On June 13th at 9:20pm, our son, Dashiell Sheldon (Dash) entered the world. It was truly one of the most extraordinary and happiest experiences of my life. It was also, virtually the opposite of how I felt after Luna’s birth. (The “not-so-magical experience“). Dash’s birth was my do-over, but like all births, it didn’t go exactly as planned and wasn’t one nice smooth road. In fact, we had a couple big obstacles to overcome before coming home with our 6lb 6oz bundle of joy. Let’s just start from the beginning, shall we?
Since I am considered a high-risk pregnancy, I was scheduled to be induced 10 days early. I did EVERYTHING possible to manifest an earlier natural labor so I wouldn’t have to be induced, but turns out that my plan was not the right plan. (Isn’t that always the case?) A week before my induction I came down with a HORRIBLE case of bronchitis, and I mean horrible. I’m talking no sleep, pulled stomach muscles, no voice, in-tons-of-pain kind of sick. It was brutal, and definitely not a good way to go into labor.
The medication prescribed to me somehow made me even sicker. I spent the weekend before Dash’s birth on the couch being nauseous and between chills and hot flashes. Fun, right?? The sickness and the fear of going into labor feeling so crummy (plus the fear of labor in general) triggered all of my anxiety and depression from Luna’s birth. I began to quickly stumble back down that dark familiar hole of depression.
Fortunately, I was more prepared for the anxiety and postpartum depression this time around. I spent a lot of time those last few days calling my doctor, my Douala, a therapist, meditating and just breathing. It helped. I wasn’t in the best state of mind, but it was getting better. By the time Tuesday rolled around (induction date) I was finally recovering and feeling more like myself.
Husband and I got to the hospital at 5:30am. Induction by pitocin finally began by 7:30am. Contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes and I was handling them like a champ. More importantly, my blood pressure fluctuated between normal and a little high…never high enough to cause a fuss. And, when it did get a little high I meditated and practiced deep breathing…yup, even through my contractions. I was rocking it.
Another huge difference between Luna and Dash’s labor is that I was not afraid to speak up this time around. For my first baby, I was a total mess and a newbie, so I never asked questions or questioned anything a doctor or nurse said or did. I just assumed they always know best and silently went with any and everything. This time around, I spoke up. I said when I was uncomfortable, thirsty or nervous. I asked questions when I wasn’t sure about what was happening, and guess what?? I got answers and options! I got to use the labor bouncy ball even though I was on an IV. I got to move around, change the bed into a chair position, drink sprite, eat popsicles, dim the lights and just have someone make me feel calm when I needed it. I am SO glad I learned to speak up.
When I was dilated to a 3 the nurse asked if I wanted an epidural. I did not. I am not anti-epidural, but I wanted to go without it if I could. At that point, I was fine breathing deeply through the contractions and felt positive. I can totally do this! Not even 5 minutes after the nurse walked out, everything changed. My pain went from bad to omg im gonna die! I didnt know what changed, I just knew I wanted an epidural and I wanted it immediately. What seemed like light years later, I was finally hooked up with the epidural and feeling a little relief. The nurse decided to check me again and it turns out I had very quickly gone from a 3 to an 8! No wonder it felt like someone had set dynamite off in my hoohah.
Not too much later, I was surrounded by my nurse, my doctor, my Douala, my Husband, my Mom, a baby nurse and a couple of other people that I assume had a job to do as well, and I was told to start pushing. I had my “push playlist ” playing and everyone there was singing and dancing to my music. The dose in the epidural they gave me was much less than what I had for Luna, so I could still feel every contraction, my feet and quite a bit of my legs. That was a good thing! Since I could feel my contractions I knew when to push. My doctor (who is 100% hands-down the BEST OBGYN) was the perfect coach. They set up a large mirror so I could watch, something else I didn’t do with Luna, and it was sooooo cool!!! Then, when Dash made his debut my doctor actually told me to reach down, pull him up and lie him directly on my chest – totally Kourtney Kardashian style! It was the best!
By midnight, we were moved to a postpartum room, I was given food, I was walking around and was not connected to ANYTHING. Oh, and my blood pressure was normal!! I cried many tears of joy. Husband and I kept looking at each other and saying…Is this a joke?? Is this real life?? Are we really in a regular room with no trauma???? We were over the moon happy. The next day was full of visitors, snacks and baby snuggles. We were still so happy, grateful and a little in shock. Then, right in the middle of our ideal experience… our perfect delivery and labor took a bad turn.
That evening, my blood pressure went up and up and up. I was rushed to triage and told I would have to be put on magnesium. Luna’s entire birth experience flooded over me and I went into straight panic mode. I was sweating, crying, non-stop shaking and really not helping the situation. Thank God for the calm nurses in triage. They decided not to do anything until they got a hold of my doctor. My fabulous doctor told them to allow me to rest for a couple of hours and continue to check my blood pressure before putting me on magnesium. She then drove up to the hospital to check on me herself. In a few hours, my pressure had gone down and thankfully I never had to be put on magnesium. Throughout that night and the next morning it went up and down and all over the place. I cried and begged to everyone to PLEASE for the love of God let me go home! And, again, thanks to my wonderful doctor, I was released.
They doubled all my medications, let my pressure level out and allowed us to go home, so we could really relax. Between the panic attack hangover, the insane hormones, the meds, the lack of sleep and so many emotions I was kind of a tearful mess. However, every. single. day. has gotten better and easier…for the most part. My blood pressure is still fluctuating. I still have to see the doctor every week. And, keeping my anxiety at bay is a daily challenge, but I’m working on it constantly. It’s rough, but it’s small compared to the battles I faced after Luna’s birth.
Dash’s birth wasn’t perfect, but it was still so wonderful. I’m taking all the downfalls as life lessons teaching me and reminding me of who I am and how to be strong. I’m spending most of my time feeling incredibly grateful. At this point after Luna’s birth, I was having to use an electric scooter to get around Target. This time around, I’ve been taking half mile walks and doing daily chores since Dash was 5 days old. We have so much to be grateful for, even amidst our struggles. I truly believe that mentally preparing myself this time around has made a huge difference.
BIG thanks to everyone for the visits, phone calls, messages, cards, food, gifts, prayers and happy thoughts! We are so appreciative and cannot wait to share our future adventures of a family of four with you! Dash is one handsome little sweetie and I cannot wait for you to get to know our little guy!