It's a girl!!
Kirby and I may or may not be pinching ourselves for some time with the fact that we have a little girl. I still can't believe it. Feeling overjoyed as a family of 4 and so blessed to welcome a healthy new baby into our family. Philomena Jean joined us on April 30th at 10:30am in the most calm, happy and "simple" way. Moments after holding her I looked at Kirby and said, "If all my birth's were this easy, I'd have 5 kids!". Totally not having 5 kids, but seriously, we were in shock at how smooth the entire process was. After having a crazy, nothing like we planned, birth with Addison James, I'm overjoyed to have a totally different experience this time around.
Overall, each birth experience gave us two healthy babies & that is the most important thing. If you're reading this and hoping for a smoother birth the second time around or hoping for a successful VBAC, I'm sending you all the good vibes! I had my fears & anxieties going into birth #2 - let yourself feel those, but remind yourself that your body knows what's doing. Biggest tip, set yourself up for success! We had a very different plan this time around, for many reasons, and it made me feel that much more confident going into it even when I had my doubts.
Week Long Contractions
The hardest thing about Philomena's birth story, the week leading up to her actual birth. I started having contractions on and off Thursday, April 22nd - 1 week before active labor actually started. Let me tell you, the mind game was real! Piece of advice, be prepared for anything! Don't go into it thinking your baby will come early or late because if you hit that point and it's the opposite from what you told yourself, you only get that much more annoyed. The hormones raging through your body at 40 weeks pregnant, don't help either.
To induce or not?
Like anyone else, I was trying everything in the books to keep labor progressing on, but just like Addison's birth (he arrived 1 week late!) nothing made a difference. Babies will come when they come. I went back and forth with getting induced as I became more and more uncomfortable, but I'm so happy I stuck with my gut. My body went naturally into labor the first time and I had faith it was going to do it again. Plus, I had all of the signs that my body was preparing for it so overall I just need to be patient and stop trying to control the situation.
I did have my fears with "missing" my time for a healthy VBAC, which was partial to my thinking I would get induced. After doing research + talking with my doctor, I knew going a week over my due date wasn't going to push me to miss anything. Again, I just needed to let my body do its thing. I actually had a doctors appointment scheduled for Thursday, April 29th and rescheduled it the day before for my 41 week (would have been Monday, May 3rd). Overall, I knew nothing they were going to tell me was going to change anything & I just wanted to enjoy the process instead of siting anxious every day.
Thursday, April 29th
Thursday started out like the rest of the week had. Some contractions, nothing consistent and a lot of emotions. Each day I went back & forth with feeling confident it would all work out naturally to losing my mind that nothing was progressing on. With that I decided to do some shopping to help get my mind off of things. Through running errands and doing backyard play with Addison I had some stronger contractions, but still nothing earth shattering. Just like Addison's birth, the active labor started in the evening and when it did, I knew it was it.
Contractions started getting more consistent around 9:30 and around 11 I made sure to text my parents to give them a heads up with Addison. I hated leaving in the middle of the night without having a moment to say goodbye to Addi, but in some ways it made it easier. Both my babies came in the AM making the night before work. The difference this time is I was prepared. I showered through contractions, got all our bags set & ready and even managed to rest for a couple hours. There was a point around 2:30 where contractions seemed to tapper off a bit making me nervous this wads another false alarm.
While resting I woke a few times to contractions and by 4:00am all I wanted to do was be awake. The pain was real! We texted my dad around 5am and I swear he's never gotten to our house quicker! At this point my contractions were less than 5 minutes apart and I could no longer talk through them. It's funny the second time around, I would stop and go through the contraction then immediately start worrying about everything being ready For Addison and checking things off my list. Motherhood is a trip!
One of the biggest difference this birth was heading off to the hospital not knowing if we would be there for 24hrs or 5+ days. With Addison birth we had started at a birth center where you're typically only there for 6 hours or so. Of course, our story ended with 5 days at the hospital so for this birth we just had no idea what to expect and totally overpacked our bags in case.
