After mother nature decided not to visit me one month, I started noticing some small changes with my body. These changes made me feel like I wasn’t myself and I knew there was definitely something going on. Occasional cramping out of the blue that didn’t last very long, the girls became tender, I wanted to take naps more frequently, and all of a sudden I was visited by dreaded sciatic back pain that left me in tears a few times.
A couple positive pregnancy tests and appointments later, it was confirmed that there was a little bun in the oven. I was unsettled by the smell of meats and gravitated toward fruits and vegetables, but never had any morning sickness. I didn’t specifically notice an increased need to visit the loo at this point, but I started to become even more emotional than usual. So far so good. Normal pregnancy symptoms, but nothing that made me miserable. At this point, it was mostly getting used to the idea that I was going to be a mom.
My first ultrasound came at the beginning of my second trimester right before we headed off to Ireland for a week and a half. Baby liked to curl up in a ball and play with its feet. Baby was also finicky and didn’t like to pose for pictures making it a bit difficult for the tech to see everything she needed to. It was on our trip that we found out the results of the Harmony test I had. Baby is a boy and perfectly healthy – no genetic issues. His name was going to be Landon Scott. It was on our trip to Ireland that I decided after seeing all of the sheep that we were going to incorporate them into Landon’s nursery theme. On the flight home, I felt him move for the first time. It was a very memorable trip.
They say second trimester is the easiest and I would agree with that for sure. I was still tired a lot, but felt like I had a decent balance of being productive. I also had heart burn peek during this time. My sciatic back pain faded away with some chiropractic adjustments and I was back to eating meat. I felt pretty good for being pregnant. I still hadn’t popped at this point. In fact, often times people were surprised when I told them I was pregnant because they couldn’t tell.
My third trimester was by far the most challenging and difficult. I was swollen all over to the point where I couldn’t even wear my wedding ring on my finger anymore because it was too tight. I dealt with pelvic girdle pain making it incredibly painful to turn over in the middle of the night (in addition to it already being challenging with a baby belly that had finally popped) or get out of bed to accommodate my multiple nightly trips to the bathroom. I also developed pregnancy carpal tunnel at night so my hands would become numb and painful to move. (If you experience this, try to get wrist braces as soon as you can – life saver!) My energy was shot and I would cry for no reason. I didn’t have any weird cravings, but found myself binging far too often on Cookies n’ Cream ice-cream and pickles (separately), we went through toilet paper faster than a household of two should, and a good percentage of the time all I wanted to do was sleep. By the end, I couldn’t fit into my shoes let alone bend down to put them on, my tummy was protruding and round, and waddling around like a penguin is definitely a real struggle, my friends. I am extremely skeptical of any woman who says she loved being pregnant, but maybe that’s just me.
All in all though, the baby was happy and healthy. I was happy and healthy. All my tests came back with perfect results and my pregnancy was completely routine and normal. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I would say I had a good one. I wasn’t bed ridden and I didn’t have any complications with me or him. That’s the best kind of pregnancy and yes, it’s been a pregnancy so I’ve dealt with my body going through changes and creating a space for a baby human to grow and live in for 9 months. Those changes have been at times uncomfortable and painful, but it comes along with carrying a baby and being a mom. We spent this trimester renovating the baby’s room and other areas of our home for him. We put together the nursery, had our baby shower, and shopped for fun last minute items. The days disappeared and his arrival could be at any time.
Labor & Delivery
I was 37 weeks and already dilated to 3 1/2 cm and he was positioned head down and low. My midwife said she would be surprised if I made it to my due date. The next day I felt my body doing some weird things that made me wonder if I wasn’t heading into early labor. We took a trip to triage, but nothing came out of it and we were sent back home. Thirty-nine weeks rolled by and I had a membrane sweep, bounced on an exercise ball, walked, ate 3 pineapples and drank 42 oz of pineapple juice, went the whole nine yards with natural induction methods … and nothing happened. The night of my sweep, I had contractions regularly for three hours before I went to bed waiting for them to pick up intensity and get closer together, but instead they faded away. This happened the following week as well when I got a second sweep. At 40 weeks, I was dilated to 5 cm, almost completely effaced, and baby was in a 1 position, but not even Clary Sage oil could help me pick up any regular contractions. I could feel my body preparing for labor, but never got the consistent and regular contractions to carry me through.
