My pregnancy came off as a slight surprise as we weren't quite sure how fast we would get pregnant. With my first pregnancy, it took almost a year to get pregnant. So naturally I thought it would take the same amount of time. Hormones aren't exactly my best friend but something I have come to accept as my trial and found what works after a difficult post-partum experience with Aunika, my first child.
Initially, when we were trying to get pregnant, everything was going perfectly. My husband and I were bonding and close, my daughter Aunika seemed ready for a sibling, financially we were prepared, and all of us were ready to add to our family. However, when I actually got pregnant it was the complete opposite and absolute worst timing. My husband's business took a nose dive and as a result, he and I grew distant from each other. My daughter Aunika refused to be potty-trained! It was not the best time. One weekend when my mom was visiting, I started noticing changes in my body, so I took a pregnancy test privately. The results were positive. I was pregnant, but I kept the news to myself, afraid that my husband wouldn't react the way I was hoping.
So I pondered over the best way to tell my husband the news for two weeks, since he was so stressed with work. I came to the conclusion that Valentine's Day would be the best day and I had to tell him in a cute way. And it worked! On paper hearts I wrote the phrase, "We're Pregnant!" and scrambled the letters up. Plus I had a separate heart with the due date on it but didn't share that until he unscrambled my secret news. My husband had a difficult time solving the scrambled phrase, so I had to help him. Thankfully he was pleasantly surprised and wasn't stressed one bit. He told me afterwards that the Lord had prepared him by calming his nerves to receive the good news! Probably because of my fervent prayers leading up to that moment.
Then miraculously our relationship and finances improved, but my health did not as to be expected. I grew fatigued, anemic, extremely emotional and once again my hormones were out of balance. I HATED to cook! And this lasted the whole pregnancy. Fortunately during this pregnancy I wasn't considered high-risk, because my heart condition had vanished and my extreme swelling was practically non-existent. I also loved how I felt during pregnancy because I had discovered a program before hand called Dressing Your Truth. It allowed me to feel beautiful regardless of how big I get during my pregnancies. I know who I am, love who I am and therefore dress who I am. Something I had lost several years ago.
For two weeks leading up to baby girl's birth, I had Braxton Hicks and was dilated to 2cm and 70% effaced. On Saturday, the day before she was born, I noticed I was extra tired and irritable than I normally am and my Braxton Hicks were becoming more consistent, turning into an all day event. That same morning, I shared a special bonding moment with Aunika, my first daughter, watching Frozen and cuddling. She then snuggled into my arms and told me she loved me, which is very rare for my daughter to do. She is almost 3 now and is a big time Daddy's girl. My husband was working on getting the nursery ready and by this time, I was four days past my due date with no signs of progression. My mother had come to visit on the actual due date (October 8th), hoping the baby would arrive, but instead she helped paint the nursery and do other projects. In the end, we sent my mom home on the Friday before, because the midwives at Valley OB had planned to see me the following week to scrape my membranes since I wasn't progressing on my own naturally. I was hoping my baby would arrive on her own without having to scrape my membranes. I am a firm believer in letting my babies come when it's right for them.
On Saturday evening, my husband decided we needed to get out of the house, so we went out to eat to Cubby's as a family. While driving and at the restaurant I continued to have more contractions and they were becoming stronger and closer together. By the time we returned home, I knew that baby girl was coming within the next couple days. So I called my mom and told her to be prepared. She decided to drive out with my dad that night (Saturday). In the meantime, my husband thought we should get some sleep, so I took a bath and we went to bed. I woke up at 1am with an intense contraction that lasted a minute but then that was it for an hour. My husband woke up at 2am and told me I need my sleep. I shared the recent progress with him, but he didn't seem to be phased, so I tried to sleep.
As soon as I laid down, the contractions started again. I knew I couldn't sleep but I tried relaxing and breathing in bed during the contractions while my husband applied pressure to my back. Eventually lying in bed was no longer comfortable so I sat in a rocking chair. During the contractions my husband applied pressure to my knees and timed the contractions. We did this for the next hour. The contractions didn't seem unbearable at this point, so I was prepared to do other comfort measures. My husband mentioned that the contractions were getting pretty consistent and lasting a minute each time, but he had faith I would know when to go to the hospital. We didn't want to make the same mistake as last time in going too early and being sent home.
