*I’ve been writing and re-writing this since Eli was about two weeks old! Every time I think it’s finished, I remember a new detail or memory from this day that I want to add in. It’s probably been my longest post to date but for me, it’s important to document every minute detail so when he’s no longer my little baby, I can re-live this beautiful, wonderful, nerve-wracking, perfect day.*
It’s kind of crazy to think that it’s been over three weeks since little Eli came into this world. Part of me feels like he’s still brand new to us and we’re still all adjusting to life as a family of four and then there’s another part of me that feels like he’s always been here; that he’s been a part of our lives for much, much longer than a mere three weeks. But despite feeling like he’s always been with us, I still seem to have to remind myself on occasion that I’m a mom of two now! It’s a surreal feeling. One of those hits-you-in-the-middle-of-the-night feelings. The ‘I’m a mom to two beautiful, healthy, amazing boys’ feeling is definitely still going strong. *Insert hashtag blessed* I honestly can’t believe this is our life. At times I never thought we would see the day where we could say we were parents to one, let alone two, gorgeous kids and yet here we are!
It seems like many moons ago that I blogged about Nate’s birth (for those interested you can find it here) but I can still recall almost every single detail leading up to that day and now here I am again, about to embark down memory lane and relive Eli’s grand entrance into the world.
Just like with Nate, I opted to have a stretch and sweep done at my 39 week appointment. This is basically a way to gently induce labour by separating the membranes of the amniotic sac from the cervix. And, just like with Nate, when the nurse performed the sweep, she told me I was 1 cm dilated. I remember feeling a bit dejected with this news because with Nate, the sweep took five days to work and although I was technically two days early with him, I really felt like I was going to be even earlier with Eli. People had been telling me since about week 35 that I looked like I was going to ‘pop’ any day so being told at 39 weeks that I was only 1 cm dilated made me feel like this pregnancy was never going to end. By this point I was tired, sore, uncomfortable, and hot 24/7 so basically I really wanted to be told that labour was likely going to occur very soon.
Prior to the sweep being performed, the nurse had listened to Eli’s heart beat just like she did at every appointment, however; this time she seemed to voice a bit of concern that she felt like his heart beat was “slower” than it normally had been. I had literally just eaten lunch on my way to the appointment and advised her that at the dentist office an hour earlier, he had been super active. But being the amazing nurse she is, she pushed my OB to send me for a non-stress test. Both she and my OB had assured me that the heart beat was within normal range but as a precaution they just wanted me hooked up to the monitor to really track his range. Since I’d never had to have a non-stress test with Nate, this made my already climbing anxiety peak, especially when the birthing suite asked me to be there within 20 minutes. My OB definitely sensed my worry because he repeatedly told me “Carly, I believe the heart beat is fine but I always trust a nurse’s intuition. They’re the ones who kept me alive while I was in hospital.” While internally I was starting to freak the *bleep* out, I must admit I did feel a little pride in hearing my OB tell me how much he trusts nurses because we often get overlooked even though we’re the front line staff members. BUT! That’s a story for another day…
So where was I? Ah yes, 20 minutes to get to the hospital for my non-stress test.
My doctor’s office was literally just down the street from the hospital (where I also happen to work) so after calling Kurt to update him and my parents to let them know they needed to keep Nate a little longer, I headed over. I went through all my admission paperwork as well as the reason why I was sent and within a few minutes I was laying on a stretcher in triage with the monitor straps around my large belly. Eli’s heart beat was hanging around the 125-135 range which I was told by both nurses wasn’t ‘very alarming’ but nonetheless they wanted to keep me for about an hour to watch him. During this time I spoke with the on-call doctor and informed him of what my OB had said and the reasoning why he had sent me over. Thankfully, the on-call doctor didn’t seem concerned about the lower heart beat either which was extremely reassuring to hear. Basically, I just laid on the stretcher eating a Popsicle and playing on my phone waiting to go home. At one point, one of the nurses made a comment to me about how I was having some ‘tightening’ and asked if I could feel the contractions. At the time I said no because I thought it was just mild cramping which is common after having a sweep done so I really didn’t think anything of it even when it was mentioned to me that they were contractions.
