Holy wah it's been a while! We have some big news to share with you guys! Our second daughter, Julie Grace, was born on November 16, 2017 at 10:42 pm. It's been crazy around here with two, that's for sure! I'm finally emerging from the blur just a bit and wanted to share her birth story with you all. I apologize for it's length, but I don't just write these stories for you all, I write them for myself. I want to make sure I capture all the details.
First a little recap of my pregnancy. Overall, it was more difficult than Evelyn's. I was more nauseous, more sore, slept less (but that could have been the toddler's fault), and missed my wine more. I'm not sure if it was the Texas heat, the fact that I was far less active than the first time around, or that my first pregnancy occurred while we were still living in Germany - I should definitely write a post comparing my two experiences - but it was most definitely a very different experience being pregnant a second time. Thankfully, my pregnancy was healthy, with essentially zero complications, and resulted in a relatively quick and easy birth of another baby girl. Now, on to the birth story:
It was the night before she was born; I was 7 days past my due date and pretty darn miserable. If you've ever been that pregnant, you know what I'm talking about. Just like for Evelyn's birth, I used Hypnobabies. That night, I listened to their "Come Out, Baby" track one more time in an effort to encourage her (but we didn't know it was a her at the time) to, well, come out. In the track, there is a part where you talk to your baby, tell them how much you want her to be born. Every other time I had listened to the track, I only halfheartedly did this. But this last time, I did it in earnest. I imagined holding and cuddling our baby, her sweet face, and that amazing newborn scent. Turns out, the mind is a powerful thing. That night, I was woken up by a couple of contractions and thought to myself, "Today is the day!"
Aaron made me work from home that day and took Evelyn in to daycare so I could take it easy. And let's be honest, work was pretty quiet since I could literally give birth any minute. With the hope that it really was to be our baby's birthday, I made oatmeal raisin cookies for the nurses that morning. I had a few contractions over the course of the day that would pick up and then fizzle out, leaving me less and less convinced that "today is the day" and that I would once again be going to bed pregnant. However, as we ate dinner that evening, I had a few contractions that I actually had to focus and breathe through. But, I still wasn't convinced that I was in labor; afterall, I was calm, and not in pain at all (a testament to Hypnobabies for sure!). After dinner, I took Evelyn for a walk to go get the mail, something we did often in those last few weeks of pregnancy. On the way, I did some exercises from the Miles circuit, especially curb walking. At worst, I would get a better "workout" in, and at best, it would help our baby to be in a good position to be born.
It was bath night and Evelyn fought going to bed, while I fought to maintain focus (and not lose my cool with her) when a contraction would come. Things picked up pretty quickly after she was down for the night. I folded laundry and noticed I would have to stop and focus during each contraction and they were getting longer, stronger, and closer together. After the all-important laundry was folded, I tried to relax and watch some TV. But, it just didn't feel right. All I wanted to do was to lay in bed with my body pillow listening to my Hypnobabies tracks. In retrospect, I did the same thing when Evelyn was born. Aaron laid in there with me on his phone, timing my contractions. Only an hour prior, I would have to tell him when one started and ended, now I was being more vocal through them, and he could figure it out on his own. He made the decision to call a friend of ours to get Evelyn for the night. She got there around 9:15 and I remember thinking as I watched her carry a sleepy Evelyn out to her car, that that would be the last time I would see her before her little brother or sister was born.
Shortly after she left with Evelyn, Aaron asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital. He told me my contractions were about a minute long and three minutes apart. I should note that at this point, I STILL did not believe I was in labor and was worried about going in only to be sent home. We decided that I should head in, and it's a good thing we did!
It was 10:10 when we got in the car - I remember specifically looking at the clock to see what time it was. I couldn't sit upright because it was uncomfortable and every bump and turn put more pressure on my body. The hospital was a long 10 minute drive away, and I had to enter through the ER before I could go up to Labor and Delivery. Aaron took care of getting me registered as I breathed though more contractions.
Once in L&D, they asked me to change into a gown. As I did, my water broke. They also wanted a urine sample to check for drugs (true story!), but I was unable to give them one. Quickly, and with what felt like no notice, my body began to push. They told me to stop, to wait for the doctor, but there was no conscious effort in my pushing. It was simply a primal, uncontrollable urge. There was nothing I could have done to stop it had I even wanted to. Meanwhile, I could hear Aaron giving the nurses a pep talk, telling them that they have delivered hundreds of babies and that they could do this. They asked to check my dilation and they quickly announced I was complete - I could have told them that! Three intense pushes later and Julie was born. We asked them to wait to cut the cord until it stopped pulsing and for Julie to be given to me for skin to skin. She was handed to me and I cuddled her for a minute before I lifted her away from my chest to discover we had had another little girl! We both wanted a girl, but I had strong feelings throughout my pregnancy that this baby would be a boy, that I was elated. Of course, I was also high on the post-birth hormones.
About 10 minutes after she was born, the doctor arrived to deliver the placenta. I had none of the complications this time like I did with Evelyn, and I was so incredibly thankful. All in all, I was only in active labor for about 4.5 hours, about half the time I was in labor when Evelyn was born. I had tested positive for Group B Strep during my pregnancy and since my labor was so short, I was not able to receive the IV antibiotics that are generally recommended. Instead, they had to do a blood culture on Julie to make sure she didn't contract an infection (thankfully she didn't).
The only complication we had was with her name. We had Evelyn's name picked out MONTHS before she was born, and it suited her well. This time, we had a much harder time deciding on a name. We went in with a few contenders, but none of them seemed to fit her. It actually took us a few hours to decided on a name and after we had slept on it, decided to change her middle name. Julie was no where on our list, in fact we had dismissed. Aaron's grandmother is named Julia but goes by Julie, and I have a cousin Julianna that also goes by Julie, but it's a name we both loved and decided to go with it.
I'll spare you guys all the newborn pictures, but I want to share a couple: