Month 15

Dear Benjamin,

Your personality is coming out more and more every day.  You are becoming your own individual, and doing your very best to let us know what you like and what you don’t like.  You get really mad at us when we make you use Baby Sign Language.  You think you’re being incredibly clear as to what you want, but honestly the rest of us could use a bit more clarification.  You have the worst temper in the world.  It could seriously rival your father’s.  You get so mad that your whole body tenses up, you throw yourself onto the floor, and just scream/cry and kick your legs and arms until you’re through.  You also do not like to be touched when you’re in the throws of anger.  You will move your entire body away from anyone who tries to touch you (even to comfort you).  One the opposite side though, you’re also incredibly sweet, giving kisses and hugs to anyone you walk past.  You love to snuggle, and will seek people out so you can sit in their lap while you charge your batteries.  You smile and laugh all the time, and you smile is contagious and lights up the room.  I love watching you grow and become your own person.  This is an incredibly fun journey to watch.

You are becoming more and more mobile as the days go by.  You can now go up and down the stairs without assistance.  In fact, you were doing that so often that we were losing track of where you were.  And, we got tired of going up and down the stairs 20 times in 2 hours, that we broke down and bough some baby gates to block off the stairwell.  But, as of this morning, you’ve figured out that if you push and pull on it enough, that you can get it to slip loose and then crawl under it…….sigh….you’re too smart for your own good.

You have your 15 month Well Visit at the doctor’s office on Monday.  I’m really curious about how much you have grown since your 12 month visit.  I also have a few things that we need to bring up to the doctor while we’re there.  1) You still seem to suffer from acid reflux.  I’ll hear you spit up, but it never ends up coming out, you just swallow it back down.  Sometimes it seems to bother you, other times it doesn’t.  2) You have had a horrible diaper rash for the past 3 months now.  We’ll get it to go away for a day or two, but then it will come back with a vengeance.  I’ve stripped your diapers at least 5 times, we bathe you, lotion up your tushie with hydrating lotion.  We slather you in booty balm.  We change your diaper at least every 1.5 hours.  We can’t get it to go away.  It’s now blistering, and I’m wondering if it’s some kind of infection and that you might need antibiotics.

You’re still in Physical Therapy.  You’re doing really well with it, but we have all noticed that you have a bit of a limp when you walk.  Your left leg is much stiffer than your right, and as you walk more and more, it seems to just get more and more pronounced.  You have your next PT appointment on Tuesday, so I’ll talk to your therapist and see what we can do to help that.

I love you with all of my heart Benjamin.  You are amazing.  Everything that you can do, everything that you’re learning, it’s incredible to watch.  You’re incredible.  I wish I had the words to express to you how much I love you, and how much you mean to me.  I love you more than anything.  I’d do anything for you.  I want nothing but for you to be happy, and to find joy in the world and in your life.  I love you with all of my heart, and I’ll always love you.  I will always be your mother, and we will always be family.

I love you Benjamin.




Month 14

Dear Benjamin,
You have now turned 14 months old. And, with the new month, comes a new milestone: Walking! You are no longer just taking a step here or there. You are walking (running?) all over the house and are just going, going, going. Your Gram has been sending me videos of you moving all over the place, and it’s adorable. You are apparently moving so much, that after a while, you’ll wear yourself out, and then climb onto the sofa with your blanket to take a bit of a breather. It’s adorable!

I’d say within the last month you’ve become really attached to your blanket. Before, you liked it, but now, it must go where you go. You need it for naps and nighttime, and you want it within crawling/ walking distance of you too. So that when you need a break or a snuggle it’s close by you. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’re attached to your blanket. It warms my heart that you love it so, especially knowing that it took me close to six months to make it. I view this as a mom victory.

Your Physical Therapy is going well. They’ve knocked you down to just twice a month, which is awesome. Your therapist is slightly concerned about your left leg, and how you don’t seem to bear as much weight on it as your right, and that your left foot rotates outward when you’re walking. So, we have a few exercises to do with you to help with that – mainly getting you to move laterally more and more. But it’s something we’ll have to keep an eye on.

You’re starting to become a pickier eater, which I’m not loving. Last night, you hardly ate anything, and then would only eat if you and I were sharing a plate. And after a few minutes of that you still weren’t interested in anything we had for dinner and I ended up having to feed you yogurt just to get something in you. I don’t know if this is a new phase you’re going through, or if it’s because you have molars coming in, or what. But, I hope it passes quickly.

You’re still nursing, but pretty much just twice a day. Once in the morning before I go to work, or first thing in the morning on the weekend. And then at night you’ll nurse to sleep still. I love this time with you. I love the snuggle and the cuddle and the laughs we share. It’s amazing, and I hope it continues for a while still.