Between 3-3:30 on Sunday morning, my water broke! No more laboring at home at this point. We immediately rushed to the American Fork hospital. Luckily my parents had arrived at 11pm to watch Aunika, so we could rush out without worrying. We got to the hospital around 4am and found that I was dilated to 5 1/2 cm, 100% effaced, and baby was positioned at a 0. So I was ready to be admitted to the hospital! At that point I decided I had experienced what I wanted to naturally and on my own, so I was ready for an epidural. By the time the anesthesiologist arrived, I was dilated to 7cm. I was grateful that at that point I had read a natural birth book that taught me how to cope with the intense contractions. My husband was nearby applying pressure to my knees as I continued to breath. My midwife and nurses were my cheerleaders and prepped me for delivery.
The anesthesiologist arrived and had a difficult time finding the right spot for the epidural because I have scoliosis. She poked me several times and I was praying silently that she was get it in there right, because I couldn't handle anymore of her poking and the intense contractions. Finally at around 5am she got the epidural in correctly and as it turned out I actually had a lot more control and feeling over my body than the previous pregnancy. I was able to feel the contractions coming and the pressure of pushing, but had no intense pain. That's exactly what I was wanting to experience.
Within the hour, the nurses and midwife were concerned about my baby girl's heartbeat. It was somewhat slow and not fluctuating like it should. So they gave me some sugary juice and kept monitors on me and later attached a monitor to my baby's head. I never worried one bit that she was in danger. I was calm and somehow knew that everything was going to be OK. The midwife said I wasn't progressing along, so she checked my bags of water and found that I had another layer of water that was intact. She broke that water and within 15 minutes I was ready to push.
It took three sets of pushing to get my baby into this world and only five hours of labor! Lilly was born on October 12, 2014 at 6:59am, weighing 7lbs 11oz and 20 inches long. When she came out, they rushed her to the nursery staff in the same room to check if she was breathing and clean out a bowel movement she had swallowed before delivery. In the meantime, I had torn a 2nd degree tear and was being stitched up. Thankfully, baby girl was OK and within 5-10 minutes was ready for skin to skin. While waiting to hold my baby, I started getting teary eyes and felt this overwhelming spirit, filling my bosom with love for my baby. I had completely forgotten all my worries and difficulties of the pregnancy and I hadn't even held her yet. My husband once gave me a blessing during a difficult time of my pregnancy when I wasn't feeling connected to my baby, that I would feel love for her as soon as she was born. I have a firm testimony in priesthood blessings and it is a testimony to me that the blessing was fulfilled and a true sign that my Heavenly Father knows and loves me.
Once I was able to hold my baby skin-to-skin and nurse her for an hour, I finally convinced my husband that she was a Lilly Marie. I had known she was Lilly for several months. We both wanted to wait to decide on a name until we saw her face to face, but really we had names narrowed down to two. My experience with Lilly right after she was born was exactly what I had hoped for. She stayed with me in the room for an hour while we bonded and my husband was able to stay by my side to share this precious moment together.
A couple hours later, we received news that Aunika was super excited to meet her baby sister Lilly. When her Papa and Nonna took her to meet Lilly at the hospital, she wasn't sure how to take it or react, so she acknowledged her, held her briefly, but then just played with her Papa with the pony game gift exchange we had the sisters do. It wasn't until a few a days later at home, she opened up to her and was very loving. She was also mad at me at the hospital and acted very distant from me, probably because I was giving Lilly so much attention during nursing.
Now we are a family of four! I am so grateful that my mother was here for a week to help me with this transition! She went above and beyond my expectations! I am also grateful for the love and support from my husband. I am grateful that my father was able to help us with so many projects so that our house could be ready for the baby, and for the thoughtfulness of my in-laws. Lilly is a very calm and well-mannered baby. She loves to snuggle and fall asleep on me. She doesn't cry much and seems to tolerate Aunika's excitement and loving nature. She sleeps through it. Ha ha! I am really excited to be a mother of two girls and watch them grow as sisters. I can't wait to see Lilly's personality develop and what qualities she will bring to our family.