When I think about Barrett’s birth story, it just makes me laugh. It was such a redemption from Adeline’s labor and delivery and has truly left me with nothing but good memories. Everyone told me second babies typically come faster and easier, but after having to push for so long with Adeline I was really worried it would be like that again. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case at all!
If you’ve been following along, then you’ll remember that at my 36 week appointment I was already dilated to 3 cm and 70% effaced. My doctor was super impressed and said it could be any day, but most definitely before my due date (Aug 9). I really didn’t put much thought into it though because with Adeline I was 2 cm and 80% for several weeks and we still opted to induce her late. So, I kept walking and hoping that maybe he’d still come just a little early. My goal was to just make it to August, but not to my due date!
At my 37 week appointment, I was once again 3 cm and 70% effaced. My doctor joked about being on call that weekend, but in a “no really, I’m on call and you could totally go into labor at anytime” type way. She guesstimated no more than 2 weeks and said my cervix was top notch. We all laughed that I should add “superior cervix” to my resume.
At my 38 week appointment, guess what, 3 cm and 70% effaced AGAIN. I may have been slightly bummed, but my doctor once again said everything was looking really good, ahead of the game, and most likely he’d come in a week or two. He was low, and ready to go at anytime. To me, it’d been feeling like he was going to literally fall out for weeks now and I was definitely at my breaking point. Every step hurt so bad, sitting down hurt so bad, rolling over in bed was impossible, getting out of bed was even more impossible, the heartburn was ridiculous, and I was DONE. Absolutely miserable. But, I knew I probably had another two weeks to go. Bummer. I really, really hoped my water would just break and labor would start that next week!
At my 39 week appointment, my doctor walked in laughing, saying, “I can’t believe you’re here!” She said she thought for SURE I would have had him by now. Even our nurse joked about us being there, and said to try not to let my water break on the table! When my doctor checked me, she too was like, “hope I don’t break your water!” But, I was 4 cm and 80% effaced this time! HOORAY! This was a Friday. I’d been having a few stronger than normal Braxton Hicks that week, so I’d wondered if they were doing anything, and turns out they were. She did a quick membrane sweep, and we discussed the idea of induction after talking about how much pain I was in. We were all like, “I can’t believe we’re even having this discussion, why am I still pregnant!” Baby was so low, and it was obvious my body was gearing up but taking its dear sweet time. My doctor knew I really didn’t want to be induced, but gently and with no pressure at all, she threw out the idea of an amniotic induction the following week. Only if we wanted to, of course. (I had no idea it was even an option, because what I wanted to avoid was a straight pitocin induction and 3 hours of pushing!) She left the room and Adam and I talked about it, and decided that based on my body, and the timing of everything going on, we should schedule it and see what happens! So, we had our nurse call L&D and claimed the earliest opening – Tuesday morning, August 7th, 5am. Most likely though, we thought, we wouldn’t need it because surely I would go into labor over the weekend after having a membrane sweep and being 4 cm already.
Background info on why we even discussed induction in the first place…So our due date was Thursday, August 9. And on August 11, Adam’s cousin was getting married up in Missouri, which meant all of the family we have in town would be out of the state for about 5 days surrounding our due date. (Adeline was actually supposed to be a flower girl in the wedding as well, but obviously those plans were foiled!) This normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but it also meant that Adeline wouldn’t have family in town to stay with while we were in the hospital, and we had no way of knowing how long we’d be in the hospital. With bedtime being so tough on her lately, we were really nervous about how she’d do at a friend’s house since she’d only ever spent the night away from home one time at her grandparent’s. I knew bringing home baby brother was going to be a hard enough transition for her and I didn’t want to traumatize her more by having her spend several nights in an unfamiliar place. I’m sure she would have done just fine, but it was really stressing me out. We also found out that our doctor was going to be on vacation starting on Wednesday! And while I’d be fine with any of the doctors in the practice delivering our baby, I really, really wanted our own doctor to be present. Combine these two things with the fact that I was already 4 cm, and we were all confident my body could literally burst into labor at any second, and we were more than ok with the idea of going in to have them break my water! So, we scheduled it for first thing Tuesday morning.
And alas, the weekend came and went. Membrane sweep didn’t work, nor did all the walking, bouncing, squatting, stair climbing, lightly jogging, tea drinking, spicy food eating, and wishful thinking. HOW HAD MY WATER NOT BROKEN. He was so low that I literally felt like every time I stood up, “this might be it!!” Like, all that weight and pressure had to pop at some point, right?? Such a different comparison between this pregnancy and Adeline’s. With Adeline’s, I never felt like I could go into labor at any second – I felt totally normal up until the day we induced.
