Almost four weeks old and I am finally getting to share Aria’s fast and furious birth story. I love reading other people’s birth stories because there is something so profound about the experience of birth that it should be shared. A day your life is forever changed should be documented in detail to remember forever. I also love that the experience of a child arriving, no matter how that happens, is so unique.
Lots of things about Aria’s pregnancy were completely different than her big brother. I should have known her delivery would be different in a big way, too. I was hoping for a faster delivery with it being my second pregnancy, but I never expected things to go the way they did.
When 40 weeks came and went I wasn’t totally surprised. I went into labor on my due date with Pierce, but he didn’t arrive until the very end of the following day. I had been having quite a few contractions in the couple of weeks leading up to her arrival, and I hoped (prayed) they were progress making contractions since they were painful and not like the Braxton Hicks I’d been having since 28 weeks off and on. I will never know for sure since I always decline being checked at appointments, but I will assume they were as her delivery was quick.
I reread the above quote over and over in the week of her delivery. It really helped me calm down at times. By Sunday, October 23rd I was getting a little anxious. I was three days past my due date and she was sitting so low, I seriously began to wonder how I would physically get through the next day at work. She had to be arriving soon. I then realized she hadn’t arrived yet because I hadn’t made up her birth announcement with her date of arrival and time. I did this with Pierce the week before he was due and I correctly guessed his arrival date, but was way off on his arrival time. I made up a preview of her announcement on tinyprints.com and selected October 23rd as her birthday and 10:23 p.m. as her arrival time. This had to put me in labor I thought.
Despite being very uncomfortable with tons of pressure on my pelvis, I managed a two mile walk with the family late in the afternoon. After arriving home I sent the husband to get a few necessities for the week while I got dinner ready and started feeding Pierce. It was about 5:15.
After Ryan had been gone for a bit I had a contraction that felt like the real deal, but I didn’t think much of it. A few minutes later I had another. Then a few minutes later another. I still didn’t even get excited or text Ryan. I had this happen a few times before. On a couple of nights the week before I’d had contractions for an hour or two and then they stopped. I didn’t want to cause a false alarm or incite unnecessary excitement in anyone.
As I was feeding P I noticed these seemed to be a bit more painful and kind of regular. I decided to start tracking them with my Contraction app. It still had all my contractions I charted from Pierce’s labor. I looked it over and quickly prayed my next labor wasn’t like his with only back labor before deleting the information and starting fresh. My first contraction entered in the app was at 5:54 p.m.
When Ryan got home at 6:15, I was feeling more sure that this was the real deal. Each contraction was painful and I’d had seven contractions since I had started keeping track of them in the contraction app. Most contractions were 35-45 seconds long and they were coming every 2-6 minutes. I would highly recommend this app. When you are actually in labor it is impossible to keep track of how long they are lasting, the frequency with which they are occurring and their intensity with accuracy. This helps do all that for you.
Since we live close to the hospital we were again told to follow the 3-1-1 policy. This means wait to head to the hospital until contractions are three minutes apart and lasting for one minute at a time for an hour. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. Last time my contractions were so irregular and painful right away I was really confused about when to go in. Back labor will do that. They were pretty painful right away this time, too, but completely different.
This time my contractions were like what people had always described them as. I had a couple of mottos picked out to repeat to myself in my head when breathing through a contraction. I had my labor playlist ready. I made a playlist with Pierce that I never used during labor. This time I relied on it early on. It helped me move through and zone out during a contraction and focus on my mantra. I was really hoping for a water birth. I was okay with an epidural if I exhausted all other options, but wanted to make sure I really gave it my everything first.
By 6:45 p.m. my contractions were coming every two-three minutes, but were still lasting about 45-50 seconds so I didn’t think it was time to head to the hospital. I wanted to wait until they were lasting a bit longer. By this time I had locked myself in the office and my husband was with Pierce. His parents had come over to spend the night and care for Pierce as this was the real deal. Oddly enough they were already in town eating dinner and Ryan’s mom had her packed bag in the car. It’s like they knew it was going to happen. I listened to my playlist and moved and breathed through the contractions.
