Rob and I had decided that around the time that Uriah turned 1, we would start trying again for another baby. Luckily for us, about one month and five positive pregnancy tests later, we found out we were expecting yet again! Baby Number 2 was due somewhere around June 26, 2017.
|My talented friend Des Chaves took maternity photos for me at 39 weeks!|
Fast forward to June 26, 2017, and, as I expected, I had no signs of imminent labor.
|This is the face of a woman who is over it.|
This photo was taken July 4, when I was 41 weeks and 4 days!!
Uriah was born at 40+6 (and was induced at that point), so having a baby "past due" did not phase me...AT FIRST. Once I started to go past that date, though, I started getting anxious! My midwifery office (Special Beginnings - who I love, by the way!) said that they would be OK with me going to 41+6, but if at that point the baby hadn't come by then, we would schedule a c-section. While my initial c-section with Uriah was not at all traumatic, I was really hoping for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) this time around. Not only did I want to experience what it was like to actually "give birth," but the recovery time for a c-section is so much longer, and is a luxury a Mom with a toddler can't really afford. I threw myself into VBAC education, VBAC support groups, and made sure that the providers I sought prenatal care from were not just VBAC tolerant, but VBAC supportive/friendly. I actually switched providers at 31 weeks (third trimester!) to Special Beginnings because they gave me an additional week longer before even considering scheduling a c-section.
On the early morning of July 5, 2017, I started having some pretty intense contractions. I had been having contractions for a few days, but nothing consistent enough to make any of my providers particularly interested. Most people I talked to chalked it up to "Braxton Hicks," but these contractions were pretty painful - painful to the point where they woke me up from sleep, and kept me awake and from sleeping. There were several that were painful to the point of nausea, and some that I actually had to "breathe through," and stop what I was doing. At about 5:30 that morning, I got up to pee for the 400th time, and felt a small gush during a contraction. For a second I wondered if it was my water breaking, but it was so subtle that I quickly dismissed it. I called my midwife's office, and they said that since my contractions weren't consistent enough (I would have contractions between 2-5 minutes, then an odd 8 or 9 minute break, on repeat), I should stay home monitoring. Fortunately, I had an appointment with my midwife's office scheduled for that afternoon, so we agreed that my provider would check me at that appointment. One hour later, I got up to use the bathroom for the 401st time, and definitely felt a gush that splashed onto the carpet and through my pajama pants. EXCITING! With Uriah, my water had never broken on its own. I called Rob and told him he should come home from work since my water had officially broken. My contractions were still inconsistent, but painful to the point where I actually threw up a few times, was shaking, and had to really focus to get through them. Meanwhile, my water kept gushing and getting everywhere. I had gone through several beach towels and pajama pants, and knew I needed a better solution. Thankfully, Mom Taylor was here and went to the store to get me some Depends, which were LIFE SAVERS! #DontKnockItTilYouTryIt #NoShameinMyAdultIncontinencePantyGame
At my OB appointment, my midwife checked my dilation and confirmed that I was already 5-6 cm dilated! This was also amazing to me, as with Uriah, I had already gotten an epidural by the time I was 2-3, and here I was walking around dilated a 5-6. This was also very validating to me because it proved to aaaaaaall my naysayers (see: haters :P) that the painful contractions I had been feeling over the past few days were legitimate. My midwife recommended we head to the hospital and check-in after we got something small to eat. I definitely wanted to grab something, even though I didn't feel like eating, because I knew that once I had been admitted, I would be relegated to a liquid diet. (Think: Chicken broth, jello, popsicles, ice chips, juice) We stopped at chick-fil-A, and I halfheartedly ate half a chicken sandwich.
We got to the hospital at around 5, and were checked into their biggest birthing suite, which just so happened to be available! (Hooray for random, midweek babies!) My contractions were really painful at that point, and I told Rob I wanted the epidural. While I wasn't committed to a medication-free birth, I did want to see how long I could hold off without getting an epidural. In my research for VBAC success, there was some indicated correlation that getting an epidural early on could thwart or hinder the body's dilation process. In addition to that, it would confine me to a hospital bed, which limits mobility and the positional options that might encourage further progress. Rob suggested I just try to wait until my doula, Delaney, could meet us at the hospital. I had loved the idea of a doula, but knew that we wouldn't be able to afford one. (Doulas can range anywhere from $600-1000 or more!) Special Beginnings had given me a handout during my care there that listed several different doula services, one being the John Hopkins school of nursing. I was shocked to see that it was a free service catering to anyone in the Baltimore city areas! Granted, these doulas were students, and couldn't 100% guarantee a birth attendance, but just having the potential of that option was amazing! Delaney had actually attended a few births as a doula before mine. Thankfully, she arrived to the hospital about half an hour later, and she made a night and day difference in how I was able to cope with and manage the pain. She brought in her arsenal of tricks LED flameless tea lights, a diffuser with calming oils, and we put on relaxing "SPA/meditation" music on our bluetooth speaker. She also had the nurses bring us a large exercise ball, and helped instruct me on positions to help alleviate pain. At the same time, she used counter-pressure and massage to help with my back pain (she also taught Rob so he took over eventually), and had a warm compress to place on my abdomen during or after contractions. It was amazing to me how these few natural solutions truly made a difference! What I thought had been 45 minutes of us working through contractions was actually 2 hours worth! Afraid that the contractions would get too painful before I could get an epidural, I requested an epidural. I feel that I could've actually tolerated the pain longer (Delaney told me I was a "rock star" and honestly, I was pretty impressed with myself! No screaming, controlled breathing) but was afraid that I would miss the window for an epidural. At that point, I was dilated to a 7.
