As we close in on my second baby’s first birthday (insert crying face), I find myself waxing nostalgic about her first day on earth.
And, because every birth story is important and exciting to me, I thought I would share how the wee hours of February 17, 2017 went for us.
So, in large part for myself, I give you:
In contrast to with Lily (with whom I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at a scarily-early 22 weeks), my pregnancy with Kinley was happily uneventful–my OB called it “refreshingly boring.”
I was nervous, however, for the birthing process because, 1. Let’s face it, birth is scary (and painful). And 2. I had been induced with Lily and had no idea what to expect with this one.
I was going in blind–“how do I know when I’m in labor? When do we go to the hospital? What do we do with (20-month-old) Lily??”
I had my 38-week OB appointment on Thursday, February 16, during which my doctor told me he didn’t expect me to last the weekend without going into labor. My mother-in-law was due to arrive on Monday, so I called her, asking if she could fly in sooner. She could, and would be here by Saturday.
All night Thursday, I timed consistent, but far-enough-apart, contractions, up until we went to bed.
We woke very early Friday morning–2am, to be exact–to Lily puking, miserable. While we cleaned her up, tried to get her back to bed (and ultimately brought her into our room to snuggle), I was having consistent, but weak, contractions.
In true army life fashion, Russ was due to go into the field at 5am that morning. He was calling his boss, asking what he should do. He was told to go out to the field–on 12-hour, no-phone-in-the-building shifts–and wait until I called saying I was truly in labor. I prepared myself (by sobbing) for the fact that my husband might not make it back in time to help me through labor, and I might be going it alone while my sweet friend Alex watched Lily.
The contractions began getting longer and closer together, and Russ officially called his boss to let him know he wouldn’t be going out (whew! Good timing, Kinley!), while I called Alex over. Her husband still claims this morning was the fastest he’d ever seen her get dressed and out the door.
We handed off our (soon-to-be-oldest) baby, amidst many tears (from her and from me), and rushed to the hospital, my contractions coming stronger and only a few minutes apart.
By the time we made it up to Labor & Delivery–around 6:30am–got checked in, and made it to a triage bed, my contractions were nearly on top of one another, and I was strongly against sitting.
L&D was full-to-the-brim this morning (as is my luck, it seems), so a postpartum nurse was helping get incomers situated, and I urgently flagged her down.
“This is my second child,” I told her. “My contractions are less than a minute apart, and I need someone to check me now. I really want an epidural.”
I thought I was going to have to start pushing in front of all the terrified-looking early-laborers that were nervously watching me sway and moan and count.
Finally, someone rushed in, checked me, and gave me an astonished look. “You’re at a ten. We need to get you in a room! Are you sure you want an epidural?” she asked. “You’d be a great candidate for natural labor.”
I chuckled, my nerves stretched thin. “No, I’m sure. Thanks!”
She rushed off to secure the only room available–one, tiny room not usually used for deliveries, but, again, such is my luck.
My OB swept into the room, checked me again, confirmed I was 10cm dilated, 100% effaced, and that my bag of waters was “quivering,” and proceeded to gently remind me that I probably wasn’t going to make it to get an epidural.
He and the nurse currently in the room reminded me again that I’d be great at natural labor, but I feared I was only doing so well because I was coping until the anesthesiologist arrived.
People came and went, labor got more and more intense, but my waters were determined not to break. Because, finally, around 8:30am, the anesthesiologist swept into our tiny room, rearranging furniture the best he could to accommodate his tools.
I was handling labor really well up to this point–infinitely better than I ever imagined, honestly–but Russ says that when that man entered the room, my entire demeanor changed.
I was deep in active labor, battling contraction after contraction, but I was then joking and laughing, knowing the majority of the pain was over.
Say what you will about toughing it out and refusing epidurals, but I have no shame!
Dr. Behrmann checked me again after my epidural was in place–around 9am–rupturing my bag of waters.
And, just like that, it was time to start pushing.
After a few solid pushes, Kinley began to crown.
“She has hair!” Russ exclaimed. “It’s dark!”
(Our first was pretty well bald and super blonde for the first 1.5 years of her life, so this was a shock!)
Tears streamed from my eyes as I finished pushing her out.
Russ cut her umbilical cord, and I finally held that sweet, dark-haired baby I’d been dreaming about for nine months.
Kinley Rose DeWitt was born at 9:30am, 8 pounds, and 21 inches long.
The next day, her big sister Lily came to meet her, and we were all so in love.
And she’s been the sweetest little one since.
I cannot believe my babiest is about to be one.
Here’s to you and your journey through this beautiful life, Kinley!