With Lil’s first birthday tomorrow, I thought I would FINALLY get around to sharing her birth story and her Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest Newborn portraits. It’s amazing to me how vastly different and yet still incredible and wonderful experience I had with Lil’s birth compared to Jack’s. With Jack, we evicted him. Lil, as you’ll […]
With Lil’s first birthday tomorrow, I thought I would FINALLY get around to sharing her birth story and her Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest Newborn portraits. It’s amazing to me how vastly different and yet still incredible and wonderful experience I had with Lil’s birth compared to Jack’s. With Jack, we evicted him. Lil, as you’ll come to find out, had her own plans. Something, now a year later, we are learning is pretty typical for her personality. At 28 weeks, I had Covid. Thankfully, it was an “easy” experience. I experienced body aches for a day paired with just feeling totally crappy and a feeling of exhaustion for about a week. Other than that, I (and Lil) were very blessed that our Covid experience was mild and we both came out of it unharmed. However, as a result of the positive test and the medical worlds lack of knowledge on how Covid affects babies in utero, I had to go for weekly stress tests and sonograms. My weekly appointment was scheduled for Tuesday, November 2nd. They started with the ultrasound as always. The technician attempted to take a picture of Lillian’s face but said she was so low that the tech couldn’t get any pictures. Other than that, she passed all sonograms tests with flying colors. Just like she had been for the last ten weeks. The stress test was up next. They strapped the pink and blue monitor to my 38-week belly. Which, in case you haven’t seen any pictures of that belly, was HUGE! Example: below.
As the nurse watched the readings, she asked, “Are you feeling those contractions?” I could feel the tightening of my stomach but it wasn’t uncomfortable. At least at the beginning of the twenty minutes it wasn’t. As time progressed, they became uncomfortable and they began to have a rhythm to them. Eventually they were seven minutes apart. While I had the thought, could this be it? No one, my nurse nor my doctor, seemed phased by them. His thoughts though, “I have a strong feeling we won’t be seeing you for your appointment next week. I think you’ll deliver by this weekend.” With that they sent me home. As soon as I left and started driving, the painful contractions had stopped. Our seventh wedding anniversary was November 1st but due to work and babysitter conflicts, we weren’t able to go to dinner on our actual anniversary. So we decided on November 2nd. Despite the contractions I had earlier in the day, I wasn’t feeling any now or hadn’t for a few hours and so Nick and I decided to move forward with our scheduled anniversary date night as planned.
In addition to the weekly visits, the current advice due to Covid, was to not let a pregnancy go past 40 weeks. On the drive over to Nick’s brother’s to drop Jack off, the hospital called to schedule my induction and the plan was set for next week. We left Jack at his cousins house, as he ran away barely concerned about our leaving, we kissed him goodbye and headed for dinner. We had chosen a restaurant that was 40 minutes away from home and an hour south of the hospital. On the drive down, the contractions started again. I had about 3 before I started to time them. Once I realized they were regular intervals and were becoming increasingly uncomfortable, I said “Hey. Just to let you know I’m having contractions again.” By the time we pulled into the restaurant parking lot, I was gripping the arm rests and focused on my breathing. After taking one look at me, Nick said, “I think we need to head toward home.” We turned around and decided we’d just grab some dinner from a local restaurant. Nick called the order in as we got closer. By the time we reached the restaurant, I wanted NOTHING to do with food. Contractions were about 5 minutes apart if not less. They were increasingly painful. I called the doctor and sure enough, “yeah you should come in”. We stopped at home, grabbed the hospital bags and continued onto the hospital. At this point, I had been laboring for about an hour and a half. The drive to the hospital was another 45 minutes. Contractions were on top of each other. I wasn’t getting any breaks. The pain was intense. We finally arrived at Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest Hospital. The sun had set. It was dark out. We pulled up right in front of the main doors, I jumped out and bolted over to the bushes. I was convinced I was going to be sick from the pain. Something I had done when my labor started with Jack. Thankfully the burst of freezing air calmed my stomach and the change in position relieved the pain. I could manage a walk to the labor and delivery floor while Nick parked the car and grabbed our bags. They took me back to triage and determined that I was 4cm dilated. While the monitors showed that I was still having regular contractions, I wasn’t feeling them anymore. That was it. The pain had stopped. An hour passed, I was still only 4cm. I was given another hour to see if any more progress would happen and if not, they would send me home. I prayed so hard for some progress! Do not send me home. Please let’s just do this. God answered my prayers and at my next check, I was 5cm! They got me officially checked in and back to a delivery room we went.
It was time for an epidural. All went well and we were finally given a few minutes to try and get some shut eye. Except, baby girl kept moving. With each movement, she shifted away from the monitor in a way that we lost her heartbeat. The nurse had to keep coming in and adjusting the monitor. Around 5am, they checked again and I was 7cm. I was progressing as fast as my contractions said I should be. So we waited another hour and no progress again. We decided to break my water and sure enough, that was the money maker! Around 8am, I was fully dilated and super uncomfortable. The pain and pressure was building and I knew it was time to push. With Jack, I had to push for two hours. Thankfully, Lil and I figured it out a little faster and roughly an hour later she was here! Lillian Grace Stramara officially joined us at 9;34am on November 3, 2021 with a full head of black hair, a bruised face and weighing 8 lbs 9oz and 21.5 inches long. Apparently my girl came out, as the nurses say, “sunny side up” which resulted in a bruised face. Even with the bruising, she was perfection! We were allowed to go home the next day and introduce her to her big brother Jack. By far one of my favorite memories in life today.
If you missed it, you can read her announcement blog here!