My due date was August 21st, 2019, and despite how many people told me, “First babies are usually late” I was hoping she’d arrive a few days early so I could start my maternity leave the week she was due. I had been working from home full-time the week prior, so it would have been a nice clean break. However, Lily wanted to get one more week of work out of me. 🤣
My sister had also come up from San Diego to be present during her due-week. She was originally slated to come up the day before I was due, but she anxiously came up a few days earlier. It was great to have her there as a distraction and help get me through that final week.
Two days before my due date I had what I later found out was Prodromal Labor which is sometimes referred to as false labor. In other words, I started feeling regular contractions, but they eventually stopped.
The rule of thumb for contractions is 5-1-1 (or 5-1-2) which means contractions are 5 minutes apart, 1 minute in length, and ongoing for at least an hour or two. Mine started to follow this pattern but at about 2 ½ hours in they became irregular and slowed to a stop by the end of the day. Also, my discharge got kicked up a notch so it was hard to tell if my water had broken or things were just extra 💦 down there.
I had my 40-week checkup with my OBGYN the next day so I was able to get some clarity on what happened. I was a little bummed to find out I was still only 1cm dilated and 60% effaced. The week prior at my 39-week appointment I was 50% effaced and 1cm dilated. My OB also addressed my concerns about my water breaking pretty much saying that whether it’s a gush or a trickle I would definitely know it when I felt it.
I scheduled an appointment for week 41 so that if I hadn’t given birth by then we’d be discussing inducement, something I was really hoping wouldn’t happen. My doctor’s policy is 7-10 days after the due date to induce, so I knew it wouldn’t be too much longer to wait.
After my appointment, all I could do was wait. I continued working the rest of the week hoping Friday would be my last day. By this point, I was very moody because I was officially in the “I want this over and done with phase” plus I was in a lot of pain on my right side and just uncomfortable in general.
I knew a lot of eyes were on me anxiously awaiting her arrival, so to keep light of things I posted little GIFs on Facebook with the hashtag #StillPregnant. However this seemed to invite a TON of unsolicited advice on naturally inducing labor from various friends/family (people who didn’t even have kids 🙄), and let me tell you, I was NOT a fan! 🙅🏻♀️
“If you’re following someone on social media who have chosen to share their pregnancy story with you, I encourage you to encourage THEM instead of sending horror stories and unsolicited opinions or facts.” – Jenna Kutcher
Believe me, I was already Googling/Pinning and doing all the things like having sex, eating pineapple, going for walks (which HURT because of my pelvic pain), drinking tea, and sitting/bouncing on a birth ball. Heck, I even ate the famous “labor-inducing pizza” from Skipolini’s (no I didn’t really expect it to work). Getting all these “suggestions” plus people asking me if I was still pregnant put me in a really bad mood leading up to the day of her birth.
The worst part about receiving all this unsolicited advice is that it starts to make you feel stupid like you aren’t doing enough and that your body is not doing its job. I’ve spent so much time in therapy trying to work through those thoughts because of my previous miscarriages as it is, so to hear those things when I’m already in an uncomfortable state just wasn’t helpful.
I had a few gift cards to two local spas from my birthday that I had been hanging onto, so I took the opportunity to get a couple of prenatal massages that week. I did a Labor Inducing massage at Serentity Spa and a Mother-to-Be Massage at Hoshall’s, both of which were SUPER nice and definitely needed!
The day before she arrived, I kept myself busy despite being at my most uncomfortable. I went out to brunch with Dani and friends and wandered around downtown Placerville. Later in the evening Joshua, Dani, and I went up Fountains where we had dinner at Jack’s and dessert at Pressed Juicery.
Labor, For Realz
On Sunday, August 25, around 1:00 am I woke up due to pelvic/hip pain in my right side, which at that point was a regular occurrence due to the position she was in; however, my pelvic pain was accompanied by some minor cramping. The cramping kept coming and going to the point where I decided to start timing things just to see if this was the real deal. For three hours I sat in bed timing my contractions using an app making sure they were following the 5-1-1 pattern before I finally woke up Joshua and my sister.
A little after 5:00 am we checked into the hospital, and I was fully prepared for the possibility of being sent home; however, upon checking my cervix I was dilated to 5cm already and Baby was at a -2 station, so there was no doubt I would be having a baby that day.
Once I knew I was staying for good, I changed into my own gown, got settled into my room, was introduced to the on-call OB who would be delivering my baby, got hooked up to an IV, and continued to labor for the next few hours.
When I met my delivery doctor, we reviewed my birth plan together, which was pretty much get Baby here as safe and pain-free as possible. I noted that I wanted to go as long as I could without an epidural but was open to getting one if needed.
