This post is so overdue, it’s ridiculous. Our sweet baby Willa is more than 6 weeks old already! Insert all of the parenting clichés about time flying by here. But seriously, I can’t even believe it. I also can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write out her birth story… but here we are! Finally.
The best way to start this is probably to explain what our “plan” was for baby girl’s arrival. I use the word “plan” very loosely because based on my first pregnancy, I was aware that things would likely not go exactly the way we wanted them to. With Crosby, I was induced due to high blood pressure at 38 weeks and then after laboring for a full day, I had an emergency c-section after his heart rate dropped to scary lows, which we found out later was bc his cord was wrapped around his shoulder (ahh, memories…). This time around, I was hoping for basically the exact opposite labor experience. Ideally, I wanted to go into labor on my own and deliver via a vbac (vag birth after cesarean). I wanted to avoid a c-section if possible because of the long and intense recovery it demands, and I also just really wanted to have the experience of delivering my baby this time. But knowing the likelihood + all the risks of a having vbac, I tried to mentally prepare myself for the high probability of having another c-section.
Cut to my 37-week doctor appointment, when after a relatively healthy pregnancy, my blood pressure was suddenly high. The nurse took a few readings during that appointment but each time it was high, higher than it should be at that point in pregnancy… so my doctor asked that I monitor it closely at home for a few days and then come back in later that week to check in with her again. My readings continued to be on the high side throughout the week and again at my next appointment, at which point my doctor said that the baby was better off out than in so I would need to be induced. Again. This was the exact same situation that happened with Crosby. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with this turn of events since I had hoped to go into labor on my own this time… I also didn’t know if it would be possible to have a vbac anymore since many doctors avoid inducing labor when a woman is trying for a vbac. Casey had come along to my appointment with me so we talked everything over with my doctor, and thankfully she thought that I was still in a good position to at least give an induction/vbac a try before resorting to a c-section again. So with that in mind, we scheduled my induction for the following week. And then we went home.
You know what’s weird? Scheduling your child’s birth and then attempting to resume normal life for the next few days. Like, how am I supposed to prepare dinner when I’m having a baby in 3 days?! It was so hard to focus on anything else. Crosby kept us in check though. Having a squirrely toddler to entertain and take care of is about as good of a distraction as you could have in that situation. And I will say, in some ways it was nice to have a few days to prepare. My mom and Casey’s parents were able to fly in over the weekend. They planned to stay at our house and watch Crosby and our dogs while Casey and I were in the hospital.
On Tuesday, October 18th at 7am, Casey and I checked into the hospital. An hour later I gave birth. JK, I wish. What actually happened was kind of a rollercoaster of calamities, but (spoiler alert!) it ended well…
Over the course of my first two hours in the hospital, three different nurses attempted 4 separate IV spots in my arms before one succeeded. And let me tell you, the bruises I got from the failed attempts were horrifying. My arms looked like a banana that’s been stuck at the bottom of your backpack for a few days. Childbirth war wounds! Once the IV was in, they administered pitocin to get the baby show on the road. It was after 10am at this point and I was only dilated to 1.5cm so we knew it was going to be a long day. So I ordered myself some peanut butter toast and Casey watched the Price is Right and we attempted to relax. (Ha.)
Contractions started slowly but consistently. At around noon-ish, my doctor came in to manually break my water… which didn’t work the first time because I wasn’t dilated enough. She left and came back a bit later to try again, still no water breakage. She left and came back a third time, and thank god it worked (apparently my pregnant body lives by the motto, third time’s a charm) because I was about to pack it up and head home. Have you ever had someone try to manually break your water? Ouchie. Is all I have to say about that.
At this point it was early afternoon. I had been advised to not eat anything after breakfast in case I needed to have a c-section, so I watched Casey eat two enormous chicken salad sandwiches that my mom had made and packed for us… and then I bitched at him after I realized he ate all of it. I mean, the least he could have done was save something for me to eat after I’d GIVEN BIRTH TO OUR CHILD. Am I right?! Ugh. But, I’m over it I swear. No really, it’s fine. I’m FINE.