At 7:45 things were much the same. I had told Ryan what to pack in the car between contractions. I read my son a bed time story between contractions and gave him a hug and a kiss and sang him my bedtime song for him in between contractions. I thought about how the next time I saw him I would probably be holding his sister in my arms. It was the moment I had feared and looked forward to for a while. I was expecting this to be a hard moment for me, emotionally accepting he wouldn’t be my only baby anymore, but in reality I was in too much pain and the contractions were too close together for me to get too emotional or sentimental.
Labor was demanding more of my focus so after putting my son to bed I headed to his sister’s room. For some reason I like to labor in their nursery’s imagining them and focusing on what labor is all about-meeting your baby. I labored in different positions. I used my yoga ball. I asked my husband to join me in her room and take over with the contraction app. Interestingly I did not want his help during this labor at all. I did not want to be touched or bothered. I just wanted to be left alone to do what my body was meant to do. I began repeating my labor mantras over and over in my head during every contraction.
At 8:45 p.m. the contractions were coming every two to three minutes, but they were only about 45 seconds long. My husband wanted to go to the hospital. I did not. According to my Contraction app, my contractions then began to pick up in frequency which coincided with my decision to take a hot shower.
In hindsight my husband might have been thinking with a more clear and level head at the time. I had no concept of the time I had been in the shower. I did not have my husband chart my contractions. He suggested going to the hospital a couple of times while I was in the shower, but I really was so focused on my mantra and getting through each contraction I admit I wasn’t really listening. That and I was moaning a lot.
Later I would find out I was in the shower for 26 minutes because when I got out the husband started using the contraction app again. My contractions were now happening every minute and a half to two minutes and were lasting 48 seconds to a minute and a half. About ten minutes later I told my husband I think it was time to go to the hospital. A few contractions later and my water broke soaking my pants. The husband was (jokingly) worried about the newish carpet. It did not get on the carpet nor did I care at that point. I didn’t find humor in his joking at the time.
As soon as my water broke I said we need to go to the hospital…NOW. I felt her move down even lower and my contractions were coming every minute it seemed. My husband helped me out of my wet pants and I sent him for dry pants. His mom asked if my water broke and she said he needed to take me to the hospital right away. He said he was working on it, but I hadn’t been so cooperative leading up to my water breaking. She looked pretty concerned. I knew we needed to go so I walked through the house pantsless to meet my husband by the door not caring where my mother-in-law was. He helped me into my pants and then we immediately went to the car.
I rode in the passenger seat on my knees facing the backseat trying not to push, but my body wanted to so much. Upon arriving to the hospital at 10:00 p.m., I had five or six contractions on the walk to labor and delivery. They tried to get me to sit in a wheelchair, which I said was not going to happen. After getting to the delivery room they checked me and said I was 4 centimeters. I said there was no way and if that was the case I want an epidural now. I was having such strong urges to push, almost like my body was totally in control. I had to lay in the bed while they tried to get baby’s heart on the monitor. They said I had to do this for 20 minutes before an epidural or a water birth could happen.
A nurse kept telling me not to push to breathe. I was trying so hard not to, but I couldn’t do much about my body doing it on its own. They were struggling to get a heart rate reading so I had to move to one side and then the other. Being asked to lay in that bed was like death. I was in so much pain and just wanted to get out of the damn bed. I cannot stand laboring in bed. Not being able to move through the contractions completely destroyed my focus. My requests were not met and I do understand why, but at the time…grrrr! The doctor then arrived and she inserted a heart rate monitor on the baby’s head and said I was 8 cm. The doctor said my contractions were very strong and there would not be time for an epidural or to get the water birth tub ready. My baby would be here soon. Very soon.
A few minutes later I was 10 cm and ready to push. A few minutes later yet, baby girl was born. There was significant yelling during these last minutes. I had trouble maintaining control and felt like I never got my calm focus back that I’d had all night prior to having to sit fairly still in bed. I felt almost in shock about how fast things were going. When her shoulders got stuck on my pelvis and they said her cord was wrapped around her neck panic set in. The husband was literally speechless during this time and said nothing…as in not a damn word. I don’t even really remember him being there. Things were so intense I literally had no options but to yell and just do it. The silver lining-it was fast!