You are really LOVING books right now. You will pull one from the book shelves and track it to where ever there are people so you can hand it to us to read to you. Right now your favorites include:

Moo Baa La La La

Brown Bear

Happy Hippo, Angry Duck

Snuggle Pupply

The Hungry Caterpillar

and that’s just to name a few. You love books and love having them read to you. Last night, you just kept handing me Brown Bear to read over and over again. You smile and laugh so much when reading, I hope you keep this passion for the rest of your life.

I love you so much Benjamin. You have brought so much and love into my life. I cannot begin to explain to you how much you mean to me. The words just aren’t there. You are my everything. I want you to always know that your mother loves you, and would do anything for you. Know that I think you’re amazing, compassionate, special and so much more. I feel lucky that I get to watch your grow and develop into the person you’ll be. I love you baby.

Month 12/ Year One

Dear Benjamin,

You are now a year old!  I seriously feel like I just wrote your 6 month letter, and I can’t believe that you just had your birthday.  You turned one on June 19, but on the 18th, I found myself super emotional, to the point of tearing up several times.  I just kept thinking that, a year ago on the 18th I was in labor with you.  I started having regular, but FAR apart contractions around 4:00 in the afternoon.  I realized that I was in fact in labor at about 10:00 pm.  We got to the hospital around 2:00 in the morning and I was 8 cm dilated.  You were then born at 4:23 in the morning, in a tub of warm water.

You are talking and babbling all the time right now!  You can say:

  • mama
  • dada
  • stop (dop)
  • no
  • night night (nye nye)
  • cat (tat)
  • hello/hi

You are starting to really use the baby sign language.  You can sign:

  • milk (although, we think you do this for “food”)
  • all done (but you don’t do this that regularly
  • water

We’re working on a few others, and I’m sure that you’ll pick those up soon as well.

You’re doing so well in your PT!  So well in fact that they’ve dropped you down to just twice a month, instead of once a week.  You’re crawling, and cruising, and getting into everything that you can possibly try and get into.  Right now you love to take the sheet trays out of the cabinet, and push them around on the kitchen floor.

You absolutely love the pool!  We got a membership there for the summer, and you love to cruise around the edge of the pool, and you’re pretty fast too!  You’ll also crawl up and down the ramp into the pool, and we have to really watch you because you’ll crawl until you’re almost under water – you just don’t seem to know when to stop.

You are also really trying to be more and more independent.  You want to do things yourself and you don’t want anyone or anything to stand in your way.  For example: you’re trying to put your food on a fork and feed yourself with it.  It’s adorable to watch you pick a piece of food and place it on your fork, and then try to turn and maneuver your fork into your mouth.  The down side to your newfound independent streak is that it also applies to you wanting to crawling into the dishwasher; to pulling the childproof plugs out of outlets; to chewing and pulling on electrical cords….and when we try to get you away from those things, your temper checks in.   And you have a TEMPER.  When you get upset or angry you scream, cry, throw things, collapse on the floor and kick and your legs….you have perfected the 2 year old tantrum a year early….

You’re still nursing!  We’re down to just three times a day.  Once before I go to work, when I get home from work, and at bedtime.  You still love it, and ask for it all the time.  You’ll pull at my shirt, or stand in front of me and sign for milk.  I don’t want to say no to you, so any time you want to nurse, I will cuddle you and nurse you.

I’m not sure if I mentioned before, but you LOVE to dance!  If music comes on, you start moving to it.  You’ll bounce in place to the beat, clap your hands, twist side to side, throw your hands in the air (like you just don’t care).  It’s adorable.  I hope you keep it up!

You and your brother had a joint birthday party this year at the Splash Park.  It was amazing!  You had such a great time playing in the water and watching all the big kids run around.  You were crawling all through the splash pad, and getting soaked, and you were loving every moment of it.  I made a cake for you, and a separate one for Henry.  Yours was a chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream frosting and a batman logo on the cake.  You loved that cake, and happily gobbled up your dessert as fast as you could.

This past year has been amazing!  It really and truly has.  I cannot believe how fast it has gone by, and how much you have grown and changed.  You are an incredible boy.  You bring so much joy and laughter into my life.  I’m trying to soak up every moment and savor everything that I can.  You make me laugh and smile every day.  You warm my heart, and have taught me how to be a better mother.  I love you with all of my being, and I always will.

Keep growing, and dancing!



Month 11

Dear Benjamin,
Stop growing so damned fast! How is it that you only have one more month to go before you’re a year old!? Where has the time gone? I seriously feel like I blinked and a moment ago you were my tee tiny baby. Now you’re a sturdy, crawling, cruising and rolling 11 month old!

You are getting better and better at crawling. You’re transitioning away from the army crawl, and are up on your hands and knees more and more every day. You don’t like to crawl on hard surfaces, and will bear walk on hands and feet instead. You are so curious about everything, and you want to go EVERYWHERE. We had to baby proof all of the cabinets so you wouldn’t pull anything breakable out. We’re constantly rescuing you from when you get stuck under small tables and chairs, or when you try to go near plugs and outlets. You definitely keep us on our toes.

