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Blockbuster Birth: Baby Boldly co-founder Megan's 2nd birth story

Blockbuster Birth: Baby Boldly co-founder Megan's 2nd birth story

The way Hollywood depicts labor and birth has always irked me. The drama of the rapid labor, the screaming mother, the nervously running father - it was not like that for my first birth (see that birth story here), nor for many birth stories I’d been told. 

And then I had my second baby. If a camera had been following me, trust me, you would have watched it with popcorn.

 

Lots of Drama, Momma

While my first pregnancy was about as “by the book” as you could get, the second was full of drama. I was rushed to the hospital for unexplained bleeding around 12 weeks, though all was fine. Around 37 weeks, baby girl was not growing as much as was desired and my doctor started talking about inducing me early. That’s another story, and luckily we avoided an induced labor. All this amid a global pandemic. 

Founder Megan seven months pregnant

Megan, seven months pregnant in Aug 2020

Also, unlike my first pregnancy, I experienced a lot of braxton hicks with #2. Too many times I thought, “is this it?” and inevitably, it was not. This happened daily for 2-3 weeks. Finally, a week after my due date and a couple days after having my membranes sweeped, I feel a strong contraction that wakes me from sleep. It is about 3:30am. 

 

It Begins

I immediately pull out the contraction timer tool in my Babycenter app and try to go back to sleep. I feel another about 30 minutes later. OK, I think I have some time here. But there is no way I can go back to sleep. It’s finally happening! And on November 19, my best friend’s birthday. I text her to let her know she’ll likely be sharing a birthday with my daughter. 

I decided to distract myself by placing some inventory re-orders for our signature line of non-toxic, pre-packed birth bags, AKA: “Belly & Bag”. What can I say, I’m a multi-tasker! The contractions start getting closer together and stronger. I’m standing in my kitchen at my computer and pausing to breathe through the pressure waves. 

It’s now about 4:30am and I wake my husband to let him know it’s (finally) happening. As birth veterans, we are both excited, yet calm. He makes coffee and I decide to take a bath. I have several hours of labor ahead of me (or so I think), so I want to help pass some of it weightless in the tub.

 

“I’m not going to make it to the hospital!”

I’m now reading my birth affirmation card (which we pack in every Belly & Bag), and eating fruit, yogurt and toast in the bath, breathing through contractions. My husband gets into the shower next to me, timing my contractions. Oddly, with each contraction about a minute in-between the contractions is shaved off. After about 30 minutes in the tub, they are now about 5 minutes apart and with wide-eyes I tell him “I think we need to go.” He agrees. 

baby boldly birth affirmation card

Birth affirmation card included in all pre-packed birth bags by Baby Boldly

The second I stood up from the bath - BAM, a strong one. I walk to my closet to get dressed - BAM, another. I’m getting really nervous. I pull on my leggings and walk down the hall to tell my mom we are leaving (Thankfully she was staying with us to care for my toddler.) - BAM, another really strong one. This one brings me to a squatted position in the hall. I’m hanging on to the door frame and I start to cry. I said, “I’m so scared, I don’t think I’m going to make it to the hospital.” Later, she told me she almost offered to deliver the baby right there in the hallway. She’s a nurse, but oh my, that would have been terrifying for all of us. 

At this point, my husband is running everything out to the car and we are peeling out of the driveway. I tell him to grab a towel for the seat because I expect my water would break in the car. I was right.

My contractions are on top of each other at this point. Maybe 1-2 minutes apart. And STRONG. I lean the seat back but it isn’t far enough. With each wave, I push my feet against the floorboards and lay across the middle console. I couldn’t put pressure on my bottom because (unknowingly) the baby was starting to crown. I was so scared. My husband remained almost oddly calm. He just kept saying “you can do it, we will make it.”

 

Time to {not} push

I want to push so bad. With each contraction I breathe short, rapid breaths in order to not push - a trick I’d picked up from all those Call the Midwife episodes. We pull up to the hospital because we are still in the COVID pandemic, the doors into the atrium are open, but those into the hospital are locked. You have to ring a doorbell and a nurse comes to screen your temperature before letting you in. My husband rings the bell, “hello?” the nurse says through the intercom. “My wife is in labor!” “OK, we will be right there.” 

Another contraction and I can’t stand through it. I was so close to laying down on the ground in the atrium and pushing. I consider it but a year of pandemic germaphobia keeps me off the dirty floor. But I can’t hold this baby in any longer. My husband rings again and I shout “COME NOW!” They open the door and he half-carries me inside a few feet. We see two nurses and a wheelchair running down the hall towards us. 

There’s no way I can sit in this wheelchair. The baby was coming out! I knelt on the seat and laid over the armrest. They asked me my name, and some other things (I don’t remember) as they ran into the triage room. They told me the doctor was on her way to the parking lot, but they caught her in time and she will be there in a couple minutes, so don’t push. UGH!

A flurry of nurses prep a bed that is usually reserved for checking that someone truly is in labor and taking vitals while waiting for a labor & delivery room to be available. They lay down sheets and help me out of the chair. I lay on the bed, short breaths through the contractions while they peel off my clothes. 

Maybe two minutes later (though it felt like 20), the doctor comes in - she’s not my usual OB, but she’s one I really love at my practice. She enters the room as she’s pulling on her gloves, a nurse is tying up her gown.  She asks me once more not to push just yet, (AYFKM, I think), she checks whatever it is that makes her feel comfortable and she says, OK this next contraction, you can push. 

 

Target Run

YES! I do. I yell through it. I remember the burning pain. It hurt, yes, but also it was relieving to be able to finally allow my body to do what it had been wanting to do for the past 45 minutes. One big push, and the head is out. “Just one more!” the doctor says. I push again, I loudly yell/groan again through this one, immense pressure and then immediate relief. She’s out!

In one swift move, my daughter is placed on my chest. And I start to dry sob as I shakily hold her. The time is 6:06am. 

Megan holding baby at birth

First portrait together - Megan and Brie

After a few minutes holding, crying, laugh-crying, I begin to come down from the adrenaline rush of what has just happened. A nurse gives me an IV (they push pitocin post-labor in order to help contract the uterus back down) and soon we are wheeled through the unit into our delivery room. I’m holding my baby and we are chuckling at the irony.

About an hour later the baby passed all the newborn checks with flying colors, I had a minor tear that was stitched, I was able to stand up and go to the bathroom on my own, all is well. My husband says “that was like a good Target run, I’m ready to go home.” Ha! 

 

Life with Brie

My recovery was ten times better than with my first birth, a great benefit of a fast labor. The ease continued with my sweet Baby Brie. The second time around with a newborn was far easier for my husband and me, both mentally and physically. (Then she hit the 4 month sleep regression, but we won’t go there today.) She came into the world fast and furious, but inspired immense joy immediately, and still does every day. 

Mom and newborn

Brie at 10 days old

It all worked out, yes, but I learned a lot of lessons that day. I learned a lot about my body and yet again, what it is capable of. But mostly, I learned that those Hollywood birth portrayals are rare in real life, but perhaps not as far from reality as I once thought.

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