It’s been over 3 years since i gave birth to our sweet second daughter, Eden Marie, but I will never forget every single detail of her birth story. I’m excited to finally write it out, This post may be a little long so bear with me, friends! Eden’s birth was so special to me for many reasons, one main reason was that my husband’s late mother, Beth, got to be there. She passed away in July of 2017 after a shocking pancreatic cancer diagnosis, so i will forever be grateful that she got to be with us during the days leading up to Eden’s birth and after. My mother in law was such a special woman and one of the most amazing people i have ever met. Every time I look at Eden i think of Beth & my time with her on this earth as my mother in law. Eden is a little ray of sunshine just like her grandma was & still is to us.
A Little About My Pregnancy
So I’m one of those weird people who likes being pregnant. Actually i LOVE it! I know, I know… you think I’m crazy. But it’s probably because my pregnancy with Eden, like my first pregnancy, was uneventful & easy. I felt great, I loved watching my belly grow & had no major complaints (other than an annoying pregnancy-induced varicose vein on my leg). SO thankful for that! I was super active before getting pregnant & was able to workout throughout my pregnancy up until the day I went into labor. I even got certified & became a Barre instructor while i was pregnant with Eden and taught classes up until the very end as well. Taking care of my body before i got pregnant, and then continuing to eat healthy & workout everyday during is why i think i felt so great & had easy pregnancies, It really does make such a big difference. Healthy mama = healthy baby!
We did have one little scare when I was 36 weeks pregnant. Toward the end of my pregnancy my belly started measuring way behind… i’d say around 32 weeks. For those who don’t know what that means: when you are pregnant your doctor/midwife will measure your belly in centimeters at each prenatal appointment and it should match up with how many weeks pregnant you are (ex. if you are 30 weeks pregnant your belly should measure 30cm top to bottom). They do say that it can be off by 2cm in each direction and not be cause for concern, and i had been measuring 2cm behind consistently throughout my pregancy. However, at my 36 week prenatal appointment my belly was measuring only 30cm (6 weeks behind) so they were concerned that Eden wasn’t getting enough nutrients from the umbilical cord and therefore not growing. SCARY.
My midwife immediately sent me for an ultrasound & said that if baby measured below a certain size that they’d have to induce me that day. Talk about FREAK OUT. Of course this was the one appointment i went to by myself and didn’t have my husband with me to calm my nerves. If you read my first daughter’s birth story you know that things did not go as planned. My vision of having a natural, drug free labor & delivery didn’t happen, so i wanted it even more this time. In my mind, being induced meant intervention from the start, setting me up for more medicine along the way. So i prayed and begged God to help us avoid induction. And He listened! Baby Eden measured fine on the ultrasound! She was definitely small, but above the 30th percentile which is what they wanted! Praise the Lord, i did not have to be induced! They figured she was just tiny and I was hiding her somewhere in my pelvis instead of my belly haha.
My goal was to have a natural and peaceful delivery…. unlike my first birth. We had a doula this time and i felt prepared & hopeful that this was going to be a different experience now that my body “knew what to do”. We had an idea of what might happen with my cervix and felt like we could better handle it if those problems arose again Our doula who had delivered 6 kids of her own, many of which were home births, gave us her birth tub so we could use it to labor at home. My husband had our garage all set up which pretty lights & affirmations/scripture written on the walls that I could use them when it got hard.
The Waiting Game
Knowing that Eden was small meant she might come later, so I was prepared to go past my due date but since she was my second child I hoped maaaybe she would come early. My due date was Septmeber 2nd, and labor day was the 7th. Everyone joked that i’d be in labor on labor day and i thought there is NO WAY i’d be 5 days late! I didn’t mind being pregnant because i wasn’t uncomfortable or anything, i just couldn’t wait to meet her. Also, having an older child to think about & no family close by to watch her last minute while we went to the hospital was a little stressful for me. The plan was for my in laws to come when i was in labor because they only live 5-6 hours away (my first labor was 36 hours so i didn’t expect my 2nd to be all much quicker).
