Great Expectations II: Luke's Birth Story

Luke decided his due date, September 12th, was indeed THE day he's enter this world. Prompt little guy just like his brother.

Around 3:30 in the morning I awoke to contractions. I began timing them to see how far apart they were occurring. For the next hour I timed them to be around 6 minutes apart pretty consistently, so around 4:30am I awakened Adam to tell him I thought labor had begun. He was not thrilled about the prospect of dealing with the labor through the middle of the night again and honestly neither was I, but what can you do. When the baby says it's go time...you get ready. After timing a few more rounds of contractions I called the doctors office to see when they wanted me to head to the hospital. The midwife listened to me deal with a few more contractions and said not to worry about them getting closer together, but instead to head to the hospital when they were getting more intense. I could still talk through a contraction at this point, so we'd wait at home as long as possible to avoid a long, long labor at the hospital again.

I then called my mom, so she could make her flight arrangements since she'd once again purchased an anytime ticket. She had an important appointment first thing in the morning and then she'd be on the next flight which was early in the afternoon. I then called Julia who planned to come stay with Levi and since she was staying at a friend's outside of the city, I wanted to make sure she had plenty of notice to get into town by the time we were actually ready to head to the hospital. Guess what happened right after I made those calls....you guessed it...my labor stalled (again! just like with Levi). So I texted mom and Julia to give them the update and told them I'd be in touch. Then I tried to go back to sleep or rest between contractions that had now spread out to between 12 and 20 minutes apart. They were still there, but things had really slowed down. I didn't mind if it allowed Adam and I some extra sleep, but I felt bad that I had called everyone prematurely. Oh well, what could I do, so a few extra winks I got.

I woke to more regular contractions again around 7:30am and Adam got up with Levi, while I hung out in bed for a bit trying to relax through the contractions. As they began to get more intense I ventured into the kitchen and gave Julia a call. She had come into the city already and was ready to come over. Adam was kidding around a bit with me and Levi until he realized things were getting pretty intense for me as I teared up at the next round of contractions. Poor Levi didn't understand what was happening and he was pretty concerned for me since I seemed to be in pain. I decided to sneak off to the bathroom to deal with the next contractions to avoid scaring him plus my stomach was upset, so it just seemed like the convenient place to be.

At 9:30am, I told Adam I thought things were indeed "more intense" and we should probably get ready to go to the hospital since I'd been warned that second labors and deliveries tended to go much quicker than firsts and many women barely make it to the hospital. I didn't want to be that woman who delivered in the car or hospital lobby, so Adam headed to get the car. Julia entertained Levi and I gathered my bags and continued to deal with contractions hidden away from Levi in the hallway or bathroom.

The film Ted II was actually being filmed right outside of our building, so Park Street was blocked off and there was a huge production crew set up along the street. Adam talked to the church facilities manager Rich, who talked to the production staff about getting a car in and out of the street since I was in labor. They agreed to pause filming so I could get in the car and head to the hospital. Thanks Hollywood for being so considerate.

Jane, our upstairs neighbor and pastor's wife, came down when she heard I was in labor to touch base with Julia in case she needed a hand with Levi at some point. It was so interesting because between contractions I felt so normal and could carry on a normal conversation and then the contraction would start and I could barely talk understandably.

Adam arrived with the car, so I headed downstairs with Julia and Levi since we planned to leave her with the car seat. Once again between contractions I chatted with Rich, Jane and Julia, but I would disappear to the hall and out of sight to deal with each contraction. I had no idea how far apart they were...probably 5 minutes or so, but they were intense!

Adam, Levi, Julia and I hopped in the car to get going. We planned to drive Julia, Levi and the carseat to the car she was borrowing from our friend Katie and then we'd head to the hospital since the carseat would be a lot to haul through Beacon Hill to the car. When we arrived at her parking spot, the car was no where to be found. That's right, it had been TOWED!

Feeling the contractions getting more intense and uncomfortable being in the car, I said we'd all just drive to the hospital and then we'd leave Julia with our car.

We arrived at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center around 10:30am and we got checked in. I had to fill out a couple forms and needed to stand through each contraction. They brought me into triage and I was 5 cm dilated. I wasn't too encouraged by that news though since I'd been 4 cm with Levi and it was a long night/ day ahead.

