In case you’re short on time, here is the cliff-notes version of our latest baby’s birth story:
- Doctor stripped membranes on my due date (Wednesday).
- A friend gave me a foot zone late Friday night.
- First contractions at 2 am Saturday morning.
- Woke husband at 6 am to go to the hospital.
- Took kids to friend’s house at 7 am.
- Arrived at hospital at 7:30 am. I was 6 centimeters dilated and very soft.
- Got Epidural at 10:15 am.
- The doctor broke water at 10:55 am.
- Used a Pink Peanut Ball at 12:50 am.
- Rebecca was delivered at 1:35 pm Saturday after 3-4 contractions, weighing 11lbs 2oz and 22.5″ long.
- 2:10 Placenta was manually extracted.
Now on to the FULL birth story, with all the lovely details!
Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to have five children. I thought it was the perfect number of children to have.
Large, but not massive, which I felt my family of 9 (technically 11) children was. I loved being part of a large family (I’m the youngest) and wanted that large family feel for my own future family.
When my husband and I prayed about adding to our family last year I was super excited. I wanted another child to join our family and didn’t care if it was another daughter or another son.
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It took a couple months to get pregnant this time around, but we finally did and were happy to be expecting baby number five, another daughter, the end of January 2018, when our fourth child would be 2.5 years old.
Pregnancy with Fifth Child
Blame it on the fact that I’m almost 30 or that I started this pregnancy like 15lbs heavier than any of my others, but this pregnancy proved more painful than my others.
By the end, I was having more problems sleeping through the night, was swollen everywhere, had new varicose veins in my hoo-hah, got even more stretch marks on my butt, and was stiff and sore in my back and hips often. Moving was around was much more difficult in general this time.
At the end of my pregnancy, I weighed a whopping 220lbs, gaining in total around 65lbs. My previous pregnancies I gained around 40-55lbs, including my twin pregnancy. I never want to weigh over 200 lbs again!
It’s alive!! This is like the most active my baby has been so I’m glad to catch it on camera! Maybe she is just as ready as me to come out. I have to say, I love recording video of my babies moving around in my stomach. It is one of the most unique experiences of being pregnant. Can’t wait to meet this daughter of ours. She WILL be worth it. ❤🤰
A month or so before my due date, a friend asked what they should pray for in terms of what I wished for the outcome of my pregnancy. And it made me think. What did I really want to happen? Obviously a healthy mom and healthy baby, but what specifically in terms of the birth?
In the end, I decided that what I would pray for (and ask others to pray for) was that the baby would come on her own, vaginally, and that I wouldn’t have to be induced or have a C-section. And that I would have patience.
As you can imagine, as my due date approached, I began to get anxious and relive all the reasons why it sucks being 9 months pregnant. But, like my previous pregnancies, I went over my due date yet again.
Another Overdue Pregnancy
The patience part was hard, especially when at my 38 weeks doctor’s appointment, my doctor informed me that he was against stripping membranes.
While it isn’t exactly “natural,” the process of stripping membranes has very low negative side effects, doesn’t involve any drugs, and is done and over with in just a couple minutes. Stripping membranes has been a great help to me in my previous pregnancies to finally get some contractions going so I was very upset and annoyed for the last couple weeks of my pregnancy that he was against it for what I considered ridiculous reasons.
I was especially upset because my doctor was willing to induce me with Pitocin at 39 weeks and on my due date, despite the fact that Pitocin increases the risk of uterine rupture in VBAC patients (which I technically am still) and considering the fact that research has shown the best possible outcomes for delivery are when a mother is allowed to wait and go into labor naturally.
So those last couple weeks of my pregnancy my husband and I did other things to try to get labor going on its own. We had frequent sex, ate spicy foods and pizza, went walking a bunch, and so on. I even borrowed a yoga ball from a friend to sit on in the evenings to hopefully open up the pathway and get baby to lower herself down (and bonus: it helped some of my back pains) and did other stretches and movements said to help get baby in the right position for birth (she was already head down).
