My birth story: Phoebe
You’d think with a third pregnancy and delivery, you’d be the most at ease mom on the planet, but the last few weeks of my pregnancy I suddenly started getting really nervous! With Elliot and Amelia I had been induced for obstetric cholestasis at 37 weeks and it was only when week 37 passed that Bart and I realised how much we had been preparing to welcome our girl in that exact same time frame.
I’m a mental case
Obviously I was happy to have a healthy baby and to be able to carry her full-term but I had totally underestimated the mental impact it would have on me. I didn’t know what to expect from those last weeks and not being able to visualise it made me nervous and even worry about having a healthy baby. I wasn’t per se worried about giving birth, although not knowing how to recognise the beginning of labor as a third time mom was a funny feeling (with Elliot and Amelia I was induced and because of the premature status of my body - no dilation, baby still up high, … - administered an epidural right away.)
The magical power of a due date
Then my due date came, … and went. Wow, that really was a mental challenge to deal with. I had no idea that date would hold as much power as it did. The day before my due date, my OBGYN suggested to sweep my membranes and get the delivery going in a natural way. I was two cms dilated and the baby was ready. But I decided not to, at the spot, because I felt like now that she had the chance, I wanted our baby to completely choose for herself when she’d make her appearance. That was on a Wednesday, on Saturday I saw my OBGYN again, three centimeters and I was ever so ready now! She swept my membranes in the morning (nothing invasive, it just releases a hormone that starts labor going) and by the afternoon, I felt that something was definitely going on in my belly.
Let’s get this show on the road!
That evening during dinner, I had some contractions here and there. After the kids went to bed, Bart and I watched some tv and by the time we went to bed, I told Bart that I didn’t know how much sleeping I’d still be doing. That was at 11 pm. At 2 AM, I got out of bed and I was totally ready to get this show started! I had discussed when to go to hospital with the midwife and OBGYN earlier that morning and was looking forward to getting the chance to experience those first hours at home. In the back of my head though I had already decided to have an epidural. In the beginning of my pregnancy we were told that I have an anomalyon my X-chromosome which has a strange effect, namely: very long and difficult deliveries. So I wasn’t going to aspire any heroic feats. I wanted to be present in those first moments meeting our girl and be able to be a healthy, relaxed mom afterwards.
I can now confirm that contractions hurt!
By 4AM, the contractions were coming every four minutes and were very painful. I had been distracting myself plucking my eyebrows, doing my make-up, making Bart and me sandwiches, Netflixing, but now the contractions were pulling me to the ground. I called the labor ward and they told me to take my time but come within the hour. I woke up Bart, who called his dad. He would spend the rest of the night in the spare bedroom and be there for the kids in the morning.
In the car, I was starting to lose my calm during contractions. They had such a stingy edge to them and it was starting to look like a scene from a hollywood movie. Little fun fact: the last strip to the emergency room are cobblestones! I was wheeled to the ward and they said I had come in just in time if I still wanted an epidural. Halleluhjah.
Epidural? Yes please!
I had a great experience with the epidural again. I was able to move my legs and feet and felt everything but the pain. The epidural slowed down labor a little but at 9.45 after only three pushes, I pulled out Phoebe onto my chest. And we cried. What a beautiful moment! We immediately noticed how much bigger and heavier she was than her brother and sister had been.
How did Elliot and Amelia react?
That afternoon we had our close family visit. We decided not to spread the word to everyone until that evening to insure a calm first day. However, with our big families, visiting hour was quite busy and when the kids came to meet Phoebe, Amelia was really excited but Elliot was a little timid. He was intimidated by the hospital and me having to stay there.
Our first #familyoffive Kodak moment didn’t take place
Three days later, Bart and the kids picked up Phoebe and me to take us home. What I had pictured as an idyllic Kodak moment turned out to be a stressy escape with a baby that had cried incessantly all morning and two kids who were getting worked up. So no gorgeous family picture on the maternity ward to commemorate our stay there, and no cute selfie in the elevator. Instead we hurried to the parking lot and were happy to strap the kids in and get out of there. I did snap a picture of Phoebe in the gorgeous car seat that had been sitting ready for weeks! Luckily Phoebe was soothed by the car ride and Elliot was petting her nose all the way home.
Don’t you just love the footmuff we took our girl home in? Get a -10% discount with code MOMMOISELLE10%! It’s from the Dutch brand Ukje I absolutely love because it let’s you personalize baby items from other brands you like but you can’t exactly find your favorite pattern or color in. What’s extra to love is that it’s a strong mompreneur who set up the business after trying to upcycle baby items she got when she became a parent. You can get covers on the website for just about anything from car seats to high chair cushions and the footmuff we have doesn’t just fit the brand maxi-cost but fits all car seat brands. Only OEKO-TEX 100 certified cotton is used. To top it off all Ukje products are made in Europe in fair working conditions and part of their profit goes to a charity Peru that ensures children’s education.
Welcome baby blues
Even a third time, coming home was emotional: that third day is so difficult. Engorged breasts, baby blues kicking in, and then the realisation of coming home as a family of five. Let’s just say I bawled my eyes out until I fell asleep and Phoebe and I napped for three hours straight, the kids taking turns quietly cuddling with us. And so life with three kids begins,… If you’d like to see how we do, check in on us here!