Teagan’s due date was September 25th though when I was 38 weeks pregnant she decided to throw a few contractions my way. I had two days of timeable contractions and by the third day contractions were coming around five minutes apart and lasting about a minute each. While I had to focus and breathe through most contractions they weren’t intensifying as they would during real labor so I was skeptical that Teagan was going to make her appearance that day. After 11 hours of contractions I decided to go to bed. Sure enough, by morning contractions were gone and my baby was still safe in my belly.
I always assumed that I would deliver Teagan late since I was nine days late with Parker but this false labor made me not sure what to think. All I knew is that I wasn’t ready to have an outside baby just yet. I had a laundry list of things to get done. I wanted to spend as much one on one time with Parker before she became a big sister. I had an insane amount of projects to wrap up and delegate before my maternity leave. I’m a planner and was anxious over the fact that Teagan would arrive before I was ready. But that wonderful husband of mine knocked some sense into me. He reminded me that this was an amazing time in our life and that Teagan was going to come whether I was ready or not. It was then that I realized I needed to stop stressing over my to’do’s and get ready to embrace bringing a new little girl into the mix.
And like a light switch I was now in full on mode to meet Teagan. I waited every day for contractions to pick back up but all I had were Braxton Hicks. I went to my 39 week appointment on Wednesday and decided to have an internal exam. I was about 50% effaced and 2cm dilated. Not this this means much, but I was glad to see that my body was getting into gear. My midwife asked if I wanted my membranes stripped but I declined. At 40 weeks I would start looking into natural induction methods but until then I’d let my body call the shots.
I woke up at 39 weeks 4 days pregnant like any other day. It was a Saturday so I spent the day around the house playing with Parker and helping Kris put the final touches on our master bath renovation. On Parker’s nap I started painting the ceiling. The day I went into labor with Parker I was screwing drywall in our basement. So inevitably when we start on our next project I will once again be pregnant ;) It must be my thing.
Around 5pm my contractions started up. I wasn’t timing them yet with the Contraction Master app but I could tell that they were on a consistent pattern. I waited until 6pm to tell Kris since I didn’t want to get him excited if they were going to pass. Plus Parker and I had a shopping date that we were off too and I needed to make sure that he knew to keep his phone on him in case I delivered in the toddler section of Old Navy.
After Old Navy we went next door to Marshall’s. Parker loves to play in their toy section so while she was having her fun I was using the shopping cart and focusing on breathing through the contractions which seemed to pick up speed. It was at this moment that I was pretty sure Teagan was going to make her arrival very soon. I called my parents to let them know it was game time, checked out in a horribly long line, and made it home without birthing the baby in the car. By this time it was around 730pm.
On the short drive home the contractions really slowed down. When we got home I popped a pizza in the oven and we sat down for dinner. Contractions were even slower. Around 9pm we laid Parker down to bed and snuggled on the couch to watch The Office on DVR. Contractions were gone. GAH. I could not believe that I was having what I thought to be another bout of false labor. I contemplated calling my parents and telling them to turn around. I felt bad that they were going to drive all the way from Ohio to Michigan for nothing but decided that we would do a fun family activity the next day to make the best of it. Little did I know the fun family activity would be introducing everyone to Teagan.
My parents arrived around 10:30pm and by this time contractions were back, but were very spread apart. Dejected, I went to bed but the contractions weren’t ready to sleep. Starting around 1:30am I was woken up to contractions. Once again I really had to use breathing techniques to get through them. I was terribly uncomfortable working through the contractions while lying on my side in bed but I was paralyzed during each one. A couple times I got up to walk around the house but for the most part I labored in bed, going in and out of sleep. I was so exhausted that the last thing I wanted to do was spend all hours of the night up with contractions. By this point I thought, hmmm, maybe this is the start to labor, but I still wasn’t positive.
At 345am I was woken up by a contraction that was so intense I knew that this was definitely real labor. It was now that I count my labor actually starting. Once it passed I peed and I felt so much pressure while sitting, as if Teagan was going to fall out on the spot. Old news to me since this feeling was with me day in and day out for the past four weeks but this time it was different. The pressure was deeper, more painful. It was probably because her delivery was so close but I still felt like I had tons of time to spare.
So much time that I started to fix my hair and put on makeup. It was relaxing to have a moment all by myself to tend to my appearance, 4am or not, so I took my time applying foundation and brushing my hair. Contractions kept coming and the pain radiated through my abdomen. I got through each one by leaning on the counter, closing my eyes, and counting to eight with each deep breath in and deep breath out. I also visualized running up a tall, grassy hill with nothing but blue skies to see for miles. As the contraction started I saw myself running up the hill. At the peak of the contraction I was at the top of the hill. When the contraction was slowing I saw myself running down this hill. I kept telling myself that I could do it, that each contraction was getting me closer to meeting Teagan. I felt in control of my body. Even though the contractions were painful, the absence of back labor made them much more manageable than those with Parker.