Monday night, we decided to take Adeline to her grandparent’s house to spend the night so that Adam and I could try to get a good night’s rest before going in the next morning. (Who can actually sleep though the night before you have a baby? Pretty sure we both saw every hour that night!) I noticed some pretty strong Braxton Hicks throughout the day, and that night they were also pretty strong and super uncomfortable. I didn’t think it really meant anything though because I’d had Braxton Hicks since like 18 weeks. We thought it would be so ironic if the night before our scheduled induction I finally went into labor. But, spoiler alert – didn’t happen, and we found ourselves waking up at 4 am getting ready to head to the hospital.
Tuesday morning, August 7, we arrived at the hospital at 5 am. We got checked in, signed our paperwork, and changed into my hospital gown. I had told Adam the night before that my A goal time for delivery was by noon, and my B goal was by 2 pm.
5:45 am: Before we got started, my nurse checked me and said I was 5 cm 80% effaced. FIVE! (Those strong BH’s the night before were probably real contractions after all!) I was so excited to literally be half way there on my own! They then hooked me up to the monitors to see where my contractions were. We’d originally agreed to just start by breaking my water, but my doctor suggested starting with the tiniest, lowest dose of pitocin just to get them a little more consistent and closer together so that when she did break my water, things would take off smoother and then we could turn it off. So, they started the pit on level 2 for one hour. Barely noticeable.
6:45 am: My doctor came by to break my water and see how things were going. As the nurse was getting the hook ready for her (to use to break my water), she went to check me and see if I’d happened to progress any in the last hour. As soon as she did, my water broke ALL over her and the bed. She laughed and was like, yep, you were ready! So basically, my water was a ticking time bomb! She confirmed I was 5 cm 80% effaced. We guessed it probably would have broken at home that day or even the next day!
6:55 am: My contractions got noticeably stronger and more painful within minutes of my water breaking. The nurse warned me that if I wanted an epidural to plan for 45 mins – 1 hour before it could actually happen. I told her I thought I’d be fine for a while but that we’d keep that in mind. We set my pain scale limit at a 6, and said if I got close to that I’d request the epidural. I listened to some music while Adam played his Switch and re-filled both our coffees. (They now allow you to drink coffee during labor! WHAT! Amazing.)
6:55 am – 8:15 am: I labored in the bed for a little over an hour. The contractions kept getting stronger, and stronger, and eventually I had one contraction that just about blew my mind. It was practically off the chart and as soon as it was over I told Adam to GO GET THE GUY! It was so, SO painful and I knew I did not want to feel like that all day – I could not handle that kind of intensity over and over for who knows how long. It was absolutely excruciating. I mentally prepared myself to have to wait nearly an hour though and immediately regretted not requesting the epidural sooner. I had gone from manageable pain to like a 10, instantly it felt like. But, it seemed like they ramped up before I even had time to think about it and that killer contraction seemed to come out of nowhere. It felt like my body switched from, “la de dah we’re in labor” to “LET’S DO THIS!” in a matter of one contraction.
8:15 am: Requested epidural
8:50 am: Epidural was placed. This was my second time having an epidural, and overall it wasn’t painful getting it. The contractions were painful, but the actual epidural was not. With how Barrett was positioned, the most painful part was shifting to my side and sitting up to just get in position for it! It seemed to kick in within just a few minutes once it was placed though and I was so grateful for the relief. Praise God for modern medicine.
8:50 am – 9:25 am: During this time I felt so good! I listened to music, took a cat nap, and Adam even left to go visit a friend who works at our hospital.
9:25 am: The nurse came back in to check me and said I was 8 cm! WOOHOO! Suddenly, giving birth by noon seemed totally doable. Maybe even by 11 am!
9:30 am: Pitocin was turned off. It may have actually been turned off quite a bit earlier but this is the time I had written down in my notes. My contractions were already about 2 minutes apart, so there was no need for any “backup” with the pit. My body was clearly laboring on its own, and my doctor was confident it didn’t need anymore help or consistency.
9:40 am: I started noticing some pain on my left side – like down around the left side of my pelvis and hip/groin area. I didn’t think too much of it, and just attributed it to pressure. I told the nurse, and she said it was probably just pressure as well. But, it only got worse, and worse, and was eventually pretty unbearable. It’s a strange sensation to feel such intense pain on only one side of your body. We called the nurse back and she had me try to roll towards my left side, in hopes that maybe some of the epidural medicine from the right side would trickle over to the left. When I rolled towards my left though, it was excruciating! She had me wait at least 10 minutes to see if it improved, and in the meantime she pressed the epidural button (or whatever it’s called) to give me a little more medicine. She said if that didn’t help, she’d call the anesthesiologist to give me another full dose. (They’ll only re-dose you after so long, apparently.) So, I laid on my left side for what felt like an eternity, grasping onto the side of the bed wanting to die from the pain! It felt like this intense burning and deep, deep cramping. I was practically counting down the 10 minutes in my head because I knew this was NOT going to get better. The nurse finally came back and I told her I was in so much pain and really wanted to see the anesthesiologist again. She said she was hesitant to call him because she wondered if maybe I was actually already at 10 cm and if they upped the epidural I might be too numb to push. I reiterated to her that I had pushed for almost 3 hours with Adeline and I was scared to death to push again for that long feeling like this. I agreed to letting her check me first to see.