We were shown our labor and delivery room and within a few contractions I began to already second guess myself. Could I handle this unmedicated?! The contractions were killing my legs but standing was what also felt best for dealing with the pain. Thankfully I wasn't having any back labor this time around. The nurse took my blood while I stood and they monitored the baby for 20 minutes also while I stood dealing with the pain. Again I questioned, this time out loud, whether I would need something to take the edge off or an epidural. I also kept commenting that it was really hot in the room. The nurse assured me it wasn't the room, but that I was working really hard. The midwife came in and assured me that things were going to happen quickly and they'd get me in a shower, which would help tremendously with dealing with the contractions. I figured I'd give it another try (it didn't help with Levi) and I wasn't having back labor this time around.

The shower was a huge relief. The warm water definitely provided some much needed relief as I worked hard to relax and breathe through the contractions. The midwife and nurse checked on me periodically and I was even checked for dilation in the shower. Within an hour I was already 8 cm! WOW I thought, now that WAS quick...no wonder things seem more intense this time around. The midwife also told me I could deliver right there in the shower if I wished. I wasn't so sure about all that, plus my water had yet to break. I continued to labor in the shower, and I kept trying to bare down a little in the hopes of breaking my water since I knew that would continue to move things along quickly. My water still didn't break and I asked the midwife if she could break it soon. She said she'd let me labor a little longer or maybe an hour more to see if it would break naturally unless I really wanted her to go ahead and break it.

After a couple more rounds of contractions I decided, let's do it, let's go ahead and break my water. We all headed back to my labor and delivery room, so she could go break it. I was already 10 cm when she went to break my water on the next contraction. Adam says I have water of steal! Crazy!

I then started feeling the natural urge to bare down and I kept talking about "the pressure". Gosh I don't like that feeling and yet it's what gets the baby born isn't it. After my water had been broken it was so strange to feel like I was peeing myself with each contraction since I was still laboring standing up. The midwife also encouraged me to try and pee on the toilet, so I dealt with a couple contractions in the bathroom, but I could not pee for the life of me.

I came back into the room and really started the feel the urge to push, so I went ahead and climbed in the bed to push like I had with Levi. I hoped and prayed it would take as long to push him out this time around. The pushing was much more painful this time around since things were happening and needing to stretch so much more quickly. There was a moment that I have very little recollection of but Adam remembers well where I froze in the pushing because of the pain and the midwife and nurse had to coach me to "get it together" and "finish the job". It was INTENSE and I definitely felt like my body my rip apart this time around.  Well, I literally gave another long push and he was here! I had pushed for two minutes and he had arrived and was placed immediately on my chest. I couldn't believe how quickly it had all gone, that the labor was over and my little boy was already resting in my arms as we waited for his cord to stop pulsing. I had hoped for delayed cord clamping with Levi, but he needed to be checked out immediately, so it hadn't worked out.
I looked up at Adam who had sweet tears in his eyes. I think those teary moments from both boys births are ones I'll never forget!

Adam was also overjoyed that we had not had to labor through the middle of the night and that everything had gone quickly and smoothly. He was such a great encouragement during the labor telling me I could do it each step of the way. Putting counter pressure on my back from outside the shower when I asked for it. Reminding me to start breathing as each contraction began and keeping me well hydrated with apple juice since I was so nervous to get dehydrated like last time. He was my rock!
We also both really liked the midwife that delivered Luke. She was very calming and reassuring that I could do this. She and the nurse kept telling me what a strong woman I was and even though I had moments where I wasn't sure whether to believe her, she helped me deliver Luke without any interventions.  She kept saying the labor was progressing quickly, but I wasn't sure if she was just saying that to keep me motivated or if she could truly tell since my midwife with Levi kept telling me how quickly he'd be pushed out and it took almost three hours. Thankfully my midwife this time around was right on the money when it came to how quickly Luke would indeed be born and since we didn't have a doula this time around, our midwife was present through much of this fast labor and delivery.
Adam got to cut the cord and we admired the newest addition to our family as the midwife wrapped things up with me...delivering the placenta and a couple stitches. I had the option of whether I wanted the stitches or not since my one tear wasn't too bad, but I figured that would help things heal well and my mom assured me it was the right decision. Then Luke gave breastfeeding a try and thankfully that too seemed to go well.