After what seemed like all afternoon (but in fact was only 50 minutes) I was allowed to leave. The on-call doctor came and saw me one last time and pretty much said to follow up with my OB if I hadn’t gone into labour within a week, which I already had my 40 week appointment booked and was seriously hoping I wouldn’t have to go to it. Once I was released, I went to my dad and step-mom’s house to pick up Nate and just fill them in on the non-stress test and what not. Nate and I ended up leaving around 4 pm and as I was driving us the 40 minutes back to our house, I noticed I was having infrequent but still painful contractions. I had started having Braxton Hicks contractions around 28 weeks and they mainly came when I was driving for long periods; typically after working a 12 hr shift at the hospital then commuting back home so I just assumed that I was experiencing false contractions and that because of the sweep, they were stronger and more painful than before. As soon as we got in the truck, Nate fell asleep so after slowly and carefully getting him into the house and onto our bed, I decided to take a nap along with him. I woke up around 6:15 which was right around the time Kurt was getting home from work. Within 15 minutes of waking up, I began having contractions but like on the drive home they were still infrequent which again I attributed to having the sweep done. I remember telling Kurt I was having contractions which were coming about every 45 minutes and I honestly don’t think he really believed me. I didn’t even really believe me. I had just been examined and was 1 cm, there was no way I was going into labour. With Nate, my water broke and contractions started immediately so it was kind of obvious that I was in labour but with Eli, up until 4 pm, I wasn’t showing any signs of impending labour. Heck, the nurse who performed the sweep didn’t even comment on my “bulging membranes” (TMI sorry!) like she had with Nate so why would either myself or Kurt think I was actually in the very early stages of labour.
What makes me laugh when I think about this story is the fact that Kurt and I were even barbecuing (well Kurt was, I was sitting in a chair on the deck) and we were chatting with our neighbour. By this point it was around 7:30 pm and Nate was up. I had started noticing that the contractions had increased to about every 20-30 minutes and seemed to be lasting any where from 1-2 minutes in length. Internally I started questioning myself and began wondering if this was actually the ‘real deal’. By 8:30 pm I found myself eyeing the clock every time a contraction began as well as taking into account how painful they were becoming. You’d think for someone who wanted labour to start so bad and who has gone through it once before, I’d be more aware of what true labour felt like, but at this point I think I was in such denial that I figured whatever was happening would soon pass. Obviously though, it didn’t because by 9:30 pm I was starting to make comments to Kurt about how bad the contractions were getting and even told him I thought I was going into labour. I like to kid that every time Kurt pours himself a drink when I’m 39 weeks pregnant it means I’m going to go into labour that night because the Saturday night before my water breaking at 2:15 am Sunday morning, Kurt was having a few beers and I specifically told him not to drink too much because I was “most definitely” going to have Nate on Sunday and he needed to be able to drive to the hospital. And pretty much the same thing happened this time too. Kurt had said “I think I’m going to have a Rye and Dr. Pepper” and I responded with “How big of a glass?” when he asked why I cared, I guess I sort of smirked and his reaction was “Is this happening tonight!?” I told him I wasn’t sure but that my contractions were coming every 17 minutes at that point and they seemed a lot like the contractions I had had with Nate three years prior. I think we were both in a quiet panic because we weren’t saying a whole lot to one another.
Kurt put a movie on around 10 pm and while he was watching it, I was watching the clock. 10 minutes a part and lasting one minute. On a scale of 1-10 for pain, they were about a 6 and I have a high pain tolerance. I think this was when Kurt realized that I might actually not be joking because he turned the movie off and said we should try to get some sleep in case my water broke in the middle of the night again. Kurt and Nate laid in our bed and I tried my hardest to relax too but every time a contraction hit, reality started setting in that this was really happening and I began to freak out. My breathing was irregular and I could not find a comfortable position. By 10:30 pm Kurt was telling me to call my mom to let her know she was on stand by. I found this hilarious because I had just texted her that afternoon reminding her in the next upcoming days to make sure her ringer was always on and she went to bed with her phone within earshot in case we needed her. I called her and told her what was going on and that I would most likely be calling her either in the middle of the night or very early in the morning. After hanging up with her, I gave the birthing suite a call and explained my contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes and were about a 6 out of 10 on the pain scale. Just like with Nate, I was GBS positive with Eli so I also wanted to know when they wanted me to come in so we could start the IV antibiotics. The nurse I spoke to informed me that they typically want you to wait until contractions are every 3-5 minutes a part consistently for two hours before coming in, unless your water breaks and you’re GBS positive or if you require something for pain. I explained that I was managing the pain at home and that my waters were definitely still intact but considering we live 40 minutes away from the hospital where I was delivering, I wanted to make them aware that I might come in sooner just in case. The nurse tried to talk me out of that idea, stating she would hate for me to get all the way there only to be sent home but at this point I knew I was in true labour and that when I got to the hospital, I would be admitted not sent home.
