Our sweet baby girl is three months old and I am just now getting to writing this…..
Adalie’s story starts a little bit like Camden’s did. I woke up on Tuesday, February 19th with what felt like menstrual cramps. With Camden, I figured it was nothing and went about my day. With Adalie, I thought perhaps this could be it, so I texted my mom, sister and mother-in-law something along the lines of “Feeling weird. Not sure what it means. Stay tuned.”
I called my husband too. For some reason, we both really thought this baby would come on the 20th, lol, so when I talked to Steven I said something like “Heads up, something might be brewing. Unclear.” To which he responded in true Steven fashion, “Ok.”
I was so sure I would recognize labor the second time around. With Camden I had no idea until about 12 hours in when it was too painful to ignore. But Adalie had me second guessing myself. I had been experiencing a lot of Braxton Hicks in the weeks leading up to her birth, as well as severe pelvic pain. I knew the dull ache I was feeling could definitely be the start of labor, but it also was not unlike the pelvic pain I had been experiencing, so I couldn’t be sure.
I went about my day. I dropped Camden off at daycare, and then had a huge craving for sour candy, so I went by the grocery store. When I got home, I turned on a podcast and folded laundry. I texted my mom again, who, by this point, was in total overly excited grandma mode and packing her bags. “It feels like it’s maybe coming and going?” I said. “I’m gonna take a shower.”
My thoughts on the shower were:
1) If it’s false labor, maybe the shower will snap by body out of it and
2) If it’s real labor, then I intend to look and feel more like myself this time. I am 100% vain like that.
Anyway. After showering I started doing my hair and makeup (not something I do everyday, by the way, since I work from home I actually rarely wear makeup, but I was trying to distract myself and also, see #2 above).
When I got out of the shower the pain was worsening and coming in waves, so I timed them. Or I thought I did. I was kind of into my podcast and contouring (I went all out), so I wasn’t paying super close attention. I thought the waves of pain (you know, contractions) were around 10-15 min apart, so I called Steven around noon. Again, for some reason I did not think this was pressing, so I told him “You should maybe come home, but you don’t have to rush.” And in an ultimate plot twist, Steven showed a sense of urgency. “Oh, I’m gonna rush,” he told me.
I texted my mom: “Ok, it kind of hurts now. Any chance this is false labor?”
Christy: “Nope, don’t think so!” (Pretty sure she was actually on the road at this point.)
I tidied up the house and double-checked the hospital bag. When Steven got home I was actually gripping the stairway banister and breathing through a contraction. Still, I was all like easy breezy, nothing to see here. It was at this point I decided I should eat lunch.
As I was eating, Steven timed my contractions. They were 4-5 minutes apart.
S: “I think we should go to the hospital.”
E: “Really? I’d like to unload the dishwasher.”
S: “Um, no. We’re not going to do that.”
E: “Ok, fine, but I am at least going to put on lipstick!” (See #2 above).
A 20 minute drive later in which Steven only sped a little, we walked in the hospital doors. Let me tell you, this was so incredibly different from when I walked in the hospital in labor with Camden. For one, it was the middle of the day, not night. And secondly, I could actually talk. I even sat down and filled out paperwork. The receptionist sent us upstairs to triage.
Here is the point where I realized this was actually happening, because, well, it started to really really hurt. We waited a long time outside the triage doors. Why? Don’t know. With Camden I was rushed in (and also very clearly in active labor). We sat there for about half an hour. Steven rang the buzzer twice to let them know we were stiiiill waiting. By the time we finally got back to a room, I was not messing around nor was I amused with this little observation period they were going to make me do before admitting me.
I think I was about 4cm dilated and probably not nice to the poor triage nurse. I get that women come in and aren’t in labor, but I was and practically pleading for the epidural. My fault, I guess, for not coming sooner, but I’m telling you, I just wasn’t sure until it was very obvious!
I went unmedicated with Camden. By choice. It took me a long time to thoroughly process that and realize just how awful it was and that I never wanted to do it again. When I got pregnant with Adalie, I knew I wanted to get an epidural as soon as I could. Once things started to get real in my labor with her, I panicked a little bit thinking about the possibility of missing my window for anesthesia and doing it all again. I’m pretty sure I was a broken record asking for the drugs in triage.