Adam messaged and emailed out the news of Luke's arrival. Luke Everette Herndon was born at 12:38pm on September 12, 2014. A little while later he measured 8 lbs 4 oz and 20.5 inches long (length just like his brother) and he had quite the head of dark, thick hair!
Family and friends were pretty amazed with how quickly the news of his arrival came since we had just emailed and messaged a couple hours earlier that we were headed to the hospital. My midwife was right when she said second births can me MUCH faster!
Our new little family of four could not be happier and Levi got to meet Luke just a few hours later. Levi was so excited to meet him and could not wait to hold the "baby". I will never forget Levi holding out his arms asking for "baby" with an "I've totally got this mom" attitude as he sat in my lap in the hospital room waiting to meet Luke. Photos of those sweet moments are probably some of my favorites from the day! Such cherished memories!
Both my sweet boys!

Great Expectations II: 39 weeks

How Far: 39 weeks

Weight/ Clothes: My weight has stayed exactly the same for yet another week. I have gained exactly 40 lbs just like I did with Levi. My belly however keeps growing!!

Hanging in there with clothes but looking forward to giving birth and getting back my wider variety of wardrobe especially as we're approaching fall.

Cravings: Sweets...weird for me!

Gender: Mom is still wondering if the ultrasound could have been wrong since her friend who usually predicts right on thought I was going to have a girl this time around. Based on how I'm carrying, I'd be shocked if they got it wrong. Not much longer though till the gender is undoubtedly confirmed. He is mostly likely a he indeed.

Movement: The baby is still moving subtly as he's running low on room in the womb!

Symptoms: Heartburn keeps up...thank goodness for medicine! My eye twitch has returned. The baby is grinding into my pelvis...YIKES...takes me back to that discomfort with Levi and probably one of my least favorite times in pregnancy! This makes walking a lot more interesting. I'm pretty uncomfortable sleeping and getting up every few hours to pee. Guess it's good preparation for being up to feed the baby.

Mental State: I feel ready for this baby to arrive. My projects are all organized and completed. I'm uncomfortable enough to welcome labor since that will come and be over at some point. I'm hopeful that the baby will come while Julia is still in town to help us with Levi. If he decided to be really late it will just make this detail a little more stressful since her schedule is so flexible right now and everyone else who we know we can count on to help would still need to do some last minute rearranging. I hate the waiting though for labor to commence...the constant wondering of is that a cramp/ contraction or just a braxton hick? Is my water going to break this time? In public? Will I get a full nights sleep or go into labor again through the middle of the night? How is Levi going to handle everything? We'll know all these answers soon enough!

Appointment Updates: I saw a different midwife today, which is fine since they rotate through a schedule at the hospital and it's doubtful I'd have my main midwife, so maybe I could have the one I met in the office this week. She "stirred things up" at today's appointment which is hers and Helen's (my midwife) way of saying that they stripped the membranes. Of course this made me pretty nervous that the baby would decide to come the next day, which I was hoping to avoid since it's September 11th a less than ideal date in history. The day will be what it will be though. I'm still dilated the same as last week between 2 and 3, so no progress there. We'll see if this baby is ready to make his appearance or if he's too comfy and wishes to stay put beyond my due date.

Best Moment of the Week: Not going into labor on the 11th. It was a relief for me...I also got a pedicure to hopefully have the right ankle spots massaged and encourage labor. Then I enjoyed a lovely dinner out at Parish with some much needed time to myself since I won't be getting much of that in the days and months to come. My sandwich, salad and dessert was tasty and I had lovely dinner conversation via the phone with my mom, sister and Shelby! Thanks for the fun company ladies. Tomorrow (after dinner) is my due date!

Great Expectations II: 38 weeks

How Far: 38 weeks

Weight/ Clothes: Holding steady one pound under my final weight with Levi ... it's so funny how my weight gain levels out at the end. At my weekly appointment, my midwife did comment that the baby had grown quite a bit in the two weeks since she had seen me before. I guess it's good that he's gaining and not me so much.

