I wasn't convinced at all, and scheduled to take my Maternity leave 2 weeks before my due date to do all of the things and have some extra time with my son.
Piper had her own set of plans :)
Meet Piper Kelly, our delightful daughter who decided to arrive about two weeks early at 7lbs, 9oz.
(Thank goodness. I was so sick of being pregnant. Also- she was almost a full pound over her brother!)
A brief recap of my third trimester---
I'm not sure if it's the altitude here in Denver or just how my body reacts to hosting a tiny human but I get reaaaallly bad congestion at night. I would wake up in the middle of the night and be unable to fall back asleep for hours. I tried Claritin, Benadryl, saline rinses, eucalyptus steams, teas, and kicked my husband out of our bed. Nothing worked. So I would google everything under the sun, read trashy thrillers, and toss and turn for hours to wake up to my 18 month old and continue to chase him and train on about 2-3 hours of sleep.
I begged her to get out of my body, and she listened.
At 3 am on a Thursday morning I was awake struggling to breathe, as always. About two hours later I realized that I hadn't really felt her move, my belly felt really hard, and I was having more cramping than usual. I called the Midwife nurse line and was told to come in for a fetal check when the office opened at 8am.
Several hours later, the fetal scan confirmed that I was starting contractions, and that Piper's amniotic fluids were low. Despite all of our efforts to have grandparents in town and all of the things done, we had to scramble. Thankfully we had some angel friends step in to watch Finn so my husband could join me in the hospital.
This was the most amount of kid-free time we've had together since 2017, so it felt like a vacation between contractions.
Seriously --- Early labor is kind of fun. You're done being pregnant! You can sneak an extra cup of coffee and eat a tuna sandwich guilt-free. The mild contractions you'll feel at 3cm are manageable AND some of your worst pregnancy symptoms start to subside.
They omitted me at 2.5 cm, which is much earlier than normal. We made this choice so they could monitor her fluids (low fluids can cause birth traumas like cord compression, etc) and because I have a history of fast labors. My son was born within an hour of us arriving to the hospital and I really didn't want to give birth in the lobby.
I've heard this from several doulas and midwives, but any sort of stress can stall your labor. This is true. I felt my body "pause" when I drove myself to the hospital and when we were coordinating swaps of childcare. Granted, I was admitted extremely early due to her low fluids, but I feel like everything took forever with this birth.
We did the tub, we did massage, used aromatherapy, we walked the hallways for hours, I bounced on an exercise ball, we danced around the room, heck I even did squats. This little girl did not want to move.
I started to panic at 2am. The friend who was at our house watching Finn had to leave for work at 5am and we didn't have a definite plan for a second day of labor. I asked for the hospital breast pump and that finally did the trick. My water finally broke at 3 am and I went from 7.5 cm to a full 10 in about 20 minutes. I got an extra dose of Fentanyl and got on all-fours with the Nitrous Oxide machine to get through it.
One note here--- If I had to do it all over I would NOT have taken the Fentanyl. After 24 hours of labor it just made me really sleepy and I honestly think it made pushing much harder than when I had just the Nitrous Oxide the last time. It was amazing during the earlier stages of labor, I felt like I was on a beach. You still feel everything but it's much less intense than just the Nitrous on it's own and you can actually relax. However, what actually got me through transition was the Nitrous. I visualized swimming laps and counting the strokes as I breathed it in and out. Meditating on something that made me feel strong and powerful really helped me get out of the pain and focused on getting the baby out.
About 24 hours of labor and 20 minutes of pushing, Piper was in my arms.
(Yes, after it only took 4 pushes for Finn I seriously thought I would sneeze this child out. I was just so exhausted from the labor and only 2 hours of sleep that this was not the case. As much as I was hoping to "beat my record", it didn't happen.)
So far my recovery has been much easier. Chasing a crazed toddler hasn't provided much opportunity for daytime naps or sitz baths but I'm feeling really good. With Finn I remember attempting a squat at 3 weeks postpartum and feeling like my entire lower body was about to crumble. This time, not so much. I was back in my jeans within 2 weeks and I just feel really strong. I'll write more on my postpartum experience and the transition from 1 to 2 later, but overall it's been manageable.
Just very grateful this little girl was big and healthy after coming almost 2 weeks early. She's been such a delightful addition to our family and Finnegan is so excited to finally get to pat his baby sister "on the outside".
I'll share more on my second postpartum experience when I have time (ha) along with the workouts that I'm doing. I'm currently not accepting clients until January at the earliest while I attempt to raise these tiny humans. I apologize in advance for the delay in all communication, the transition has been challenging to say the very least. My goal is to start exercising before Halloween, right now I'm focused on nutrition and sleep!