Reese’s Birth Story

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…

November

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.

Nothing.

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.

Due Date

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.

Thanksgiving

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.

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Dear Pregnancy

maternity photos

Dear Pregnancy-

You seemed to have stuck around forever, and yet, I can’t believe how fast you have flown by. This is the second time we’ve met, and so much has changed this time around. You have changed my body forever, to a point where I don’t even recognize myself – swollen ankles and hands, puffy face, my hips are wider than they’ve ever been. After you go, my body will still be changing, attempting to get back to how I was before, while still trying to nourish a baby. The physical changes are what everyone sees, but it’s the rest of it that only you and I can feel.

I appreciate you, pregnancy. You have given me two beautiful gifts, and I’m still amazed at the miracle you produce. From essentially nothing, you create a human life. That’s incredible. I have been feeling every kick, every punch, every little movement with awe. I’m being a little dramatic, but it’s truly an experience.

You’ve caused a lot of pain, too. My joints hurt. My back is always throbbing. My pelvis, welp, it’s taking on most of the load. I can barely walk without getting winded and I can’t pick up my two-year-old without letting out endless grunts. I know as soon as you’re over, other pain and discomforts will take over, which is nothing to look forward to. I almost prefer your pain to what comes next…

The hidden side of pregnancy, the hormones, those really got to me this time around. You made me irritable and snappy. You made me worried and anxious. You brought out the ugly sides of me.

But in the end, more than everything you’ve given me and caused me, you’ve taught me so much. You’ve taught me that life is a miracle. You’ve taught me that my body is stronger than I had

ever imagined. You taught me empathy for other mothers. You taught me unconditional love. You taught me patience. You have taught me to be in tune with my body. You have taught me grace.

Thank you for letting me experience you again. I cannot wait to sleep on my stomach and wear normal clothes again. I cannot wait to meet our baby and make our family complete. However, just like last time, I know I will miss you. I know I will see other woman sporting your notorious bump and feel nostalgic. So I’m trying to embrace these last few days and weeks and welcome all the discomfort and appreciate all the changes.

Love,

Erica

maternity photos

maternity photos

maternity photos

maternity photos

maternity photos

maternity photos

maternity photos

maternity photos

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33 Week Bumpdate

33 week bumpdate

dress: asos maternity // cardigan: leith

 

How far along? 33 weeks!

What is Baby G up to? Baby G is getting big and still loves to move! Baby is the size of a bushel of celery (?) and weighs around 4 pounds. It’s crazy that Baby’s brother was double that weight at birth, so we are looking at another big baby.

How am I feeling? Definitely feeling the normal aches and pains, but contractions have kicked up a bit which is so bizarre. They tend to happen while sitting and my belly gets rock hard for about a minute or two. It’s not painful like a labor contraction, but it’s certainly uncomfortable. Sometimes it brings a side of indigestion or other fun discomforts. My energy is low, but I’m still feeling really good. My hormones have seemed to level off a bit which is a huge help.

What am I wearing? Why do I even include this category? I’m trying to make it to November 19 without buying any more maternity clothes!

What am I craving/eating? Anything that won’t give me heartburn, which is everything.

What’s on my mind lately? The baby’s nursery! I have all the elements picked out to buy, but I want to get Finn’s room finished before I start on Baby’s. And I just can’t decide on his! I literally need a rug and curtains, but I keep second guessing myself! I’m going to challenge myself and try to put together a mood board for his room on the blog this week which will hopefully inspire something.

What am I looking forward to? Completing my fall bucket list!

Best moment of the week? It happened this morning – poor Juneau cut his foot open, so we’ve been bandaging it every day. While I was doing that this morning, Finn brought Juneau his teddy bear and blanket and sat there and pet him so gently, making sure “Juneau okay!”. It was the sweetest thing in the world and made me look forward to seeing him as an older brother!

