Tuesday, January 29

My Birth Story

When I was pregnant I loved reading other women's birth stories! It made me feel like I would be more prepared for my own birth experience. In the end though no about of videos, blog posts, or books could actually prepare me for what it was actually like! That being said I thought I'd still share my own birth story for those moms who are currently pregnant and curious about what it may be like for them. Best of luck to you!

I started getting cramps at 3pm Halloween, I was 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant. Nothing new there as I'd been experiencing cramping on and off for weeks. By 7pm they turned into contractions 20 minutes apart, again nothing new there. I'd experienced prodromal labor the week before so I didn't want to get my hopes up and went to bed like normal. Fast forward to 1:30am and I woke up because my contractions had gotten more intense. I started timing them and they were 5 minutes apart! At 3am I called the midwife, she told me to labor at home until they became closer together. By 5am they were 3 to 4 minutes apart so we headed up to Madison (an hour away). We got there at 6am and I was 3cm dilated. We hung out for a while, walking down the halls, bouncing on the birth ball, waiting to get to 5cm to be admitted. But 5 hours later I was still sitting at 3cm so they sent me home! They gave me Ambien before I left to help me relax and sleep between contractions. So I slept most of the hour ride home, waking whenever a contraction came and then napped at home for a few hours in between contractions until the Ambien wore off. By then the contractions had gotten even more intense but I was scared to make the trip back to Madison only to be sent home again so we ordered pizza and waited. By 5pm the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I just couldn't stand the idea of staying home anymore or making the trip back to Madison so we decided to go to the hospital here in Beloit, knowing they didn't have the amenities I wanted to encourage a natural birth.

When we got to the hospital my OB was on staff for the evening! And he was definitely surprised to see me there (since I'd made my intentions clear that I'd be going to Madison!). He checked me and declared that I was 5cm. Thank God!! BUT he then said he had actually stretched my cervix to a 5 so I could be admitted. So actually I was very likely STILL at 3cm, after 15 1/2 hours of laboring (counting from 1:30am). After that and realizing I still had a long way go and no nitrous oxide to help me cope, I decided to get an epidural. But it took 2 hours to get it because they had to run bloodwork first and give me at least half an IV bag of fluids! Once I finally got the epidural it didn't work fully on my left side so for the rest of the time I labored I was propped up slightly on my right side to help the drugs get to my left side more (which luckily worked!). Half an hour after I got the epidural my OB checked me again and I was 9cm!!! So it took 15 1/2 hours plus some help to get to 5cm and then just 2 1/2 hours to get to 9cm, go figure. It took a few more hours to get to 10cm but once there I got wheeled into a bigger room. They were very busy that night so I was in a small overflow room the whole time until I reached 10cm and they had a big room empty (they wanted me in the big room to give the nurses and doctor more space, I was lying in a bed so I didn't care!).

Then it was time to push!! It took 1 hour and 45 minutes - I know because there was a clock directly in front of me and I watched every slow minute tick by. Rowen's head couldn't get past my pelvic bone so we basically had to wait for his skull to mold around it. Then once he was crowning my doctor announced that was going to tear and needed an episiotomy, literally the one thing (besides a c-section) that I wanted to avoid!! But in the moment I was so ready for it to be over that I didn't say no. After the episiotomy, he came right out!!!

I honestly don't remember much of his first two hours. They immediately put him on my chest and I just cried for a while. Then he latched on like a pro (and tricked me into thinking we'd have an easy time at breastfeeding haha). Aside from that, it's all a blur. But those 23 1/2 hours of misery and hard work vanished and I felt nothing but elation and love. He was 6lbs 12oz and 19 inches long, smaller than expected!

After that my postpartum recovery sucked. My arms were sore for days from pulling myself up to push, my back hurt for days from the epidural, my stitches still hurt 9 days later, and that's not the half of it. (I'll be making a post soon about postpartum life!) But despite all that and despite the fact that my birth plan went to total shit (the only part that went as plan was our golden hour, which really was the most important part!) I'm at peace with it. In the end, I have my healthy little boy and I'll recover and be just fine in a few more weeks. It was all worth it. And I won't be doing it again! haha

Sunday, January 27

Third Trimester Survival Guide

I'm almost done with my fourth trimester (the first three months postpartum) and the past 12 weeks have truly been a blur! I've been so busy taking care of my newborn that I never got a chance to write about how my third trimester went and how I coped with the new, and some old, symptoms and the tricks I learned and used to help ease them. But better late than never!

So without further ado and without any further delay...

Here is my Third Trimester Survival Guide!

Back Pain

This was probably the most uncomfortable symptom I experienced during the third trimester and the one I worked hardest to alleviate. Some of the things which helped me most were the following:

  1. Lumbar Support Pillow - This was a godsend! I didn't sit anywhere without it.
  2. Warm baths - Enjoy as many as you can! Not only are they relaxing and help relieve back and pelvic pain but you probably won't get to enjoy them much for a while once the baby is born.
  3. Maternity Belt - A supportive maternity belt can help relieve the extra weight caused by your growing bump which can help relieve your back.

Frequent Need To Urinate

As your bump grows bigger it will place increasing pressure on your bladder! Here is how I avoided having any "wardrobe malfunctions".

  1. Frequent bathroom breaks - A frequent need to urinate means frequent trips to the bathroom! I planned ahead and tried to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes in order to head off any mishaps,
  2. Pantyliners - In case I couldn't make it to the bathroom in a timely manner, I wore pantyliners 24/7! In my opinion, these are a must-have during the final two weeks or so of pregnancy. They're also great to have on hand for postpartum spotting later on!


By far the least glamorous symptom of late pregnancy, in my opinion. These puppies got considerably worse postpartum. So if you already have them, stock up on supplies now!

  1. Hemorrhoid cream - Preparation-H is a must-have! It will help to reduce the swelling of the hemorrhoids/
  2. Epsom salts baths and sitz baths - Not only are these relaxing but they too will help to reduce the swelling of the hemorrhoids.
  3. Tucks Pads - These can be used to help clean yourself in the bathroom or in more serious cases to line your pantyliner. The cooling pad and astringent witch hazel help to relieve discomfort.


As your pregnancy progresses its normal to feel more and more tired (up until that much desired "nesting" period). The best thing you can do is to take things easy and rest up. Here is how I tried to manage the exhaustion.

  1. Get more rest - Naps! If you can, aim for at least one nap a day. Also, try to head to bed earlier. In my final trimester I was going to sleep at 9pm every night, much earlier than I previously had.
  2. Lower expectations - At a certain point in my pregnancy I came to terms with the fact that I just wasn't going to keep up with everything around the house at the same standards as before and just had to let some things go. Luckily, once that nesting urge and energy struck (which is did several days before I went into labor) I was able to catch up on all the things I had let slack for several weeks.
  3. Reduced hours at work - I all but quit my job in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Throughout my pregnancy, I switched from full-time to part-time to on-call to "don't call". I had fast-paced and highly demanding job and luckily was able to take a step back from it. If at all possible for you, consider reducing your work hours or workload load, if needed.

These were far from my only symptoms during the third trimester. I also experienced heartburn, pelvic pain, sciatica, and more which I covered in previous articles on the First and Second trimesters of pregnancy. Click the links to there how I coped with those and other symptoms of pregnancy as they cropped up.

Although all of these symptoms were unpleasant, and I certainly do not miss them, the great thing about them is they are all temporary!! And almost all of them disappeared immediately upon the birth of my son. So if you're in the thick of it, hang in there. The end is very near and it will all become so worth it once your little bundle of joy arrives.