Luca's Birth Story- An Unmedicated Hospital Birth- Madison WI
When I found out in November 2017 that I was pregnant with our second baby, my brain couldn’t fathom how, exactly, I could love another child as much as our first born, Myles. Lots of people told me your heart just grows and I believed them. But I had no idea how. I just couldn’t picture it. But that’s truly what happens. It’s like Dr. Seuss’s Grinch when his heart grows in size – my heart grew twice as big the day Luca was born and now I can’t imagine how we’d ever been a family of three.
My entire pregnancy with Luca was fairly standard. It was similar to Myles and fairly uneventful. It was harder to rest since we had a two-year old demanding my attention. But overall, this pregnancy was as similar to Myles’s as you can get. Down to how much weight I gained.
Luca’s birth story actually starts almost a week to the day before he was born. On Sunday, August 5th, our family headed over to Nicole’s house to play in the pool and enjoy the summer. We cooked out, chased bubbles and ate food off the grill. I felt hugely pregnant at 39 weeks but otherwise fine. However, an hour after we were home, I woke up to contractions. They were spaced ten minutes apart but being this was my second baby, I was anxious he’d come fast and furious and we’d end up delivering in the car. We woke up Myles, dropped him off at a friends’, called Nicole and headed to the hospital. While in triage they monitored Luca and my contractions. They were not consistent so we walked around, bounced on a ball and at one point, they were 3-4 minutes apart. After five hours of laboring in triage, everything came to an abrupt halt. Like, complete radio silence. And we got to experience the “walk of shame” back to our car. I was so tired of being pregnant and so disappointed that this wasn’t it. I was told this was called Prodromal Labor. How cruel! I cried as we walked through the hallways back to our car.
And for the next week, things were absolutely boring. It was like Sunday night had never happened. At my Thursday OB appointment, she gave me a membrane sweep with the hopes we’d prompt things to move along but, again, the weekend went by with nothing happening. I was now overdue with a baby I was sure was going to be born three weeks before his due date (obviously my intuition was way off). Was he ever going to come out?!?
Monday, August 13th contractions began at 7:30 a.m. I endured/labored at home for two hours, too afraid that we were about to have a repeat performance of the week before. But around 9:00 a.m. I told my husband, Ryan, that we needed to get Myles to my friends’ and head to the hospital. We arrived at the hospital around 10:30 or so. And, once again, my contractions slowed down. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? The triage doctor called my OB to see how we’d like to proceed and thank God, that sweet woman said to admit me. Hallelujah! One way or another, we were going to have a baby!
For the next couple hours I walked around the birth suite, bounced on a ball and prayed things would start moving along. But our little boy was just too cozy. So around 1:00 p.m. they broke my water. I can’t describe the sweet relief your water being broke can bring. So much pressure was released and my belly deflated, I kid you not.
When my water broke at home with Myles, I was in instant active labor with contractions 2-3 minutes apart. So, again, that’s what I expected this time. Nope! For an hour, barely anything happened. We started to discuss the possibility of Pitocin to help kickstart my body. I really didn’t want to do Pitocin but I was ready to get this show on the road. My amazing OB knows me pretty well (she is our family doctor and delivered Myles) so instead of going straight to Pitocin, we decided to give my body one hour (she actually did this twice, I am so grateful for her). One hour to get it’s crap together or we were going to start Pitocin. So they gave me an IV and we started to prepare. We were set to start pitocin at 3:30pm.
But, just as our nurse, Kristie, suggested, my body must have smelled the Pitocin and started to do what it was meant to do all on it’s own. Yeehaw! Literally 3:12pm, nothing like waiting until the last minute kid! Definitely Ryan's child.... For the next two hours I labored and labored, moving along speedily (once my body gets moving, it really gets moving. No time was wasted). Around 5:15 p.m., my body started to push on it’s own. But my cervix still had a little lip in the way so we moved me into different positions to try and get my body to open up and prepare more for Luca’s arrival. It was nothing short of excruciating. During Myles’s 9 hour labor, I enjoyed a epidural-induced three-hour break before pushing. But with Luca, I was doing it all without medication. I felt everything and it was exhausting. I doubted I could do it. I could feel myself running out of steam. I don’t think I said it out loud, but I kept thinking, “just reach in there and yank him out like a calf!”
We switched me from side to side, and they had me flip and go on hands and knees to let gravity help him down. That was rough. I was so tired and would sink into my pillow between the surges. Ryan would move the pillow from my mouth while I breathed through each contraction as they grew and grew in intensity. It was so hard not to push at this point.
Between Ryan, Nicole (our friend and birth photographer), and our nurse Kristie, I had one heck of a birth team. They talked with me while we waited for Luca, and they breathed life into me with their words of encouragement. It kept me going.
During this entire time, Ryan was extremely supportive. I couldn’t communicate much but I felt his hands on my back and hips, applying pressure to ease the pain. Cheering me on and whispering in my ear how strong I was and how much he loved me. Just rubbing my back in between contractions was heaven. Something for me to focus on. As we got closer to Luca’s birth, I could see Ryan getting very emotional. He later told me that his tears started because he was so overwhelmed with my pain and how helpless he felt to ease it. And then his tears transitioned into joy as he witnessed his second son being born.
Finally, at 6:44 p.m., Luca arrived! He was instantly placed on my chest and he was absolutely beautiful! He had the usual conehead that often accompanies babies born vaginally but his conehead was slightly off to the side, providing clear evidence that he came through a little crooked. No wonder I had to work so hard to get him out! He was 8 lbs 3 oz and 20.5 inches long in comparison to his older brother who was 7 lbs 6 oz and 19.5 inches long. He has fine blonde-red hair that I suspect with be full red like his brother.
I wasn't fully prepared for the intensity of the cramping this time around. I think my friends decided to spare me that detail (which I am grateful). I remember Nicole telling me a few minutes after he was born that "By the way, your cramping is going to be a lot more intense so get ready". Goody. She was right, it was BRUTAL! Not to mention I did something to my hip during the pushing stage so it was pretty hard for me to walk to the bathroom. I am grateful for my sweet postpartum nurse Alice who was patient with me and so kind helping me get cleaned up and tucked back into bed.
Now, a week postpartum, Luca continues to show his lazy, laid-back personality. He sleeps in longer stretches and loves to cuddle. But is equally happy to be swaddled in his crib after he’s gotten a full belly of milk. He completes our crazy household of four and I can’t wait to see how his personality continues to shine.
Sunday August 5th
Monday August 13th - 40 week 4 days