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32 Week Bumpdate

32 weeks pregnant

dress: old navy maternity // cardigan: leith

 

How far along? 32 weeks!

What is Baby G up to? Baby G is trying to crawl out my belly button. I can feel a little booty pressing against the front of my belly pretty much all day. There’s lots of movement going on in there, and I’m starting to feel hiccups, which I remember vividly with Finn.

How am I feeling? I feel good overall. Normal aches and pains are settling in, and sleeping is getting difficult. However I’m in a much better mindset than I was a few weeks ago. I’m starting to nest a bit, which is always an overwhelming feeling since I feel like our house is perpetually unfinished.

What am I wearing? The rainiest summer on record has come to an end and has brought us the rainiest fall ever. I’ve been wearing as many dresses as possible in rotation without having to buy new clothes. I’m also at the point of a complete strip down as soon as I get home and putting on the most oversized shirt I can find on David’s side of the closet.

What am I craving/eating? Anything that won’t give me heartburn, which is everything.

What’s on my mind lately? When I was pregnant with Finn, I found myself envisioning him as a toddler and rarely thought of him as a newborn or about what that stage in life would bring. This time around I’m only focusing on the newborn stage and haven’t really envisioned Baby G any older than that. When I start to think about that timeframe, when Finn and Baby G will be playing together and interacting, I get so excited! I’m just nervous about the lack of sleep, the hormones and the drama with breastfeeding that are inevitable in the first few months postpartum.

What am I looking forward to? Chillier mornings. Finishing up Finn’s room and the nursery. Chili in the crockpot. Lots of pumpkin spice flavors. Pumpkin picking. Apple cider. New sweaters. I love fall.

Best moment of the week? Finn started at a new daycare on Monday. I was so nervous about his transition. Drop-offs are still tough, and they always have been. But when David and I picked him up on Monday he ran over to us with a big smile on his face. He is such a little lover. I can’t believe how much I love that little man.

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30 Week Bumpdate

30 weeks pregnant

 

How far along? 30 weeks!

What is Baby G up to? Baby G is the size of a zucchini and weighing in around 3 pounds. Baby is moving so much, but still not as much as Finn did! I’m hoping this means a calm baby?! Baby is already in the head down position and kicking mama in the ribs pretty much every day. The heartbeat came in around 147 at my appointment last week.

How am I feeling? I’m feeling more like myself lately. The last month or so was rough, emotionally. My hormones were taking over and I either felt incredibly high or incredibly low. I’m feeling much more balanced as of today. My anxiety is still poking through a bit – mainly anxious about real life things like switching Finn’s daycare, labor and delivery, and introducing another member to our family. Oh, and the whole newborn, no sleep thing. Physically, my body is getting tired, but I’m hanging in. I really have enjoyed the physical growth part of pregnancy this time around. I haven’t been as hard on myself with the weight gain knowing that a year from now, I will have my body back as long as I put the work in!

What am I wearing? It’s starting to cool down slightly here, so I’m rotating some sweaters into my wardrobe. However, dresses are really all that fit me right now!

What am I craving/eating? Nothing too specific. I think I’m actually at that point where food just causes heartburn, so I’m not really interested in anything at all.

What’s on my mind lately? As I mentioned above, we are switching Finn’s daycare. He has been at the same place since I went back to work two years ago, but since moving, the drive is adding almost 2 hours to my day. We found a place closer to home, which will be nice for everyone, but I’m really stressed about how Finn will transition to a new school.

What am I looking forward to? Not quite looking forward to it, but Hurricane Florence is supposed to impact our area this weekend, so I’m anxious to just get through the worst of it. I know we will not get nearly the impact the coast will see, so I’m trying to stay positive.

Best moment of the week? My employer recently announced a change in the parental leave policy – 8 weeks, 100% pay. I’m ecstatic, but a little nervous how it will impact me since the change starts while I’m actually out on leave and not beforehand. Regardless, this is a necessary step!

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