I didn’t have a doula, but the hospital had a few on-call and offered to get one for me; unfortunately, none of them were available but one of the nurses was a doula on the side so she helped me work through my contractions with breathing techniques, aromatherapy, and whatnot.
The contractions got more painful, and it was getting difficult to stay focused. The nurses tried getting me to use a birthing ball, walk around, and even rock in the rocking chair, but it was very painful and uncomfortable. All I wanted to do was lie in bed.
Stalled Labor and Augmentation
They continued to monitor me as my contractions slowly got more intense, but my water still hadn’t broken and my dilation wasn’t progressing much. I was checked again, which was super painful, and only dilated to about 6cm-7cm. My contractions were starting to space out, as opposed to being closer together, and my labor was beginning to stall. My doctor recommended that the best course of action would be to break my water and give me a few shots of Pitocin to jump-start things. She also informed me that if I wanted an epidural now would be the time to do it, especially since I was having a hard time working through my contractions at that point.
I had no problem saying yes to the epidural, especially since once they broke my water my contractions got even more intense. I had to endure two REALLY painful contractions while getting the epidural (I’ve never hung onto Joshua so tight before), but once it was in and done, the hard part was over. And boy, once the epidural actually kicked in I had ZERO regrets getting one! With how long I labored, I can’t imagine not doing the epidural. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
I got two shots of Pitocin which was more than enough to get my labor going again. The nurses also did internal fetal monitoring which revealed that the Pitocin was doing its job a little too well as it started to affect Lily’s heart rate. They took me off the Pitocin, and I continued to labor without any further complications. They gave me a pump with my epidural, and I only used it twice to help with additional pain management.
A few more hours went by, and I got to enjoy watching Joshua and Dani’s faces as they saw my contractions get closer and more intense without me feeling a thing. Around 4:00 pm I was dilated to 10cm, so it was go-time! By 4:15pm I was ready to start pushing, so for the next 45 mins, Dani and Joshua held my legs while I pushed to bring my baby into the world.
At 5:01 pm, Lily Mae Robinson officially arrived earthside. I keep replaying in my head the moment they pulled her out and placed her on my chest over and over again. It was so surreal. I looked at Joshua as I ugly cried, “We did it. She’s here.”
Lily came out weighing 7lbs 9.4oz and 20.75″ in length, and her APGAR scores were 9 and 9. Joshua cut the umbilical cord and shortly after my placenta was delivered. The nurses bagged it up and my sister got it into our cooler for handing off to our encapsulator. While my doctor stitched me up (I had perineum tearing plus cervical and labia tearing), Joshua and I basked in the glow of our new baby. My sister had to catch her flight a few hours later, so I let her have as much Lily time as possible.
The first hour I spent skin-to-skin with Lily and even managed to breastfeed her. Because of my reduction surgery I had 11 years ago plus having PCOS, I was fully prepared for the possibility of not being able to breastfeed. Luckily she latched on right away, but I ended up needing a nipple shield later on to help which I’ve been using since. I met with the lactation consultant, and she’s been super helpful given my situation. Lily’s bilirubin levels were a little high, so I was encouraged to supplement with formula in addition to breastfeeding in order to make sure she was getting in enough nutrients. Since then, Lily has been about 50% breast and 50% formula.
We spent the next day and a half resting and recovering in the hospital. Various family members came to visit during our stay including Joshua’s adopted mom who stayed with us the whole week helping us transition to home life.
Very minor complications came up for Lily during her stay. She had a bit of excess fluid buildup, which affected her initial hearing screening on one side. They ran the test again before we were discharged and she passed with flying colors. She was also at risk for jaundice, but once I started supplementing formula with breastfeeding her bilirubin levels were where they needed to be. She got a little cold her first night out of the womb, so she got to spend some time under the heat lamp or as the nurses joked, some time at the beach. 😆 Other than that, she’s a happy healthy baby!
As for me, I’ve been recovering pretty well. My right hip is still giving me grief, so I’m working on that with my chiropractor. I experienced quite a bit of postpartum swelling which was weird because I barely experienced any swelling while pregnant. My lady parts were in a fair amount of pain the first few days, but they’ve healed quite nicely. I’ve got another post in the works of all the things that have helped me with postpartum healing.
I’ve been really fortunate to not have any postpartum depression symptoms. In fact, my emotions have the exact opposite. I’ve been super emotional and crying because I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of gratitude I have over Lily being here and sharing these moments with Joshua. I feel like I fell in love with my husband all over again watching him as a father. We’ve come so far and she’s finally here and we couldn’t be happier. It’s such a special time, and I’m grateful for every moment. ❤️