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40 Weeks Pregnant – My Birth Story
Baby is a: Watermelon
Weight gained: 3 lbs
Total Weight gained: 50 lbs
40 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms: Baby arrived on her due date! Before she arrived lots of cramping and I lost my mucus plug the day before.
Labor Start: The night before her due date, I had a few contractions. They were spaced very far apart, maybe two every hour. I went to bed knowing that I needed to get all the rest I could before labor.
When did I go to the hospital: I woke up at 4 AM to contractions that were very regular and very real. I decided to go downstairs, time them on a free app on my phone. I also made sure I ate and hydrated. After about half an hour of timing them, we called and went to the hospital. Our hospital is about 30-40 minutes away so we wanted to be extra cautious about leaving on the earlier side.
At the hospital: After checking in and knowing that this was the real deal, I decided on a pain management plan with the midwife. Last time around, I got an epidural after 12 hours of being in labor. I was so exhausted that I wasn’t able to fully enjoy my baby being born or care for her to the best of my ability after delivery.
IV and blood draw: Since I was borderline low on iron during the pregnancy, they drew blood when I arrived to know what my starting level was. This is for them to know how much blood it is okay for me to lose during delivery. I got an IV since I was Strep B positive and needed two doses of antibiotics before baby arrived. Additionally, the IV was necessary for an epidural to keep my blood pressure up by administering fluids.
The epidural: The epidural was placed after I got a shot to numb the site. Honestly, the shot hurt less than the blood draw they did when I arrived. I got the epidural about 1 hour after arriving. After that I had no pain and rested. Yes, I slept through my labor. The other reason I decided on the epidural is that if you tear and need stitches, you won’t feel a thing. Cole was pretty happy that I got the epidural because this means he got to eat my breakfast.
How fast did I dilate: The first time around it took me almost 12 hours to get to 5 cm and then another 9 hours to get to 10 cm. This is pretty typical for your first time. We all know someone who had the easiest and shortest labor the first time around but know it isn’t the average and you have no idea how fast your labor will progress. The second time around I arrived at 4 cm dilated at 6 am. I was 5 cm at 8 am and then I was 10 cm at 1 pm.
Pushing: The first time around it took me about 2 hours to push. Since I had been in labor for so long and wasn’t able to rest at all, I fell asleep between contractions. The contraction would wake me up and I would push. This time around, I pushed for about 12 minutes. I then pushed out the placenta, which is usually only 1-2 pushes. I recommend asking to see it. It is very cool.
Did I tear: I tore the first time and it was so bad, I was borderline on losing too much blood. This time around, I also tore but not as bad. Both times I needed stitches which is why I was also happy I still had the epidural.
After baby was born: I did delayed cord clamping since 1/3 of baby’s blood is in the cord. Also delayed clamping results in better iron levels for baby as well as other benefits. I then breastfed baby during the first hour, which lowers infant mortality rate by 50% . I held her for the full first hour of life and then her dad held her and brought her around to get all of the other procedures such as vitamin K shot, weight check (9 lbs 1.5 ounces!), footprint, eye ointment, etc. Cole also got some nice candid shots during this time.
Peeing: It is very important to pee after delivery. If your bladder is full and you can’t empty it completely since those muscles have been through a lot, your uterus won’t be able to shrink. If it can’t shrink, it won’t be able close all of the vessels that were attached to the placenta and you can bleed out. A lot of times, if you get an epidural, they will use a catheter since you might not be able to get those muscles working that soon.
Starting up breastfeeding: I spent all of my time nursing my baby. I fed her on demand. If she was awake, she was on a breast. If it had been 2 hours since the beginning of her last feeding, I would gently wake her and nurse her. I know that this is not only critical to having a good supply but also to having a happy baby. I asked for lactation support to ensure the latch was good. Her upper lip was rolling in and causing me pain. Be sure to check the lips, it is super important. If the bottom lip is rolling in, pull on the chin after baby latches. If the upper lip is rolling in, pull the lip out. Also remember always to aim the nipple at their nose so they open wide. Hold the head near the neck so they can tilt back to get a good latch.
Postpartum Care: I used my recovery kit and remembered to rest and eat well. Eating well was easy since I prepped by making freezer meals. I drank a lot of water to gear up for breastfeeding. If you are dehydrated, your production will suffer. I also drank a lot of water because it helps the swelling go down faster. I had a lot of swelling especially in my feet.
My stomach went down a lot after the first two days and even more by one week. I lost 25 lbs in the first week. Baby was pretty big, over 9 lbs and by one week, I have lost most of the swelling water weight.
Best Moment of the Week: This would of course be meeting our baby girl. There is nothing better or more natural than holding your new baby in your arms skin to skin. The other moment that made the week even more special was getting to see our older daughter who is 2 at the hospital. It was fun for her to meet her new sister. I want nothing more for them but to be best friends, which might take awhile since L isn’t quite sure what to make of her new sister.
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Dr. Trina Fitzpatrick is a wife, mom, blogger, and a breastfeeding advocate. She is the co-author of the Week-by-Week Bump Smart Course, the Nesting Planner and the Breastfeeding Handbook. She attributes her success at breastfeeding her own children into toddlerhood with working with lactation consultants in the hospital in the early stages and on a weekly basis afterwards. By writing at MomSmartNotHard, she educates mamas-to-be on all things pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Read more about Trina.