In terms of clothes, since the baby is getting bigger shirts are getting smaller and smaller, but thankfully I still have tops that fit and my pants/ shorts haven't really changed fit wise.

Cravings: Nothing exciting to mention... still loving fruit!

Movement: The baby is moving subtly as he runs out of space more and more each day.

Symptoms: I'm waddling around these days and my pelvic floor is pretty sore. I'm somewhat swollen. I also had a bit of upset stomach and lost my mucus plug ... all symptoms making me think labor might start any day now, but the baby is still hanging in there not wanting to enter the world just yet. My eye is back to its twitchy self and my heartburn is under control thanks to Zantac and Tums.

Mental State: I am looking forward to the baby arriving and not being pregnant any more. I've reached THAT point of discomfort, so hopefully he will decide to make his grand entrance sooner than later.

It is also driving me a little crazy wondering when labor might begin. Each twinge or stronger Braxton Hick leaves me wondering if labor is imminent, but there's still nothing to report.

We also picked up a couple classic big brother books to read with Levi this week. He's been enjoying the Little Critter My Brother and Me book and the Berenstien Bears Baby book. He talks about the "baby" pretty often these days, so I'm excited for him to actually meet his baby brother soon!

Appointment Updates
: My midwife tells me I'm 3 cm dilated at this point and 50% effaced, so things are right on track. I asked how late I'd be allowed to go and was told ten days late, but she didn't seem to think we'd get to that point. We'll surely see.

Best Moment of the Week: We took Levi to a real polo match on Sunday for a going away gathering for our dear friend Julia. I had the perfect maternity dress for the occasion and Levi LOVED the horses. He was so cute pointing out the "neighs" adding in the occasional "yay, yay, yay" as well. I am so sad that Julia is moving, but I'm glad we got to celebrate with her by knocking one more item off her Boston Bucket List. Hopefully Jellybean arrives before the 15th so she gets the chance to meet him and hang with Levi when we head off to the hospital since my mom will arrive as soon as she can once she hears labor has indeed started.

And a couple of the cutest big brother ... just for fun!

Great Expectations II: 37 weeks

How Far: 37 weeks

Officially full term as declared by my OB at this week's appointment. Wow that was QUICK!

Weight/ Clothes: I am maintaining my weight to the pound and I'm still under a pound of what I weighed in the end with Levi. The same thing happened with my weight gain with Levi ... it stalled out at the end, which I don't mind one bit. It took me a year to take it all off last time and I'm sure this time around won't be any different except that I'll be running after two kiddos, so maybe it'll come off faster. We'll see. No matter what it's worth it for the healthy, sweet baby that arrives when it's all said and done.

In terms of clothes...some of my borrowed shirts are now getting to the too small for the bump stage. Thankfully we don't have that much longer to go until the postpartum clothing stage.

Cravings: Fruit! Especially peaches...yum!

Movement: I think the baby is getting squished and running out of room because his movements aren't quite as all over the place just a jab here and there and especially into my ribs. I feel hiccups pretty regularly and even my mom felt them over the weekend.

Symptoms: I'm having LOTS of Braxton Hicks... in fact I had a non stress test at my docs appointment this week and my OB was funny... he said well you are definitely having contractions cause he could see them on the print out. Then he asked, "Are they getting stronger?" looking at me like I might go into full labor at any moment, but they aren't getting stronger and I'm only 1/2 cm dilated which doesn't really mean much, so onward to our due date.

My sciatic nerve is also driving me bonkers because certain chairs and seated positions cause me to literally get stuck and it hurts SO much to stand up and get moving. The same is true when I get up in the middle of the night to pee three and four times. It is SO hard to get out of bed, but this too shall pass at least I hope it's completely gone after the baby is born.

Speaking of sleep ... it's getting harder. I'm exhausted at bedtime but then have trouble falling asleep. Oh pregnancy insomnia ... thankfully I haven't been up all night on any given date since I have to function with Levi the next day and need some sleep to do so. My hips have also started to hurt depending on which side I am sleeping on ... gotta love everything getting all loosey goosey. I'm just not naturally a side sleeper, but right now that's my only option so between bathroom wake ups I switch sides until the next awakening. All this waking is good practice for those night feedings too right!?!

