Alivia Noa Martin was born on November 15th at 4:53pm. This is her birth story:
On Wednesday November 14th we went to bed talking and wondering about when baby girl would come.
That night I couldn’t sleep because I was cramping so bad. This had been happening for several nights on and off though, so I didn’t think it was true labor.
At 4am, after barely sleeping all night, I got up and tried to see if anything would make the cramping stop. I came back to bed around 5am and that’s when I was finally able to identify true, time-able contractions. They were coming every 10ish minutes.
Locke’s birth was so fast and furious – you can read it HERE. The short version is that contractions started really strong, 3-4 minutes apart for his entire labor, which was 9 hours total.
Because of how quickly he came, I had been expecting Alivia’s birth to be even faster and more intense.
I laid in bed for an hour, waiting for and expecting things to really pick up – but they didn’t. I woke Caleb up at 6am and asked him to start helping me get ready in case full blown labor started.
I really thought it would start any second.
I showered to see if the contractions would go away, but they didn’t. I sat on my yoga ball and ate breakfast with Caleb in front of the fire. We talked and relaxed and I worked through contractions as they came. We finished packing our hospital bag and had everything ready to go.
At 8am, we got Locke up. I worked through contractions and let him play in the bathtub, which is our usual morning routine. I talked and played with him and it was really special to have some time alone with him. Caleb made him breakfast and I fed him bites of oatmeal between contractions.
This was probably the highlight of my whole labor – it was so peaceful in our house. It was overcast and cold outside, but so cozy in our house with the fire going and us just being us as a family of three.
I had been praying that God would give me a chance to know when it was going to be my last time with just Locke, just so I could soak it in a little more. I’m really thankful for that morning and the fact that I got to do just that.
At this point I was really starting to get nervous about things picking up. I really REALLY thought it was going to hit any second and I was afraid we wouldn’t be ready or that I would deliver her in the car or something.
I called my parents home from work to come get Locke. They live next door, so they took him to their house so that Caleb could be available to help me.
I also called my midwife and asked her to come. I felt so bad having her come when contractions were still only coming every 5 minutes or so, but I was terrified things would get crazy and she would be far away.
At 10:30am, my midwife got to our house. I had one more solid contraction and then everything stopped.
I literally felt 100% normal and fine.
I kept waiting and waiting for a contraction to happen. I walked up and down the stairs, did some squats, bounced on the ball etc. I was SO upset inside, thinking I had misinterpreted false labor. I felt so bad for calling everyone home and having my midwife drive so far.
I asked if she would check me and see what was going on.
She checked me and said I was dilated to 6cm. She did a quick membrane sweep, which took me to 7cm.
I was so confused that I wasn’t having contractions and asked her if I was really in labor? She laughed and said yes!! Things were just taking a break.
She gave me a few options. We could stay home, but she cautioned that once contractions started again, baby girl would probably come really fast and we may end up with a home birth or car birth. Option two was to head to the hospital while things were calm. I opted to head to the hospital thinking the car ride would be so much better that way.
I called my mom to let her know it was time to go and asked my dad to bring Locke to see me one more time.
The drive to the hospital was amazing compared to my labor with Locke. I think I had a total of three, mild contractions. We got to the hospital and I walked in to L&D – only pausing for one good contraction.
I think we checked in around 11:30am – but I wasn’t watching the clock at this point. I was really focusing on trying to get contractions to start back up.
Hospitals don’t freak me out in any way. I’m a nurse and I spend lots of time in hospitals – so I wasn’t worried about the bustle making labor stall more or anything. I was ready to do this and be done being pregnant.
I was also still expecting that when contractions picked back up that it would be really fast.
(Again, I was comparing things to Locke’s birth – I had him in my arms two hours after we got to the hospital).
The nurse started my IV and I bounced on a yoga ball. Caleb started doing counterpressure on my back.
At this point, contractions started hurting quite a bit.
I started singing a line from the worship song Tremble: “Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble. Jesus, Jesus, you silence fear.” I kept whispering and saying this truth over and over again during contractions.
Full disclosure – my mantra during Locke’s birth was pretty much the F word. LOL So I was really trying to come up with something better than that 😉
A few mamas on Instagram shared some things that really stuck with me for this labor. One mama shared that she repeated the lyrics to the Tremble song. And one mama shared that she played worship music in the delivery room and hoped that her labor and delivery had been a witness to the doctors and the nurses.
Hearing this impacted me so much and I wanted this to be true of my labor with this baby. I had never even considered that I could be an encouragement to the people around me while I was going through so much pain and focusing internally so much – but those two pieces of advice/wisdom helped so much.
I was getting a decent break in-between contractions, so I was able to talk and laugh during the breaks, but I had to concentrate during contractions.
Looking back, I should have just settled in to this. I should have relaxed and just accepted this slower part for however long it was going to last.
I didn’t though. I just kept thinking it was going to be time to push any second. I was SO impatient and unsettled.
After I don’t know how long…maybe an hour? I started to cry. My midwife told me I could do this and that this could be transition. I think I knew deep down that it wasn’t, and that’s why I was crying. Because I was so frustrated. I had prepared myself for an intense sprint, not a long marathon.
My doctor finally came in to check me. I was at 8cm. This REALLY discouraged me. I had been hoping I was further along and it felt like it had been such a long time since my midwife checked me at 7cm.
It also took me down a notch that my doctor seemed really busy and didn’t have good bedside manner with me at all during any part of my labor and delivery. I don’t know why, but he really frustrated me by the way he acted all day.
At this point I got up and started walking the halls. We walked and did lunges for about 45 minutes.