You’ve been going from tummy to sitting for a little while now, but you just figured out that you can do that in your crib. So, now when we put you down for naps, or for the night, you’ll sit up, or even stand up (we’ve had to lower your crib mattress twice this week…), and then you don’t know what to do from there. So, you’ll cry. Your dad and I go in, lay you back down, cover you with your blanket and turn Scout back on, and then the whole process repeats itself. Did I mention that I’m tired?

You’re doing great with food. You absolutely love yogurt, specifically vanilla yogurt. Oranges are still a go to favorite of yours as well. Right now I think your very favorite thing is blueberries. You’ll eat half a carton in one sitting….it’s amazing. I did find out that you are not a fan of chickpeas. We’ll plop one in your mouth, your nose scrunches up and then you spit that offending little pea back out. It’s pretty funny to watch.

I think you’re slowly starting to wean yourself. You’ve started cutting your nursing sessions shorter and shorter. The past two nights, you only nursed on one side before you pulled off and went to sleep. And, this morning you did the same thing too. It makes me sad that this chapter is already starting to close for us. I definitely want to keep nursing you as long as you’re interested. I guess we’ll see how that goes. I think you’re more interested in food that you can feed yourself versus snuggling and nursing with mom….sniffle…

You’re Physical Therapy is still going well, but I think you’ll start to go down to every other week, instead of once a week, which is great news! Your therapist is in love with you, and thinks that you’re incredibly smart!  

Right now you’re just a crawling machine. You want to go everything, see everything, explore, manipulate, and figure everything out that you can. And, my goodness if anyone gets in your way. You have one hell of a temper little man, and an ear piercing scream to go with it. I love watching you explore your world. It’s so much to just follow you around the house.  

I believe that you’ve said your first word. Your Dad and I aren’t counting “mama,” or “dada,” because we can’t say for sure when you started using those with purpose. So, your first word is “cat!” You literally only say /t/ /t/. But you only say it when you see a cat, so it’s pretty clear what you’re saying. We’re still working on sign language with you, but it’s pretty hit or miss. I’m sure you’ll start to get the hang out it soon.

Benjamin, I can’t believe how much you’re growing and changing. It’s just remarkable. You are remarkable. I think you are one amazing and intelligent little boy and I can’t wait to see what’s next with you!

I love you so much!

Month 10

Dear Benjamin,
You are ten months old! A lot has happened in the last month, and I am overjoyed at how much you’re growing and developing!

You’re now mobile! You have the most adorable army crawl where you use your arms and toes to push yourself forward. When you want to, you can get from one end of the room to the other fairly quickly, but it’s so cute that when you get tired, and you’ll put your head down to take a rest for a moment before you continue. The downside to this army crawl is that #1 you get filthy from crawling all over the floor (which is covered in pollen from the open windows) but you also have blisters on your big toes =(  

Now that you can move, you love to spend your time exploring! It’s like everything is new again, and you just want to know what everything is. You will army crawl from the living room to the kitchen to the dining room, and back again. You love exploring your room and Henry’s room as well.  

I think one of the things you like most about being mobile is that you can now follow Henry everywhere! Where he goes, you go! It drives him a little crazy, but it’s good for him. You want to know and see everything he’s doing, and you desperately want to try to copy it. If he’s playing with legos, you want to play with legos. If Henry is running around the house, you are crawling after him. If Henry is in the bathroom, you want to know what’s behind that door. It’s adorable. I can’t wait for you to crawl on your hands and knees so you can keep up with him even more!

This new found mobility has impacted a few areas of your life though. You now really hate diaper changes. It takes you away from what you were doing, and you just find it inconvenient and upsetting. I can’t blame you, but all the wiggling just makes it take longer…You’re now also barely interested in eating, you just want to be on the floor moving. The exception to this is when you’re so tired that you’ll nurse yourself to sleep for a power nap between naps. The other night you literally face planted into my boob for a quick 30 minute nap before dinner. It was adorable. 

You’re teething right now, you’ve got two teeth next to your top front teeth that are about to come through, and it’s causing your to be miserable. You’re not sleeping well, and you’ve had a few screaming fits because it. We’re trying to keep you as comfortable as possible, but that’s a difficult job. You’re not big on cold things. We’ve given you frozen blueberries, or frozen teething rings, and you just get upset that you’re holding something cold. But you do like to chew on things. Your favorite seems to be a rubber tipped drum stick of your brothers. You’ll just got to town on that thing, and we can hear it squeaking from the other room!

This past month was also your first trip to the beach! I’d never taken a baby to the beach before so it was a new experience for both of us, we had some learning to do with sad and eye rubbing, but we learned quickly. We had such a good time! I cannot wait to take you back to the beach!