I had my membranes stripped at my 40 week appointment, which just made me feel really crampy, and really hoped i wouldn’t make it to my 41 week appointment! My due date came & went, and as labor day weekend approached my in-laws decided to go ahead and drive to our house. We were all hopeful Eden would decide to be born while they were in town! Two nights before she was born i experienced false labor for the first time. My contractions started around 9pm and were 5 minutes apart. Our doula was all ready to come over, but when i laid down they went away. This was Friday evening and my in-laws had planned to leave Monday. They said they’d come right back as soon as i went into labor if it was after they had already left, just like we originally planned. But still, I wanted it to happen that weekend so they didn’t have to make two trips! Waking up the next day after having false labor was mentally draining. I started doubting my body and thinking labor was never going to happen on its own.
My father in law, who is trained in energy work, asked if he could do a session with me & with my mother in laws help… to which i replied YES… i was open to anything at that point. We were already doing allll the other natural things to induce labor… hot sauce, pineapple, sex, bouncing on the birth ball, squats, curb walking, massage, etc. Everything except castor oil because i tried that with my first labor and it was a NIGHTMARE! The energy session was an amazing time of connection between my sweet in laws & their unborn granddaughter. My MIL had one hand under my lower back and one hand above my belly the whole time and it may sound weird but I could just feel the love and energy between her & Eden. Like they were forming a bond before she was even born, and it was just really beautiful. The session also helped me to relax & surrender the whole process over to God. I was trying to control it WAY too much.
Could This Be It?
The next day was Sunday and I woke up experiencing bloody show and also started slowly losing my mucous plug (tmi? nah.) which were good signs that my body was preparing for labor! Yay! I was so excited & felt ready but also a little nervous. My last labor & delivery left me with some PTSD, if I’m being honest, and i was scared it would be the same scenario all over again. That night after everyone was asleep i started having contractions around 10pm. They came on strong and were consistently 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long right away. My first thought was “could this be it?!”
I was determined to make these contractions stick so instead of going to bed i started lunging up the stairs, bouncing on my ball, doing pelvic tilts, squatting, and just kept moving. I had read an article about being alone during early labor to connect with your body & your baby, and thats exactly what i did. While everyone was sleeping it was just me & Eden and i will never forget that time. Once the contractions got to be really painful, i texted my doula, Heather. She said she was coming over after i sent her a few screenshots of my contraction timer. She told me to wake Justin and have him fill up the tub, so i did. This was around midnight or 1am.
(Sidenote: I 100 percent recommend hiring a doula. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to have the support and perspective of someone else during labor & delivery. My husband is an amazing birth partner but we both really wanted someone else to be there to bounce ideas off of and to help us navigate any possible issues. Doulas are trained professionals and have experience with all different births and can really be helpful, supportive & an important part of your birth. We didn’t have one for our first birth and i truly think that’s one of the main reasons why it was so awful!)
Back to the story… Justin filled the tub and we both got in. We had music going, the christmas lights on and Heather was timing contractions for me so i didn’t have to think about that. Laboring in the water was a GAME CHANGER y’all. It took so much of the pain away. Each contraction was tolerable when i was in the tub. It was also nice to experience “normal” labor this time. With my first, my contractions were nonstop and never ending at times because of her position, and i also had back labor. Eden was in the perfect position and i never had back labor, and had zero pain in between contractions. It all of a sudden made sense how women deliver babies without an epidural and i felt like i could totally do this!
I got out of the tub to use the bathroom and the contractions got much more intense. Heather said we should head to the hospital at this point. I was hesitant to go to the hospital because with Aria when i thought i was in transition i got to the hospital and was only ONE CENTIMETER. I didn’t want to be let down again and ruin the good thing i had going on, haha. But we did end up going around 3:30am. We called to let them know we were headed in and to my surprise my primary midwife (and my favorite!) was on call! It’s pretty rare that your primary gets to deliver your baby when you use a midwifery group so i was ecstatic. The ride to the hospital was rough. Let’ s just say the contractions were so bad I couldn’t sit & had to ride in the backseat, haha!