Me on my due date, showing off my girth
At my 40-week doctor’s appointment, on a Wednesday, after my doctor had checked me and confirmed I was still only 1-2 centimeters dilated, I asked if he would strip my membranes. And would you believe it? He said he would if I wanted him to. I said I wanted him to!
The next day I finally started to have some more contractions, but they weren’t very regular. I had already been having some contractions here and there for the last week before my due date, but they never stuck around for long or were regular. But they began to be more regular the day after he stripped my membranes.
However, the next day, Friday, I had like no contractions all day. It was actually a very hard day emotionally for both my husband and myself as we continued to be upset that I still hadn’t gone into labor, I still hadn’t delivered this baby, that she still wasn’t here.
So, that night I went over to a friend’s house and she gave me a Foot Zone. She is a newly certified foot zoner and she even offered to do the zone for free for me (cause she’s wonderful). I had a couple contractions while at their home, but again, went to bed that evening without being in labor.
However, a mere 6 hours after she finished the foot zone, labor did start. This time for real!
Labor with Baby #5
At around 2 am, I woke up in bed with a painful contraction. And then promptly fell back asleep after it went away. But, then I felt another painful contraction not too long later, and another. I eventually decided to get up out of bed around 2:45 am to see how far apart these really were (as I was falling asleep between them) and I had an app on my phone (which was downstairs).
I went potty, got a drink, grabbed my phone, and went back to bed with my handy phone app. This time I would hit the start and stop button when I felt the contractions. They were about 10-12 minutes apart, and pretty painful, with me saying “Ow, ow, ow, ow” as the big swell occurred and I felt it in my lower abdomen and lower back. I made sure I was breathing through them.
I eventually got up and went downstairs so I could watch some TV and sit on the yoga ball. I was still doubtful the contractions would actually continue and be the real deal as they hadn’t been many times before. But, they continued, were strong and painful, and got about 7 minutes apart sometimes, occasionally even only 4 or 5 minutes apart.
I pushed through them for the next few hours, not wanting to wake up my family or call a friend to come in the middle of the night if not fully needed.
At 6am I finally went to our bedroom and thankfully, my husband had just woke up and I told him I had been having contractions and that we needed to get ready for the hospital.
So, we finally packed our hospital bags (oops!), showered quick, called some friends to see who we could drop our kids off with, woke up the kids, and ate some breakfast. And of course, it was raining that morning and there was a giant puddle all around our car that we had to walk through (this is an on-going issue in our apartment….).
We dropped the kids off at our friend’s house around 7 am. We then arrived at the hospital around 7:30 am.
We sat in triage for like 15 or 20 minutes without anyone coming in to check me or talk to me or anything, which was annoying. My husband eventually went out into the hallway and was like, “Can someone please come check my wife?” and they were like “what room are you in?” And he’s like “We’re in the triage room and have been for like 15 minutes.” “Oh, okay, yeah, we’ll get someone in there in a minute.”
My doctor came in about 7:45 am and checked me. My husband and I always fear that I won’t be very far along and will have to go home or something as my labor tend to be very long. So, when my doctor began counting “1, 2” and then paused for just a second, our hearts stopped. Oh no! I wasn’t dilated!
But, then he continued counting “3, 4, 5, 6!” I was 6 centimeters dilated and very soft and ready to go.
YEAH! Could you hear the angels singing?!
I was hopeful that I was far along as the contractions were very strong, even if they weren’t very close together yet. I’m also impressed that I got to a 6 before going in.
I was moved to a delivery room and the nurse, named Theresa, got us checked in, asked us a slew of questions, and inserted an IV.
The anesthesiologist finally came in after that to give me the epidural. She was a perfectionist and I felt took forever to actually insert the darn thing and get it going!
The bed had too much air in it… My right shoulder was a smidge too high… I need to curve my back even more (which is super hard when you have a giant belly and having contractions)…
She felt my spine up and down for like 2 solid minutes to find the perfect spot and the whole thing took like 20 minutes or three separate contractions. At one point I wanted to scream at her “ARE YOU DONE YET?!”
