I had been having a handful of contractions throughout the night on February 19. They were strong enough and were obviously different to me than just Braxton Hicks. I tossed and turned a bit and tried to sleep as much as I could. Around 5am, I looked at the clock as a reference to look back on and be able to say that is when my labor “started.”
This time was different than with Norah, where my water broke in the middle of the night and then my contractions started.(You can find her birth story here) I kept waiting for my water to break this time so I could say my labor had started! I woke up around 6:30 and got Norah out of bed. We hung out in the living room for a bit and I was like a kid on Christmas morning all excited that I was having contractions! Erin woke up around 7:30. It was a Saturday, so he was home. I told him I was in labor and he was surprised! I was 3 days away from my due date and excited to be having another early baby. After I told him I was in labor and had steady contractions, I could see him mentally starting to get into the mindset of “we’re having a baby today.”
Norah was 20 months old and was just being a typical clingy toddler, wanting me to pick her up or have me hold her around the house. I remember washing dishes, vacuuming, anything to keep the contractions coming. She was not letting me do my own thing, hehe. So, Erin took her over to my parents house around 10am. My contractions were still totally manageable, just not ideal while having a toddler pulling on my leg or climbing all over me. I kissed my only baby goodbye and off she went to Nana & Papa’s house.
Our friend, Dan, who was building our kitchen cabinets showed up about 9am and asked casually, “how’s it going?” I bluntly replied, “Well, I’m in labor.” Ha ha. He was definitely surprised and I know he was thinking, “Well, this is awkward.” We all kind of laughed and I said, “No seriously. But it’s all good.” I really wanted my kitchen cabinets to get done! So he was working on those while I labored around the house. I mostly stayed in our bedroom and sat on my ball while watching my DVR.
I remember eating so much this time around. I was starving! I had breakfast, and then a snack, and then pizza leftovers for lunch (bad, bad move). I was feeling really great in between contractions. This had me a little nervous, though. I kept thinking that I must not be making much progress if I feel this good and my water hasn’t even broken. I hadn’t even bothered to time my contractions until after lunch. I did my makeup and curled my hair, because I was trying to kill time and stay distracted.
Erin was around the house working on projects here and there. He was wrapping up some work on his computer before baby leave. I was able to lay down and take a little nap. I let my sister Colleen know that I was in labor. She lives in Monterey and wasn’t sure when and if she should get in the car and drive! I didn’t really know what to tell her. I wasn’t sure how much longer I had since my labor was picking up a little but my water still hadn’t broke. I was all thrown off.
Around 1pm my contractions were getting longer and more intense. I began timing them on a app I downloaded after lunch lol. Talk about being prepared! I was definitely having to breathe through my contractions after lunch and remember “breathing” open my cervix. I was trying to keep my mental game strong! I truly was staying so relaxed, it was surprising me. I walked around our property and met Erin and my Father-in-law out in the greenhouse. He was surprised it was the real deal and that I was out walking around. I was doing everything I could to keep contractions coming.
I walked back to the house and went into our room. My contractions were around 4 minutes apart at this point and 1 minute long. I finally called the delivery center at Kaiser Vacaville (where I delivered Norah) and told them the details. I had tested GBS+ so I knew that I needed to get there and have time to get the antibiotics. They said since it was my second baby, I needed antibiotics and based on my contractions, it was time to head in. So off we went!
We said bye to Dan, who was still working in the kitchen and he wished us luck hehe. I remember looking at Erin on the way to the hospital, just the two of us and smiling, thinking “okay, let’s have another baby!” It was a surreal moment.
When we got there, they told me I was at 4cm and was getting admitted! I felt somewhat nervous that I may not have been that progressed and would have to go back home. So I was excited that we were staying and this was it. The midwife who greeted us knew my wishes for a low intervention, natural delivery. She asked Erin if he would like to catch the baby and he said yes! I’m so glad she was including him in the birth if he wanted to help. I opted for the wireless monitoring so that I could freely walk around and labor without intermittent monitoring. We let our family know that we had checked in and this was it.
After getting settled into the labor suite (something foreign to me since I labored for 5 hours with Norah in the triage room!) we walked the halls for a while. Labor was definitely picking up. We came back into the room and I sat on my ball for a bit. They started an IV and started administering the antibiotics for me. After that was done, I didn’t need to be hooked up any longer. I remember getting some really bad gas pains at this point, maybe around 5pm. Suddenly that pizza I ate for lunch was causing me some serious pain on top of my contraction pain. I was able to use the bathroom and felt a little better. However, bearing down only caused my labor to get seriously so much more intense.
