Aurora is our second baby (first daughter). Overall she was a much easier pregnancy than Denali (our first son). I wasn’t nearly as sick and I wasn’t sick for as long. Denali was positioned differently and gave me severe PGP (I was pretty much bedridden). Aurora sat higher and despite some pain, I was able to walk throughout my entire pregnancy!
I was so grateful that my very difficult pregnancy out of the two was my first. Having a toddler to care for meant that it was even more important that I was feeling better and not worse. Labor was easier as well (although longer) with my girl. Labor with my son was four days long (his birth story here).
Note- The reason why my labor is so long is because I have prodromal labor. Prodromal Labor is where contractions occur at regular intervals, are mild to very painful, and do progress labor—albeit very slowly.
Here’s my daughter’s birth story and the 9 things I learned from it…
I had just returned from a trip to see my sister in Nevada. We were writing our book, Living a Rich Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom, and needed to finalize many things together in person vs. trying to do it over the phone. Since I was 35 weeks pregnant, I drove down and back with my grandma.
After returning home (36 weeks), I was out shopping for Christmas gifts (trying to prepare), when my breathing became very laborious. I was exhausted and short of breath. I got in my car and remember thinking, I’m WAY too pregnant to shop!
That night I lost my mucus plug. Sorry if TMI.
I laid down to sleep and immediately started contracting. I contracted for four hours roughly every 5-7 minutes. I was about to go into the hospital but the lessons I learned about prodromal labor (the last time I had my son) made me wait longer. When the contractions slowed enough that I could sleep, I slept.
The next morning, I called my OB. She had me come in. I was a 3 and 30% effaced. The uterus was very posterior and not in a great position. Since I was 4 weeks and 6 days early at this time, I was encouraged to be on bed rest and do my best to stall the labor.
The next five days were miserable. I contracted almost non-stop it was so annoying! I was very emotional and grumpy. Although most prodromal labor contractions are not overly painful they are very uncomfortable. They often feel like period cramps with a strong tightening of the belly, that said, they do vary in intensity. Friday the contractions got so strong and close together that we went to the hospital.
After getting checked they said I had made some progress. I was a 4 and 35% effaced. Yes in five days of contracting, I was only dilated a measly 1 centimeter more and 5% more effaced. Further, the uterus was still very posterior. I was sent home.
I googled how to get a uterus out of a very posterior position and came upon the website SpinningBabies. I read up on the posterior positioning of the uterus and what to do.
Next, I did the abdominal lift found here to help her engage in the birth canal. Note- I had severe back labor with my son and attribute some of the fact that I did not have back labor with my daughter to this technique.
Finally, I did the pelvic tilt and then repeated these three steps for a few sets.
I felt like these moves were extremely effective.
That night (the 6th day after going into labor), I kept contracting. In the morning, since I was cleared from bed rest, I ate a good breakfast and decided to get walking. I went to Home Depot to buy Christmas presents.
One lady in Home Depot said, “Wow you look like you’re about to pop.” I smiled and said, “Yes, I actually am in labor now and walking to get it going.” I laughed to myself when I saw her freaked-out expression. It was hilarious.
After I checked out, I was making my way to the door and the beeper went off indicating I was trying to steal something. At this exact moment, my water broke!!! I was so confused for a second. I had water coming down my legs and I was causing the Home Depot security alarm to beep. I truly did not know whether I should run, go back to the counter, or what. I thought that if I ran they’d chase me down and maybe even send the cops after me. So I stood there frozen with a kind of weird fear in my eyes.
The cashier who had just checked me out walked over to me and said, “Oops I forgot to deactivate one of your items.” She grabbed it, deactivated it, (while I was holding my legs together) and when she returned it to me (this all happened in about a minute), I took off on a waddle-run to my car to get there as fast as I could.
During that minute that seemed more like ten minutes, the fluid was still being soaked up by my leggings, and boots-UGH. So luckily, I didn’t leave a puddle inside the store! But after I got outside, I think I began to leave a trail. I was so embarrassed especially because Home Depot was so busy that morning! There were tons of people in the parking lot and driving their cars past me. They were probably thinking, ‘Wow, that lady just wet her pants—BAD!’
When I got to my car I threw the stuff I bought in the back seat, put the plastic bags and towels down that I had brought just in case, called my now ex-husband, and drove home.
Luckily, I was already well prepared with this packing list so we didn’t have to do anything but put the suitcase and birthing ball, and our son and his suitcase in the car. When I pulled into our garage (7 minutes after my water broke) we were ready to leave and my parents were on their way to pick up our son at the meeting point. We put another plastic bag down and 4 big towels for me to sit on and off we went.