11 pm rolled around and I was at the point where I could not stand it any more. I needed to be at the hospital where I could be monitored, where I could get medication if I needed it, and where I could safely deliver this baby. I told Kurt we needed to start getting ready to leave. He jumped in the shower quickly while I called my mom. She arrived within 15 minutes just as I got off the phone with the hospital telling them I was on my way in. Poor Nate was awake during this whole ordeal. He was such a little trooper too! I knew he knew something was going on because he did not want to leave my side. After giving him a hug and a kiss and pushing past those last minute thoughts of guilt that it’ll never be ‘just us and Nate’ again, Kurt and I headed out the door. And of course, because I didn’t think I was going to go into labour so soon, I hadn’t filled up my truck. Lesson learned! After another ten minutes of getting gas and paying for it, we were on route to the hospital. That 40 minute drive has got to be the fastest and slowest commute ever. While I knew Kurt was pushing 140 km/hr to get us there, it felt like it took an eternity. I think we were both praying that for one, we wouldn’t get pulled over and two, that the baby would stay put long enough for us to at least get to the hospital. Thankfully, we made it there safely and without me needing to push. Hurray!
After going over literally the exact same info I had just gone over with the nurses a few hours prior, we were taken back to triage. I smiled to myself when I saw the same on-call doc was still there because I really don’t think he thought he was going to see me again. I remember when he came to assess me for the second time, he made a comment like “Well let’s see if we’ll be keeping you or not” and then a few seconds later “Ok, so yep you’re 4 cm dilated so get comfortable, you’ll be staying with us”. I just remember thinking “Yeah, I knew it!” The nurses got me hooked up to an IV and then advised Kurt to go and get me some juice so that my strip would be more ‘active’ meaning I could get some Morphine if I needed it. After about 30 minutes, Eli’s heart beat and movements were thankfully much more active and the doctor felt comfortable allowing me to receive a dose of Morphine for the pain. After that we were taken down to our room where I asked the my nurse if it would be possible to get into the whirl pool tub. Prior to delivering Nate, I had always been adamant I would never get into a whirl pool or birthing tub because I was so paranoid about the risk of infection. It was my nurse back then who had talked me into it and as reluctant as I was, I figured she wouldn’t be advising it knowing I work at the same hospital if they didn’t use every cleaning technique possible. I remember being in so much pain with Nate that I agreed and boy did I not regret that decision. Honestly, the tub was incredibly helpful. The sounds of the jets and the swirling water helped me relax and focus on my breathing which in turn helped me get through each and every painful contraction. I think I spent over an hour in the tub with Nate and went from 4 to 9 1/2 cm dilated within that time frame; so one of the first things I wanted to do was get into that tub again hoping it would speed up my labour this time as well. Knowing I was 4 cm dilated just like last time, I figured my nurse wouldn’t let me get in if I waited longer. The only comment she made was “I don’t like to deliver babies in the tub” which I assume means it’s happened before? I remember saying if I thought I needed to push, I wouldn’t be heading in that direction. Haha
I spent about 45 minutes in there this time and Kurt was absolutely amazing throughout. The room gets extremely humid and muggy feeling and he just sat in there rubbing my hand or letting me squeeze his when the pain got really bad. With both my deliveries, he was amazing and I seriously believe he could be a birth coach! He’s very encouraging and any time I said I couldn’t do it any more or that I started to seriously contemplate asking for an epidural, he was right there reminding me how strong I am and that I could do this. He definitely deserves credit for helping to keep me sane during both deliveries. So as I was saying, once I started getting a little too hot, I asked to get out and have the birthing ball instead. I sometimes wonder if I have a little bit of ADD because I can never be 100% still. If I’m sitting down, a foot is always tapping the ground or a finger is always drumming my leg. If I’m in a swivel chair, you better believe I’m turning from side to side. And if I’m in labour, apparently I cannot be confined to the bed. With Nate, every time the nurses wanted me to get into bed so they could monitor him, I would get all antsy. The same thing happened this time around too. I only wanted to be either in the tub or on the ball and if I had to be in bed, I wanted to be sitting upright where I felt more comfortable.