We’re still nursing, and I love every moment of it. I love all the snuggles I get from you, how I get to hold you several times a day when you’re quiet and still. I love watching you fall asleep at naps or nighttime and seeing how you little body starts to relax. I’m in no way ready to stop, and I hope that you want to keep going for a long time.  

I can’t believe how fast time is flying! You’re such an amazing little boy. Your personality is starting to come through more and more. So far I believe that you are very inquisitive, you stare at things looking like what you wnat to understand how they work. You also seem to be short tempered. You get mad so easily, but you’re also very quick to cool down. You get frustrated easily right now (there’s a lot to be frustrated by) but it also seems to motivate you – like the crawling, you get frustrated that you get tired so quickly, or can’t maneuver exactly how you want, but even though you get frustrated you work though it to solve your problem which is amazing to watch.

I love you so much my Benjamin. You’ve bought so much love, laughter and fun to my life. You mean so much to me! I can’t wait to see you continue to grow and thrive!


Month 6

Dear Benjamin,

You are now 6 months old!  Holy crap where has the time gone!  My brain is literally having trouble coming to terms that you are already half of a year old.  I just can’t fathom it, it really doesn’t want to compute….

A lot of has happened this month.  You celebrated your first Christmas and Hanukkah this year!  Christmas this year was kind of a let down.  Our whole family (me, dad, Henry, Gram, Bubby, Aunt Jenn and Aunt Jess) all got a horrible stomach bug, and were unable to open gifts or do much of anything except run to the bathroom to throw up, or…yeah.  Dude, taking care of a baby while having a vicious stomach bug is seriously hard.  I think your Dad and I deserve Parent Merit Badges for it.  We took 1.5 hour shifts, so while one was sleeping for 1.5 hours, the other would be taking care of you.  Thankfully, it was relatively short lived, and we were mostly able to open gifts on Christmas evening.  You don’t really comprehend this whole gift thing yet, but I’m sure it’ll be no time before you’re ready to dive into your presents.  Right now you seem to be having more fun playing with the paper than the actual gift inside…sigh.  But, you do look super cute in your yarmulke!

You’ve officially started to say “mama” and “dada.”  Your dad and I can’t be sure if you’re saying just a bunch of random syllables, or if you actually know the meaning behind those sounds, so we’re not ready yet to say they’re first words.  I do love hearing you say “mama” though, it melts my heart.

You officially have your first tooth!  It’s barely poking through your bottom gum right now, but it’s there, shiny and white and sharp as can be.  Seriously, I feel like I blink and you’re reaching another milestone and getting older!  Slow down!  I can’t keep up!

We’ve introduced you to solid foods, and you are loving it!  We’ve delved right into table food, just like we did with your brother.   The other night you had some blueberry french toast, minus the syrup (meant for Christmas morning, but we were too sick to eat it) and my goodness you gobbled it down!  Last night you ate some penne pasta for dinner and really seemed to like that as well.  So, we’ll just keep going like we’re going!

Nursing has been a lot smoother since you’ve had your tongue tie and lip tie revision.  You’re not chewing as your nurse anymore (thank goodness), and we’re not having near as many latch issues as we use to.  You’ve also started to become more and more efficient.  What use to take you 45+ minutes now only seems to take you 15-30 or so, which is awesome!  The one thing that hasn’t changed is that you still take a while to nurse to sleep at night.  I’ll usually start at 7:45, and lately it’s taken us until after 10:00 for you to go to sleep.  You fight sleep at every turn.

We went clothes shopping for you the other day.  We can no longer put you in Henry’s hand-me-downs because you’re in 9-12 month clothes, and all of Henry’s old clothes that size are for spring and summer.  So, we went and stocked you up on jammies, and cute little outfits that will keep you warm this winter.  You’re going to be one stylish little man.

As far as sleep is concerned, I wish I could say that you slept as well as you did when you were a newborn, but you don’t.  You wake up at least once a night, and up to 3 or 4 times a night.  We haven’t done any sleep training with you like we did with Henry, but unless things start to improve soon, it’s coming.  I’m hoping the more solids you eat, the longer you’ll sleep.  But, eventually we’ll need to cut out your middle of the night nursing session.  For now, it’s just the easiest way to get you to go back to sleep.

You’re usually such a happy little guy, full of smiles and you’re quick to chuckle.  You love to snuggle, but you’re also perfectly fine to play on your own.  I love watching discover everything.  The older you get the more you become desensitized to life, but watching you take such just in watching trees out the car window, or be enamored with a stalk of broccoli, it brings the wonder of the world back to me as well.

I love you so much Benjamin.  You are my light, my reason and my joy.  I hope your keep that wonder as long as possible, and I’ll try my best to help you.