At 10:36 p.m., 36 minutes after getting to the hospital, Aria Emerson was born. Since she was blue and not crying she was immediately taken away. That part was so scary. Not knowing what was going on or if she was ok was the hardest thing. After getting lots of mucus sucked out, being given oxygen and recovering for a bit, she was given to me for skin to skin and breastfeeding to which she immediately latched on. Despite a crazy arrival to the hospital, a cord being wrapped around her neck and shoulder dystocia (her shoulders were stuck on my pelvis so the doctor had to help her out), she arrived quickly and healthy without complications to her or I.
Less than an hour after my water broke at home Aria was here. While they were working on making sure she was ok, I wavered between worry and shock as to what just happened. I had just had a baby a half hour after getting to the hospital without any medication. The husband seemed equally shocked. The important thing was she was here and healthy.
Once she was in my arms I felt so much better. I was so excited to see her eagerly nursing, to see her little chest rise with each precious breath she took and to see her tiny little feet (they really are tiny).
I took in her head full of dark hair and her long fingernails on her delicate fingers. She seemed so much bigger than her brother had. She really was, too, weighing in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces and measuring 19.75 inches long. Big brother had been 6 pounds, 14 ounces and a quarter inch shorter. It felt so familiar to hold a newborn and yet so new.
With Pierce I felt an attachment early on, but also so much fear of the unknown and so much uncertainty about becoming a mom. With Aria I also felt an attachment, but a different fear of what life as a family of four would be like. I was having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that she was here. It seemed like it was just March and we were finding out that we were for sure pregnant after several false negative tests the month before. Chasing after her big brother made this pregnancy go so much faster than the first, in some ways I felt as if I never fully processed that I was pregnant.
I felt love for her on the day I met her, but honestly my love has just grown and grown in my few weeks at home with her. That is part of the reason for the delay on this post. I haven’t wanted to put her down or stop snuggling her to write a post. I feel as if I fall more in love with her each day. My sweet Aria I love you so much! The other part of the delay is life is crazy when you have two children 18 months apart. There isn’t really time for yourself. Someone almost always needs you.
We are adjusting to life as a family of four. Big brother is at daycare during the day for at least the first six weeks, so I have plenty of time to bond with Aria. This allows me to enjoy time with her and not have to also be chasing an active and curious 18 month old around constantly.
It is also great practice at getting three people ready in the morning as I take Pierce to daycare each morning and pick him up in the afternoon. Lets just say it takes FOREVER to get two little people and a tired mommy ready and out the door in the morning. Some mornings go smoothly and some morning we have all cried at some point before we leave, but we’ve made it every day. Pierce being at daycare where he gets the interaction and stimulation he needs also gives me some down time and lets me enjoy my little people so much more in the scheme of things.
I’m anxious to see who Aria grows up to be, but also want her to be little forever. Seeing Pierce after having her made him seem SO grown up. I know how fast this stage goes as I just blinked and Pierce is toddler. So far she is a great baby with a fussy time or two each day (although this has been increasing in length as of late and a lot this week).
Pierce is showing an overwhelming interest in her constantly wanting to touch her face and head. He is working on being gentle and loves to help change her diaper and hold his sister. Aria or baby is often the first thing he says when he wakes up in the morning and one of the last things he says before bedtime at night. I hope so much that they have an amazing and close sibling bond. It is also so true when they say that you can love more than one child THAT much. I miss Pierce on a daily basis when he is at daycare or I have to miss a bedtime story, but I also know that Aria won’t always need me so much.
I’ve been feeling awesome, too. I strongly believe having a healthy, active pregnancy is a huge part of why the actual delivery went so well, pushing lasted a few minutes and recovery has been a breeze. For now I’m easing back into workouts, getting used to not sleeping again, and enjoying every single new baby moment with a few holiday tunes and/or movies in the background. I will continue to share my post-partum fitness journey along with family details here on the blog. I still have no idea how I will juggle family and fitness exactly, but I do know it will be filled with ups and downs and will doubtfully be boring.