Genevieve is here! A Labor Story.

If you’re a regular here at Slow Down and Savor, you will have noticed some serious radio silence from me. I apologize. But there’s a good reason, I swear! Well, 2 good reasons, actually.

The first reason is that my computer exploded. Literally. Well, almost literally. The battery malfunctioned, and instead of literally exploding or catching fire, it swelled instead. Thank you Mac, for this safety feature. If the folks over at Apple hadn’t come up with that battery swelling deal, my house could very well have burned down. But the side effect of a swollen battery is having the computer sent away for repairs. It’s finally back, and I can finally get down to business. 

July 26th, the day I started writing this post, was my official due date. Crazy. Spoiler alert: I didn’t make it to my due date. Not at all. This is the other, the second good reason I’ve been MIA from SD&S.

I can’t believe my beautiful baby girl is here, and has been for over 5 weeks. Sometimes I feel like she’s been with me my whole entire life, and other times, I marvel at her newness, and feel like her birth day was just yesterday.

Genevieve Sharpe Ogletree was born on at 9:16 a.m. on Sunday, July 9th, 2017, at 37 weeks and 4 days.

During my last Pregnancy Journal Update, I recorded that my doctor said my cervix was dilated to 2 cm, and that I was 95% effaced at my 37 week appointment, and since the week/appointment before, I was SUPER closed and with no effacement. Because of that, she basically said that she thought the baby would be born at any day, and that she’d be surprised if I made it to the next week’s appointment.

I also talked about how my hopes were up, thinking that I’d have Genevieve in under a week, but in the back of my mind, I had serious doubts. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I’d be having my daughter just a couple of days later.

But I did.

It all started that Friday evening. Michael, the kids and I headed over to a friends’ house for some dinner, for the kids to play and for us grown folks to enjoy a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity. The whole evening I was feeling what I thought were those pesky Braxton Hicks contractions, but the more I started to pay attention, the more I realized they weren’t BH, but more likely, the real deal. Why? They were coming in regular intervals, about 15-20 minutes apart. But I wouldn’t let myself think they were the real deal. It was too soon.

By the time we got home, I’d finally convinced myself that the contractions were DEFINITELY NOT of the Braxton Hicks variety. But I knew I was in for the long haul. The contractions were happening too far apart to signify time to get to the hospital, and the pain wasn’t severe enough either. It was still completely tolerable. So I went to bed.

And I didn’t wake up during the night, other than to pee one time. I remember this detail 5 weeks later because I was completely dumbfounded by it. I had been waking up between 5-10 times during the night for the last part of pregnancy due to my small and explosive bladder, my insomnia, my back pain, or some other annoyance. So to just wake up once? It was memorable.

Saturday started around 9 a.m. for me, and once again, this was noteworthy. I hadn’t slept past 7 a.m. in WEEKS. I should have known that I’d be going into real labor soon-soon with these signs, but I didn’t. I was too stunned to connect the dots, and too thankful to put 2 and 2 together. I was thankful for the rest, and thankful to Major, Jack and Michael for letting me sleep in. I didn’t know I was going to need it.

The weather was beautiful, albeit a tad hot, but it was a great day for the pool, so after lunch, we packed up our pool bag, and walked to our community pool. I decided that day would be the day I’d get in the pool, and swim a few laps. If you know me personally, then you would know that I used to be a competitive swimmer, and basically training for the sport in and out of the pool was my life for years and years. I ate, slept and dreamed swimming, so naturally, in my 9th month of pregnancy, swimming a couple of laps made the most sense.

37 weeks pregnant
37 weeks pregnant

It was amazing. Glorious. The cool water enveloped my blisteringly hot, painful, stretched pregnant body, making me feel virtually weightless. I took my time, feeling each movement, savoring each stroke, each second in the water. I felt home and it felt good.

Until it was time to get out. I didn’t use a ladder, because I momentarily forgot I was 9 months pregnant, and tried to just GET OUT. I felt a SUPER sharp pain in my right abdomen. My breath was taken away, and it was just like that, that contractions started to go from benign to real-deal.

But that only lasted for a little while. Yes, the frequency became shorter, but the pain didn’t remain at that breath-taking level. Thank God.

Around 6:30 p.m. that evening, my body was feeling extra heavy, extra pained, and I felt the extra need for a bath. I hadn’t taken a bath in MONTHS, and frankly, a warm soak just sounded like actual euphoria. I drew a bath, settled in with a book and relaxed the pain away. It was sensational. But around 7 p.m., the pain started to get a bit worse in my abdomen. Yep, the contractions were getting more pronounced. I decided it would be a good time to get out of the tub.