Benjamin’s Birth Story

Benjamin’s Birth Story

To tell you about the birth of my second child, I have to tell you about the birth of my first child.  With my first pregnancy I had Gestational Diabetes, and Gestational Hypertension and due to mounting concerns from my midwives from my rising blood pressure and heart rate, I was induced at 39 weeks.  My cervix was dilated with a foley balloon, and then my water was broken.  After 10 hours of intense labor, I was hooked up to pitocin which caused back to back, incredibly painful contractions with no break in between.  I quickly became overwhelmed and frightened, and I gave up on my natural birth plan and got an epidural.  Several hours later, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy my husband Josh and I named Henry.  Despite the fact that I had a beautiful and healthy baby, I had this irrational feeling that I had somehow failed at his birth.

Fast forward 4 years to my second pregnancy. This second time around I had several goals so that I would get the birth experience that I wanted.  The first was to go into labor on my own.  The second was to have a natural birth with no interventions (I wanted to stay as far away from pitocin as I could), and the third goal was to have a water birth.  

So to prepare for the natural birth, I tried to cement into my head that I can do anything for one minute.  Meaning, that when those contractions became difficult, painful and/or overwhelming, I could focus on the fact that it would be over in one minute, and then I’d get a break.  I would meditate on that subject, and go to sleep at night thinking about it, building my foundation for this natural birth that I so wanted.

With both of my pregnancies I had Gestational Diabetes, but the second time around I did not have the hypertension that I had in the first; my blood pressure stayed beautiful the whole time.  The main difference between my pregnancies were the false labor (practice labor) contractions that I had.  For the last several weeks of my pregnancy (and by “several weeks” I mean at least 5 weeks) I would have timeable contractions that would start, increase in intensity and then all of a sudden stop.  Starting at 36 weeks we had several false alarms.  Some that even sent us to the Midwife’s office to be assessed, but each time, it turned out to be braxton hicks contractions.  The longer I stayed pregnant the more I felt like a ticking time bomb.  I was more than ready for my baby to decide on its birthday.  Having to relinquish the control and let the baby decide when it wanted to be born was one of the hardest parts of my pregnancy, and I struggled with that aspect almost every day.  

When I hit 40 weeks, I was a bit shocked.  I assumed that since this was a second kiddo that I wouldn’t make it to my due date, but June 12th came and went.  I started to feel like I’d be pregnant forever, and that I’d be enrolling my gigantic belly into kindergarten.  The longer I stayed pregnant the more my brain started to assess every cramp, twinge and pain that I felt, which at 40+ weeks is about every 4.3 seconds.  I felt like I was slowly losing my sanity while waiting for my baby to decide what day it wanted to be born.  This kid wanted to stay put despite all the red raspberry leaf tea I was drinking, all the evening primrose oil I was taking, all the squats that I did, and the daily walks I took.  

On Friday the 17th, at 5 days past my due date, I broke down and called my midwife’s office and asked if I could come in and talk about options.  I was starting to get a bit nervous about going over my due date because of the Gestational Diabetes, as well as just wanting to be done being pregnant.  I’m one of those people who don’t love being pregnant.  I love the end result, but the actual process of growing a human is extremely hard on me.  I had horrible morning sickness the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy, and then had two trips to the hospital in my third trimester because of gallbladder issues, and let’s be honest, GD, although manageable, doesn’t make things easy either.  

Anyway, on June 17th, I was really hoping that I could get my membranes stripped, and that it might propel me into labor.  However, at the appointment one of my midwives informed me that she couldn’t reach my membranes to strip them, so unless I wanted to schedule an induction, I was just to wait.  Josh and I had talked about having an induction, and we were considering it as an option.  However, when the midwife brought it up and described how she would induce me, I firmly decided against it.  Hearing the process she would take for the induction brought back all of the memories of my first birth.  So, we went home a bit sad and discouraged, and resigned ourselves to wait.

I had a few contractions on Friday night after the appointment, some even timeable, but I didn’t think anything of them.  As always, I was disappointed that I was able to go to sleep and that they seemed to have stopped.  On Saturday, the day before I hit 41 weeks, I had some projects to do around the house (making Josh’s Father’s Day gift with Henry), and as the day wore on, I noticed that I had been having contractions for most of the morning.  At some point I texted Josh to tell him that I was having them, but I didn’t know if it would lead to anything, so not to get excited.  He got similar texts to that one for about the last 5 weeks, so he didn’t think much of that text either.  My contractions were irregular in length, and really far apart – 40 minutes or so, and very mild, I could ignore them easily.  To me they still felt like braxton hicks.    

In the afternoon Josh and I took a 2+ mile walk in our neighborhood.  It was great time to spend just the two of us.  We talked about how we wanted labor to go, when we thought the baby would come, and how our first son Henry would do as an older sibling.  We were so excited for this baby to join us!  I was contracting all through the walk, but didn’t think anything of it, those contractions had become so routine.

