I can’t believe it’s been 2.5 years, and I still have not pulled together a birth story for our Ford. Poor kid! It’s about time.
I remember getting very close to our due date and getting nervous about going over / having to be induced. I was having small contractions that were picked up at the doctor’s office, but I was not feeling a thing. I decided to walk as much as I could, workout, and chug red raspberry leaf tea. Exactly what I did with Charlie. I always start the red raspberry tea too late and regret it every time. Rumor has it that drinking this tea reduces Interventions and complications of childbirth and may help shorten labor. (Basically, the fragarine compound found in red raspberry leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, including the walls of your uterus, which can help make delivery easier Read more, HERE )
I started drinking this tea on overload and walking at least 1.5 hours a day the week I went into labor. When that wasn’t working, I headed to the gym because squats always seem to do the trick.
I arrived back home from the gym around noon and showered. I did some product shoots for a brand, and a few hours later, I could feel my contractions start around 4:30 pm. They were much stronger in the beginning than when I started contracting with Charlie. I texted Ray, the news. He was about to jump on a train to head to the city for a work dinner. I think I remember him asking if he should go to the dinner or not hahahahahaha. I’m pretty sure I left it up to him (enter sarcasm here). To be fair, I started contracting with Charlie the night before and still had a typical night’s sleep and didn’t have Charlie until the next night. Those contractions were very different than these, though.
My mom was over, and our plan was for her to take Charlie home for a few days when we went to the hospital. Ray walked in at around 5:15 pm, and by that time, I felt like it was time to get to the hospital. The contractions were getting very painful.
The one thing which I had been dreading was saying goodbye to my other baby. Charlie, only 18 months old at the time. I have to be honest. I think that was the number one most emotional thing I’ve ever done. Even more emotional than holding my boys for the first time…or I was at least as emotional. I could cry writing about it. Saying goodbye to my baby and knowing that his life and our lives would never be the same was just a super raw moment for me. I hugged him and wept. My mom stood over us and, of course, started crying. It was just a super emotional moment, annndddd ok now I’m crying. It was one of those moments I could never prepare for. I keep my heart wrapped up in a thousand layers, and it was as though someone just came and ripped every layer apart in a matter of seconds. It’s also one of those memories I have that can bring me to tears just thinking about. It was such a beautiful and raw moment in time, and I can still feel how I felt in those seconds. I guess partly joy and another part guilt that we were bringing a baby home when our firstborn was still a baby.
After that was behind us, everything else felt like a breeze! Just kidding. At around 6:30 pm, we got in the car to head to the hospital, which was super painful. Thank God the hospital was only a mile away. With Charlie, we walked to the hospital, which was much more enjoyable. The moment I sat down in the car, the pain multiplied. Standing up vs. sitting or lying down is a thousand times more comfortable for me. As we drove away, we realized we forgot our headphones, and we went back for them, which made me laugh in retrospect. I remember waiting for Ray to run up to grab them while I was in the car thinking, hmmm, maybe this was not a good idea.
We arrived at Greenwich Hospital (most effortless check-in ever), we walked through the doors, and a nurse screamed: “Get her a room, she’s in active labor!!” I really was. The doctor rushed in and checked how dilated I was, six cm. No wonder I was feeling the pain. Getting an epidural, even at TEN CM. yes that happened with Charlie, slowed my delivery down by hours. I really didn’t want that to happen again. It was probably around 6:45/7:00 at this time, and I gave myself one hell of a pep-talk, which basically consisted of me telling myself it was time to get my big girl panties on. By the time the doctor came back in just a few minutes later, I was already eight cm dilated, and I knew I could do it. I felt like I was having this baby that second. We gave it a little time, and the doctor said I was not quite 10 cm but so close, and if I felt like I had to push, I could push. I pushed three times, and out came our big boy, a whole 2 pounds bigger than Charlie. I have to check his birth certificate, but the last bump pic I took at our apartment was at 5:50 pm, and the first pic of Ford was snapped at 7:49 pm. My labor progressed fast and furious.
Was it painful to deliver without drugs, yes. I read this 1,000 times in articles as I prepared, but yes, it really did feel like a ring of fire when Ford was born. But I was in extreme pain for a very short amount of time, where getting an epidural would’ve extended my labor by hours. I was so close and knew I could do it.
It was a very liberating experience being able to finally follow through with my original plan with Charlie. Read more about that at the end of the post. As a first-time mom, I did not have the confidence I needed to advocate for myself. I delivered at the same hospital, but I had strength and confidence in my words and voice this time around, and it ultimately navigated my experience in the best way possible. I basically let the doctor tell me I couldn’t last long enough to deliver without an epidural with my first, and he gave it to me at 10 cm. dilated. He didn’t know how fit/strong I was (I had been working out throughout the pregnancy) he didn’t believe in me and in that moment I didn’t believe in me either. I vividly remember Ray asking him if the epidural would slow down my birth and he said no. My contractions drastically slowed down minutes after the epidural, and I went from feeling like I had to push to feeling nothing. We then waited a few hours to deliver. Not the end of the world, but I still felt like I had my original story to finish, and I did. I ended up pushing Charlie out in 1-2 pushes. So I really was so close when I got the epidural.
I made sure to clearly state my non-negotiables the moment I met the doctor and staff. I told them I need you to be on board with no drugs even if you disagree with it and I need your support, please do not offer me an epidural, I know it’s there if I need it. I also told them there was no way I was lying down in the bed while laboring. I would not get in until I had to push because It would spike my pain drastically. I knew I could only do this if I road these contractions standing up (they wouldn’t let me deliver standing up). They were super supportive and let the rest happen.
I jumped into the bed when it was time to push. I pushed with all my might and…nothing. I did it again…and nothing. I knew I had one more in me and pushed so freaking hard. I remember digging so deep and yup, insert ring of fire here. I could feel a ring of fire, and in a matter of minutes, I was holding my baby. Unfortunately, he had to be worked on for a few minutes because he breathed in amniotic fluid containing meconium (basically a baby’s first stool). It was not fun to watch this right after he was born when all I wanted to do was hold him. Just a short while later, he was in my arms.
Shortly after I delivered, I walked into the bathroom. Every-single-blood vessel in my face was broken. I remember shouting out to everyone in the other room, asking if they were going to tell me what I looked like, lol. I’ve always wanted the super cute pictures of me with my newborn looking fresh. I’ve come to the realization that’s just not me. I look like hell.
This baby still needed a name. We were torn between Beckett and Ford. Again, I found my voice with Ray and told him I was not ready to put a name on the birth certificate yet, and he said ok. A very different experience than naming baby Charlie, read HERE.
We still had a big moment ahead of us! Big brother Charlie came to meet Ford with his cousins. I loved that Charlie was staying at my parents with all of his cousins. It made me so happy knowing he was having so much fun. He was overall not very interested in Ford. Charlie was still so young. I was so worried all this time, and he was totally fine. (It’s crazy to think we won’t get that same experience of the boys visiting baby #3 this time around).
I will be sharing my thoughts around epidural vs. no-epidural in another blog post. In short, every single birth is so different. Everyone’s individual experience drastically shapes their own opinions. This experience is made up of genetics, how one prepared their body, their mental strength, pain threshold, and, unfortunately, sometimes unforeseen circumstances that no prep could ever change. Do your research, listen to others, but ultimately trust your gut. You are unique and you can not compare yourself to anyone else. My only piece of advice is if you are going to get an epidural, don’t get it too early, let your labor pick up before you get an epidural.
you can read Charlie’s birth story HERE