the quick decision to keep going and I’m so thankful he did.
When we pulled into the hospital he went directly to the loading area and ran in to get help. He told the security officer that his wife was in active labor and they called ahead to tell the nurses I was coming. My husband left the car right there in the loading area as he helped me out of the car. I could barely walk through the contractions. In the elevator on our way up to the delivery triage area, I squatted in the corner as I transitioned and felt extreme pressure to push. The elevator doors opened and my husband pulled me out of my squatting position. From this moment on I just remember a handful of nurses helped me to a curtained bed, where with two pushes our precious Baby L was born.
The nurses were saying, “Now that’s how to have a baby” and apparently I was the talk of the floor that night. My OB came only after I was holding Baby L to congratulate us. She said it was clear I had precipitous labors and that for Baby 4 we needed to be closer to the hospital around my due date. The way she so confidently assumed we would have a fourth baby was so odd at the time, but I also remember locking eyes with my husband when she told us this and I had a feeling our family wasn’t complete.
HEAVENLY! The moments after having my babies became just a bit sweeter with the knowledge of how quickly the time goes and how much I would want to bottle up and remember every little moment. I was still in shock by how quickly she arrived, but I was fully in love with our precious dark headed Baby L. She was so perfect and had the sweetest stork bite on the back of her neck.
We sat in bliss as we waited to move from triage to our hospital room.
I truly believe I only slept a couple of hours that night between having her in the wee hours of the morning and taking care of her throughout the night. I remember visitors coming early the next morning and I was still in disbelief as we retold them her birth story!
Unfortunately because it was RSV and Flu season, my daughters could not come up to meet their baby sister, which meant my husband and I were also ready to check out early. Luckily Baby L and I were released quickly and reunited with everyone back home in no time!