We met my mom on the way to the hospital to give Denali (our son) to her. About this time my contractions completely stopped. So we didn’t have to worry about rushing too much. With my son, after my water broke my contractions stopped to never start again until I was put on pitocin (his birth story can be found here). So I knew if this was anything like my last labor, we would have a day or two more of laboring until she came.
Once at the hospital, I felt like I was re-living the scene from ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting‘ as I left a trail of fluids on the hospital floor from the entrance to the maternity wing. I just felt bad for the poor soul who had to clean it up.
The nurse on duty came in and said, “I think we will be having a baby today” and I said, “No, probably not. Last time my water broke it took almost 2 days to get my son here. I labor very slowly. I would like to labor down as much as possible and not have to push until I’m ready.” She said that was okay.
Once I was gowned and all set up on the machines she started me on pitocin to get my contractions going again. I used the birthing ball and correct movements to get her to engage. Eventually, I requested an epidural when the pain became intense. My epidural was awesome. I could only slightly feel the contractions and pain but I still could move my legs a little.
There were only two pregnant women in labor at Salt Lake Regional Hospital so I had plenty of help and the nurses were awesome. When the old nurses left and the new ones came, I told them the same thing about wanting to labor down and they agreed to let me.
At around 10 PM my OB called the nurses and told them to put me in this side-lying release position to help speed labor along. I would do this on one side for 20 or so minutes and then they would move me to do it on the other side. This position helped as well.
Around 12:20 AM I was ready. The desire to push was undeniable and very strong so they called the Doctor in.
Luckily, she got there in about 20 minutes because at this point the nurses were holding my legs together and I was shaking in pain trying to keep my baby in. Holding a baby in is actually more painful than pushing one out—go figure. I had to hold her in through 3 strong contractions. If you’ve ever had to do this, then you know that holding a baby in through one contraction is one too many!
When Dr. Macy sat down I pushed once and Aurora’s head was out. A second push and she was here! I had asked the nurses to tell the Doctor to allow her umbilical cord to pulse for a few minutes before cutting it. They did that as I requested. Then I held her skin to skin. It was such a beautiful moment.
Here is a photo of us a few hours after labor:
Aurora was born at 12:41 am. 6 lbs 10 oz, 18.5 inches long. Healthy!!
She was so small (2 pounds lighter compared to our son).
Here are some perspective shots:
My water broke just before 11:00 AM and she came almost 14 hours later. So after seven days of prodromal and regular labor, she arrived—exactly 4 weeks early.
Salt Lake Regional Hospital gave us a Celebratory dinner (sparkling apple juice, three-course dinner, etc.) it was amazing. They treated us so well! The nurses, OB’s, and staff were awesome!
Aurora has been our little angel. We’ve never seen such a calm, happy, and sweet baby. She is so loving and gentle.
Her brother adores her as well.
He loves to give hugs and kisses. They get so excited every single morning to see each other. They have a very STRONG bond. It melts my heart!
Well, that’s my second birth story.
Here are the 9 lessons I learned from a 7-day-labor
1- You can often do a lot of things to change the position of your baby and/or uterus. Read up and ask professionals for guidance. I loved reading the Spinning Babies website.
2- Don’t fly on an airplane within 6 weeks of your due date. I’m so glad I didn’t do this!
3- Labor down! Don’t try pushing until your body and baby say it is time (unless your doctor has a legitimate reason to make you push).
4- If applicable communicate with the nurses about previous labor so they understand what to expect. Give them an idea of how you would like the labor to go.
5- Treat the nurses and medical staff kindly. Always say please and thank you, it goes a long way. If you are kind and considerate chances are they will treat you the same. We always give a gift afterward as a thank you. A cake or flowers or something.
6- Bed rest can help to stall labor. This is not always the case, but sometimes being on bed rest will stall your labor. Listen to your OB to do as he/she directs. Alternatively, walking can help bring labor on.
7- The longer the baby is inside you the better. When I was laboring on bed rest for a week I was googling and studying up on how important the 36th week was. I found out that it was indeed very important. If possible, it is usually better to have them in longer than out earlier (depending on your situation and medical direction of course).
8- Be ready for your baby at least a month early. Luckily, I had everything for my labor packed (lists here), I also had her clothes ready, her nursery set up, most of my Christmas shopping done, etc. Because I was mostly ready, I felt less overwhelmed!
9- No matter how long it takes to get your bundle of joy here, it will be totally worth it! I would go through that week of labor again and again for my sweet Aurora. It was completely worth it.
She’ll be one year in a few weeks and we haven’t gone one day without being so grateful for her in our lives!!!
This is a photo of her just recently taken. She is in her Halloween Hobbit costume. Isn’t she a doll?
What have you learned from your labors? I’d love to hear. I think we can all benefit from each other’s experiences. If you have something to share, please comment below.