Today is a very special day. My vivacious and giggly Lillian turned two years old at 7:45 this morning. I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday, and I realized that I don’t think I ever shared her birth story on the blog.
When Jonah was born, it was about a 50-something-hour labor that would get to two minutes apart and then stop for an hour. All those Bradley classes and childbirth prep work never prepared me to be the exception to the rule on so many levels, but I had an awesome midwife, Misti Balzer at Growing Families Birth Center in St. Augustine. And honestly, her support and Justin’s support helped me have the natural birth I had wanted. You can read more about that here.
So I had expected, from everything everyone had told me, that my second child’s birth would be easier and quicker. But I didn’t except to have prodromal labor for TWO WEEKS leading up to her birth. I was basically unable to do much of anything, because anytime I would leave the house, we would have to turn around and come back and wait out the labor pains. Prodromal labor, in case you don’t know, is labor pains and contractions that get to about 5 minutes apart and then just slowly stop. It’s a whole lot of build up and mind games when you’re 41 weeks pregnant.
When I started having the daily labor pains on May 15th, I just assumed it was more of the same labor pains that would eventually go away. I had just resigned myself that I was going to be pregnant forever. This was my life now. I had Justin put on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, because surely the action and adrenaline of watching that movie would help make the labor pains stop. And then 30 minutes later, I’m pretty sure I yelled at him to turn the TV off. This was different.
We had planned for a home birth this time around, because honestly, I did NOT want to make the drive to St. Augustine to our midwife again. That was such an awful drive in labor the last time. So we called Misti, but she had a stomach bug, and she didn’t want that funk anywhere near us. Fortunately, the other midwife from the birth center, Serena, came right away. Funny story about Serena – her son was born the same day as Jonah. We were laboring at the same time, and now she was here to support my labor with Lillian. It was pretty special.
Justin called my parents to come pick up Jonah, because he was running a muck around the house at 4AM while I was having some strong labor contractions. And then my parents and Justin stood on the front porch all excited, chit chatting while I was in transition holding on to a bookcase in the hallway. I’ll never forget summoning all my strength to yell, “GO HOME!” Ahh, the attitudes of active labor.
We filled up the birth pool – which took FOREVER, by the way. But you don’t want to fill it up super early and then it NOT be labor! It was a catch 22.
When it was finally filled up, I got in and it was instant relief! Being in the water when you’re pregnant has a way of equalizing the pressure on your body, and it’s basically even better when you’re in labor. I instantly felt better, like I could relax.
Serena arrived, and I was already 8 centimeters along. THANK GOD! I was so afraid I was in for another long labor, like with Jonah. This was such a tremendous relief to be that far along already! The prodromal labor had actually done something those two weeks leading up to the birth.
About thirty minutes later, I was ready to push, and Lillian was born with three easy pushes. But the best part was that we didn’t know if she was a boy or girl. It was a total surprise. I’ll never forget holding her in my arms for the first 15 minutes, not knowing her gender. I didn’t care. That was my baby, and we had worked really hard together to come to that moment. When it dawned on me that I should probably check and see if she was a boy or a girl, I was completely overwhelmed with joy to have my little girl I had always dreamed of. A little mini me to share the unique experiences of being a woman. A shopping buddy for Black Friday. A future bride to plan a wedding with.
It was completely surreal.
I can’t believe it’s been two years since you were born, little love. You are the most wonderful little girl I have ever known, and it has been such a privilege to watch you grow and develop into this fiesty toddler with the confidence of a world leader. We’ve been through so much in just two short years, but I know you will do amazing things. You are my game changer.
Happy birthday, Lillian!