Introducing Baby Strong
Wow, it’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks. I am excited to introduce you to the newest member of our family, Baby Strong!
Baby Strong was born on June 19th at 12:20pm, weighing 8 lbs 1 oz and measuring 21 inches long. We are so happy she is finally here! I shared my birth story for Baby Awesome here on Fit & Awesome and now I am excited to share Baby Strong’s birth story.
My second pregnancy was great. I had very little morning sickness and for the most part I had plenty of energy. I didn’t have bad pregnancy insomnia like I did with Baby Awesome, but during the last several weeks I did have a lot of trouble sleeping. I will say that my second pregnancy did go by a lot faster than the first with Baby Awesome (now known as Awesome Toddler). I’m sure that’s because I have been busy chasing a toddler around.
Beginning at my 36 week appointment our doctor noticed the baby was measuring big – about one week ahead of schedule. She said it was something we were going to have to keep an eye on because a larger baby meant a greater risk for having a C-Section. At my 37 week appointment the doctor said she’d like us to see the ultrasound specialist again to get a more accurate understanding of the baby’s weight.
At 38 weeks we went to the ultrasound specialist for another scan. He told us the baby was measuring at around 8 lbs 1 oz and advised us to deliver the baby at 39 weeks. I was very conflicted about this because the same thing happened with Baby Awesome. They told us she was measuring at 8 lbs 8 oz and then she was 6 lbs 12 ozs at birth. It was hard to know exactly what to do, but we wanted to do what was best for the baby so we agreed for me to be induced at 39 weeks.
Sunday June 18th
On this morning I woke up feeling very nervous and anxious about my upcoming induction. It’s one thing to go into labor naturally, and it’s another to know exactly when it’s going to happen. I was getting nervous and called my doctor to ask some last minute questions. It also happened to be Father’s Day, my dad’s birthday, and Kona’s 4th birthday so we had a lot going on but mainly we tried to relax. We went to dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Redondo Beach pier and afterwards we snapped our final pic as a family of three.
After dinner we put Awesome Toddler to bed and got ready to go to the hospital. Our parents came over to watch her and we went to the hospital. When we arrived at 10pm we filled out paperwork and got settled in our room. We made sure to let our nurse know that we didn’t know the gender of our baby and wanted to make sure no one spoiled the surprise during labor!
Monday June 19th
12am – the Labor & Delivery nurse started my induction. I started at 1.5cm dilated and they inserted a device called a Foley catheter to begin the induction. The Foley catheter is like a balloon and they pump it full of saline. When you are 3-4cm dilated, it naturally falls out. The nurse asked me if I would like pain medicine for inserting the catheter and that made me nervous, but I asked to do it without medication. It was uncomfortable for about 2-3 minutes, but once the catheter was in I was fine. After it was inserted I tried to relax and Marion and I tried to get some sleep. We ended up sleeping for a couple of hours.
4am – The nurse checked on my catheter and it had fallen out. The resident doctor came in to check and see how dilated I was. We all guessed I was around 3cm, but it turns out I was 4cm dilated! I was so happy and felt like things were progressing much more quickly than I had anticipated. This is when they started the pitocin drip. Pitocin is a medication that is used during labor induction. I knew from this point on the contractions were going to start to get intense, but I decided to lay down and try and get some more sleep. I was already having contractions, but they were few and far between and about 10 minutes apart. As time passed I started to feel a bit more uncomfortable, but the pain was still manageable.
5am – The contractions began to get more intense. I was hanging on to the side of the hospital bed, clutching it in pain. It reminded me of my labor with Baby Awesome. The contractions were still far apart so it gave me enough time to rest and breath in between them. I started to contemplate when a good time to get the epidural would be. During my labor with Baby Awesome I waited until I hit my breaking point. I didn’t want to get to that point again. The contractions continued and began to get more intense.
6:20am – I requested the epidural. The anesthesiologist came in about 20 minutes later. I had a hard time with the epidural. The thought of the long needle going into my spine was giving me a lot of anxiety, and I couldn’t relax enough for them to give me the epidural. Because of this I ended up getting poked twice. It was painful and I started crying. I don’t do well with needles and I was having a hard time.
7am –The second attempt was a success and the epidural was complete. It took about 15-20 minutes for the medicine to kick in. I felt my legs and feet go numb, but I could no longer feel the contractions.
7:30am – The Resident Doctor checked me again. I was still only 4cm dilated and felt very discouraged. How did I not dilate more in the past few hours even though my contractions had gotten more intense? The Doctor broke my water manually, and they expected labor to progress much more quickly from there. I noticed my legs and feet felt a lot more numb than they did during my labor with Baby Awesome. They felt heavy and itchy. I wasn’t in pain, but it wasn’t comfortable either. I asked for the anesthesiologist to come back and turn down the level of the epidural. They did, and it helped a bit, but my legs still felt weird. I decided to let it go and try to breathe through it and get some more rest.
9:30am – Our Doctor comes in to check on us before going to a scheduled C-Section. She said she would come back and check on us when she was done.
