Scottie’s Birth Story
Today I’m sharing my daughter, Scottie’s birth story. Despite my fears due to a difficult labor with my first child and a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had a very positive labor and birth experience this time around, which I am truly grateful for. I’ve also shared a few photos at the bottom of the post.
Thanks for reading!
Because my son, Shepard, was born 7 days late, I sort of knew in my heart that my daughter would also be late. I had read a few articles saying that even though people always think second children come sooner, they actually tend to come around the same time their siblings did – so if your first child came early, it’s likely the second would as well. Same with being late. That being said, starting at 37 weeks, I was contracting like a crazy person and already dilated 2cm, so I also sort of had this hope she’d come early or at least on time. Well, by Thanksgiving day, she was three days late and I was more uncomfortable than ever. We hadn’t made any plans for Thanksgiving because #COVID, and we also thought that she’d be there by then or that we’d be in the hospital – we were wrong. My mom had been at our house for several days because she was going to be on Shep duty once we had to go to the hospital, so once it was looking like the baby wasn’t coming on Thanksgiving, we invited my dad to come up so that he wasn’t alone and could have some grandpa time with Shep.
We ate an easy makeshift Thanksgiving late lunch / early dinner around 3:00pm and by 4:00pm I started contracting every five minutes. This was nothing new – I had been contracting every five minutes for 4-6 hours at a time for several days. Every time I had thought “this is probably it!” and then was disappointed to find out that it in fact, was not it. At my last doctor’s appointment two days prior, I’d been 75% effaced and 3.5 cm dilated – so everyone kept telling me once I started contracting not to wait too long because she’d probably come a lot faster than Shepard did (being our second). It was hard to know what to do – because they say once you contract every five minutes for two plus hours you should go to the hospital, but I’d been doing that for days and nothing was ever progressing past that. This time, after about three hours, they did taper off, and so I joined Eric and my parents in watching a movie after Shep was down for the night and then went to bed after.
I woke up around 2:00am with more contractions. “This again,” I thought, but they felt stronger than they had been. After about 20 minutes I decided to start timing them and sure enough, they were back every five minutes and lasting 1-2 minutes each. Within an hour, they were coming every 3-5 minutes and so around 3:00am, I woke Eric up and told him that if they continued at this pace and got stronger, we should go in. I was now four days overdue and also so over being pregnant and these contractions. We decided to wait until 4:00am, at which point I texted my mom (who was sleeping in our basement guest room) and let her know she would be on Shep duty starting at four. She replied right away – she must’ve had her own mother’s intuition that tonight was the night.
With Shep, I had wanted and did stay home and labor as long as possible – but we ended up having a challenging birth and an epidural that didn’t work (you can read that birth story here) and so this time I was trying to get to the hospital before I was in the terrible pain of a super active labor. I tried not having expectations, but I wanted to do everything I could to not be in a state of panic when I arrived like I had been 2.5 years prior. Shep was also OP which caused coupling (double) contractions and back labor, so I wasn’t totally sure what “typical” labor felt like when your baby was in the correct position. The moral of this part of the story is I just wanted to get to the hospital so I was in a safe space and had ample time to get the epidural so that I could *hopefully* have a better experience this time around.
With that, we arrived at the hospital around 4:15am – since I wasn’t in a huge amount of pain, they took me to a room to check me (I was still at a 3.5cm dilated) and monitor the contractions without admitting me, and told me they’d keep an eye on things for a couple of hours to see if I progressed at all. We could see the contractions coming every 3-5 minutes on the monitor, but I still was not in a ton of pain, until about 5:30am. At that point, I really had to start focusing on staying relaxed. I asked Eric to stand up, hold my hands, and help me breathe through the contractions when I started feeling that familiar panicked feeling. Feeling like I wasn’t sure if I could do this – feeling like how could I possibly get through this labor again if the epidural didn’t work. We also were asked to wear masks every time anyone came in the room, and so I was also wondering if I could do all of this while also wearing a mask. I looked up at Eric mid-contraction and trembling and told him I couldn’t do it — and then he did what he is so great at, which is staying calm and gave me some sort of advice I can’t remember now that helped me relax and feel more confident. The nurse came in at 6:00am and checked me — I’d only progressed about a half centimeter in those two hours, but she’d spoken to the doctor and since I had progressed a bit, and I was four days over, AND I was now getting super uncomfortable, she said “let’s have this baby today!”