After what felt like forever, my labor and delivery nurse finally came to take me to my room. I stopped in the hallway with a contraction and when I opened my eyes she was looking at me and kindly cheering me on. “Get me the epidural,” is all I said.
Bless my labor and delivery nurse who did just that as fast as she could. She ushered me into my room, took my blood and got me hooked up an IV. I had another contraction and when I opened my eyes all I said to her was, “That really fucking hurt.” She got the anesthesiologist into the room. I only had to make it through a couple more contractions before that sweet needle was in my back and the pain faded away.
I could still feel pressure, move my legs and wiggle my toes, but the pain was gone. It was bliss. (Ok, so labor is never bliss, but compared to my first experience, this was pretty close.)
I wasn’t hungry, but was feeling good and so giddy happy, so naturally I asked for a snack. The nurse brought me a popsicle and I hung out, even texting my mom (“I got the epidural! This thing is the best!”). My labor with Camden was pretty fast, so I figured things would move quickly, but I thought maybe like a couple hours quickly so I settled in.
A doctor came by to break my water (which I was fine with and consented to). I was 5.5cm at the time, and it was about 3:45pm. Shortly after my water broke I felt a surge of pretty intense pressure. I looked at the nurse and said, “I know my water just broke, but can you check me? I’m feeling a lot of pressure.”
Yeah, I went from 5.5cm to fully dilated in half an hour. All I could think was thank god I didn’t feel that pain! My body was definitely telling me to push, but the doctor was still on her way so I waited. My midwife wasn’t available, so another OB from her office delivered Adalie. I’m 2/2 on different docs than the ones I saw during pregnancy delivering my babies.
The doctor wasn’t there when it was time to push with Camden too, and everyone was telling me to wait, but I had no control over my body and he came flying out. I was uncomfortable waiting this time, but able to.
Once the doctor got there, I pushed maybe four times and there she was. Born at 4:38pm. I sat up to get a look at her and when I heard Steven say, “It’s a girl,” I just sobbed. They put her on my chest and she gazed up at me. She was so content. “Hi baby girl,” I kept saying. I realized she wasn’t crying and asked if she should be. The nurses got her to cry, but not for long. She snuggled up and started nursing.
The difference here in these moments between my two births is seriously night and day. With Camden, for one it was the middle of the night, and I was so utterly exhausted and in a lot of pain. I hardly remember looking at him the first time. I was actually falling asleep as they put him on my chest, and my inability to soak in that precious moment is one of the main reasons I knew I wanted to better manage my pain the second time around.
With Adalie it was this instant, searing love. I’ve thought back to the first moment I saw her nearly everyday since she was born, and it is etched into my memory as one of the best moments of my life. I cried happy tears off and on the rest of the day.
We called our families, who were already in town from Wichita and at our house with Camden. He spent the day at daycare, and then my sister picked him up. They all came up that evening. Camden came into the room first, marching in with his gift for the baby. He curled up in my lap and fawned over her, infatuated with her from the start.
Oh, I should mention, she didn’t have a name for two days. We struggled to agree on girl names during my pregnancy and hadn’t officially decided on anything when I went into labor. The closest we came to agreeing was my choice of Adelaide and Steven’s choice of Adalyn, so we compromised. Camden helped us choose. Our second choice was Cadence, and he shot that one down.
It should also be noted that my makeup held up wonderfully through labor and delivery, especially my lipstick. Run out and get yourself some drug store Maybelline SuperStay 24 hour matte. I love lipstick and have some expensive ones, but y’all, this one is just as good if not better.
The next couple days with Adalie in the hospital were a lot like my experience with Camden, except with less pain and more confidence on my part. Knowing what to expect and not being afraid to speak up for my needs were key in those first few days, and honestly, all the days since too.
My second pregnancy, labor and postpartum experience has been the polar opposite of my first. The two haven’t just been a little different, but very different. I plan to write more on this eventually because the differences are so stark, and I think there are many reasons for that. When I look back at the new mama in the photos of me after Camden’s birth, I just want to hug her so hard. I had no idea how much would change.
Adalie has been the perfect addition to our family and transitioning to a family of four has felt more seamless than I thought possible. I am so thankful for her and her brother, and the person they make me. In their own ways they are each teaching me lessons I never knew I needed to learn.