Six years ago today I was 40 weeks pregnant with my third baby. It was only my second pregnancy, and since my first had ended at 27 weeks, I had been an anxious mess for the last 13 weeks of this one. Every contraction brought tension, every day closer to 40 weeks was a triumph. I had done weekly progesterone shots for months in hopes of making it further this pregnancy, and it had paid off. I was so thankful to not be dealing with a pre-term delivery again. I was also slightly terrified to have a third baby, since I had 15 month old twins at home. I had no idea what was in store for me, or how I was going to handle three kids under 18 months, but I didn’t have a choice. I had hopes that the silver lining would be that a singleton was a breeze after twins.
I had been dilated to 5 centimeters since 25 weeks along, and had technically been on bedrest equally long, but bed rest with baby/toddler twins is sort of a joke. I had had help from my mom and mother in law off and on for most of those last 15 weeks, which was so very helpful, but it didn’t stop my body from contracting. I contracted for 15 weeks, some Braxton Hicks contractions and some real contractions, with all of them freaking me out. Every week at my checkups my doctor would marvel that I was still pregnant, warning me that any day now I would be giving birth. I always left my appointments fearful and worried about what I would do with my other babies if I had to live two hours away in a NICU again.
The afternoon of my due date I headed in to town for my 40 week checkup. I had left the twins with my mom, Carl was at work, and my dad dropped me off. I entered that building feeling triumphant. I had made it to my due date, and nothing could have felt better at that moment. I even secretly hoped that I would go another week or two, thinking that the real victory would be being overdue! I remember sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office enjoying the quiet while I waited to see my doctor.
When I went in for my appointment, I expected to have a quick checkup, an update on my progress, and to be told they’d see me any day (like every other appointment). Instead, I was checked for dilation and told that I was now at a 7 and 100% effaced. I was completely shocked. My doctor decided to monitor my contractions for a little bit, and sure enough they were not, in fact, Braxton Hicks as I’d thought but the real thing that was causing real labor. She told me to call my husband, make sure the kids could stay with my mom, and head to the hospital. My dad came back to take me home, but took me to the hospital instead. Carl came straight from work to meet me there, and we were admitted. It was about 3 pm.
Everything was pretty speedy after that. I was given an IV for fluids, but no meds. I walked around and began to notice that the contractions were a bit painful. I swayed back and forth, wishing I didn’t have the darn IV pole to drag around. Carl called and texted our families to let them know it was baby time. He also fielded calls from our builder and the bank, because that was also the day we were to close on our construction loan. Yes, we were stupid enough to be building a house at that ridiculously crazy point in our lives. Don’t worry, we learned our lesson. (Ha!)
I wished I had music playing, I remember that clearly. I was so annoyed by the TV and couldn’t stand it on, but I also hated the silence. I knew at that point I would make a custom labor playlist next time I was in labor (which I did, and loved). As I swayed in the silence, I suddenly felt a trickle of warm liquid running down my leg. I was startled that my water had broken so easily. I also was startled at how quickly my contractions picked up afterwards. As the nurse cleaned up the puddle on the floor, I grimaced in pain. My nurse wanted me to try laboring on the bed for a while, and I gave in and did so. I remember that being on my hands and knees felt the best and relieved the pressure most effectively, but as soon as I felt push-y I was ordered onto my back. As they lifted my legs up to help me with the intensity of my need to push, I thought that it felt so unnatural and backwards. I asked if I could try pushing on my hands and knees, since that had felt so much better, but they gave me their silly reasons about how this position was what was best for us all. I didn’t want to argue so I went along with it, but I wish I’d just done things the way that felt natural for me. Despite being in an awkward position, I pushed for just about 20 minutes (although it felt like hours) before I heard my doctor (who had arrived just minutes before) exclaim that she could see dark curls making their way out. After only two more pushes, my baby girl was in my arms. They placed her immediately on my chest, and allowed her to try to breastfeed immediately. She latched on instinctively and snuggled right up, which ceased her loud, unhappy screams. I had tears streaming down my face, and when I looked up at Carl, I saw that he did too. We were both in shock that we were able to hold her right away. No one took her from my arms, and no one worried about her health. She could breathe on her own, and she had a beautiful layer of baby fat covering her sweet little body.
She did indeed have beautiful, dark, curls and looked completely different from the twins. I couldn’t stop gazing at her that first day together, marveling at how perfect she was. I also couldn’t help but wonder if this was how the twins would have looked if they had been bigger, had stayed in longer. She was 8 pounds 4 ounces, a whole 6 pounds bigger than my previous biggest baby. She was only 19 inches long, so she was the most deliciously chubby baby I had ever seen. I loved snuggling her, and she loved snuggling with me. We were put into a room that had a regular queen sized bed, rather than a hospital bed, so Carl, Sienna and I could sleep together. The hospital didn’t make me send her to the nursery once, encouraged rooming in, and didn’t bat an eye at our bedsharing. I quickly learned to nurse her laying down, and discovered it was much easier than with the twins.
We went home after one night in the hospital, and life with three babies began. Sienna, who was quickly nicknamed CeCe, was an easy baby who wanted to be worn 24 hours a day. I mostly obliged her, since I needed my hands free, and we spent our days in nearly constant contact. She grew into a feisty toddler, and is a sassy, sweet, lovable, strong-willed, fierce little girl that I am so proud to call mine. I love her with all my heart, and am so thankful for the healing birth and newborn experience that she offered me after the twins. I love that she is rowdy enough to be Cade’s buddy but sweet and sassy enough to be Avery’s best friend. CeCe has kept me on my toes these last 6 years, and I can’t wait for many more. She is an amazing little sister and the best big sister. I love her with my whole heart, and am so happy to share her birth story today on her sixth birthday. Happy Birthday, Sienna Faith!