We got to the hospital around 6:15 (those car rides in labor are no joke!!) and when I finally got checked I was already dilated to 6.5 cm! In my head I got so nervous that with how close my contractions were & how dilated I was, I missed the mark on the epidural. Not so much because I just wanted the epidural, but for the fact I wanted to be prepared in case a c-section was needed. The hardest part about Addison's birth was being knocked out for the emergency c-section and not remembering much of the day. Thankfully, we were all good!
The Difference an Epidural Makes
Maybe it was the epidural or maybe it was my body having gone through labor already (maybe both!), but gosh did everything go smoother than I could have ever dreamt of. Once I got the epidural, Kirby went down to park the car and grab our bags. By the time he had made it back up to the room, I was laughing & joking with the nurses. He was in as much disbelief as I was with how good I felt.
To be fully honest, I can see why some people aren't for the epidural because it really does take away a lot of the feeling (like zero feeling & zero pain). For me, I wanted to be prepared for a possible c-section and I had already experience a natural birth to an extant (I made it to 8cm dilated naturally with Addison!) so I have no regrets.
Around 8:45am the nurse came to check my progression and I had already made it to 9.5 cm dilated. She simply stated, "I'll be back in 20-30 minutes and we can start pushing". Seriously wish I could have had a picture of Kirby's and my face! We weren't totally prepared for everything to go so quickly and so peaceful. Hanging out & chatting those next 30 minutes was surreal. Kept counting our blessings with how smooth everything was and kept wondering if we were going to have another son or a little girl. When the nurse came back in she checked me again and first goes, "wow that baby has a lot of hair!" Again, wish I had a picture of the look we gave each other because Addison was bald until about 1.5 years old lol. I pushed 3 times and she had me stop in disbelief with how well I did! The abby was right there and she needed to get the doctor to our room.
Of course, after the hair comment, I had to know what was going on down there. Kirby didn't seem to be all about looking, but I insisted and oh my gosh the look on his face was priceless. Kirby goes, " Oh my gosh the baby is right there and has a full head of dark hair!!" The excitement was real!
While waiting for the doctor I kept the jokes rolling to the point the nurses told me I needed to stop laughing or I was going to laugh this baby right out! The only thing we had planned in our "birth plan" was to have Kirby announce the sex and cut the umbilical cord (again, funny how different your second baby is). Once the doctor was in, I pushed 2 more times and she was out! Funny enough, when Kirby went to go announce the umbilical cord was hanging over her lady parts and he first said, "It's a boy". He quickly realized he was wrong (especially looking at it from my angle) and goes, "Oh my gosh it's a girl!". Philomena Jean was handed to me and tears immediately started rolling down my face.
That moment is something I will never ever forget. A little girl, a successful VBAC, being able to actually hold my baby right away - you name it, I was feeling BLESSED. Both Kirby and I was just in shock. It was all so smooth, calm and to be honest, easy! Luckily I only needed 1 stitch and we were on our way to the postpartum room to enjoy our daughter. Gosh, I still can't believe we have a girl!
Home in 24hrs!
We can't believe everything went the way it did and that we actually left the hospital just over 24hrs later. Thankfully my parents kept Addison fo the day so we could get unpacked and situated with Philomena before the real chaos started. Being a parent of 2 is no joke. No matter how many times people say it, you just don't know until you know. Having Addison meet his baby sister was a moment I hope lives in my mind forever. The first couple weeks were a bit rough for him, but overall he has loved her since the minute he met her and all he ever wants to do is play with her! It's so sweet.
Another Piece to Our Story
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that at just 3 days old, Philomena fell out of my arms at the pediatricians office and gave us a scare of a lifetime. We are continually counting our blessings that she's okay and living her best life with us at home. With a fractured skull and a small bleed, she's stronger than I think I could ever be. Kirby and I will never forget the scene of having 15+ doctors and nurses rush in around our 3 day old daughter and wondering if everything we just got handed to us from God was going to be taken away.
2 nights in the NICU after getting 2 nights at home is something I don't wish upon any new parent. Philomena Jean is a fighter and thankfully didn't change one bit through the whole process. You wouldn't have known anything was wrong and for that I will forever be grateful for. I'll leave it at that because her birth story is too pure to go more into details. It's all a part of our story and we are just happy God gave us her & has already taught us so much in the 5 weeks she's been ours.