We had to move down the hall according to when I could stand and walk upright in between contractions. By then I was contracting every couple of minutes and they hurt a LOT. I was trying my best to breathe through them and stay as calm as possible. They moved me into the room I’d be delivering in, and started the formal admission process. Admission process included a long questionnaire that the nurse runs through with you, COVID-19 swab, IVs, catheter, blood draw, etc., which takes a lot of time! More time than you’d think when you are in a lot of pain every couple of minutes and are having to white knuckle through all of it because it has to be completed before the anesthesiologist could come in with the epidural. It was also coming up on shift change time, so the nurse warned me that it could take a bit longer than usual to get the anesthesiologist up there. I asked for an estimated time (can you say control freak?) so that I could mentally come to terms with it, and she said anywhere from 45-60 minutes. Oh my God. A few minutes later she came back in and cheerily told me, “Great news, the anesthesiologist called right when she got here and asked if anyone in L&D needed her. I told her yes, and she is on her way up now!” I wanted to cry of happiness and kiss my nurse right then and there. “Thank you SO MUCH,” I said.
In came the anesthesiologist, a woman, who asked me how my first birth went and how the epidural took. “Horribly!” I blurted, “It failed on my left side.” I went on to tell her that my first was OP and she told me that she too, had had a baby who was OP and she understood exactly the type of pain I was talking about. She reassured me that she would get this epidural in and if it didn’t work how it should, she’d come back as many times as I needed her to to ensure I was comfortable. I loved her instantly and was so grateful that she was a woman. She understood the pain I was in, had been there herself, and was so on top of her game that she had called the minute she got to the hospital to see who needed help in L&D. What a rockstar.
Epidural went in around 7:00am and it worked – after a few minutes I felt nothing from the waist down and I could finally relax. The doctor came in, checked me (I was now between 4.5cm-5cm) broke my water, and told me she’d come back in a few hours to check me again and see how things progressed. Eric and I spent the next three hours trying to chill and get a nap in. He passed out immediately – I was too excited but did get 20-30 minutes in at some point. Around 9:30am I started getting really uncomfortable on my left side and could feel every contraction. “It’s failing again…” I cringed at the thought. The nurse and I tried shifting positions a few times, but nothing was working. This time, I knew that I could ask for the anesthesiologist to come back. My angel, the anesthesiologist, was back within 10-15 minutes. She said there must be some sort of anatomical reason that the left side was failing again – there was likely some tissue there or something that kept the medicine from getting through like it did on the right side. So (if I’m remembering correctly) she re-adjusted it’s position and put more medicine in so that it would push past that extra tissue, and that did the trick. Hallelujah!
At 10:00am, the doctor came back in and checked me, “You’re fully dilated and effaced!” she said. Wow…that was easy. She gave me two options – I could start pushing now or we could wait an hour to get the baby in a more favorable position and then push after that. I decided on the latter. I was comfortable and wanted her to be as low as possible to make pushing easier this time around.
After an hour, the nurse came in and it was go time. She grabbed my right leg, asked Eric to hold my left, and coached me on how to push. We waited for the next contraction to come and then we got the party started. I couldn’t feel A THING – so I had no clue if I was doing a good job pushing or if it was moving the baby down at all. I couldn’t get a read on the nurse’s face either. She said I was doing a good job but was she just being nice? It’s hard to tell when everyone is wearing a mask. After two contractions – she got on her radio system and called the doctor. “It’s time to have a baby,” she told her. Holy cow – she was almost here!