At 3 am, I was handed over from the triage nurse to one of the delivery nurses. Around this time, I decided I really wanted to get back into the tub again. I was starting to feel cold, something that happens when I get extremely nervous or anxious and thankfully, my new nurse was completely understanding and allowed me back in. I had literally gotten out an hour earlier so I’m sure they weren’t too thrilled with me a) hogging up the tub and b) having to clean and sterilize it again when they had just probably finished doing it from before. Again, I lasted about an hour before getting out and waddling back down to my room. This is when the contractions started to become more intense. Whether it was because the Morphine (which really just takes a bit of the edge off nothing more) was starting to wear off or if it was just my body preparing itself for the second stage of labour, I was getting more and more uncomfortable. I really wanted to go natural and considering all of the hoopla that happened when I gave birth to Nate within four hours of receiving a second dose of Morphine, I was trying to be cautious about asking for another dose but it got to the point where I literally did not know if I could take any more. I had the nurse check me and she said I was around 5-6 cm dilated. It was at this time that I asked for a second dose, figuring I hadn’t dilated much in the four hours I’d been in hospital for but I guess because I was past 5 cm neither the nurse nor the doctor felt comfortable with me receiving a second dose. I know the risks associated with delivering a baby within four hours of receiving Morphine so I didn’t argue with her but in my head I was definitely cursing her out. Haha! I did though receive a second dose of Gravol which made me a little bit loopy. Kurt says I dozed off briefly and while I was out I guess I was dreaming about making cookies or something because when I ‘woke’ up I remember loudly saying “DOUBLING”. I had my back to Kurt who was resting his head on the side rails of the bed and I remember hearing him ask me what I had said and I looked over at him and said “Nevermind. I was hallucinating that I was making cookies and I was doubling the recipe”. That is what IV Gravol does to me apparently!
7 am rolled around which meant it was shift change. This was around the time that I was checking the clock and silently praying Eli would be his appearance soon because I didn’t think I could last much longer. I ended up with another two nurses (one was still doing her orientation) and they were just as awesome as the first two I’d had throughout the night. They were immediately asking if we needed anything, did I want a drink or Popsicle, did Kurt want anything, and began going over my progress so far. They were great. Around 7:20-7:30 ish I asked if they could check me again because my waters still hadn’t broken but when I had gotten up to pee, I had noticed some blood (sorry TMI). The nurse on orientation checked me and said I was 9 cm! I was elated! I remember calling my mom at home telling her when Nate woke up she should get him ready immediately because we wanted him to be the first one to meet the new baby. Then I called my dad and step-mom to let them know that we would soon have a new addition to the family and to stand-by for the next call. However; my excitement was short lived when the doctor and her resident came in and checked me. “Ok, you’re about 6 cm dilated.” UM? EXCUSE ME!? There is a HUUUUGE difference between being 9 cm dilated and 6 cm dilated! I actually thought I was going to cry. The nurse apologized and said she swore that I felt closer to nine. I get it though. It’s really hard to tell. When I took the labour and delivery course and practiced on the dummies, everyone in the class gave out different numbers. Unless you’re experienced, it’s definitely a guessing game when it comes to dilation of the cervix.
After being told that news, I asked the nurse to please tell the doctor that I wanted my waters broken to help speed things along. The doctor came back within a few minutes cautioning me that things would get even more painful if she broke them but I didn’t care. I wanted him out. I was ready to have this baby and nothing was going to change my mind. My waters were broken and by 8 am I was telling the nurses “I feel like I need to push”. They checked me and yep! I was 9 and 3/4 cm dilated!! They began rolling me in bed lol well, not literally rolling me; moving me from side to side for about ten minutes trying to help my body get to 10 cm. By 8:10 am everyone was in the room and I was getting ready to start pushing. And oh my god, was is ever painful. I mean, obviously it was going to be painful. But I swear, this time hurt more than with Nate (probably because I had had a second dose of Morphine two hours before he was born). I began bearing down, determined to push as well as I did when I delivered Nate. It took only 17 minutes to push that kid out so I wanted to either beat that or come close to it. However, part way through pushing the nurse was feeling his head and asked me to stop saying “I think he’s face up”. I heard the doctor say something and then she checked. I remember thinking “OH MY GOD! STOP CHECKING ME I NEED TO PUSH THIS BABY OUT!” So I just kind of yelled out “He is! I had an ultrasound two weeks ago! He’s sunny side up!” The doctor peeked up at me and asked was I sure. Was I sure?! Are you kidding me! I looked over at the nurse and said “Yes! He’s face up!” Then I apologized because for some reason I felt like I should have told them this information sooner since I knew he wasn’t technically in the ‘right position’ but whatever it was what it was. They allowed me to start pushing again (thankfully!) and with every push, I remember hearing “Yes! That’s it! You’re doing great! He’s coming down nicely.” Then “He’s got so much hair! He has a full head of hair!” I think I even heard Kurt say something about his hair too.