We had a friends birthday party to attend that night, and I really wanted to go.  So, Josh and I got ready and headed out of the house around 5:30.  We dropped Henry off at the in-laws for him to spend the night (that turned out to be very serendipitous), and drove out to the party downtown.

All through the party I was having contractions, and after a while I was noticing that I needed to zone out while they were happening.  They were still really far apart, and I could still talk through them if I needed to, but they were getting harder and harder to ignore.  They still weren’t painful, but I was starting to have to focus on them and my breathing during them.  

Josh and I had a really great time, and as we walked around downtown I had a lot of people comment on my belly.  Around 9 pm, we stopped at a restaurant and got something to eat.  While eating dinner, I noticed that my contractions were getting closer together, and I was getting more and more uncomfortable.  At one point I got up to go to the bathroom and I had a strong contraction while in there.  It’s at that point that I started to think these contractions might actually lead to something.  A short time later I noticed another contraction that was strong as well.  After 4 strong contractions (at 10:15ish) I told Josh that we probably needed to head home.  So, we paid for our meal, packed up to-go boxes, and said goodbye to our friends.  As we were walking to our car, I heard a guy yell out of his car window “Are you going to have that baby on Elm St?!”  I yelled back “I wish!”

As we were walking to the car I told Josh about the contractions and that we should start timing them as we drive home.  He seemed surprised at that statement, but pulled the app up on the phone to time them.  As Josh had had a few beers that night, I ended up driving home while having contractions that were about 10 minutes apart.  I supposed I should have mentioned the contractions earlier…It’s a good thing that my excitement trumped any kind of pain I was feeling.  The first contraction we timed was at 10:45.  As soon as we got home, we finished packing the go bag and got everything ready in case this was really it.

Once the bag was packed, everything seemed to get more intense fairly quickly.  By midnight my contractions were about 5 minutes apart.  They were starting to get strong, and to get through them, I was leaning over the yoga ball and having Josh do counter pressure on my lower back.  It’s around this time that my back labor started.  My pelvis and lower back were really starting to hurt, but leaning over the ball and firm pressure on my lower back really helped and kept them manageable.

We called our doula to let her know what was happening.  She asked how I was handling everything, and I told her I was ok.  She told us to keep her posted, but because I hadn’t had any bloody show, or lost my mucus plug she wasn’t convinced that this was it, especially with all of the false alarms we’d had.  She told us to call her the moment I saw bloody show, or if I needed help and wanted her to come to the house. I was handling everything well at this point, so I just kept laboring.

Some more time passed and when my contractions hit around 4 minutes apart Josh and I called our midwife to let her know what was up, and she said to head to the hospital at any time.  I wanted to wait as long as possible at home, so we just kept going.  Me leaning over the yoga ball, breathing through contractions, Josh doing counter pressure on my back and The Office streaming from Netflix to distract us between contractions.

By 1:00, my contractions were 3 minutes apart, and I was really having to concentrate to get through them, and had started to vocalize during them.  My mom joined us around this time and was helping to get things ready for us to head out.  I kept waiting for my contractions to become as painful as what I remembered from my first pregnancy, but that never happened.  And because I never reached that pain threshold, I was really unsure about when to head to the hospital.  As long as I was in a position that took the pressure off of my lower back, I was good.    

Still unsure that it was time, Josh, my mom and I left for the hospital at around 1:30.  As we were getting ready to get in the car I  just stood at the car door and had 2 contractions standing there because I didn’t want to sit down.  I was having strong back pain, and I knew sitting would put an unwelcome amount of pressure on my pelvis and would be excruciating…I wasn’t wrong.

That 30 minute trip to the hospital was awful.  I tried to lay on my sides as much as possible to take pressure off of my lower back and pelvis, but I could never find a comfortable position.  I  withered in pain during each contraction (2 minutes apart at this point) and the pain in my back was unbelievable.  Josh was my rock though.  He kept calling out landmarks as we were driving so that I’d know how close we were getting.  As soon as we got to the hospital I was out of that car as fast as I could be.  

While checking in I had several more contractions.  I would sit in the chair to rest while talking and answering questions to the woman behind the counter, and during each contraction I would have to stand up and lean over the counter and moan, this didn’t seem to phase the woman at all.  Once I had a bracelet on my wrist, I was in the waiting room and had to lean on chairs.  My mom applied counter pressure on my back while Josh parked the car.  

At this point in time my contractions were fierce and almost frightening in their intensity.  I was finding it harder and harder to keep my composure.  I kept thinking that I didn’t want to do this and that I wanted an epidural, I even voiced those thoughts to my mom who told me I could have whatever I wanted – sweet words that helped me calm down.  Soon after those thoughts popped in my head, our doula arrived (Josh called her at some point to let her know we were going to the hospital) and was helping me with positions while we waited to be called back, and my thoughts of giving up on a natural birth went away.

