I’m currently sitting with an almost two week old little guy cuddled up on my chest. Becoming a mama again has been the most wonderful gift I could have ever imagined. I think that I grew a second heart just to make room for all of the love I have for him. Then there’s the third heart that holds all of the love I gain in the moments I watch my two babies interact. Elouise is already the best big sister and is so sweet to her brother. Well, it took me over a year and a half to write down Elouise’s birth story and I was not going to wait that long to document little man’s arrival. So without further ado, I give you the story of how we met Sullivan Gray Cannon.
False Alarm, Sort of
This time around I was convinced that I would not have any false alarms, instead I would be patient and really listen to my body. Well, I almost achieved that, but I had about half of a false alarm. I had my 38 week checkup on a Friday and was told that I was only 1 cm dilated, but I wasn’t surprised. That weekend I was getting pretty good, somewhat consistent contractions, but I wasn’t getting my hopes up. Since Elouise was a week late I wasn’t expecting this kiddo to be “on time”. Crazy enough my next doctor’s appointment for 39 weeks was on the Monday only three days later. Again, no surprise, I was only dilated 1.5 cm, some progress but nothing to get excited about. The nurse swept my membranes and sent me on my way.
Much to my surprise my contractions really started to pick up that day. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to start timing them. They would come in waves for about two hours, but every time they came around they got a little closer together. I went to bed that night wondering if this was the start of the two weeks of early labor like I had with E. I woke up around 6am with really intense contractions and the timing began. When I realized they had been coming 3-5 minutes apart for a little over an hour, I called my mom to come over since she would be staying with Elouise. Except as she was making the 40 min drive over to our house my contractions stopped completely. That was my one and only false alarm, luckily I didn’t make it to the hospital only to be sent away because that is the worst feeling.
We decided to head out to my parents house for the day since they were a much shorter drive to the hospital we wanted to deliver at, and try to walk myself into labor. We walked and timed and walked and my contractions would last for about two hours and then stop for an hour. Feeling slightly discouraged, we finally decided to go to dinner and then head home.
This is IT
Around 7pm we were making the drive home and my contractions really picked up, but they didn’t go away. We got home, put Elouise to bed, and started to get ready to head to bed ourselves. I knew in my heart that this was the real deal but I was really hoping to get a good night of sleep in before having to go through labor and delivery so I convinced myself they were probably going to stop and got into bed. After about a half hour of falling asleep and being woken up by contractions every 6 or 7 minutes I woke up Christian. I very reluctantly told him that we had to go to the hospital. It was midnight at this point, so we called our favorite babysitters to come stay at our house since my mom was already in bed. Although, she did end up driving out anyway because I guess hearing your daughter is in labor is enough to wake you up out of even the deepest sleep.
Off to the hospital we went and the contractions just kept on coming. We arrived, checked in, and were placed in a triage room to be monitored before being checked in. A nurse came and hooked me up and said a doctor would be in to check me in just a few minutes. Almost an hour went by and I still was just waiting, then someone popped in their head and said that they had three deliveries all take place within 15 minutes so someone would be by soon.
No Room in the Inn
Finally, a midwife and a midwife student came in to check me. The student checked me and said the dreaded words, “You’re about a 3.” If you read Elouise’s story you know that I was 3cm with her for about two weeks, so I almost lost my cool. The midwife decided to double check and said that I was actually almost 5cm. HALLELUJAH. She told me I could be admitted but that there weren’t any rooms available yet, that they all needed to be cleaned, so I’d have to wait in triage for the time being. I didn’t mind since I was going to do things all natural and could still move around and walk no problem. Then, I started to feel sick, and vomited a lot. So much so that I had to be put on fluids to replenish my system. After that they checked me again and I was 7cm.
At this point they seemed a little panicked and told me they would be wheeling me across the hall to a bigger triage room that had the capabilities of delivering the baby if need be. This is when things really started to pick up with my contractions, and luckily after only about 30 minutes they had a room ready for me. The bummer was that I had packed all sorts of lovely things to help my labor be peaceful like an oil diffuser and led light candles but since we weren’t in our permanent room I didn’t get a chance to use any of it. We were finally all settled into our new room and the midwife student came and checked me again, she shared that I was still 7 and broke my water since it was bulging. They told me that most likely it would really speed things up and that sometimes in second babies it only took minutes to fully dilated after the water was ruptured. That all sounded great to me, I was ready to meet this baby boy!
After 30 minutes or so I felt the intense need to push. It’s not a feeling you forget and I had felt it so intensely with Elouise and was right that time so I knew what I was feeling. She came and checked me again and said I was still 7cm. I wasn’t sure how I had been in the worst pain of my life, far worse that I had experienced at any point in labor with Elouise, and nothing had changed. Then the midwife student and the nurse started to whisper, which is usually not a good sign. She told me that for whatever reason my body was in fact trying to push out the baby, but since I wasn’t fully dilated my cervix was very swollen and probably wouldn’t dilated properly on its own. The only suggestion they had to get things back on track was an epidural since it would relax my body and hopefully stop me from pushing so my body could continue to dilate.
I was really hoping to have another all natural labor and delivery but I told myself that if it were in the best interest of the baby or my own health, I was open to other options. So, I told them to just do whatever they needed to do, because I couldn’t stop myself from pushing and didn’t want to endanger my sweet baby. They gave me my 20 minutes of fluids and then the anesthesiologist came in to do his thing.
Let the Chaos Begin
These next 30 minutes were probably the most terrifying of my life. See, not only was I wanting a natural birth, I was also slightly terrified of epidurals. I’m not a fan on needles and the very idea of all that an epidural is freaked me out, plus the having to stay still to prevent potential paralysis was a little terrifying as well. By the time everything was set up to get started my contractions were coming 30 seconds apart and were the kind where I was no longer able to get my sweet calm cleansing breaths in. It was more like borderline wailing if I’m being honest.
As I sat clenching the little pillow I felt the urgency in the anesthesiologist’s voice as he kept pleading with me to please not move. I think at this point my brain had slightly disconnected from my body because that’s the only way I can explain how I didn’t lose my mind. I was so scared. The entire time through each contraction I felt my body pushing out the baby and I kept saying ” I’m pushing, I can’t stop, I’m so sorry” and the nurse tried to keep me calm the best she could with soothing words and a very intense grip on my shoulders to keep me from moving. The doctor had finally gotten everything in place and they laid me on my back. The nurse said she was going to check me just to be safe, and said “Oh my gosh you’re fully dilated” to which I replied “Well a contraction is starting and I’m can’t stop my body from pushing”.
The next 10 minutes were a blur. The nurse begging me not to push yet, screaming for the midwife to come in. The doctor frantically unhooking the meds that had been in my system for about 30 seconds. Everything was finally ready to go and I pushed four times and he was out. I got to pull him up to my chest just like I did with Elouise and it will forever be one of my most treasured moments.
There’s something so miraculous about childbirth. No matter what your experience looks like leading up to the birth, the moment you hold your sweet baby everything is wiped away except the intense love you have for this tiny human. It’s so peaceful and overwhelmingly beautiful. Our little man was born on November 9th, a week before his due date, at 7:06 am after about 12 hours of labor. He weighed 8lbs 7oz and was 21 inches long, the same length as his sister but almost a pound lighter. He latched almost immediately and nursed like a champ for 50 minutes straight. I didn’t tear and since I didn’t actually receive any of the epidural, I have had a smooth and minimal recovery. We are so in love with our life as a family of four, although I do with that we were getting little bit more sleep.