I was induced at 41 weeks on October 25th. We arrived at 9 in the morning and they hooked me up to pitocin. By 1pm it was upped to 7mL and I was finally starting to get stronger contractions. I was dilated to a 6 so I could officially be considered in active labor and they moved me over to the room I would deliver in. I decided not to commit to a decision on pain medication until I was able to experience how my body was handling the circumstances. I figured I would do some sort of pain medication, but wasn’t sure if I would go straight to the epidural. When I was 1cm away from it being too late to get Stadol in my IV for pain and knowing that the contractions were going to get worst, I decided to go for it because I wanted to have the most comfortable experience possible and didn’t want to deprive myself of that. My body was already stressed out and I had no idea how much worst it was going to get. Unfortunately, Stadol ended up conflicting with my allergy to codeine and it wasn’t an option so the only thing left was the epidural. I went for it.
They had to insert an internal monitor to see how strong my contractions actually were since they weren’t translating well onto the monitor and then they broke my water and kicked up the pitocin to 9mL. This resulted in me shivering uncontrollably. When my contractions finally started to become more regular and increase in pain, they took me off the pitocin completely. I have no idea how much the epidural was actually helping. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and I can tell you that I wasn’t one of the women who watched the contractions rise on the monitor and not feel it. If it weren’t for my legs still feeling some sort of numbness, I’m inclined to think the epidural was wearing off. I found out why labor is called that. They inserted another internal monitor for a better reading of the baby’s heart rate. I was not as dilated as I should have been at this point so my midwife had me move around from position to position on the hospital bed to get baby better aligned. This is not an easy task when you have an IV in, an epidural, two internal monitors, numb legs, and painful contractions on a hospital bed that doesn’t seem very wide. By 7:00pm, I was beginning to experience contractions at their worst. The only thing that gave me relief was a cool, wet face cloth. For some reason the texture took my mind off the contractions and the cold water took the edge off. An hour later, I was still moving into different positions trying to work baby into the right one. The contractions were not cooperating with my body. My midwife wasn’t ready to throw in the towel and call for a c-section, but I was starting to stall.
She put me back on pitocin at 1mL to get me jump started again and then took me off. Half of my cervix was dilated to an 8 and the other half was dilated to a 10 so baby couldn’t get his head through. It left me with the need to push, but not the ability because if I had it would have damaged my cervix. So we played a game of rocking the car out of the ditch. I pushed while she held me at a 10 and as soon as the head was holding me at a 10 instead, we were good to go. My contractions were coming too close together and not allowing me to rest. This didn’t give me enough energy to push hard enough. I had to calm myself down and relax my mind and body so it wouldn’t tense up and cause a contraction which (surprise!) you do through breathing techniques. And I didn’t think I would need to use any of them. Ha! It’s all a learning experience. The little guy was so broad that I had to push for his head, shoulders, stomach, and hips, but he was finally born at 9:17pm, weighed 8.06lb, and was 20″ long. I was in labor for a total of roughly 8 hours and pushed for about 15 minutes which isn’t bad. It didn’t go as perfectly smooth or “painless” as I had envisioned, but I think that’s because I didn’t know exactly what to expect. In the end, I am grateful for a beautiful, healthy baby, a relatively short labor, and avoided a c-section which I’m convinced is all thanks to my midwife who knew exactly what to do to get me to progress and never gave up on me.
The relief you feel to have that baby in your arms and the difference your body feels in a split second after delivering is priceless.
Welcome to the world, Landon Scott. You are our greatest adventure yet.
You can see more of his newborn pictures here.