My face has started to break out a little bit, not sure what that's about! Oh hormones.

Mental State: I'm knocking things off my to do list left and right, so that feels really good. We've spent a lot of time at home lately since it's hard for me to take Levi out and keep up with him by myself and Adam has been working hard on his big paper that is due the first, so this has provided for plenty of time to complete nesting projects around the house.

I packed my hospital bag and the diaper bag for the new baby this week. I always meant to blog about the contents of my bags last time, but I never got around to it and boy did I wish I had because it would have been so nice to have that to refer back to. Oh well, maybe I'll make note of it in a post this time around.

I saw my mom and brother in law briefly this past weekend when they were up here getting the condo settled. I know it was a huge relief for everyone to know that it's well on its way to being beautifully situated! I wish the visit could have been longer, but some visit is better than no visit at all. The next time I see Mom will be when Jellybean is here or on his way!

I was relieved this week to find out a good friend of ours, Julia, isn't leaving town for Oregon until the 15th of September. Why is this such a relief you may ask since she's moving ... well we're really sad she's moving away, BUT hopefully she'll still be here long enough to meet this new little guy AND she offered to be on call once she's done with work on the 5th to come hang with Levi. I know Levi is super comfortable with her and she's got mad nanny skills, so I know he'll be in GREAT hands while we head to the hospital. We have lots of other friends who have offered to be on call as well, but in most cases it will depend on their work schedules and such, so this just seemed like an ideal fit. Fingers crossed Jellybean decides to come within that window now!

In other project news ... I've ordered the invitations for my sister's baby shower in October and hopefully I'll have them ready to go out before Jellybean gets here, so they can just be popped in the mail. I've also looked in to our plane tickets to Virginia in October for Cabin weekend and Thais and the boys look like they'll be joining us this year too!! It will be so exciting to introduce everyone to Jellybean in October, who will have his official name too! I get to take my sister and Chris's maternity pictures in the mountains, hang out with my best friends, throw Anna's baby shower the following weekend and do another friend's maternity session while I'm in town, so much to look forward to!  I've also figured out when we'll go down to Raleigh to meet my new niece in November since I know they'll only let my sister go as late as 39 weeks due to her diabetes, so we'll get to stay with our friends, the Albrights, who just moved down there and meet the newest addition to our growing family!! I can't wait!

I've also been trying to imagine what life with two is going to be like in terms of a schedule and getting out of the house. We shall see...there's definitely going to be a new normal coming our way!

Appointment Updates
: I was negative again for Strep B, so that's good because I won't need antibiotics at the hospital.

The head is also engaged and I'm 1/2 cm dilated and having contractions, but nothing that I would consider true labor contractions yet. (Adam has a BIG paper due the 1st of September, so this little guy needs to wait until at least then, plus he'd be almost two weeks early even around that date. I'd be shocked if he comes that soon, but we're pretty much ready at this point.)

Best Moment of the Week: Levi started saying "Baby". He will pull out small bibs in the kitchen and say, "Baby" and he can point to where the baby is. He also started sleeping in his big boy bed at naps and has done so every day this week, so hopefully that transition will continue to go smoothly though we don't plan to make the nighttime transition for a while still. Fingers crossed!

Great Expectations II: Maternity Photos

It was fun to share the news that we were expecting months ago with my friend Amy of Amy Murgatroyd Photography by asking her if she'd be up for taking my maternity photos this summer. Being that I'd be most pregnant through the summer this time around rather than in the fall and winter like Levi's pregnancy, I thought it would be fun to take our maternity photos at one of the beautiful beaches on the North Shore and she suggested Crane Beach. The weather that evening could not have been more beautiful. Levi also loves the beach, so he had a ball although he was more interested in playing in the sand and water than posing at times. I love the photos, and I could not wait to print my favorite black and whites to accompany my favorite from my pregnancy with Levi for the nursery.
(I printed this one of the all of us for the nursery.)
(Then I printed this one of me and Adam for the nursery.)
 There are so many that I love, so it made picking which ones to print tough.
I think I'll have a book printed with all of my favorites to solve the issue of needing to pick.
We absolutely love these and all the gorgeous photos of Levi that I included in his 18 month update.

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