Then something crazy happened. My heart dropped. My stomach was coming out of my mouth. I felt like I jumped off a cliff, and the fear was closing in on me, HARD. There was blood everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It was gushing, and it wasn’t stopping. My tub looked like something truly horrifying went down, and the rest of the bathroom was crime-scene worthy.

Terror. Fear. Panic. All of the emotions.

Was my baby OK? I started yelling for Michael, as calmly as I could, to avoid panicking the other kids, and frankly to avoid panicking myself any further. Once he saw what was going on in the bathroom, he went into “Go mode.” He ran to our room, grabbed the hospital bag, and I threw a few of Genevieve’s onesies in, since I hadn’t QUITE finished packing, and I got myself dressed. I had to get myself re-dressed 2 times, since I my brain wasn’t firing at all cylinders, and it took 3 times to realize I would probably need a pad to keep me from looking like I stepped out from the scary scene in Carrie.

We arrived at the labor & delivery hospital a LONG 20 minutes later, and several minutes after checking in, I was called back to triage, where I was stripped down, strapped to monitors, and examined. It was determined that I no longer had any active bleeding, however since they had no idea what was causing it, I wasn’t going anywhere. I was put in my private delivery room, and was told that I’d be staying at least over night for monitoring, but probably would be staying for delivery since during their exam, they found I was dilated to about 3.5 cm and was fully effaced.

Holy &#$^! The show was starting! Here we gooooooo!!!

About an hour after getting settled in to our room, and making sure my parents relieved Michael from the waiting room where he was waiting with Major and Jack, and the boys were cared for by my parents, I was able to somewhat relax. But then I had to pee, and when I got up, I noticed that where I had been sitting on my bed was completely soaked through with blood. The bleeding was back, along with my panic, and the tears began. What was going on?

Please be OK, Genevieve.

I kept that mantra in my head, but as long as I heard her strong heartbeat on those monitors, I had faith that she was just fine.

The on-call doctor came in, who by the way was a wonderful doctor, and told me once again, I was staying no matter what. I was going to have this baby. I was going to have it NOW. 

Once again, panic set in. Isn’t this what I wanted? Isn’t this what I’ve been praying for? “Please let this pregnancy be over so I can hold my beautiful baby girl.” Yes, I said those very words, so many times over the last couple of weeks. Yes, but having it happen under a rush of blood scared me. I wasn’t ready. I was ready. No I wasn’t. Yes, I WAS!

The doctor speculated that my placenta was doing something called a placenta abruption. I’ve since had a chance to look it up, and basically placental abruption occurs when the placenta detaches from the inner wall of the womb before delivery. The condition can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients. I was also told that depending on the degree of placental separation I was experiencing, I may need a C-section. Basically they needed to keep a close eye on what the fetal monitors were saying, because if Eve ever went into distress during a contraction, I was going to need surgery.

Luckily, that never came to pass. Praise God. 

But the bleeding persisted, and my nerves only increased. Around 3-something in the morning, I was told that once I decided to get the epidural, they’d break my water, and I’d be on my way to having my baby. So Michael and I decided that sooner sounded better than later, so I requested the epidural, and by 4-something that morning, my water was broken. 

Once the epidural kicked in, I stopped feeling the contractions, and I was so thankful because they were getting REALLY serious, and I was also thankful I was able to grab an hour or 2 of shut-eye before it was time for the big show.

Around 5:45 a.m., the doctor who I’d been seeing the entire evening came in and saw my progression, and decided it was time to start pushing. EEEE!!! But after 15 minutes, I was having trauma flashbacks to labor with Jack, and how for 2 whole hours, I pushed without much feeling (thanks epidural), and experienced little to no progress. That’s when they shut off the epidural, and I felt it all, and had an additional 2 hours of intensity. I could feel, but couldn’t really move. It was fresh hell.

But I need to say, the folks at GBMC here in the Baltimore area really were AMAZING. They listened to me, and understood my first birth experience. They didn’t let my pushing with no progress go on for more than 15 minutes before deciding to stop. They brought the epidural intensity down half way, to a level 6, and let me rest for about an hour. I was so grateful. I was also grateful that I would be able to start to feel the contractions, as odd as that sounds, because only with that pain did I know when to push.