When we got there at 4am they checked me and i was 6-7cm dilated (it was 3 years ago so my memory is a little rusty, ha)… what a RELIEF!! This whole labor was a major improvement from my first labor in all regards. They triaged me in and got us into a room. I progressed another cm every 30 minutes it seemed. I started feeling really nauseous and like i was going to throw up which i knew was a good sign that i was probably close to 10cm. They checked me and i was 9! My water hadn’t broken yet so they asked if i wanted them to break it for me to help me get to 10cm. So we went that route and before i knew it it was time to push. I could not BELIEVE i was actually going to do this!! This was around 7:30am i believe.
It Happened Again
Okay, this is where the details get a little blurry for me. I started pushing and a few minutes in my midwife said i had to stop. Ummm, HOW?! It’s almost impossible to not push at this point of labor. But apparently my cervix had swelled and i was no longer complete (10cm). Didn’t know THAT could happen. No one told me you could go backwards! For the next hour we tried every possible thing, every position, every technique we knew to get the swelling in my cervix to go away. My midwife had her hands in there during contractions trying to open it back up… yea, OUCH. All to no avail. After an hour Justin asked what our options were. I thought it was too late and i was going to need a c-section. But they said they could try giving me an epidural. Thoughts of failure flooded my mind once again. It happened again. My cervix was stubborn again. I needed an epidural AGAIN. It was like dejavu. Will i ever have a natural birth?! I was beginning to think my body just wasn’t capable, even though it was “supposed” to be.
They came in to give me an IV and then the epidural (all while a baby was trying to come out of me) and it just wasn’t happening. Thinking back, i am extremely lucky to not have any permanent damage from all the times they tried sticking the epidural in my spine. Pretty scary. They eventually gave me some medicine in my IV which helped and shot something in my back. Immediately the swelling went down. This was at 8:55am.. i remember asking the time! The midwife checked & i was ready to push again at 9am. I pushed for 45 minutes total which seems long but it felt like so much less. Plus, the first time i gave birth i pushed for THREE HOURS so this was short comparatively! Because I didn’t have an actual epidural i could move my legs and felt Eden’s body come out. It was so different! Now i will say i didn’t feel pain just lots of pressure. The meds they gave me took the pain away while making the cervical edema disappear. So although it wasn’t a “natural” birth (it was a natural labor all the way to 10cm though!) it was still very redeeming & healing in many ways for me.
On Monday, September 7th, 2015 (yep, LABOR day) at 9:44am, Justin got to catch another one of our daughters & place her on my chest. It’s the most special thing for him & i love that he got to bring our two girls into the world with me! Forget cutting the umbilical cord, he wants to deliver the baby! I’ll never forget the way Eden’s tiny little 6lb 6oz body felt on my chest. She was perfect and i was wrapped around her little finger instantly. God gave her an adorable dimple chin just like my daddy who passed away in 2007. Looking at her I was completely smitten. I just knew she would bring so much joy to our family & to the world. And I was right! She was the sweetest baby, and has been the sweetest toddler. So full of joy, our little sunshine & a mama’s girl through and through.
It was love at first sight when we introduced Aria to her new baby sister! I had dreamed of the day when our two daughters finally got to meet each other and i have to say, this moment far exceeded all of my dreams. I am so thankful we were able to give them the gift of each other. Not only a sister, but a best friend forever. Aria was obsessed with Eden from the moment she laid eyes on her & it made my mama heart swell. She was /is such a great big sis, sweet little mommy & big helper. While i was pregnant I worried that i wouldn’t be able to love another child as much as i loved my firstborn, but i think my heart quadrupled in size that day. It was love multiplied times a million.
Eden Marie, I am so thankful to be your mama. I haven’t stopped thanking God for you since the day i found out you were growing inside my belly. Keep shining your bright light and being just who you are. The world is blessed to have you in it! You are so very loved, my sunshine girl. <3
Ps: tomorrow on the blog i’ll be sharing my third daughter’s birth story… so if you like this sort of thing, be sure to check back!