I was the only one in the waiting room, and was taken to be assessed fairly quickly.  They checked my blood pressure (which was up) and temp (which was normal).  They then took me straight back to a room – although I hadn’t been admitted yet.  It took some time to get to the room.  I didn’t want to sit in a wheelchair, so I walked.  And, during each contraction I would stop and lean on Josh in the hallway.

I had three nurses that seemed to be moving and buzzing all around me.  Soon after getting into the room a nurse asked me to undress from the waist down so that she could check me.  I dreaded getting on my back, but I managed it.  I was so worried that they were going to tell me that I was only 3 cm and that I needed to go back home.   However, I was relieved to find out that I was at 8 cm dilated and 90% effaced!  No wonder I’d been having thoughts on giving up – I was in transition!!  I remember looking at Josh and smiling, at that point we knew it wouldn’t be long before we got to meet our baby!

For the next little while, I was standing next to the bed, with my head on Josh’s chest, eyes closed, belly hanging down between us and moaning through contractions while a nurse hooked up the belts to my belly.  I had another that was putting an IV in my arm for my GBS, and another that was entering information into the computer.  All through this, my midwife still wasn’t at the hospital, and was on her way.  In all of our haste, we forgot to call her.  The nurses were texting her telling her to hurry.

I remember a nurse saying that my IV was placed at 2:45.  We had planned all along for this to be a water birth, and I was excited for it!  I was more than ready to get in that warm water.  However, I was told that I couldn’t get in the birthing pool until my midwife got there because of paperwork.  And, because my midwife wasn’t there, my doula couldn’t even fill up the tub!  To cut the tension that information caused, Josh tried to distract everyone by taking a poll about the baby’s gender.  Apparently, there had been a streak of girls born at the hospital and all the nurses thought the baby would be a girl.

All this time going by, I was still standing next to the bed with my head on Josh’s chest and eyes closed.  Being in labor is the wildest feeling.  I was conscious, and aware of everything that was going on, but I was also totally in my own head, my brain thinking and whirring the whole time but unable or unwilling to voice most of it.  I was just concentrating on the contractions, trying to remain relaxed and loose, and to rest as much as possible between them.  

The nurses must have pushed my IV fairly quickly, almost as soon as it was placed it was taken out.  They left a heparin lock in, and taped a rubber glove over my arm so that I could get in the tub when the time came.

I’m fuzzy on the times, but I was told that my midwife got to the hospital around 3:10, and it’s at that point that I was finally admitted to the hospital.  I found out later that she had her shirt on inside out because she was in such a hurry to get there.  As soon as she came in she got the paperwork going for the birthing tub to be set up, and then she turned to me and wanted to check me.  I was so over being checked, and I didn’t want to get on my back because of the back labor I was having.  I didn’t want to move, I just wanted to stay exactly as I was, but I finally consented.  

I waited until I had just finished a contraction, and got on the bed.  She checked me fairly quickly and told me that I was now at 9 cm!  But, she then kept me on my back to break my water.  I was irritated at this, because she never asked if she could break it, and I didn’t know it was happening until it was too late to do anything about it.  As my doula was setting up the tub, she didn’t know it was happening until after.  And, then of course I had another contraction while on my back, which caused me to whither and cry out in pain, derailing me from my focus.  Back labor is just awful….

In retrospect, I wish I had declined that final check, but labor is a funky thing.  With both of my births I have found that when someone tells me to do something, I’ve found that I generally just do it without thinking, despite all the plans I had made previously.

I remember looking at the bed after my water had been broken and saw my mucus plug and bloody show on the pad.  Who would have thought that at 9 cm dilated that those two things would still be firmly in place?  My water was clear, so thankfully I’d be allowed to get in the pool.  I was told that if my water had meconium in it I wouldn’t be allowed to labor or deliver in the pool.  I had one contraction after my water was broken, and man they don’t lie when they say that contractions are more intense after your water breaks.

After all of that, the pool was finally ready and I was chomping at the bit to get in it.  The warm water felt amazing, and really helped to take the edge off the contractions.  Almost as soon as I was in the water, my body started to push on its own.  I was kneeling in the pool, hanging over the edge and pushing, and pushing and pushing…..and getting nowhere.  After a while, my midwife checked me while I was in the pool and discovered that I had an anterior lip of cervix caught between my pubic bone and the baby’s head which was now swollen.  So, my midwife had me flip over on my back to push for a few contractions while she tried to move the lip of my cervix out of the way.  #1.  it hurt like hell to be on my back again, #2. it hurt even more when she was messing with my cervix.  I believe I was screaming in pain.