10:35 am: The nurse checked me and I was COMPLETE! 10 cm 100% effaced, and baby was right there. She was right! I must have been in transition that whole time and not known it. She said instead of calling the anesthesiologist, that I should try a practice push to see if we could move him any. I was really hesitant to do this though because I still think my nurse with Adeline had me push too soon. After some convincing and discussion, we decided to go for it, and if he didn’t budge at all then we’d reassess and let me ‘labor down’ some more to get him lower.
10:45 am: Started practice pushes. And by pushes, I mean one push, and he moved like half an inch. She officially declared it baby time, and called in for reinforcement! Hearing her say “prepare the room for delivery!” was surreal. How was this happening so fast???
10:50 am – 11:06 am: I started real pushes with each contraction, in sets of 3, and soon it was evident this was going to be quick! I pushed with all my might and just kept thinking how close we were to meeting our son. I couldn’t wait to see what he looked like!! Sometime around 11:00 am, they called for my doctor and I was so relieved she made it in time. At one point, all of the burning I had been feeling on my left side disappeared, as I literally felt Barrett move further down and away from my hip. I kept pushing when I felt a contraction come on, and my doctor asked if I wanted to reach down and touch his head. I reached down and felt fuzzy hair and was then even more motivated to get him out! After just another couple of pushes…
11:07 am: I felt Barrett’s entire body “pop” out of position from inside my belly, and slide out as he entered the world. “Open your eyes and grab your baby!” and he was immediately placed on my chest, and after a little suctioning he began to cry the most beautiful cry. Barrett Mitchell Ingle was born at 11:07 am, to a little bit of laughter and a few tears from mom. We couldn’t believe how easily he came out, and I was overcome with joy to be holding him finally! It was absolutely surreal how fast he came out, and I think we both said, “was that it??”
The next hour or two were spent holding our son, skin to skin, and helping him breastfeed for the first time. His official stats were 7 lbs 10 oz and 21″ long – barely bigger than big sister. He came out in just 6 contractions, perfect as can be.
After I was taken care of, we eventually moved to our mother/baby room and settled in. We were exhausted, but not nearly as exhausted as we were after Adeline’s birth, and I’m so grateful for such a positive experience. I wish I could go back and relive the day 1,000 times.
The most common question I received was, how did Adeline do when meeting him? I’ll be honest, it wasn’t picture perfect, and she wasn’t exactly thrilled. She was more worried about mommy in the hospital bed I think and was pretty hesitant to go anywhere near Barrett, and me. We finally got her to sit by Adam and Barrett on the couch, and after some serious coercing we got her on the bed for a family picture. But overall she was sweet and did warm up to the idea some before heading back with her grandparents. I only shed a few tears when Barrett was born, but as soon as Adeline walked into our room I lost it and the flood gates opened. Finally seeing her become a big sister was way more emotionally overwhelming than I thought!
I could probably write a whole other post on the recovery process for baby #2. It’s been completely different in ways, and still similar in ways. No matter how you slice it, recovering from birth is no easy or painless task! It’s definitely been a huge contrast though, to say the least, but in a good way.
- Walking into the hospital at 5cm was a huge factor in a quick labor! I guess I’d been in labor technically for a few days already? Maybe even weeks?
- I have no judgement for baby size. I swore up and down he’d be at least 8.2!
- Old wives tales mean absolutely nothing when trying to induce labor.
- Braxton Hicks contractions can be deceiving. I had them for so long that I didn’t think twice when they got stronger and more uncomfortable – turns out the strongest ones were most likely real contractions that I just didn’t recognize as contractions because my water was still in tact.
- I’m a firm believer that all the walking I did throughout pregnancy helped me dilate.
- My intuition that baby was super low and would come quick was right.
- Heartburn totally has a direct correlation with amount of hair. Thank you Tums!
- It truly is possible to have two totally different birth experiences!
We went home Wednesday night, and it felt so good to be in our own home with our own bed. It was also so surreal to be home with our son! Adeline came home that night as well, and we officially began our adventure as a family of four. We feel so blessed to not only have a healthy daughter, but now a healthy son, and we can’t praise God enough for his promises and for giving us these precious gifts.
Happy Birthday, Barrett! I would endure pregnancy again and again for you, sweet boy!