The doctor came in (who was a super cool young gal by the way) and gave me a few more tips on pushing, and we started again. I have to mention, it was at this point that Eric stopped everyone and said “As long as the baby is healthy and okay, can we please make sure we place her on Kaci’s chest when she comes out,” and I’ve never loved him more. He knew this was a moment I’d missed with Shep and truly grieved after the fact. It was all I wanted as long as it was safe to do so. I had even told myself it probably wouldn’t happen this way, and that it was okay if it didn’t. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I knew that what was important was her being safe and healthy, but deep down I wanted it so badly.
Two more contractions, she was already crowning and the doctor had me reach down to feel her little head. This gave me all the motivation I needed, as I wanted to make sure she could breathe and get out ASAP. She then asked Eric if he’d like to feel the head, to which he politely declined. LOL. He was just doing his best to see as little as possible haha.
Anyway, (with my mask on) I was pushing as hard as I could, and though I couldn’t feel the pain, I could feel what I can only describe as a deep pressure and emotion building in my head and chest. It wasn’t because of the mask – I’d forgotten all about it. It had been 40+ weeks of constant stress and worry. 40+ weeks of a global pandemic that we were hurled into out of nowhere. 40+ weeks of being terrified of getting COVID and harming the baby. 40+ weeks of telling family and friends that no, we couldn’t see them or make plans with them. 40+ weeks of me being too nervous to let myself get really excited about this sweet baby girl that would join our family, for fear something would go wrong. It was such a long and stressful and challenging year of being pregnant, that I was putting all that energy I’d suppressed for 9+ months into those pushes. Fifth contraction…I focused everything I had into getting our daughter here safely and out she came…18 minutes after we’d started pushing.
“What a big girl!” the doctor cheered as they placed her on my chest. I had no context of her size, she looked like a normal-sized baby to me. 🙂 I could hear her crying loudly as babies are supposed to, and then over her crying I heard myself weeping. Now, I am not a cryer or an overly emotional person. Motherhood has made me softer, but this was like a faucet that was left on and I was gushing tears and audibly sobbing and shaking. Like I said, I had pent up all of my emotions the entire year and pregnancy and it all came out when little (big) Scottie was born. It’s hard to explain the depth of the love and emotion I instantly felt for her. I was (and am) just so grateful for her and was absolutely elated to have her here and hold her close.
The doctor asked Eric if he wanted to cut the cord, to which he said yes and did. He later told me that this made him extremely nervous he was going to cut the wrong spot but felt he couldn’t tell her no after declining the opportunity to touch her crowning head. LOL. After another several minutes they took her to weigh and measure her – she was 9 lbs, 15.5 oz and 21 inches long. My big sweet baby girl.
A note on COVID
Before going into labor, I’d asked our MFM community for advice on the COVID procedures during childbirth and for thoughts on wearing a mask during labor and pushing. I spent so much time worried about this and stressing about my ability to do it with a mask on. Many of you told me that it wouldn’t be a big deal and that I wouldn’t even notice I was wearing it. You were right. Had I pushed for longer, who knows if I would feel the same way, but there’s just something about childbirth where everything goes out the window and only the important things come into a sharp focus. Wearing a mask wasn’t one of them. So screw you COVID, you were not able to take away from my beautiful birth story.
A few photos from the first few days…
In between contractions while we were waiting to decide if it was time to go to the hospital (did not look like this during contractions LOL)
Pulling up to the hospital
Epidural in, Eric sleeping, I am too excited to sleep 🙂
The moment sweet Scottie arrived – so overcome with emotions!
Scottie and Eric’s first photo together 🙂
Our first photo with the three of us in the hospital
Busting out of the hospital
Big brother couldn’t love her more!
Enjoying some mommy and Scottie cuddle time
Scottie’s first time in COO BABY pajamas – this was truly a full circle moment for me and I was very, very proud
Safe to say I love dressing this little lady – all pink everything
Our sleepy girl
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