The nurse hooked me back up to the monitor for 20 minutes and then I said I wanted to get in the shower. Caleb came in the bathroom and kept me company while I stood under the running water.
This was probably my other favorite part of Alivia’s birth story. The water felt really good and I loved being alone with just Caleb and working through contractions together. He was so gentle and encouraging and he had me laughing in-between contractions.
At one point I thought I felt my water break (it didn’t, I don’t know what I felt). I also started having thoughts of, “I cannot do this much longer.” Both of these things made me feel like maybe I was in transition. I started to get excited / panic and told Caleb I wanted to get out and be checked again.
I got dressed and sat back on the yoga ball to wait for my doctor. The contractions were really starting to pick up in intensity and they were coming about every 1.5-2 minutes.
While I was sitting on the yoga ball, my water broke for reals. I started feeling so panicky at the thought that things were about to get even more intense. I could barely say my song at this point. I laid my head down on the little side table and just kept trying to get through.
My doctor came back in and I was at 9.5cm. I was discouraged again. It STILL wasn’t time to push.
Since 4am that morning I had been expecting things to pick up and be fast and furious. Almost 12 hours later and I still wasn’t ready to push. The mental game was killing me, I was in SO much pain and feeling SO frustrated.
I couldn’t get up so I laid on my right side with a peanut ball between my legs. I think I was only laying there for about 30 minutes, but it was the worst part of the entire labor. I got super nauseous. I couldn’t say my song anymore, or open my eyes, or even move.
Finally. I started to feel a TON of pressure down there. I told them I was ready to push and the nurse called my doctor. He checked me and I was 10cm. He told me I could start pushing. The nurse started breaking down the bed and setting up a bar for me to hold on to (this is what I asked for).
When I opened my eyes, my doctor was gone. I asked if he was coming back to deliver my baby and the nurse told me he would come back when she was close to being born. This just made me cranky lol. I could feel her RIGHT there and I was ready to have her OUT.
I did one tiny push and the nurse immediately called my doctor to let him know he needed to come back and… oh I don’t know…help deliver my baby. Oi.
He came back and I reminded him that I wanted to catch her myself.
He sat down and I gave a real push.
With Locke, I had to have an episiotomy so I was completely numb down there. Pushing had been the best part of my labor and it felt so good to push into the pain. It was hard work, but it didn’t really hurt. I never felt the “ring of fire.”
But this time…oh my gosh. OH. MY. GOSH.
I don’t even have words. Between contractions I legit said, “I am NEVER doing this without an epidural again.” And I’m pretty sure I meant it.
I pushed 9 times through 3 contractions and at 4:53pm, I reached down and pulled her out and up.
She was screaming, and I was of course, crying. I was SO happy to have her in my arms, but if i’m being completely honest, I was also SO upset.
I was in so much pain still. The burning would not stop and the contractions were still coming. I kind of knew to expect contractions with my second birth, but I thought i would at least have a little break and feel that sweet relief where all the pain is immediately gone and I would just cuddle my newborn and enjoy those first moments.
Everything just hurt so bad i couldn’t really even think straight or calm down enough to enjoy it.
I felt, and still feel angry that i did all of that without medication, in part, to ensure i got those sweet first few moments only to be in too much pain to really enjoy them.
There were so many other important and good parts though – like the fact that our sweet Alivia is perfect and healthy.
We did delayed cord clamping and skin to skin for a really long time. She nursed right away like a champ.
My dad had gotten to the hospital with Locke by that time, but I was still feeling so bad I ended up asking that they not bring Locke back to see us.
Ugh. I felt so bad and I wanted to see him so much, but I couldn’t stop crying. I felt so overwhelmed and so upset. I didn’t want him to see me all upset. I hadn’t had a chance to clean up or get out of the bed or anything. So Caleb went out to the waiting room and they face-timed me so I could say goodnight to him.
We also ended up telling our family that I wasn’t up for any visitors that night.
After doing skin to skin and nursing Liv for a long time, I handed her to Caleb and took a shower. I pretty much felt like a new person when I got out. The water helped the contractions chill out and the burning was finally going away.
I got back into a clean bed and was finally able to hold my new baby girl and actually enjoy her and soak it in. I feel like at this point the unreal happiness started to flood in and ever since then it hasn’t stopped.
My parents brought Locke to the hospital the next morning. At first he was more excited about running around the room, but once Caleb lifted him up to look at Liv, he was SO sweet. He scrunched his little nose up against the bassinet to get a better look. Caleb lifted him up to see her and he started trying to give her hugs and kisses. And then my heart exploded into a million trillion pieces.
Liv’s birth was hard.
I know that in so many ways, it was what I wanted – a natural, unmedicated birth. My birth team was all there, my husband was by my side, I got to deliver her myself, and more than anything she is healthy and safe!
I am so thankful for all of these things!
If I’m being honest though, it wasn’t at all what I had expected or mentally prepared for.
I tried so hard to prepare, but I think having Locke’s birth to compare to really threw me off.
It’s been two weeks and typing this out has been hard and disappointing all over again. But I think that’s ok. I would rather be transparent and I’m always going to be honest here.
The last two weeks, however, have been a dream.
A sleep deprived dream 😉
Liv is perfect and so so precious. Locke is the sweetest and most gentle brother and I LOVE seeing him with her. Caleb is such a good dad to both of them and it melts my heart so much to watch him love on them. I have felt so loved & cared for by the way he has served me, not just the past two weeks, but the last 9 months. God has given me more than I could have ever asked for or imagined and I don’t have words to express my gratitude. My heart is so full.