My blogging hiatus has come to an end. I’m sitting on the couch with another super squishy baby on my lap. She looks just like her big brother. And I was nervous about having another baby. Would I love her like I love Jack? Would my heart be divided? Was it fair to either child? I cried a few days before delivery worrying about the love capacity of my heart. People said my heart would just double in size and there would be no question of who had more of it. They each would have equal share. I didn’t believe anyone, but everyone was right. As I stare down at her beautiful face and kiss her downy head, I can’t remember what life was like before she got here. My heart can’t remember. They’ve both been here forever.
One of the things I love about birth stories (I’m a sucker for all of them) is how unique and special each story is. I love listening to women talk about how their most precious person came bursting into this world. Traumatic or not, each story is beautiful. Natural or not, each birth is perfect. The reason I share my story is for my own personal benefit – to remember how each of my beautiful babies came into this world and how I felt before, during and after their births. I don’t share my story to judge anyone for their birth experience, or to be judged for mine. I share my story simply to celebrate the miraculous act of birth and the beautiful life that entered our wild world.
The week prior, my ever-patient and wonderful OB, Dr. Kurian, discussed with me and Josh that induction should be considered as an option, since at that point they were predicting a 9+ pound baby coming out of my 5’2” frame. Initially, I was adamantly opposed to the idea of induction, but I completely trust my OB. After praying and discussing with other nurses and doctors, we scheduled induction, which, honestly, worked out well since Ellie decided to come on her own that day and our families had already set aside that day to help with Jack and be at the hospital. I should also mention, that Dr. Kurian delivered Jack, as well. Since she’s put up with me for two pregnancies I’m sure she deserves some big medals for that.
0500 – Up and moving around. Making sure my L&D goody-basket is completely stocked and my hospital bag is all up to Pinterest standards. Side note: having a well-packed hospital bag makes all the difference in the world. Since this was my second baby, I had an idea of what to pack that I didn’t last time and my packed suitcase made the stay so much more enjoyable for both myself and Josh.
Contractions start. Waiting to see if they’re real and regular. Yep. They’re not going anywhere. I’m going into labor on my induction date? Are you kidding me? Continue applying makeup and doing hair (labor ritual).
0800 – Contractions are real and regular. Ellie decided to come on her own. Dilated 3-4 cm. Decide to use a little bit of Prepidil to speed up contractions. Our two nurses are familiar and fabulous. LaToya is a friend from CrossFit who consistently tattled to my OB about all the exercises I was doing and kept me accountable. Kathy was my nurse when I had Jack (tears). Having her help with labor and delivery of Ellie only seemed like divine intervention, especially when we connected the dots and realized her daughter works in the ER with me. Needless to say, I had a rockstar team of nurses. They let me power-walk around the hospital. Josh and I would do a timed lap in L&D and then try to beat that time the next lap. This kept us entertained, along with the entire L&D staff. If you were wondering, it’s 24 laps around L&D to make a mile… My ever supportive mother dropped her move to come be labor coach extraordinaire. She needs to be a doula when she’s done raising kids. With her support, massages, power walks and conversation I was able to labor naturally through a good half of the day. She also kept Josh fed and hydrated and ran interference with the rest of my family. If that’s not worthy of sainthood I don’t know what is.
1000 – Another OB comes to check me. I’m a 5 with some wiggle. They decide to break my water. My first pregnancy, I had an epidural at this point and didn’t notice the WATERFALL THAT POURS OUT OF YOUR VAGINA. I know I had previously publicly stated that I really wanted my water to break during a CrossFit WOD, but I am SO GLAD this did not happen. I would’ve died of embarrassment before giving birth to my child. I cannot believe how much fluid escaped my body. I’m pretty sure I dropped backed down to pre-pregnancy weight right then and there. THEN contractions hit. They were painful before, but this was being hit by a MACK truck and dragged for a few miles. I’m so grateful for CrossFit during this part because I was able to breathe correctly, focus past the pain and realize that even though this was the hardest WOD of my entire life, the payoff was going to be amazing. After powering through for a hour, I decided enough was enough (I think my exact words were A LOT more colorful). No gold medals for natural birth and HOT DAMN I wanted that epidural.
1200 – Get epidural. Contractions were so serious at this point, I wasn’t laughing at much, even though the anesthesiologist kept cracking jokes. My concerns with the epidural were the shakes and not being able to move my legs or feel much. Neither of those were an issue this delivery — was able to feel both my legs, move them and didn’t shake at all. My OB comes to check me, I’m a 7+. Then she says, “Okay, gotta run to an appointment. I’ll be back by 4.” “No problem,” I think. “It’ll take me awhile to complete.” My close friend, Lauren, from nursing school is also an L&D nurse. She graciously gave up her day to spend it with me while I labored and took photos of delivery. She was an absolutely amazing person to have with us there. Like having a personal nurse at your side the entire time. It let Josh relax and enjoy the process, while Lauren and my mom took care of me and answered all 8 million of my questions. By the way, you still have tons of questions with the second baby. My body remembered what to do, but my brain forgot.
1400 – I’m a 9.
1500 – I’m a 10. “Let’s let you labor down,” my nurses say. Laboring down was, by far, the best decision we made. You essentially let your contractions push the baby down. Ellie liked that so much she had no drops in heart rate at ALL during labor and delivery.
1600 – I’m feeling lots of pressure and a strong desire to push. OB still isn’t back yet. LaToya won’t deliver me and is threatening my life if I deliver now since she doesn’t get the MD paycheck even if she catches the baby. My OB times it beautifully and walks in at 1645 to start putting on her HazMat garb to deliver this baby. I couldn’t have been more excited to see her because I knew this was the end. I’m am more than ready to push. I have an over abundance of nervous energy. Ready to meet this sweet baby I’ve carried for almost 10 months. Feet in stirrups. Playlist rocking. Josh has his game face on and he’s ready to coach with my mom. All those years of teaching fitness classes together mean we speak the same language when it comes to motivation and direction.
1651 – OB: “Alright, let’s start pushing! Big push!” I push.
1652 – OB: “DON’T PUSH ANYMORE! HER HEAD IS HERE! DON’TPUSHDON’TPUSHDON’TPUSH.”
Me: “I’m not pushing!”
1653 – Elisabeth Lynne Ramsey, or Ellie as we’re calling her, came into the world on May 22nd, 2013 at 8lb 4oz, 21 inches long with a beautiful APGAR score of 9/9. She is named after both her grandmas – two very loving, wonderful women with open servants’ hearts.
One push. My sweet daughter decided to enter the world in one push. So far, she’s been as easy as her delivery. I’m hoping this continues well on into her teenage years.
First 5 questions I asked after delivery:
1) Is she completely healthy? Yes.
2) Did I poop on myself? No.
3) Did I tear? Nope. (I’ll never understand that one…)
4) Since I didn’t tear, how soon can I go back to working out? I got an eye-roll here as my answer.
5) How’s Jack? He’s great. Didn’t even notice you were gone that day.
As my heart continues to overflow, I am thankful for everyone who encouraged and supported us during this pregnancy journey. For the kind words of joy and excitement as we introduce this new human to the world.