Brooklyn’s due date was September 26th. A month before she was born, I jokingly started telling friends and family that I didn’t care when she came, as long as she came in September. In general, I was feeling pretty good up until a couple weeks before she was born. Even up until her due date and then until the day she was born, I was able to continue exercising and was able to move around pretty well. However, I knew that this meant she wouldn’t be coming early. I still wished for it though. At 38 1/2 weeks, the doctor asked if I wanted my membranes stripped. I said yes. I was already dilated to about a 2 and 80% effaced, but nothing happened. A week later, they were stripped again. My due date came. My due date went. I was losing it mentally. Anytime I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d stay awake waiting and wishing to feel a contraction. I was so ready to be done being pregnant and to meet our daughter. To help keep my sanity, I spoiled myself the day after my due date. I went out to get a pedicure. The other ladies there knew I was past my due date, and they just kept sneaking glances at me. I know it was because they were expecting me to have a baby at any given moment. I should have started faking contractions. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t.
Then September 30th came. The day started like any other, still pregnant, no contractions, patience wearing thin. I went to the gym, complained to the guy at the front desk, told him “I better not see you tomorrow” again. I went to my doctor’s appointment without Lish, because they were getting boring, and I talked with the doc about induction. I didn’t want to be induced if I didn’t have to be, but we set up a time to be induced anyway on October 3rd, a week past my due date, because I was getting annoyed. My membranes were stripped for a third time, but I wasn’t feeling hopeful anymore. I was under the impression that I was just going to be pregnant forever. (Those who have gone past their due dates will understand. It’s not logical, but you definitely feel that way.) Right after my appointment I ran a couple errands, to get them done “just in case.” Again. I hated sitting at home, waiting, so I always ran our errands to get myself out of the house and be distracted. I got home around 4. Lish and Yale headed out to walk to a park so I could have some quiet time (read: time to do homework). I started a load of laundry and suddenly my water broke, but it wasn’t much. Not like how it was with Yale. And I didn’t feel any contractions. I called Lish to let him know, just in case. He asked, “Oh, should we come home then?” “No, I’ll call the doctor’s office and see what they suggest I do and then I’ll let you know. But just hang out at the park for a while.” The doctor’s office suggested I head over to the hospital. I called Lish back to let him know, but to take his time because I still wasn’t really experiencing any contractions. We also called our neighbors to let them know, since they were watching Yale for us until my mom (who was “on call”) came down. I called my mom to let her know, but told her to not leave yet. I said to wait until we got admitted, just in case it was a false alarm. Contractions started about 4:45, and I thought, “Alright! It’s finally happening.” Lish and Yale got home a couple minutes later. We got all of our stuff together and headed out right around 5:20.
Turns out my water did break, but not much, but because I was having regular contractions they admitted me. By this time I was dilated to a 4 but still about 80% effaced. I was ushered to my room, which was a really nice, designed for natural childbirth room. The lights were dimmed, there was music, candles, and a giant jacuzzi tub. I stayed in the bed until I was all hooked up, then I got in the tub for a couple hours. While I was there, Lish and I started comparing the birth stones between September and October, and decided September was prettier, so it was even more motivation to get her to come quickly! The nurse (Kim) came in to check on me and I was dilated only to a 5. The contractions had started getting harder and harder, especially on my back. I didn’t remember my back hurting as much when I was in labor with Yale. I had only progressed one centimeter in 2 hours, so I was feeling pretty frustrated, and the contractions were getting to the point where I was thinking I might not be able to handle that much more labor without any medication.
