Birth stories are my favorite. It’s amazing to hear everyone’s experience and how different each one can be! I’ve now given birth twice, and I have had totally different experiences with each one. Giving birth is the most empowering, terrifying, and humbling thing I’ve ever done, and ever will do, and I can’t help but share these stories with you!
36 Week Appointment
Reese’s story starts about a month ago at my 36 week appointment. It was then that they first checked my cervix and I had already dilated to 3cm! My doctor told me that I should be on standby – that not only would this baby not make it to her due date, but when things started, it would happen fast. She ended up being half right…
When November came I breathed a sigh of relief. We weren’t quite ready for Baby to arrive, so the more time that went by, the more I felt settled and prepared. I started getting contractions around Halloween. Nothing painful, but contractions nonetheless. I have no recollection of any contractions prior to being induced with Finn, so this was so different. Reese dropped in my belly shortly there after, and I started waddling and waiting for things to heat up.
As days went by and my cervix didn’t dilate more, I started to grow impatient. The type of impatient only a woman approaching her due date can understand. The anxiety of waking up and knowing that you may or may not have a baby today was getting to me. I wasn’t sleeping, I was a pain in the ass to everyone around me, and for some reason this country and it’s ridiculous maternity leave standards still requires you to go to work – so there was that.
My due date was originally November 19 – the Monday before Thanksgiving. This was based on my menstrual cycle – 40 weeks from the first day of my last period. Somewhere along the line, the doctors changed my due date without letting me know. Based on Reese’s size at her 20 week scan, they added a few days and my due date became November 23. I was defiant when I was told this and continued to act as if my due date was the 19th. Not that it really mattered, but I felt strongly about it 🙂 .
When the 19th came along and baby girl was still was sitting pretty in my belly, I grew resentful toward my doctor who had originally told me she’d come early. I had an appointment that day and the doctor told me Reese was locked and loaded and that she’d be here before Thanksgiving. She generously stripped my membranes to help get things started and I went back to work that day feeling hopeful that that night I’d be in labor.
Wednesday Before Thanksgiving
Still no baby – and no sign of baby either. I kept telling myself that feeling normal didn’t necessarily mean anything. I was already 3cm dilated and if anything changed it would mean Reese would be here quickly. I woke up early on Wednesday and got some work done. Finn’s school was closed so we spent the day together. My parents were driving in from New York for Thanksgiving and I started to feel okay with spending the weekend with them and enjoying the holiday.
David and I hosted Thanksgiving, with a huge help from my parents. Since we thought we’d have a newborn baby, we figured having Thanksgiving at our house would be practical. We spent the day watching the parade and cooking for my parents and David’s family. Other than the typical pregnancy exhaustion, I felt fine. The entire day was a good distraction from being overdue.
Friday, November 23rd
1:10am – I woke up with a contraction. I thought I needed to use the bathroom, so I did. I went back to bed and a few minutes later, another contraction came. I managed to lay in bed through that one, but figured I’d start timing things. I had a third contraction about 5 minutes later and had to get up to walk through it. I stood up and my water broke everywhere. I woke up David and he called the hospital to give them the heads up we were coming. My contractions were consistent and painful. David quickly showered and went downstairs to tell my parents that we were heading to the hospital.
2:00am – We arrived at the hospital and my contractions were now about two minutes apart. I could barely walk. The hospital was empty and when we reached the Labor and Delivery floor, we realized we hadn’t pre-registered. Registration took a grueling 10 minutes, and my contractions were so painful David did all the talking for me. The entire time I was losing more water and I just wanted to get to a room. After the paperwork was done, the nurse had me stand on a scale and asked me for my height – I’ll never understand why.
2:15am – We finally got to the delivery room – room 9 this time – and met our delivery nurse, Nicole. I undressed and she checked my cervix – I was already at 8cm. I asked for an epidural, I think out of pure fear, and she told me should would call the anesthesiologist in. She gave me a birthing ball to bounce on, and through every contraction David rubbed my back. It was almost as soon as I sat on the ball that I said the magic words, “I feel like I have to poop.” When I said that, Nicole stopped what she was doing and asked me what I had said. I’ve read enough about giving birth to know that feeling signals transitional labor, and soon I would have to push.
2:45am – Still no anesthesiologist. I was miserable. Everything was irritating me and I even told David to stop talking because he was so annoying. I was in pain and it was starting to become unbearable. The doctor popped in, quickly gave David a squeeze, chatted with Nicole briefly and said she’d be back shortly. I was starting to believe the epidural wasn’t going to happen.
3:00am – Finally the anesthesiologist made her appearance. She said her shpeal, made me sign away my life, and started prepping my back. As soon as I got off the birthing ball and onto the bed, I needed to push. I told Nicole and she asked me if I wanted her to check me or if I wanted the epidural. I needed some relief, so I chose the latter. The anesthesiologist took her sweet time, and through every contraction I was “moo-ing” as David puts it, because there was no relief.
3:15am – Finally, the epidural was done. I slowly sunk back comfortably in the bed and the doctor checked my cervix again. She told me I was 10cm and baby was at +2. I couldn’t feel anything at that point so she told me that whenever we were were ready, I could push and we could have a baby.
3:43am – After just 4 minutes of pushing, Reese Catherine Gregory was born. It was the most beautiful thing in the world. Just like with Finn, I labored all the way through to the pushing without drugs. I’m so glad I got the epidural when I did because I was able to thoroughly enjoy the last few minutes and the actual birth. The doctor laid Reese on my chest and a sense of calm appeared. David started crying. He cut the umbilical cord, something I don’t remember with Finn.
Reese weighed 8lbs 12oz at birth. She was 21 1/4 inches long. She made her debut quickly – from first contraction to her arrival, it was just 2.5 hours.
After some bonding, and letting the drugs wear off, we headed to the postpartum room. I remember acknowledging the calm feeling again. With Finn, I was terrified. Being a new mom was so overwhelming. With Reese, it felt natural. It’s as if she’s opened my heart even bigger and allowed me to love even greater. I didn’t cry when I met her, but felt an instant connection.
I did cry when Finn came to meet his sister. My parents said he was saying “I meet my Reese” the entire way to the hospital. He had continued to call her My Reese, something I hope he never stops doing.