10:30am – I started to feel pressure “down there” and it was the same type of pressure I felt when I was ready to push with Baby Awesome. The nurse checked me and I was 9.5cm dilated! They decided to come back and check me again at noon because I would be fully dilated by then and they would prepare me to get ready to push.
12pm – I’m not sure exactly what time I began pushing, but I know it was quick. When we started to push the Doctor asked us how we would like to announce the gender of our baby. Baby Strong was a surprise, so this was going to be the big reveal. We decided that the Doctor would hold the baby up and my husband Marion would announce the baby’s gender.
12:20pm – After pushing through only two contractions (yes, two!), Baby Strong was born. The Doctor held her up and Marion shouted “It’s a girl!” I was so happy and couldn’t wait to hold our sweet girl. Even though I didn’t know her gender during the pregnancy, the entire time I had a very strong feeling it was a girl. Turns out I was right! That was such a fun, adrenaline-filled moment and made not knowing the entire 39 weeks of my pregnancy totally worth it!
While we were in the delivery room, Baby Strong latched right away. I struggled with breastfeeding at first with Baby Awesome so it was exciting to see this happen so naturally right away. Apparently babies are the most alert the first 1-2 hours after birth and this was definitely true for Baby Strong. She was so alert and active and then once we got into the recovery room she slept for hours. She is so strong and it’s something I could tell from while I was pregnant and immediately in the first few hours of her life. That’s why her nickname here on Fit & Awesome will be Baby Strong!
At around 4pm, Toddler Awesome arrived to meet her new baby sister. It was so sweet to see them together for the first time. We gave her a gift from the baby – a Disney storybook and Donald and Daisy stuffed animals. She loved them and pretty much thought her sister was so cool right from the start. She also brought a present for her new baby sister – an Elmo stuffed animal.
Overall Thoughts on Labor
My labor experience was different this time, but overall it went very smoothly. It was about 12 hours from start to finish with the induction which is pretty quick. The thing about labor is it’s not a quick process. In today’s world we are expected to get things done quickly and move fast, but labor is not like that. You really just have to relax and ride it out and be prepared for the many ups and downs. I was making jokes in the delivery room that I felt like April the Giraffe. Remember that story from earlier this year? I am thankful to have such an amazing, supportive husband who was by my side the entire time and for our parents who took care of Toddler Awesome and Kona while we were in the hospital.
Life At Home
It’s been a month now (can’t even believe it!) and our adjustment to life as a family of four is going well. Baby Strong is really good and has been eating and sleeping well. The hardest part about life with a newborn is the lack of sleep, but it’s been easier this time around simply because I know what to expect. I may only be sleeping in 2-3 hour increments, but somehow knowing this is “the drill” has made it easier. There have also been a couple nights where I’ve gotten 4-5 hour stretches of sleep and those have been amazing. I’m also not pumping yet which has made things a bit easier on me because we don’t have so many bottles and parts to clean.
My recovery has been really good as well. I’ve been able to go on walks and generally feel pretty good. I am thankful because I need the energy to chase Toddler Awesome around. I’ve been able to take some time off from work and very grateful to have this special family time. We’ve been a lot more on the go this time around simply because we have a toddler who gets stir crazy if she’s in the house for too long. My family from Ohio came to visit over the 4th of July and it’s been nice to be able to get outside instead of being cooped up in the house all day.
How is Toddler Awesome Doing?
Toddler Awesome has been so sweet. She loves her sister and is so curious about her. Whenever the baby is in the swing, she sits on the floor and watches her. She has also been “reading” stories to her sister and giving her lots of kisses. She has only held the baby a few times and usually shows a lot of interest in holding the baby but then says “Okay, all done” after about 5 seconds. So funny! I am really happy at how she is adjusting to being a Big Sister. She’s gone through a lot of changes in the past few months – a toddler bed, potty training, new room, and now being a big sister- and she’s handled everything so well.
The Pediatrician in the hospital recommended for my husband and I to each have 10 minutes of “Special Time” with Awesome Toddler where we spend one-on-one time with her. We’ve been trying to do this everyday – even if it’s just bath time or reading a story. We make a big deal out of it and she seems to be enjoying it. This was really great advice and has worked well for us.
How is Kona Doing?
Kona is also handling everything beautifully. We keep joking that this isn’t Kona’s first rodeo, so she knows what to expect when bringing home a new family member. Overall she shows interest in the baby but has been very gentle. She still has no problem stealing Toddler Awesome’s toys though. Ha! When we had Baby Awesome, Kona got very sick and I’m so glad that didn’t happen again.
The transition from one to two kids has been going very similar to how I anticipated. There is no down time really because one of us is always with our newborn or our toddler. I was hoping to have more time to focus on writing and blogging during my time off. This hasn’t happened yet (haha, what was I thinking?), but hopefully it will in the coming weeks. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. I am thankful for our family and friends who have helped make this transition in the first few weeks. It really does take a village, and we are so grateful. More to come on our adventures as a family of four!