As I sit here typing and watching my nine day old baby girl snooze just four feet away, I’m reminded how thankful I am that she’s here, she’s healthy, and that the labor experience – one that I’d admittedly been a little anxious about for months – went as well as it did. I’m so excited to document it and share it with you today!
The majority of my anxiousness came from my decision to have a social induction, meaning that I was choosing to induce for a non-medical reason. We found out months ago that Jamie’s brigade created a policy that would allow soldiers to return home for 10 days if their wives had a scheduled induction or c-section, and though I preferred to allow my body to go into labor when it was ready, I was willing to accept the risks of an induction if it meant that Jamie could be home to witness the birth. My doctor and I set my induction date for 39 weeks 3 days, and I prayed that I was making the right decision for Sadie and me. I’d heard some wonderful induction stories as well as some that weren’t so great, so the unknown scared me a little.
A bit of anxiousness also came from memories from my difficult labor experience with Hadley. I desperately wanted to handle labor a little better than last time and not be “that girl” all over again.
At 10 p.m. on Sunday the 17th Jamie and I checked into the hospital and were quickly brought back to our labor room. By 11 p.m. the nurse had inserted Cervidil, which is a drug designed to soften the cervix. At this point I was 2cm dilated and 50% effaced, so the nurse was happy to see that my body was already doing a little bit of work on its own.
Jamie got a decent night of rest, but contractions started for me quickly (according to the monitor I was already having small contractions when I got to the hospital). They were uncomfortable but manageable, and I tried my best to sleep as well as I could. By 5 a.m. I let Jamie know that the contractions were coming more quickly and intensely. We watched on the screen as they spiked every 2.5 minutes for well over an hour. They had hit the point where I was unable to talk through them, but I was also excited because I thought surely this meant things were progressing quickly.
The nurse came in to check me at 6:30 a.m. right before shift change, and I was bummed to find out that I was still only 2cm and 50%.
My parents arrived around 8 a.m. to bring Jamie breakfast and to keep us company. One of the funnier moments of the morning came when Jamie was following the Boston Marathon on his phone, and he was excited to tell me something from the race. Right as he started telling his story I quickly bit his head off and told him I didn’t want to talk about the race because CONTRACTIONS. He immediately threw his phone to his side and apologized. I also apologized later – we’re still laughing about that. 🙂
My doctor showed up around 9 a.m., and I was flat-out devastated to find out that I still had not progressed any further. He removed the Cervidil and broke my water. Sweet Jesus it hurt. Whew!
Once my water was broken the contractions really picked up. At 9:30 a.m. the nurse got the Pitocin started (the medicine that makes your body go into labor), and within minutes my contractions were extremely intense and close together. At 10 a.m. I received the epidural, and within minutes I felt a million times better. I had such a bad experience with the epidural during labor with Hadley, but this time it was like a dream! Jamie helped me get comfortable on my side while I talked with him and my parents and relaxed.
At 10:45 my nurse checked me and said that I had quickly progressed to 4cm. She said she would be back at 12:45 p.m. to check me again and to do my best to relax.
My mom has worked in the medical field for her entire career, so she watched the screen as my contractions went sky high every two minutes for well over an hour. I couldn’t feel any pain and was so thankful. I actually was able to squeeze in about a 30 minute catnap!
At 12:15 p.m. the nurse came in rather quickly and said that she needed to check me. I was surprised because I thought she wasn’t going to check me for another 30 minutes. I should have known something was up by how rushed she seemed, but I just assumed I was probably sitting somewhere around 5cm.
Within a few seconds she blurted out that I was “complete”. I asked her if that meant that I was 100% effaced, and she looked up with a smirk and said “Oh no, you’re 10cm. We’re ready to push!”.
Our mouths completely dropped to the floor and we both just started giggling like fools. I could not believe this was happening so fast! Jamie ran into the hallway to let my parents know that they should probably go get comfortable in the waiting room instead of the hallway. They were floored too! I texted my birth photographer Sarah that I was 10cm, and she flew to the hospital. She had asked me if she could come up earlier in the day because she had a feeling I would go fast since it was my second baby, but I assured her that I would text her when I was at 8cm.
She was definitely right, and thank goodness she already had her car packed with her stuff and ready to go!
Around 12:40 I started my first push but only pushed for a few seconds before the nurses told me to stop! Sadie was right there, and they needed to grab the doctor!
He quickly came rushing in, threw on his gown and gloves, and during my next contraction he told me to push. After three seconds he told me to stop (for a reason I’m not quite sure why), and then a few seconds later he told me to push again. Literally one…two…three and she was out at 12:50 p.m.! He had to suck her throat for a few seconds to clear some junk, and then she hollered the most beautiful cry!
Jamie and I were both extremely teary and overjoyed. I couldn’t believe this had all just happened the way it did. She was here! Jamie cut the cord, and for the next 30 minutes we enjoyed skin-to-skin time with her. It was really amazing.
For the first two minutes all I was doing was staring at the top of her head while I held her, and it hit me that I hadn’t even gotten a good look at her face yet! The picture below is when the nurse flipped her over for me to see her perfect little face for the first time.
After 30 minutes the nurses started doing her measurements and Jamie gave her her first bath as I watched a few feet away in awe. This part was total deja vu to Hadley’s birth; I was so extremely happy in that moment watching Jamie in his element. He is legit such an amazing dad.
About an hour after she was born Jamie went to get my parents so that they could meet her. Introducing my babies to my parents have probably been my two proudest moments ever as a daughter.
Jamie’s parents, who very graciously kept and entertained Hadley nearly the entire time we were at the hospital, arrived shortly after, so my parents ran out to give them their visitors badges, and then we got to introduce Sadie to them as well! Jamie was proud as a peacock to hand her over to his mom and dad to hold. His dad was deployed when Hadley was born and couldn’t be at the hospital, so Jamie was really thrilled that he got to be here this time around.
I failed the “can you walk to the bathroom on your own and pee” test, so I stayed down on the labor and delivery floor for a bit longer until I regained better control of my legs. I think it was around 3:30 p.m. when they finally wheeled me up to the Mother/Baby unit.
Once we got settled in our room we got ready for the moment I’d been dreaming about for months and months – when Hadley would meet Sadie for the first time and I could hold both of my girls together.
Unfortunately this moment fell during her nap time and she was a little overtired, and her biggest concern came when she saw my “boo boo” (aka the large IV in my hand) and needed to kiss it a million times. She was a little interested in Sadie but was mostly overwhelmed by all the people and was ready to take a nap! I think all of us were a little overwhelmed and overtired at this point, so we snapped a few pictures (that I love so much!) and called it a day regarding visitors.
I spent the next 24 hours falling really hard in love with Sadie, and as I continue to get to know her, I haven’t stopped falling harder. I hope I always remember sitting up that first night in my hospital bed feeding her in the dark quiet room and feeling completely overcome with thankfulness and love. I was completely consumed by this incredibly precious new life. I haven’t felt a feeling quite like that many times in my life. I’m not quite sure I’d ever been happier. Life felt (and still feels) very complete. Thank you God for my family.
All photography by Sarah with Sarah Buchanan Photography (located in Alabama)
Linking up with Home of Malones!