On may 15, 2021, our precious rainbow baby made his arrival, turning us into the family of four I’d been longing for.
a little background
If you’re new around here, we experienced our first loss in January 2020 and another again in August, with months of trying to conceive in between, to say 2020 wasn’t our year is an understatement. But shortly after that second loss, when we had truly stopped thinking about ‘trying,’ we were blessed with an unexpected positive pregnancy test. At first I thought, the second pregnancy has got to be easier because I knew what to expect, but pregnancy after loss is a different ball game. Not only was my anxiety high fearing a loss, but not having Will by my side at any of those appointments (thanks COVID) made it that much worse. By the time we got to 38 weeks, I was beyond ready to meet our little guy. I wanted him earthside so bad, so I could stop feeling this crippling anxiety that something could go wrong.
Ryleigh came at 41w4d and everyone told me my second was sure to come sooner than that, so I fully expected him to make his arrival prior to his due date, especially since I pressed play on all the old wives tales. And when I say all, I mean alllll : pineapple. acupuncture, sex, castor oil, curb walking, squats, you name it, we tried it. But 38 weeks came and went, then 39, then 40… As with Ryleigh, my doctor scheduled an induction date for may 17 (41 weeks), then I got the call that it had already been pushed back to may 20 (11 days past my due date), I cried. I was getting bigger and more uncomfortable by the second. I had the worst pelvic pain for weeks and could barely move, but I still forced myself to walk every day (cicadas and all) in hopes it would get this guy moving.
I did all I could to distract myself those last few days and that included documenting this pregnancy as much as I could.
may 15, 2021 (40w +5d)
My mom had been staying with us for almost a week to be there with Ryleigh incase I went into labor. Finally we decided nothing was really happening so she went home around 8am that morning and figured she’d come back with my dad the next day or so. Right before she left I started getting some pain that I thought may be contractions, but didn’t mention anything because I didn’t want her to feel like she had to stay. I knew something was off when I was so nauseas I couldn’t even take one bite of the Black Market Bakers cruffin Will brought me home that morning #iykyk.
I decided to download a contraction timer app (nothing like waiting until the very last minute). At this point, I wasn’t even sure if these were 100% contractions, but I just started timing the pain I felt, they were about 7-8 minutes apart around 9am. I called my doctor, she said as soon as you even have one that’s 5 minutes apart, come straight in. So we packed Ryleigh up, took our last photo as a family of three and took her to our neighbors house because of course, we sent my mom home and Ryleigh was having her first swim lesson ever at their house in a few hours.
930am – the first set hit that was 5 minutes apart, the rest weren’t regular, but I also didn’t want to have this baby at home, so we took a chance and went in. I was sure they’d check me and send us home, but we wanted to be sure.
We got to the hospital, parked and started on the long walk up to L&D. I had to stop a few times to catch my breath, but again I was sure this wasn’t it. We waited a bit for them to get us checked in before they could actually get me a space to check me in. Finally around 1030am they got me a room in triage and my doctor came in, 4cm dilated – whoa not what I was expecting at all! But we were officially staying and having this baby! Weirdly, I wasn’t one bit nervous, completely opposite than with Ryleigh. I was so freaking ready to meet this little man.
Since I was in labor with Ryleigh for 18 hours, even after being induced, they gave me an epidural just so I could get some sleep, I never actually felt contractions, so this time I decided to ride them out as long as I could. I put on my birth playlist and just let them come and go. I watched them up on the screen and thought ya know, maybe I could do this without an epidural.
130pm – The doctor had come in a few times to check, but finally I had hit 6cm, she said she could break my water to get things moving. She asked if I wanted to get my epidural prior to her breaking it because there would be immediate pressure. I said no, thinking superhero strength would kick in. Those next 20 minutes were pure hell. I was laying sideways gripping the bed with one hand and Will with the other trying to zone out listening to my playlist, all while breathing heavily into my mask. I caved and asked for the epidural…the 20 minutes it took to get set up were the longest minutes e v e rrrrr. I was terrified they wouldn’t get it in time.
220pm – epidural was in. it was so much more painful this time around. maybe because I was already in pain from the contractions, but damn.
240pm-3pm – I was super lightheaded, my blood pressure was dropping and baby’s heart rate was rising. They gave me a medicine to combat both of my symptoms which would then hopefully chill baby out. The epidural was finally hitting.
340pm – I was starting to feel some pressure, so the nurse checked me and I was at 9.5cm. She paged the doctor right away. My doctor got there around 4pm and got everything set up for delivery.
430pm – time to push! at this point my blood pressure was really dipping and they were showing their concern. I was pushing my hardest, but they kept yelling at me to push harder. The words, ‘baby isn’t doing good’ kept being repeated. They had to put an oxygen mask on me, which, ironically, made it even harder to catch my breath. After 10 minutes they said, okay we’re going for one more push and then we’re going to need to move to an emergency c-section. The one nurse in the room *due to covid* quickly turned into five and I started to panic.
444pm – one final push later, I helplessly looked up at Will since I didn’t hear any crying. He responded with a huge smile and a ‘he’s here.’
The four extra nurses rushed our baby over to the heat lamp and table, still no crying. Ryleigh was immediately put on my chest, so of course more panic set in. Every terrifying thought ran through my head as I laid on the table getting stitched up, watching nurses hover over our baby who was only minutes old. Finally they called Will over and I just kept looking to him for answers. Then I heard him cry. And it was the most comforting sound.
They still didn’t bring him over to me, but they let Will put his hand on him. They said he swallowed a lot of fluid since I pushed him out so quick (news to me), so they needed to suction it all out.
The second they put him on my chest, all felt right in the world.
Will and I spent the next hour while we waited for a room in recovery to finalize his name. We had settled on Cole as the first name a few weeks prior, but we went into the hospital with three potential middle names.
Cole Miller Clayton
There was no real meaning to Cole except that I nanny’d for a family in college and it was the first time I had ever heard the name Cole and I instantly fell in love and it had been on my list since. The first home Will and I lived together in was on Milton street, so we played Miller off that, but I later found out that my great grandfather’s middle name was Miller, the same great grandfather who’s first name is Galen, and is one of the namesake’s for Ryleigh’s middle name, my grandma’s middle name is also Gale.
I love his name so much and now that I look at the lengthy list of potential names, I couldn’t imagine him as anything other than Cole Miller.
Since covid cases were decreasing, the hospital had just started letting patients have two visitors, but could only be the same two and the partner counts as one of those visitors. So my parents both came to the hospital, but my dad and Ryleigh stayed in the parking garage while my mom came up to visit shortly. It was definitely a different experience, but all of the nurses were understanding and allowed us to remove our masks as often as possible. But because of covid we were given the option to discharge within 24 hours, so we took it! They ran all of the necessary tests, gave him his first bath and we were out of there by 6pm the following day!
While labor was quick, recovery was long and took a toll on my body (similar to last time). Coupled with Cole having an inability to digest my breast milk and the first month of post partum was an absolute whirlwind. This plays a part in to why not only this post is late, but why I haven’t yet gotten you guys other requested posts such as newborn essentials and post partum must-haves, which I promise are coming! But you can always go to the motherhood tab on the blog to check posts from last go around to get an idea!
I can’t even remember what life was like without our sweet boy and watching an older sibling become a big sister/brother has to be one of the most amazing feelings on the planet!
Here are a few photos from our newborn shoot with the uber talented Kait McNamara. We had our shoot before we discovered Cole’s stomach issues and he was only sleeping five minutes at a time and basically awake for 18-21 hours a day, so we had the perfect storm of a cranky newborn and a sassy toddler, yet she was able to capture moments we will cherish forever!