My contractions increased in intensity over the next few hours and by 3pm I threw in the towel and asked for an epidural. The anesthesiologist hit a nerve when he was putting the
baseball bat needle into my back. Which will go down as one of the weirdest and most unnerving (hey!) feelings I’ll ever experience in my life. But I was willing to overlook it to feel the sweet loving touch of the epidural. But…the epidural itself didn’t actually work quite as well as I had remembered from the last time. Throughout the rest of labor, I kept feeling numb on one side but not the other, and I also was feeling intense contractions in my left buttcheek. Which really creeped my mom out. And probably a few of you. And probably Willa, when she reads this someday. Sorry everyone!
The next couple of hours were slow, contractions would intensify and then subside. It’s worth noting at this point that from the time I got to the hospital that morning to sometime around 5pm that evening, I had only dilated to a 4. AKA not even halfway there. At this rate, I thought my baby would probably still be born on her Nov 4 due date.
One of the most stressful parts of this experience was that throughout the course of the day and into the evening, my BP was still high. I think I was given 5 different BP medications throughout the day to try to stabilize it, the result of which made me look and feel like a total junkie. I couldn’t stop shaking, my eyes were incredibly bloodshot, I was so so cold, and honestly just super miserable. Finally, later in the evening, one of the medications started to work and my BP lowered to normal. At which point, baby girl’s heart rate started to drop during contractions. AGAIN, this was also the exact same situation we’d been in with Crosby’s birth, which ultimately resulted in a c-section. So of course now I was extremely worried about the baby + extremely frustrated that we’d made it this far and I was probably going to have to have another c-section again. But my nurses and doctor knew what my “plan” was and they kept fighting for me. I did some position changes, they put an internal monitor on baby’s head and reduced my pitocin and thankfully, her heart rate didn’t stay too low for too long. It would dip during contractions but come right back up in between, which was a good sign. So, we kept on. (We found out after she was born that her heart rate was dropping because her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. My babies like to do somersaults in the womb, apparently.)
The rest of the night is a haze of uncomfortableness, BP medications, and contractions, but somewhere along the way I started to dilate quickly. And then somehow, I honestly don’t know how, it was midnight and the nurse gave me the best news of my life… it was time to push! I was so so thrilled. I kept thinking throughout the whole day as we hit obstacle after obstacle that I was going to end up having a c-section again, so to get to this point was the best feeling ever. I pushed for about an hour and 45 minutes… and that hour and 45 minutes was honestly one of the most amazing things I’ll ever experience. It was bizarre because pushing was the part of labor I was looking forward to the least, but it ended up being the extreme high point of the whole experience. Casey was a champion husband and cheerleader and was equally as amazed with the whole experience as I was. Seeing our daughter come into the world made all of the chaos and stress of the day disappear.
Willa Rae Thompson was born at 1:55am on Wednesday, October 19th. She came into the world weighing 6lbs 12oz and was 19.5″ long, with the same head of brown hair that Crosby was born with and the longest arms and fingers, just like her mama. She has the most beautiful eyes and the sweetest soul I could ever imagine. I cannot stop kissing her.
Once again, this was not the birth story I imagined. It was a stressful birth and the recovery was not ideal. (Shoutout to icicle diapers though, those things are the freaking best!) But none of it really matters, because in the end I got to hold my healthy baby girl in my arms. And the next day we got to introduce her to her brother. He’s pretty smitten with her too… but maybe more smitten with the dinosaurs she got him as a gift.
It’s been over a month and I’m still just as obsessed with sweet Willa as I was the moment she was born. I cannot even imagine a time when she wasn’t in our world. Though I faintly remember a time when I slept more than 2 hours at a time…
We love you so much baby girl, and are so very thankful that you are ours. Thank you for coming to hang out with us, we think you’re going to like it here :)