The anesthesiologist arrived around 7:30, and I forewarned him that with Uriah, they had to stick me literally 6 times to try to find the space between my vertebrae. Unfortunately, the same was true this time around. The anesthesiologist asked if I had any history of back surgery, or scoliosis, and the answer was no. He went through about 6 different epidural kits, none of which were successful. This lasted for about 45 minutes, during which I was having regularly timed, painful contractions, and had to remain completely still. The anesthesiologist ended up calling ANOTHER anesthesiologist to see if he would have more success. One hour later and many prods later, I finally had the epidural. We were finally able to get a little rest. A few hours later, they checked me, and my dilation hadn't changed; I was still a 7. At that point, we decided we were going to be proactive and try to encourage the baby into the proper position. We alternated between the peanut ball, rotating from side to side, and sitting the bed up in the "throne position." Hours later, when we checked again, I still hadn't had any change in dilation. Fortunately for me, the OB on-call that night was agreeable to me being given a small dose of pitocin to help encourage further regularity of my contractions, and hopefully dilation. (Midwives do not have the authority to use pitocin, and had forewarned me that the OBs on-call likely would not be open to any augmentations of labor as it could [fractionally] increase my risk for uterine rupture.)
At that point, we had been in the hospital long enough that new nurses took over, and the next midwife on duty took over. Additionally, a new OB was on the floor. The new OB also was agreeable to pitocin augmentation, and incrementally increased the dose to encourage further progress. At 10:00 am on 07/06/17 (over 24 hours since my water had broken), they checked my dilation again, and I was still at a 7-8. At that point, it was recommended that we schedule a repeat c-section. While it was not the ending that I was hoping for, I was at peace with this decision. My primary concern in this whole process was being truly supported in my VBAC attempt, and everyone from the on-call OBs, nurses, midwives, and my doula all wanted my VBAC for me just as badly as I did. I felt supported, encouraged, and in control of the decision making process; free from bullying or scare tactics.
|While I don't love me in this photo, I love how|
sweet and caring Rob is. It was a perfect moment captured by my midwife.
The c-section itself was surprisingly gentle; more gentle than my previous c-section. With my last, I remember the tugging and pulling pressure actually made me cry despite being anesthetized. This time around, there was virtually no pain. While there was no pain, I still got the violent shakes that comes with the medications given. It was pretty bad, but since I had already experienced it before, it wasn't as alarming this time around. Rob said it was scary and hard for him to watch me in that state, and it gave me a deeper appreciation for what a toll birth takes on a couple as a whole, not just the mother.
Anne Arundel Medical Center practices "family-centered" c-sections, where your spouse is allowed in the room, you have the option for a clear drape (NO THANKS), and your own music playing. We threw on some Hawaiian music, and Braddah Iz was playing in the O.R. when Elijah was born (Hawaii '78 to be specific). It was comforting to have my music playing, Rob there, and a midwife who was very calming and reassuring. At 12:01pm on July 06, 2017, our baby boy was born. Elijah was 8 pounds, 12.6 oz and 21.5 inches long! All that gestating naturally led to a sturdy little (big) guy!
While it was unknown to me at the time, Elijah was initially born in a somewhat poor condition. The APGAR scale rates babies on appearance, heart rate, breathing, etc with a high score of 10. When Elijah was first born, his APGAR was a 3 total. They whisked him away to work on him, and my midwife did a great job distracting me and keeping me calm. Rob said it was scary for him, though, because when he first saw Elijah, he looked gray, and the doctors and nurses made him leave the room while they focused on Elijah. Apparently, he had ingested some of the amniotic fluid, and they needed to clear it from his airway/lungs before getting him to breathe. After 5 minutes, they reassessed his condition and noted him as a 7, and then a few minutes later he was noted as a 9. I did not realize the severity of the situation until we got a bill in the mail with the medical billing code noted as "newborn birth with resuscitation." We are so grateful that our baby boy is fully recovered and healthy!
Rob and I had both agreed we loved the name Elijah while we were still pregnant with Uriah. While we didn't feel that Elijah fit the name of our first baby, we definitely knew that this baby boy's name was to be Elijah. We loved the name Elijah, because of its scriptural background, and its compliment to Uriah's name and meaning. Elijah means "My God is God," or "Yaweh is God." Uriah means, "Yaweh (or the Lord) is my light." We love that their names have a link to one another.
Additionally, I had been grappling with what Hawaiian name we wanted to give Elijah. Rob and I wanted again something that represented brothers, or closeness. I also knew that I wanted to incorporate "Hiwa" or "Hiwahiwa" into the name, as it is a family name that all of our Hawaiian/Kimokeo side has included in their children's names. (My brother, cousin, and 2 nephews all have hiwahiwa in their names.) I also wanted to give a nod to my Dad, whose middle name is Hiwa. In addition to this, the Hiwa name was also a part of my paternal Grandfather and Great-Grandfather's middle names. I had asked my friend Ka'ena (we were in Hawaiian class at Kamehameha together) if she had any suggestions giving her the idea of what we wanted. She suggested and we decided on the middle name "Hoapilihiwahiwa," which means a cherished or beloved close companion/friend. It is such a simple, beautiful name and meaning, and perfectly captured what we wanted represented in his name. This middle name has been proven time and again even in this short period that Elijah has been born; Uriah is SO gentle and sweet with his brother, and basically obsessed with him. Every morning, Uriah excitedly runs over to greet his brother. Aside from that, Elijah has been MY hoapili, too - in the sense that 1) he wanted to "stay close" to me for SO LONG in the womb, and 2) he still loves being "pili" to me even on the outside. 'Opihi would've also been an appropriate middle name.
While it has been an adjustment for us with a new baby and an energetic toddler, we are so happy that Elijah is a part of our family! We are definitely getting the swing of the "2 kids" thing, and look forward to all of the adventures that lie ahead for our family.