I got out of the tub not too much later after that so my doctor could check me. I was asked if I wanted the rest of my water broken, which would help speed things up, so I said, “Of course!” When the doctor checked me I had dilated to a 7 or 8. He broke my water at about 10:30 and warned me that the contractions would start coming harder and faster. I felt like they were already at that point, so it didn’t feel like I was progressing too fast. I didn’t move from the bed after he broke my water because I was comfortable and didn’t want to exert any extra energy. I was actually feeling pretty tired like I wanted to sleep. Between contractions I would shut my eyes, just wanting to sleep. Finally, around 11:15 I decided I could start pushing. The urge wasn’t too strong yet, but it was definitely getting there. We let the doctor and nurses know, and they got everything prepped for it. Then the doctor explained the pushing “guidelines” to me. This was the only point in my entire labor where I felt out of it. It was hard staying focused on what he was saying because my urge to push was growing so strong. Lish was also texting at this time. He said he was letting our parents know I was about to start pushing because apparently they wanted to be informed. After I was all situated, a contraction started coming and the doctor started guiding my pushing and breathing. I pushed 3 times during the contraction. After the contraction had gone away the doctor told me to push again. I said, “But I’m not contracting!” He said, “That’s okay, just push.” I pushed one more time and Brooklyn was out. It was so fast I couldn’t believe it! I barely felt the ring of fire, which was by far the worst part with Yale. That last push was so tiring, but then I was done. Everything about labor and delivery was so much easier for me the second time around. My doctor was amazing. Besides checking his fantasy football all night, Lish was amazing. (For the record, he was losing but came back and won that night.)
Brooklyn Talia Harris was born at 11:26pm, just before October, like I wanted. And she was beautiful. She weighed 7lb 8oz and was 20 inches long. My doctor looked at me as I was holding her and said, “Have you ever considered teaching childbirth classes? You had such good control!” He delivers lots of babies, so I took that as quite the compliment. I nursed her a little bit before we were taken up to the postpartum floor. We had her in the room for a little bit but then had her taken into the nursery so we could try to get some sleep. It never works out like that though. I was so exhausted and I barely slept. Brooklyn was brought into the room around 5:30 for me to try to feed her. She had been sleeping and still didn’t seem all that interested in eating. I just took the opportunity to snuggle with her for an hour instead.
In the morning the nurses came in and told us that Brooklyn’s levels still weren’t quite right (they had let us know right after she was born, but were keeping an eye on it). Her heart rate was pretty low, around 90 bpm rather than 120-140, and her respirations were really low, 12-15 breaths per minute rather than 30-60. They kept checking her throughout the day but because it was remaining pretty low, they wanted us to stay another night.
Lish headed home so he could be with Yale when Yale got up and then bring him to the hospital to meet Brooklyn. While everyone was gone I started nursing Brooklyn and had to stop because the contractions were so bad. I actually ended up throwing up because it was making me so nauseous. That was the only part that was worse for me the second time around, the contractions after birth. Yale, Lish, and my mom showed up around 9 that morning. It was so amazing to have Yale meet his little sister. Lots of very sweet moments. And holding both of them was so precious to me. They stayed for a bit and then took Yale home to take a nap. They came back after his nap and had dinner at the hospital. It was so nice to get to spend that time as a family, but so hard to have Yale come and go.
We had her sleep in the nursery again that night. The next morning the nurse came in and said, “She’s finally acting like a normal baby.” I looked at her and said, “You mean she’s crying?” (She rarely cried at the hospital. I kept waiting for the ball to drop.) The nurse gave me a funny look and said, “No, her heart rate and her breathing are like a normal baby.” Apparently she was almost transferred to the NICU. Thankfully she came around on her own! They also said her bilirubin levels were some of the lowest they had ever seen, which was great. She was nursing pretty well, and overall a very content little baby. She still is. We were so happy to get home and be together as a family. (The hardest part about being in the hospital was having to tell Yale that we couldn’t come home yet.) It was so nice to get home and get settled back in with our family of four. We love our sweet baby Brooklyn and are so blessed to have her in our lives.
Quick note about her name: We named her Brooklyn in memory of my friend, Brooke Wilberger (although Brooke was not short for Brooklyn). Talia means "Heaven's dew" in Hebrew. Plus, they're beautiful names.