Last weekend something pretty amazing happened – we became parents for the second time. We are beyond blessed to have a healthy, beautiful new little girl in our family.
Our sweet new addition, Viviana Noelle, came into this world 12 days earlier than predicted, with the same ferocity as her big sister, Gia.
Before I dive into the details of how Vivi decided to make her entrance, let me tell you about the days leading up to her birth.
For me, all of my prenatal appointments have a certain excitement about them. This was certainly the case for my 37 week check up.
I had been looking forward to this particular appointment because I wanted to discuss a “plan of action” for the coming weeks. My reasoning for this was because I had an unusually rapid labor with Gia. So you could imagine how I wanted to be prepared for an even quicker labor, and possibly earlier arrival for Viv.
My doctor basically told me that I needed to be ready to go the second I felt the tiniest twinge. To my surprise, I was already 2cm and 50% effaced at that appointment. That could mean no baby for weeks, or it could mean any day. Knowing how I was progressing made the anticipation that much worse. I was also taken aback when the doctor told me she’d see me in two weeks, for what would be my 39 week appointment.
I was a little bit disappointed that I wasn’t going in before then because again, I wanted to know how my body was progressing. I just reminded myself that it didn’t matter and my body would let me know when it was time, appointment or not.
Needless to say, after my 37 week appointment, birth was the only thing on my mind. I did my best to stay present and really enjoy my days with just Gia. Thinking about how my world was about to be turned upside down (in the best way possible) made me stay more in the moment.
As the next week crept along, I continued my usual routines. Gia and I would go to the gym together while Craig was at work. I didn’t do much else outside of town, for fear of going into labor too far from the hospital.
On Thursday, September 20th I started to feel regular contractions. After letting them continue for a few hours I thought it wise to just call labor and delivery to tell them what was going on with me. They knew by looking up my chart that I had a history of precipitous labor and advised me to come in and get looked at.
I sent Gia with my mom and dad, called Craig at work and told him to meet me at the hospital when he was off in 30 minutes. I have to say, walking into the hospital alone, wondering if this was it was a bizarre feeling.
I stayed at the hospital for a couple hours while I was being monitored. I most certainly was having regular contractions, as the nurse confirmed that for us. My cervix was still 2cm, so for that day we were meant to remain a family of three for a little bit longer.
The nurses were so nice to me when I came in for that “false alarm.” I told them that I was sorry I made them do all that work. Obviously it’s what they are there for, but I felt silly about it. They reassured me that it was completely reasonable that I came in based on my birth history. Their sincerity made me feel better about our short little visit to the hospital that evening.
The following day I was praying that the baby didn’t come. I had house keepers coming to do a nice cleaning in anticipation of our baby. Also, I really wanted this baby to come when Craig was home from work, but the odds weren’t necessarily in my favor since Craig was working overtime that day too.
My prayers must have been heard because that day (Friday) there was no baby. I was now into my 38th week of pregnancy and felt like everyday was Groundhog Day. Little did I know, I’d only have to endure it for one more day.
The morning of Saturday, September 22nd Craig, Gia and I woke up and did our usual thing. We made breakfast, I hit the gym and came home to play with Gia and watch Craig set up our double stroller. When Gia went down for her nap around noon, it was Craig’s turn to hit the gym and my time to rest a little. The whole time Gia was napping I was reading on the couch and timing my contractions. They kept up for over two hours. By the time Craig was home and Gia was up, Craig wanted to head to the grocery store. I said we should give Gia a bath first and get that out of the way. Boy, am I glad we did!
After bath, Craig mentioned going to the store again and I told him that I think I should just call labor and delivery. He knew I was still having contractions and if this was the real deal I didn’t want to let it get going with being at the hospital.
Cutting to the chase, we sent Gia off to my parents and got the go ahead from the hospital to come in. Once we were there I just had the feeling that they weren’t gonna let me go home. I was right. I was at 4.5cm and 80% effaced when they were monitoring me. They said they were just going to transfer me to a room because knowing how I worked, I’d be having a baby real soon.
We were hardly in the triage area and had gotten to our room where the nurse wanted to get my i.v. hooked up. She was explaining everything about an epidural and my mind started to race. I was also feeling very different at this point. Lots and lots of intense pressure was happening. I wanted to try and have a natural birth, just like with Gia. I felt like if I did it once I can do it again, but since I had to make a decision I was nervous about making the right one regarding an epidural.
As the nurse attempted to place my i.v. I was having such intense contractions that I needed to focus and it meant not getting the i.v. in quick enough. Once I had a quick break between contractions the nurse was able to place the i.v., but there was no time to even hook it up.
My water broke and then I immediately felt the need to push. The nurse said you need to wait for the doctor, we aren’t ready. “To hell with that,” I thought. This baby is coming! I was able to hold off on pushing momentarily while the doctor and nurses where able to get things in place. Thank goodness they were fast because it was 6:55pm when my water broke. Nine minutes later and three pushes later, at 7:04pm I had Viviana on my chest.
I remember Craig telling me she had lots of hair and I was doing such a good job. Those words from my husband were all I needed to motivate my body to get her out. I also remember looking up at Craig with Vivi on my chest, telling him, “I did it!” The look on Craig’s face was one of such pride. It made my heart swell and immediately I knew that I had the capacity to love two children equally and fiercely.
After Viv’s rapid arrival, the doctors told me I had a lot of bleeding and clotting that needed to get under control. This scared me because without hesitation I thought about what that could mean. It could mean surgery and even more blood loss. In that moment my thoughts were on just wanting the bleeding to stop so I could hold and feed my baby.
Thankfully, after being injected in the thigh with multiple medications, the bleeding and expelling of blood clots was under control. Thank God.
Now we didn’t need to worry and could continue the focus on Viviana. Being that she was 12 days early, she was smaller than Gia at birth. Gia was born at 41 weeks and Vivi at 38. Weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces, and 20.5 inches in length, Viv was a good size for being early. I can only imagine how big she would have been if she decided to come on her due date of October 4th.
Our time spent in the hospital was pretty brief. We left in the early afternoon the day after Viviana’s arrival. Gia met her new sister at the hospital before we brought her home. That moment was one I will never, ever forget. I couldn’t have been more proud of our big girl and how we had created this little family. Gia meeting her sister is a blog post for another day. After all, I am writing this post with a sleepy newborn on my chest and a tired toddler napping in the other room.
Women’s bodies are amazing. Birth is amazing. I share my story because it proves how different and beautiful all birthing experiences are. There should be no shame for any one way a child enters the world. C-section, epidural, home birth, natural delivery – they are all equal. As long as I have a healthy baby in my arms, I don’t care how that baby came into the world because it’s not a competition.
To all the badass mamas out there, mamas-to-be and those longing to be mothers, I send all my love and good vibes to you.