I remember starting to get scared. Around 6pm I told Erin that I was thinking about getting an epidural. I began to feel nauseous and started shaking and sweating. This is textbook transition phase. I was just in so much pain and my contractions were not letting up. I was no longer able to calmly focus my breathe and relax during contractions. I was fighting them. I asked my nurse to check me because I was wanting an epidural and needed to know how much progress I had made. I was 6.5 cm dilated.
My nurse came in and knew my birth plan and told me again the other options, but I told her to order the epidural. This was around 6:30pm. I had been in labor for over 12 hours at this point. Norah’s labor was 15 hours and I was getting discouraged. Wasn’t your second labor supposed to be shorter? I still had more to dilate and knew how much harder it was going to get. And I hadn’t even began pushing yet! Erin was very sweet and asked me, “Have you been thinking about this for a while? I thought you didn’t want an epidural. Are you sure this is what you want?” I said, “I want the epidural!” lol I was reassuring him that it was definitely what I wanted at this point.
Around 7pm, the gal who administers the epidural came in and agreed that Erin could stay there with me while I got it. I was shaking so uncontrollably at this time I wasn’t sure I would be able to sit still long enough to get it! I kept saying how I didn’t want to hold still. Movement was seriously my best friend. Swaying, dancing, bouncing, anything but being still to get me through one contraction onto the next one. I sat on the edge of the bed, hugging a pillow. Erin was facing me in a chair and I was resting my feet on his legs and held onto him. This was the first time I had really sat down in hours. It was hell. lol. They gave me the epidural and I didn’t even care that it hurt. I truly am surprised they gave me one. It was seriously cutting it way too close.
I got into the bed. I changed into the hospital gown, finally. They gave me the oh-so-fun catheter. They were explaining the whole IV button thing, were you press it and it takes 10 minutes to feel the relief, so don’t wait too long. I remember feeling everything still, but now only on the right side of my body. I kept waiting for the drugs to kick in! Come on! At this point, the pain was constant. No letting up at all. Colleen had Facetimed me and was on her way from Monterey! I couldn’t even talk to her and had to hang up because I was in so much pain. I told Erin to push that button! Then my water broke. Finally! I felt the pop and gush of water and the nurse confirmed it had broken. I looked at the monitors and my contractions were just stacking one after another. I was slowly getting some relief from the epidural. My left side was getting numb. My nurse told me to let her know when I felt the urge to push. Seriously, 2 minutes later I had the urge to push. It came on so strong.
I was filled with relief knowing my labor was still progressing. That was definitely a fear of mine, getting the epidural and then my labor stalling. The nurse checked me and I was at a 10!!!! I couldn’t believe it. My midwife came in, along with 27 other people (just kidding, but seriously like 5 other people) and she told me to start bringing the baby down. They brought over the mirror and got everything all set up.
We had had the TV on earlier that afternoon and I remember sitting there, at the edge of the bed, feet in the stirrups with all my goodies exposed looking at the discovery channel lol. I asked someone to turn it off and then it got awkwardly silent. haha, I made a joke out of it. Seriously though, everyone was just there waiting for the big show. Anyways, I was able to sit up completely straight and use my arms a little to hold myself up as I pushed. The epidural had kicked in 100% at this point. Praise Jesus. I started to see the head in the mirror and began pushing more and more. I had to look over my shoulder at the monitor to even know when to push! I could no longer feel contractions.
After maybe 10 minutes of pushing, her head was born. Erin had put on some gloves and was there with my midwife. He grabbed just under her hands and helped pull out the baby as she was being born. I reached down and met Erin’s hands and we brought her up to my stomach. I could tell in the mirror that she was a girl:) I went to bring her up to my chest, but the midwife said her cord was a little short lol. After a minute, she got some slack on the cord and I was able to bring her up to my chest and take in all her little slimy, wrinkling goodness.
Piper Ellie Rice was born at 8:26pm February 20, 2016. 7 lbs 3oz and 20 inches long. My labor was around 15 hours. We kept her placenta and plan on planting it somewhere at our new home…along with Norah’s, which is still in the freezer. Yikes!
I did have some minor tearing. I also had some blood clots that they had to sweep out after she was born. Overall, it was a great labor and delivery! I loved having an all natural delivery with Norah and I love that I was able to labor so long with Piper on my own and that the drugs kicked in for the most important part! The recovery with an epidural is harder, in my opinion. I was numb for hours after Piper was born. I had to keep the catheter in overnight, which was really uncomfortable. I had a little bit of bruising from the epidural itself. Overall, not terrible and totally worth it:)
My sister, mom and aunt came to visit that night around 10pm and got to see little Piper. We hadn't told them over the phone if the baby was a boy or girl, so that was fun for them to come and see! My parents brought Norah over the next morning to meet her sissy :) We went home Sunday night around 7pm. We have had such great experiences at the Vacaville Kaiser!