So, yeah, I finally had a baby! After 8 long days of periodic false labor (regular contractions that peter out and don’t turn into real labor) I went into real labor two days after my due date, on November 30. This made it fun, because not only were we super excited to discover if we were having a boy or a girl, it was also super exciting to see if the baby would be born in November or December!
I woke up on the morning of November 30 with some sporadic contractions, but nothing serious. I felt good enough to take my two big kids on a mile hike with my mom at a new park in town. It was a lovely crisp November morning and we had fun. We then visited my grandmother and ate lunch there and headed home. I took a nap and dreamed I was in labor only to wake to regular contractions at about 4:00 in the afternoon. I wasn’t getting excited yet, because I thought it might be more false labor and I was sick of getting my hopes up only to be frustrated by the contractions petering out.
As planned, my mother came over at 5:00 and I put make-up on and got dressed to go out for a dinner date with my husband. But as we were getting ready to leave for a nice dinner something told me not to get tied down anywhere so we headed to Panera – romantic! While there, the contractions really picked up. I texted my doula and told her, but figured we’d go home watch a movie and wait for real labor to start. But on our way home, I was starting to become increasingly uncomfortable so we went inside, called the doula and the hospital and packed up the car. It was time!
We arrived around 7:00 p.m. and I was only 3.5 cm (your cervix needs to open up to 10 cm before you can push the baby out), but things were definitely moving. The really cool thing was that my midwife was on call, so she was assigned to me rather than the OB who I didn’t even know (in case you missed it, I was transferred from my midwife practice to an OB at 34 weeks pregnant because I was diagnosed with SVT in September) . This was awesome! I had my husband, my doula (a runner, herself and all around great lady!) and my midwife, who’s taken care of me for 3 pregnancies now, all there to support me through labor. I couldn’t have asked for a better team!
My doula, husband and I walked the halls and chatted in between contractions, but they were getting harder and harder. About 90 minutes after my first check we went in for my second check and I had made it to 5 cm. I have never labored to 5 cm before (I labored for 48 hours and was stuck at 4 cm with my first before getting an epidural and I was at 4 cm before entering a 35 minute crazy fast and intense transition stage with my second) so it was very encouraging to me that my body was finally laboring somewhat normally for a change.
Around 9:00 on Friday night, I was admitted to a room and labored along, but was only 6 cm after a couple of hours. It was looking like we were going to have a December baby, afterall! After about another hour, we decided to break my water. This is when things really got interesting … and OUCHY! The contractions became insanely intense and were really rough. I started shaking like crazy and was puking and puking. It was also around 2:00 a.m. and I was really exhausted. I was checked one more time and was only at 6.5 – 7. I still had a ways to go and I decided that I needed to get an epidural at this point. I didn’t have one for my second and in a way the fact that I had a completely unmedicated labor in the past made the decision to have the epidural that much easier. I had nothing to prove, so making the right decision for me, the baby, etc. was the only consideration in plotting my next move. I knew what the next 2ish hours would probably be like and being so exhausted already I knew it was likely in everyone’s best interest that I have enough relief to be able to rest in between contractions.
So I had the epidural. Can I tell you how horrendous the contractions that you have after deciding to get an epidural are?! WHOA! That sucked. Trying to not move, dealing with excruciating pain, puking, shaking uncontrollably all while having a needle in your spine are pretty tough to do all at once. And then the epidural takes a while to work. And then even when it works, when you get one late into your labor, you still feel A LOT! This is actually a good thing to me. I had enough relief that I could relax and rest in between contractions, but felt enough of the contractions and pushing sensation that I knew when I was ready to push. And then when I was pushing, I could totally feel it so that I was able to better control the pushes and not hurt myself and also focus my energy to push the baby out in just 5 pushes!
And after those 5 pushes, at 4:27 a.m., out popped our healthy baby girl! She was 8 lbs. 14 oz. My midwife put her on my chest and after the cord stopped pulsing, my husband cut her cord. It was an amazing experience! I have to say, this was the best of my three labor and deliveries. And the icing on the cake was that she was so healthy and weathered labor so well I was able to hold her and nurse her immediately upon delivery (my other 2 needed a little help from the pediatricians when born).
I felt better than I did after the other two, too. I was exhausted after staying up all night, but otherwise I felt relatively great! The next day I was up walking the hall getting my own ice and able to take a shower. I had no pain meds, despite 3 stitches and felt fine save for a little mild cramping here or there. And baby slept like a dream! In the hospital and now she cluster nurses and then sleeps for 4 hours or so in between. She’s awesome and I’m miles ahead of where I was after my other two pregnancies just six days out.
That being said, this is all relative to my other births. I still feel very weak for myself. My core, in particular, feels incredibly weak and just maintaining my posture is a workout at this point. On top of that I am a good 25+ pounds over my happy weight*, even after delivering my almost 9 lb. baby and running almost until the end. I was already a few pounds over this happy weight when I got pregnant since I was injured for two months around the time this little one was conceived, but I still managed to gain 38 lbs. That’s better than the 47 I gained with my second child, but I weighed less when I became pregnant with her. I’m about five pounds ahead of where I was after my last pregnancy at this point. Five pounds is five pounds, but I was hoping to do a little better. I bake ’em big, take care of myself and that’s just what happens to me.
As hard as it is to do, I want to share the process of getting my body back with you. My husband thinks I’ll regret posting weekly photos of myself (starting now – EEK!), but I think I would regret not doing it. Pregnancy changes your body and it’s pretty scary to see how it looks right after you have a baby, but as I’ve found twice now, you can get your body back and sometimes get an even better body back after baby. I have faith that I’ll get mine pretty close to where I left off at least and I want to share that process with you. So check my training log each week to see how it’s going!
As for running, I feel good enough to start working out again this weekend. I will start with walking for half an hour and then see how it goes from there. Of course, you know I will also chronicle my return to running! So again, make sure you check in with me via my training logs.
Yes, training logs. I get to do some training again really soon. Woohoo!
*Editing to add that my happy weight range is anything < 130 and right now I weigh 152. I think 10 of those pounds are in my boobs!