I had been timing the contractions and since 345am they had been lasting about a minute long and were coming anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes. At 415am I woke Kris up to the tune of “It’s baby time,” and he jumped out of bed and starting packing up all the last minute items for the hospital. I too was helping out a bit in between contractions. I started having to moan through them and do a mix of low squats and hip swaying but at this point I still felt like I still had a long labor ahead of me. The contractions weren’t picking up in speed, I didn’t feel that out of body experience yet that I did with Parker, and I was hungry and started to snack on Saltines. All signs pointed that I wasn’t near transition yet.
Kris, my midwife, and I all discussed that we would need to get to the hospital sooner this time since second babies tend to come faster than the first. But I was still hesitant to go too soon. I was afraid that if I got to the hospital too early where epidurals are thrown around like candy I would cave and ask for one when the pain got too unbearable. I wanted to wait until I hit transition before we left.
At 520am I panicked. Not because of the pain but because I forgot to make yogurt popsicles for Parker! She was in a super picky eating phase and was going through my homemade pops like it was her job so I freaked that she would be left throwing endless tantrums because I didn’t make her favorite food. So in between contractions I started mixing everything together. Yes, 40 minutes before giving birth to Teagan I was cooking. I only made it through a couple before I realized that I couldn’t focus on this task so I yelled at Kris to get on it. He was busy installing the infant car seat (woops, should have done that earlier) but ran in to finish it up. It was now that I started to feel slightly nauseous and realized that we should probably play it safe and get on the road. We called the midwife and while she heard me in the background and didn’t think I sounded close, she agreed that we should leave.
I went to kiss Parker goodnight and it was such an emotional moment. She was lying in our bed, looking so sweet and serene. I was sad thinking this was the last moment that she would be my only. I was worried about how she would transition to her new role as a big sister. With teary eyes I kissed her goodbye.
I had stopped timing my contractions by this point but from getting into the car to the 10 minute drive to the hospital I had four contractions. Umm, hello, that should have been a major sign. But I still felt more in control of my body than I did with Parker so I still thought we had a while. Kris and I chatted on the drive about how we figured that we would have to hang out at the hospital for a while but that was fine because we didn’t want to get there too late.
As we neared the hospital I had the most intense back contraction. I could slightly feel the pressure in my abdomen but what I felt in my back took so much energy to get through that I barely noticed what was going on in my front. In hindsight I realize this was Teagan getting into her final position to be born.
We pulled into the hospital at 540am and checked in. Kris did most of the talking as I worked through contractions and when we were done we made our way up to the labor and delivery unit. We were met by the dumbest L&D nurse of all time. Seriously, she was all sorts of special. I don’t know if it was her first day on the job or if she was a poser but for real, nursing was not this chics calling. Each time I was going through a contraction, which were spaced around 1 minute at this point, she kept asking me questions. “I NEED YOU TO STOP TALKING NOW” I yelled in my bitchy voice. She obliged.
I had to get checked and this girl was so confused. I was fully dilated but she didn’t know what was going on. “Umm, you don’t have a cervix left.” She thought that perhaps my bag of water was covering my cervix (???) so she had to call for a second opinion. I couldn’t take laying on my back for another second so I got up. OMG, the pain. I totally panicked and almost started crying. I was screaming for someone to give me an epidural. I remember seeing the look on the nurses face and all I saw was sheer terror. My water broke and a nice big gush went everywhere and ruined my moccasins. The nurse really lost it now. She told me that I needed to get back in the bed asap because I couldn’t have the baby in triage. Lady, I’m going to have this baby wherever I damn please. A whole team of nurses swarmed in the room. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I didn’t fully realize yet that I was minutes away from delivering. I kept yelling for someone to give me the epidural. All I heard was silence. Kris told me later that the staff was all telling me that it was too late, that I was ready to give birth, but my brain heard nothing.
I was finally able to get my body back in the bed and I was literally rushed down the hall by like eight people. I was laying on my side and was in between contractions. My eyes were closed and at that moment I felt a second of peace and relaxation. Kris was running behind everyone and I heard him say “I’m coming, honey.” Another contraction came and my body involuntarily pushed. I could do nothing to stop it. I was screaming and crying and terrified by this point. It was also at this point that I pooped everywhere. Lovely. Kris clued me in on this after the fact.
We made it to the delivery room and I was transferred to a different bed. Two seconds later a strange man ran into the room. It was the hospital OB. My midwife hadn’t made it yet! He introduced himself, got into position, told me to push, and with one long push that took all my might Teagan entered the world.
Our new baby was immediately laid on my chest. I was in shock. What just happened? It was 601am, a mere 21 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t realize how close I was to delivering. How the contractions were night and day from those I felt with Parker. How I didn’t hit transition until right after I was checked and minutes late Teagan arrived.
She was perfect. Beautiful with her little fingers and toes. All that dark hair. Her arms and legs flailed around, happy to finally have some room to stretch. She nursed right away. It’s such a precious moment to have that first nursing session. How babies instinctively know how to nurse amazes me. Her warm body nestled up to my bare chest, we finally were together. I was happy. Shocked at what just transpired, but happy. Forever will I remember that day.