Elizabeth Caroline Craddock’s first month flew by! It was a whirlwind of fresh baby smell, visiting with family, snuggling with my sweet new daughter, and loving on her big brother. I loved every second of it. (Okay, maybe not the second when she squirted a massive poop across the room while I was changing her…)
Instead of waiting two years to write down her birth story, I got around to it in only a month. I’m patting myself on the back over here!
My pregnancy with Ella was a wonderful surprise. Shortly after we found out I was pregnant, we did some calculations and found out that Ella would be due in the middle of Josh’s finals week. Whoops. It was not ideal timing, but we knew that God’s hand was already on this pregnancy and her future birth.
Thankfully, Josh’s schedule worked out so that he finished his last final on December 16th, instead of the last day for finals, December 21st. My hope and prayer throughout my pregnancy was that Ella would wait until right after Josh’s last final and come on December 17th, which also happens to be my birthday.
After Josh finished his last final on December 16th, I felt a weight lift! My family generously offered to watch Winston that evening so that Josh and I could go on a date to celebrate my birthday and his accomplishment of getting halfway through law school.
We ate a delicious dinner at Marliave, which is my new favorite restaurant in Boston. After we finished stuffing ourselves with delicious truffle fries, escargot, and tenderloin wrapped rabbit, we went to see “Arrival” (a fitting title for a pre-labor movie!). We got back to our apartment around 11:30pm and finally crawled into bed around 12:00pm.
Only an hour and a half later, at 1:30am, I woke up to some contractions. I’m a pretty dubious person when it comes to labor, so I waited in bed for a while to make sure this was “the real deal.” After they kept coming for another 20 minutes or so, I hopped in the shower to see if that would slow/stop the contractions. Finally, after my shower, I woke up Josh and my mom to let them know that I was in labor. By that time, it was a little after 2:00am.
My contractions were coming pretty quickly, about 3 minutes apart and lasting for about 30 to 60 second each. It was a much faster start to my labor than it had been with Winston.
I tested positive for Group B Strep earlier in my pregnancy, so we headed to the Bain Birthing Center at Mount Auburn Hospital around 3:00am to get me on the IV antibiotics. After a short stint in triage, I was admitted at 5 cm dilated. I was happy to find out that the water birth room was available, since I’d been hoping to try a water birth with Ella.
The first thing they did when we got to the room was insert my IV and put me on the antibiotics. It was THE WORST. I hate needles. This is probably a controversial viewpoint, but being on an IV and getting Penicillin through it was way worse than natural labor.
After my first dose of antibiotics was administered by the nurses I continued to labor at the hospital for a few hours. My contractions slowed down a bit after we arrived, so I walked around, did squats, and sat on the medicine ball, to try to speed things along. Josh massaged my back through every contraction and was a wonderful birth partner. My mom was also there to help me through my contractions and take photos of the birth. We were so thankful to have her there!
After a few more hours of contractions, I was still only at 7 cm dilated. 😦 I was hoping for more progress at that point, so I was a bit bummed. The nurses offered to fill the tub so I could labor in there for a while. The warm water was a very welcome relief and it helped me get through the next hour or so of contractions.
The next time the midwife checked about an hour later I was still only at 7cm dilated. The midwife asked if I wanted my water broken to see if that would help speed things along and I said yes.
Breaking my water definitely got things moving. My contractions started to come every 30 seconds and last for about a minute to a minute and a half each. After about 20 more minutes of contractions, I felt the urge to push. It was a much stronger urge than I ever felt during Winston’s birth.
After a few pushes, the midwife told me that Ella was crowning and I could touch her head if I wanted to. That sounded really gross to me, so I turned down the offer. I guess different women are encouraged by different things? 😛
According to the nurses, I only pushed for 7 minutes before Ella was born, but it felt like much longer to me.
I was so happy when Ella finally made her arrival at 10:19am. It’s a totally glorious and unexplainable feeling of relief and joy.
She is the best birthday present ever!
We stayed in the labor room for about an hour after she was born. I ordered and devoured a delicious breakfast sandwich while Ella devoured some of mommy’s milk. She was a natural nurser and latched on right away. What a blessing!
Ella weighed a healthy 7 lb and 9 oz and was 21 inches long.
After a while, we moved to the recovery room where we spent the rest of the day.
That afternoon, my family brought Winston to meet his new sister. He was so sweet to her and gave her gentle kisses and patted her head. I sure love our little family of four. Greeting Winston after Ella’s birth was one of my favorite parts of this whole experience. I love getting to see him as a big brother.
My family also brought an ice cream cake to celebrate my birthday (and Ella’s!)!
We spent one night at the hospital and we got to go home the next morning! I was ready to get back to my bed and my sweet boy Winston.