It was finally placed around 10:15 am. And it was so wonderful! My nurse then inserted my catheter.
I took a little nap for about 30 minutes until my doctor came in to break my water at 10:55 am.
He told me that breaking my water should help speed things up a bit and he would be back in 2 hours to check me and see if I had made progress or not. If I hadn’t he’d like to start some Pitocin to help things along.
Well, over an hour later my nurse wanted to check me as my contractions were slowing down, as was the baby’s heart beat a little bit so she wanted to see if she was moving into position. She wasn’t. I was STILL AT 6 CENTIMETERS! She told me that I was very loose and soft and that as soon as the baby got into just the right position, she’d come sliding out.
She recommended that I try using a peanut ball – a giant pink peanut-shaped ball (of the same ilk as a yoga ball) – between my legs and lay on my left side. I said, I’d love to try it, as I agree with her about positioning. I feel like with my two previous vaginal deliveries, in the end, it was always a matter of getting them in the right position and then I was ready to go.
At about 12:50 pm I put the peanut between my legs and laid on my left side in the bed. Almost immediately the contractions picked up and were only a few minutes apart. I could even feel some of the contractions a bit still and knew they were strong, some often going off the chart. But, I still wasn’t getting the feeling to push quite yet.
The final trick was lowering the head of my bed just a smidge lower. It apparently wasn’t all the way flat like I had thought. Once I lowered it, I finally felt the baby move into position and felt like I needed to push.
The nurse checked me and told me I was complete but that baby was still a smidge high.
Yeah for no Pitocin needed!!
Delivery of Baby #5
She had me do some “practice pushing” as she called the doctor and he would be a minute before he could come to the room.
I rolled back onto my back (with help of course) and on the next contraction bore down and moved the baby on down. I got to do another “practice push” before the doctor finally came and got suited up.
On the next contraction I pushed down nice and hard and almost got her out, but the contraction stopped and her head was right at the exit, slowly trying to come out on its own! My husband remarked he could see her eyebrow. And I assure you I could feel a nice burning ring around her head! Where was that next contraction!! I needed to get her out now! Ouch!
When the next contraction finally came I pushed her out and our fourth daughter, Rebecca Evelyn Fagan, was finally here! Born at 1:35 pm on a Saturday with a full head of thick dark brown hair.
They put her on my chest and cleaned her off a bit (cause I think I pooped on her. Oops! Sorry hun!) and my doctor stitched up my little second degree tearing. They cleaned off our baby and weighed her on the scale.
I was able to start nursing her at about 1:59 pm, hoping it would help my placenta to deliver, as it still wasn’t coming out.
My doctor said that because my baby was large, so was my placenta and that it wasn’t separating from the wall of my uterus very easily. He feared it could be possible it had adhered to some scar tissue (from my C-section) and that it may require a hysterectomy.
As a 29-year-old, I do NOT want a hysterectomy, thank you very much! But, he also said that if it didn’t loosen up, nor if he could not manually extract it, I would have to go to the operating room and have a D&C (dilation and curettage).
After 35 minutes of having my baby, my doctor went in manually to remove my placenta… meaning his arm was literally inside me up to his elbow to remove my placenta from my uterus.
This was NOT a pleasant experience and I am grateful I had the epidural still as the nurses and doctors massaged and pushed on my uterus. But, thanks be to God, it was extracted. Nurses in the room were praising God too, as was I. I didn’t want things to escalate beyond this!
So at 2:10 pm I finally delivered the placenta. And didn’t have any hemorrhaging!
We hung out in the delivery room until that evening around 7 pm when they moved me over to a recovery room. I wasn’t able to get out of bed on my feet very well (I tried to stand, but wobbled), so I had to have another catheter inserted to empty my bladder.