My midwife couldn’t get my cervix to move out of the way while I was in the pool, so she then wanted me to get out of the pool and onto the bed.  The move out of the pool took an immense amount of strength for me.  I did not want to move.  I was in pain, out of focus and just wanted to be left alone.  I remember that I was thinking that I just wanted this to be over, and I wanted a break.  I even had thoughts of wanting a C-section so I could be done.  I never voiced those thoughts, and eventually I did make it onto the bed.   I believe Josh and the nurses had to almost physically haul me out of the tub.   

And, once again I was put on my back while my midwife tried to move my cervix out of the way.  It was more painful than it sounds.  I remember yelling quite fiercely while she was moving it, and begging for her to stop.  She kept telling me that I wouldn’t like her during this, but I would like her afterward, and she was right.  Eventually she got the lip out of the way.  She had me then get on my knees and push on the bed for two contractions, to get the baby’s head below the lip.  That time it worked, and I could get back in the pool.  However, I didn’t want to move.  I remember telling everyone to leave me alone, that I just wanted to relax and have some downtime.  My contractions had spaced out and weren’t as hard as the transition contractions, and I just breathed through them without bearing down, giving myself a little rest.  I was tired, and my energy was draining, and I really just wanted a nap.  My doula was strongly encouraging me to get back in the water before I had the baby on the bed, and eventually I summoned the strength to move again.

As soon as I started pushing in the pool, I could feel the baby moving down.  And, fairly soon the head was right there, ready to come out.  That feeling, freaked me the hell out.  It burned oh so badly.  I felt like I was stretched to the max and was about to tear from stem to stern.  But, Josh, my mom, my midwife and doula helped me get refocused.  Seriously, Josh was amazing the whole time.  He really was my rock and kept me focused and determined.  He was repeating the mantra I’d been saying to myself my whole pregnancy: I can do anything for one minute.  That helped snap me out of my freakout.  I also remember my midwife telling me that I was fine, and that I wasn’t going to tear apart, which was reassuring.  They then helped me widen my knees and when I was pushing I would sit back, almost in a child’s pose, or as close to child’s pose as a pregnant, laboring woman can get.  Seriously, my face was in the water as I was pushing.  After a few more times pushing like that, and out the baby came.  I believe the baby came out in one push.  One of the nurses later told me that the baby ended up doing a flip in the water as he came out.

The next thing I heard was Josh announcing that the baby was a boy!  It took some fancy maneuvering since he came out so fast behind me, but I was able to stand up, step over the cord, sit back down in the water and then he was handed to me.  For the next while I was holding our son to my belly (the cord was too short to reach to my chest) skin to skin in the water and just marveling him.  I just kept thinking how beautiful he was.  He was squishy and plump and perfect in every way.  He cried a few times, and then was just alert and calm, snuggling with me.  Josh was leaning over the pool and I could hear in his voice that he was tearing up.  It was a very beautiful moment.  

Soon enough the cord stopped pulsating and Josh cut the cord.  Not long after, I handed Josh the baby to do skin to skin with while I got out of the tub.  I got up on the bed and I was covered with warm blankets, and then the baby was handed back to me.  He nestled right on my chest, and was just beautiful.  It’s at that point that we decided to name him Benjamin.

I definitely remember still having contractions after Ben was born, which I still had to breathe through, but I didn’t care about them.   Instead, I was irritated at the umbilical cord, because it just kept seeming to get in the way and rub places that it did not feel good to rub against.  Thankfully, not long after getting up on the bed I delivered the placenta, which didn’t hurt at all.  I had a tear (no idea on the degree, I never asked), which required stitches (I have no idea how many).  My midwife gave me a few shots to numb the area, which stung, and then I could feel her stitching me up, feel the thread pulling through skin, but oddly it didn’t hurt.  All while that was happening the nurses were assessing Ben on my chest.  Ben’s APGAR scores were 9 and 9.

We got over an hour of skin to skin time before Ben was taken to be weighed.  It seemed no one in the room could agree on how much they thought he’d weigh.  The nurses all suspected that he’d be around 7 lbs, but we were all surprised when he was 8 lbs, 6 oz.  He was 20.5 inches long, with a head circumference of 14 inches.  

After everything was all said and done, and we had been moved from Labor and Delivery to the Mother/Baby suite, things settled down and I was finally able to really connect with my son.  I’ve read account after account of women getting that natural oxytocin rush immediately after delivery, but that overwhelming feeling of love, comfort and peace didn’t come to me until about 3+ hours after Ben was born.  I believe because those first two hours are so busy, with so many people working on you and assessing the baby, even while you’re holding him, that it’s hard to just sit and relax and bond.  But, once it was just me and my husband alone with Benjamin, that overwhelming feeling of love started to flow.  Even now, over 6 months later, I still get that feeling whenever I look at my boys.  

Benjamin was born at 4:23 in the morning on June 19, 2016 – Father’s Day.  I think that he was the best Father’s Day gift that we could have ask for!