And this is when I thought the doctor was trying to give me a heart attack. She asked me to only do half pushes. I guess because he was face up, they were trying to turn him or something but when she asked me to do this, I just kept thinking “How!? My body wants him out! It’s not possible!” It was felt like I was being tortured by only being allowed to push for five seconds at a time. I thought there was absolutely no way I’d be able to push him out with these tiny pushes but to my amazement I heard the doctor say “You’re doing great, he’s almost out” and then “Ok Carly, one more push!” And next thing I knew, HE WAS OUT! When the doctor held him, she said “Oh he’s just a little guy!” I didn’t think she was being serious because Nate was a pretty big baby but when they placed him on my chest and I got a good look at him, he was definitely smaller than Nate. I just kept saying over and over again “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god”. Like I couldn’t believe he was finally here and I’d given birth for a second time! All that pain was so worth it seeing his little face and hearing his first cry. The nurses took him away briefly just to assess him and Kurt went over with them. I knew they were weighing him and when I heard Kurt say he was smaller than Nate was, I was stunned. 6 lbs 15 oz! Say what? I asked them to repeat his weight about three or four times because I was in shock at just how little he really was. It didn’t seem possible to me that he could weigh that much less than Nate and still be just as long. Nate was only half an inch bigger than Eli at 21.5 inches in length. When they brought him back over to me, the nurses and doctors just kept repeating how awesome I’d done. Not to toot my own horn or anything but it only took nine minutes for me to push Baby E out into the world. I was pretty stoked about that one but if we ever have another baby, I doubt I’m beating that record. Haha!
I continued to bleed for a little while post delivery so I was still confined to an IV pole and hospital gown but after having a quick (and awkward) shower, we eagerly anticipated Nate’s arrival to the hospital. It was a funny feeling knowing that almost three years earlier, we were waiting to show off Nate and now here we were, waiting to show off Eli to his new big brother. The moment Nate came through the door and around the curtain is a moment in time I’ll never forget. He literally yelled “Mom!” and ran to my bedside. Of course, he was little nervous and unsure of Eli at first but with some encouragement from Kurt, he got right up onto the bed and started examining his new baby brother. I remember him specifically poking my belly and realizing it was no longer hard. He then looked from my belly to the baby and I think he made the connection because he looked at me and said “Boy?” which is what he used to always call my belly. I wanted to burst into tears right at the moment. He was being so sweet and loving that my hormones could barely handle it. That will forever be one of my most favourite moments in life.
It’s been over three weeks since Eli’s arrival into our lives and I would not change a thing. Well, maybe I’d change a few of the sleepless nights but otherwise, it’s been an absolute dream. I’m so grateful to all the nurses and doctors we had while in hospital. They never once allowed me to give up or think I couldn’t do it. They encouraged and praised me throughout the entire process and even bragged about me to the other nurses out at the desk. I didn’t exactly need any validation because hello? I birthed another human being but it was definitely nice to hear them saying all these positive and amazing things about me. And then there’s Kurt. My rock. He never once let me down during both deliveries. He held my hand, endlessly rubbed my back, walked to and from the ice machine numerous times, encouraged and supported me, and never once allowed me to give into the pain. If I didn’t have him as a partner, I’m not sure my delivery stories would have gone the same.
I don’t think there are enough words to express just how much I love these boys of mine. Even on the hardest and most tiring days, they are still the lights of our lives.
First picture with the newest member of the family!
First picture as a family of four!
Auntie Meg meeting Eli for the first time
Face timing my sister because unfortunately Baby E wouldn’t wait until she was home from Nashville before making his grand appearance
He was SO alert within minutes after being born!
First bath! And no, he definitely did not enjoy it!
All snuggled up with Daddy and Big Bro after his bath
Time to go home and start our lives as a family of four!