Suddenly, it was 7 a.m., which signified the changing of the guards. A whole new staff came in, including MY doctor. I was sad to say goodbye to the doctor I’d been seeing, but I was extra happy to see the woman I’ve been seeing for the past 9 months, the woman who I’ve built relationship with, the woman I’ve come to trust walk in that door. 

She sat with me, on the foot of my bed, and talked with me through the worsening contractions. She told me when to push, when to hold off, and between each contraction, we talked, and she made me feel incredibly confident and comfortable. Every time I cried and talked about how scared I was that I wasn’t able to push right, or that I was convinced I wasn’t doing it correctly, she reassured me that I was in fact doing amazing. I love her.

My husband was also an amazing coach. He was supportive, held my hand and my leg as I pushed, and was there every step of the way. I’m so thankful he was there. I know he was incredible when I was having Jack, but I have to say, he was even more so this time around. Thank you, love.

After about an hour of pushing, I started to feel a new pain, down in my lower left pelvic region. It was sharp and terrible, and I didn’t like it at all. I’m pretty sure I was screaming that. “I DON’T LIKE THIS AT ALL!!!!!”

I pushed through the pain, literally, and about 30 minutes later, my beautiful baby girl entered the world, sunny side up. The pain I was feeling was her flipping over and getting stuck in my pelvic bone. Ouch. But she was as perfect as ever, weighing a whopping 6 lb 2 oz, and measuring at 18.5” long. Her size really made me want to stick my tongue out at every single person who shamed me over my size while pregnant. I mean, I was 3 weeks early in having her, and she was a perfect size. So, there. 

There’s nothing sweeter than the sound of the first cry from your baby. Nothing. I was so relieved, and so overjoyed with that sound. It’s the sound of safety. She was OK. And unlike last time with Jack, I was able to get the skin to skin contact with my baby as soon as possible.

Even with the mess and the slop and all the weird stuff all over her, it was the most beautiful moment I’ve ever shared with another living being, and I didn’t want it to end.

labor story

But it had to, because she was gross, and so was I. She needed to get cleaned up and I needed to get stitched up. So Michael went with our little lady to get a little bath.

labor story

I sometimes look back on both labor and delivery experiences I’ve had, and just marvel at the fact that I did it. I know both times I fully and completely doubted my strength and endurance. I had periods where I was convinced I wasn’t going to be able to get the baby out, that I just wasn’t able to do it. But both times I persevered through the pain and absolute craziness, and I sat in awe of the child that God blessed us with. True miracles.

GBMC needs to be praised here, so let me do this. I had a birth plan all printed out and ready to go, but I forgot about it once the time was right. But it turns out, the staff there was exceptional in asking me questions and listening to my requests. Everything I was hoping for happened. They listened. They acted, or didn’t, depending, and I had a fantastic experience with them.

labor story

Everyone was thoughtful and made the whole delivery process a peaceful one. I’m really glad we chose Capital Women’s Care and Dr. Erdman, and GBMC, that’s for sure.

So here I sit, a little more than 5 weeks after the fact, more tired than I’ve ever been in my entire life, taking nearly 4 weeks to write this ONE post, but feeling more full and complete than I have before.

I also want to say before I go that what “they say” is true; the second time around, labor is much easier than the first. Maybe it was because I knew what to expect, or that this time around, there was less hospital staff in the room, and my doctor was more casual, sitting on the foot of the bed TALKING with me, like we were hanging out, or something. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it really is just the body knowing what to do, but it was a lot easier than last time, that’s for sure. 

Stay tuned for a 1 month baby update, as well as some other fun stuff. I’m not going to promise a timeline here, since 3 kids is no joke, and with camp coming to a close for the big kid, I will have even less time than I did before. I plan on resuming regularly scheduled programming once school is back in session this September, and we can get settled into a routine. 

See you soon! 

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Katie Ogletree is the creator, writer and photographer of Slow Down and Savor, a food and lifestyle blog based out of Baltimore, MD. She is a graduate of Texas State University with a degree in Mass Communication, a wife of an amazing guy, and mother of two wonderful boys, a beautiful girl, and three gorgeous kitties. She loves exploring Baltimore City and is excited to see what it’s all about through its food, and those that make it. She is a self-professed foodie of all classifications, from fine dining and conceptual fare to the simplest and sometimes messiest bar food around, and absolutely loves sharing it with anyone she can. Thanks for visiting Slow Down and Savor!
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One thought on “Genevieve is here! A Labor Story.

  1. Patti Lewis

    Thank you, Katie, for sharing this amazing story of Miss Genevieve’s world debut.

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