Meeting the Family
My husband left and picked up our children so that they could come meet their new sister. I heard them outside the door in the hallway and quickly grabbed my phone and hit record so that I could get their initial reactions of meeting their sister, and I am so glad I did because it’s precious and adorable! My kids are so great.
The Hospital Stay
This was the fourth hospital I had delivered at and the fourth doctor I’ve had. We’ve switched hospital and doctors for every pregnancy, so I never know what to expect.
The nurses at this hospital were great and they totally took care of ME the mom. They took my baby between feedings so that I could sleep because they knew I was tired. This was a game changer for me.
My biggest problem with hospitals has been their lack nurseries. Because I don’t have family to stay with me in the hospital, I am left to care for a screaming, fussy, wobbly newborn on little to no sleep while recovering from childbirth. This makes me an emotional mess! Big time!
Thanks to wonderful nurses who helped overnight and even during the day to let me nap and sleep, I actually got sleep in the hospital and wasn’t the huge emotional train wreck I usually am post-baby. It has made a world of difference!
I had one friend stop by with a balloon and some goodies while I was in the hospital which was nice to have. My kids and husband came by several times as well.
I had to supplement my large baby with some ready-to-eat Similac bottles after our nursing sessions to help keep her blood sugars high. They were testing her before feedings and then an hour after feeding by pricking her heel and continued until she passed the test three times in a row (or something like that). Unfortunately, she would get just below 50 and so they’d have to prick her again.
Even though I am very pro-breastfeeding (I nurse well past a year), this didn’t bother me at all. I knew that without supplementing, she’d get more heel pricks and we’d be at the hospital longer. I also knew my milk would be a little bit in coming in. A fed baby is better than a starving baby any day.
We took home a few bottles and my kids enjoyed being able to feed Becky themselves a few times too. My milk is now fully in and she seems more than satiated after nursing sessions.
The First Week Home
I left the hospital late Monday morning and came home to a bit of a messy home. This week has proven difficult in some ways, but also much better than I thought.
This week my husband came down with a nasty virus (not the flu – he got it checked) that had him feverish for days, coughing, unable to sleep, no appetite, and running to the bathroom. He was therefore not as much help as I’d like with a brand new baby, but he did his best despite feeling like crap. He even taught on Thursday.
She is our first winter baby though, and this flu season is nuts and horrible and has me stressing out like crazy. I have been praying hard all week that my baby doesn’t get sick and that God would protect her from these germs and viruses.
I did extra laundry this week, cleaned the house, took Rebecca to a doctor’s appointment, took her to get newborn photos done at JCPenney, and went out to run some errands at a couple stores.
We were blessed to have some meals brought to us by people from church this week as well, which took care of the “feeding the kids” requirement which has been great. We will have a few more meals provided next week as well. I love our church!
Thankfully, my newborn has been a pretty good sleeper, sleeping in several good 3-4 hour chunks at night. Sometimes she is more restless between feeding sessions and whatnot, but that’s okay. I am making sure I am heading to bed for the evening at early hours (9-10:30 pm), rather than staying up until midnight or later working or something like I used to do.
My kids all love her and have enjoyed holding her and looking at her and helping to burp her.
I truly feel like this transition, at least this week, has been very smooth overall. And I’m feeling pretty rested, which is a miracle.
I am very thankful I am no longer pregnant! My body still often feels as if it got ran over by a truck for some reason, hurting in every area, but other times I feel pretty great. My stomach is shrinking and my weight is dropping.
I absolutely love my new baby and feel like she has already blessed me in many ways to be a better mother. There’s something about the spirit she’s brought into our home.
My son, like the first full day of being home, said he wanted us to have more babies, and that he wanted us to keep trying until we had another boy, so he could have a brother! He began chanting “More babies! More babies! More babies!”
I do not know if we will have more children, but we haven’t said no to the idea completely either. For now, I am happy to have a fifth child and to see how that goes before I decide on whether or not to add any more to this wonderful family of ours.
If you are interested in learning more about VBACs check out the following posts:
C-Section Vs VBAC – The Pros and Cons of Both
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