Oh, Alice…we never thought you’d arrive so late!! My entire pregnancy with Alice was comfortable. I never felt that awful, ready to pop feeling how I did with my other girls. You can read Piper’s birth story here and Flora’s here!
I never felt like Alice ‘dropped’ or was very low, so I was surprised to be 3-4 cms dilated at my last appointment before her due date. I was so anxious about giving birth this final time (during a worldwide pandemic, none the less) and was also worried about making it to the hospital with ample time. My second baby, Flora was a very quick labor & delivery. You’d think that with your 3rd baby you would feel more at peace with the idea of giving birth but, I really think I was the most anxious of all my pregnancies! We also still didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl !!
I didn’t have an epidural with my first two babies but prior to having Alice I had been entertaining the idea for months, going back and forth over the pros and cons. At the end, I decided to go with the flow and my “non-birth plan” was to be open to the epidural if I felt I had time and wanted one.
So…let’s get on with it!
My due date was June 10th and it came and went. The anxiety that comes with having a late baby is like none I’ve experienced and every day was just torture as I tried to relax but stay busy, all while being quarantined at home with my kids. My parents ended up taking the girls the night before Alice was born because we thought labor was around the corner. So Austin and I had some quiet time together at the house before she was born which was really nice. I was able to finish up work, clean and finally just sit on the couch! I had my last OB appointment in the afternoon at 2:30 with my favorite doctor and asked for a membrane sweep to help get labor moving. I had an induction scheduled for the next day and was determined to avoid it! I was still 3-4cm dilated and the baby was ‘very low’. I didn’t find the membrane sweep to be painful, just uncomfortable and I headed home feeling very nervous I could start having contractions at any minute!
I actually really didn’t feel much after the ‘sweep’ and was pretty disappointed. We took a short walk around the block before dinner, it was so hot, I was so uncomfortable and tired of trying to ‘walk the baby out’ and thought it was best to just relax. After watching a movie we got into bed and I read a little bit and turned off the lights at 10pm. Almost immediately I felt a small contraction. They continued to come every 5 minutes or so but they weren’t very strong at all. I immediately went into a panic mode and turned on the show “Dirty John” that I had randomly started watching to try and distract myself. After about 15 minutes of this I decided maybe labor was actually starting. Austin took a shower and I started getting things ready for the hospital but was still mentally FREAKING OUT. I had been waiting so long for this but still didn’t feel ready and was undecided about getting an epidural (this really was weighing on me).
Even though the contractions were not that painful, they were consistently happening and I decided to call my OB. I had a feeling labor would progress quickly but was a little worried about not being admitted. My OB said it was fine to head to the hospital and worst case they would have us walk for a bit to get things moving. We grabbed our bags and MASKS and headed to the hospital at 11:20pm!!
We got into triage quickly and found that I was 6cm dilated and my contractions had definietly become stronger but were still managable. We waited for paperwork and I was hooked up to the monitors. I was also given the Covid test – which wasn’t as bad as I thought but also not pleasant!
At midnight we got into our labor room and my contractions became quite a bit more intense. My doctor came to see me and said she could break my water (had this done with my 2 other births and experienced a fast, intense delivery quickly after) or I could get the epidural and then she could do it. This entire time I was pretty calm but also very anxious and on edge, after that conversation I started to really melt down and couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. The pain was getting pretty intense and I feared that transition was soon around the corner and just decided to get the epidural.
Once I made that choice it was a sweet relief! I felt SO much better to have a plan in place. I had to wait for an entire bag of IV fluids to go in before the anesthesiologist could come and that was HARD! I worked my way through the contractions with Austin’s help, repeating birth mantras, rocking and having him apply counter pressure all while staring at that IV bag! FINALLY, the doctor came and quickly set up, walked me through what would happen and administered the epidural. I had to breathe through 2 contractions while holding still and IT WAS NOT EASY. I definitely ripped my mask off for that part and then once it started to work it was the best feeling ever!
It was exactly what I had hoped for my final birth. I felt so calm and at peace. We had Maggie Rogers playing and just chatted with the nurses, I could still feel my feet but no pain of the contractions. I was quickly at 9cm and they brought in my OB and had me get ready to push.
I still couldn’t wrap my head around how I would push without being able to feel anything but my nurse was amazing and walked me through it perfectly. After 5-6 pushes a baby GIRL was born at 3:43am and I could not get over how easy this labor felt compared to my other two! I feel so extremely grateful for the positive, peaceful birth that I had. I’m so glad I went with that gut feeling to try the epidural. Alice Mae was a perfect little baby weighing 7lb 12oz and latched right away to nurse. She is named after Austin’s grandmother and we found out she was born on her birthday after she was born :)
The sense of peace and happiness I felt once Alice was in my arms was like nothing I’ve ever felt. Our family was complete, she was finally here and she was healthy. I keep saying it, but I just feel so thankful for how my birth turned out and so grateful for all the support I received along the way.