I realized the other day that I had never posted Aerin’s birth story. There is reasoning behind the madness: it just isn’t that exciting. And by this, I mean that while the birth of our second daughter was thrilling for us, it was short and easy and free of drama — not stuff that non-family members, let alone strangers on the web, would find very compelling.
(For some serious birth story drama, check out the one of this lovely lady, whose second was born while she was changing into her hospital gown — the doctor literally had to catch the baby before she hit the floor!)
But since people have been asking for the full gritty details…
Did I ever mention that both Claire and Aerin are castor oil babies? It’s true! I took castor oil with both, and went into labor within 12 hours with both!
Castor oil, like many other labor-inducing techniques, will only work if the baby is ready to come out. As someone who has always been in tune with her body, I knew that both Claire and Aerin were ready when I took the stuff, and while there are tons of nasty stories out there regarding castor oil, I did not experience any bad side effects aside from some loose stool.
With Aerin, I had been experiencing mild contractions all throughout Halloween day, or the day before she was born. I was pretty certain that I would go into labor within the next 24 hours, and what I didn’t want was for it to happen between the hours of 9am – 7pm, when J would be at work.
(My FIL had volunteered to drive me to the hospital if this happened. While he is in possession of an international driver’s license, at the time he had not driven in a while…plus he had never been to the hospital, and I didn’t want to be giving directions while in labor, GPS and Google Maps be damned.)
So at around 8pm on Halloween 2011, I took half a glass of orange juice and mixed it with half a glass of castor oil…
And chugged. (This is important. You need to swallow VERY fast, or you might gag and it may come back up. These are all tips I got from a nice lady at church who took castor oil with all 3 of her kids, the last of which was a home birth ALL BY HERSELF. )
I continued to have mild contractions for the remainder of the night. This, added to the pooping that the castor oil induced, did not make for a very restful evening. But at around 3am, I sat up in bed with a start. The contractions were noticeably stronger, and they had become quite painful.
I did not want to wake up J quite yet, so I began to time the contractions with an app I had downloaded on my phone earlier that week. And about 45 minutes into this, at 3:45am, I shook J awake. “It’s time,” I told him.
He immediately called his parents so that they could come to watch Claire while we headed to the hospital. 15 minutes later, they arrived and J and I hauled ass to Holy Name Medical Center.
We arrived at the hospital at 4:25am, and the nurses in L&D hooked me up for a non-stress test right away. By 4:40am, it was confirmed: I was 4cm dilated and having contractions every 3-4 minutes. In other words, I was in labor!
My epidural with Claire was a godsend, and I wanted to go the same route with Aerin. So I braved through another hour of contractions — until a full bag of IV was in me — until the nurses called down for an anesthesiologist.
If you can remember with Claire’s birth story, it took a total of five tries for the anesthesiologist to properly administer the epidural. But once it was done, the relief was immediate and I was in bliss. Well, this time, the anesthesiologist only needed one try, but the relief came on gradually over the course of about 5 minutes, during which I experienced 2 more painful contractions. I’m not sure which I would prefer if I were to go through this again, but all I knew was that I was finally pain-free!
The time was now 5:50am. Not having slept the entire night, I was exhausted at this point, and J was pretty tired too. All we wanted to do was get some sleep, but the on-call doctor from my OB practice arrived to check my progress. 7cm dilated! She announced that it was time to break my water, and the oversized crochet needle came out to do its job (I have never been able to look at crocheting needles the same way again after giving birth the first time). And while my water breaking with Claire felt like a big whoosh of liquid coming out of my nether regions, this time, barely a trickle came out! The doctor assured me that this was very normal, and advised me to get some rest.
The nurse then wheeled in a cot so that J could lie down too, and he immediately drifted off to sleep while I updated my blog. After writing, I managed to take a short nap too.
I don’t remember much details for the next couple of hours because I was so tired and kept drifting in and out of sleep. What I do remember is that the nurses continued to come check on me every hour to check my progress, and being informed that I was doing well.
At 8:27am, the nurse announced, “You’re 10 centimeters dilated! The baby’s ready to come out!”
She then left the room to fetch my doctor, and returned with bad news: the doctors from my OB practice were in the middle of changing shifts, so I would need to wait to start pushing.
“Are you effing kidding me?!?” I wanted to ask.
But when the nurse went on to tell me that the doctor who we were waiting for was my favorite from the practice, I felt a lot better and told myself that we could wait. Meanwhile, the nurse began to set up the room by turning on the baby’s receiving station, wheeling in a table full of birthing supplies, and removing the bottom part of my bed and replacing it with a “catching” table.
By 9am we were still waiting for my doctor. The nurse asked me if I wanted to try a practice push, and I agreed. I grabbed ahold of both knees, pulling them up as much as possible, and pushed like I was taking the biggest dump of my life. (This is true! When you push for labor you should push just like you’re taking a dump!)
“Whoa! Stop there! The baby is making her way down!”
So we waited some more.
I should note that although I was fully dilated, I had yet to feel the urge to push. I think I was very lucky in this regard, because otherwise I’m sure that we would not have been able to wait for the doctor to arrive.
At around 9:15am, when my doctor finally made his appearance, I suddenly felt pressure…BIG pressure against my pelvis, accompanied by an incontrollable urge to push.
“I have to push!” I told them.
“Wait a bit longer!” they urged me, as the nurses assisted my doctor in putting on his gown and gloves.
“I can’t! I have to push NOW!!!”
I actually started to push BEFORE the doctor was fully prepared. But by the second push, he was right where he was supposed to be, and by the third and final push, Aerin was out!
She looked EXACTLY like Claire when she was born (compare this picture).
She still resembles her sister a lot when she cries.
J cut the umbilical cord, and the nurses wiped her down a bit before placing her on my chest. After some bonding time, they took her away to clean and examine (9/9 on APGAR, just like Claire) while I delivered the placenta and the doctor stitched me up.
It’s funny, because I can’t remember delivering the placenta with Claire at all — I wouldn’t be surprised if the doctor had just yanked it out of me — but I still remember delivering Aerin’s placenta very clearly….because it was harder than actually giving birth to her! It took multiple pushes and continued encouragements from the doctor to get that sucker out of me.
As for the tearing, I once again got a second degree tear, right along the first one. I had believed that if I tore again, it would be at a different location because the area from the original tear was “reinforced” by the stitches (yeah, don’t ask me how my mind works), but my doctor informed me that it’s actually the opposite — the skin along the original tear is already weakened, so you are more likely to tear along that area than elsewhere.
When the doc was finished with me, Aerin was ready for me too (J had been holding her while the doctor tended to me). I then remembered the words I had said to Claire when she was born, and repeated them to Aerin: “Hi baby, I’m your mommy. You were in my belly for almost ten months. I’m so happy to meet you…”