Sterling’s birth day…what a glorious day it was and will always be deep within my soul! I’m thrilled to document it while it’s in the forefront of my mind to remember it with love for the rest of my life. I can already tell that having a son feels so different to my heart than having a daughter. The love runs just as deep and wide, but it feels different too. Nancy is my little sidekick. She’s my best girl. I hope we’ll always stay besties. 🙂 With Sterling I have already cried multiple times thinking of him growing up to be a big, burly man–one day taller than me–and just letting the tears flow thinking about his tiny, helpless, completely dependent still not-quite-back-up-to-8lbs-birth-weight self in my arms and sleeping on my chest. My baby boy. My heart. My SON! (I love saying that.) Little man Sterling, Mommy loves you so. I can’t believe how tiny you are right now and how big and grown you will be one day. Be still my heart. I love you SO MUCH.
38 Weeks 5 Days
(starting the log this day because the timeline is all too similar to my labor with Nancy!)
9:30 AM | I had my routine weekly checkup today and was excited that it was scheduled with Dr. Brown, who I just adore. She delivered Nancy and completely won my heart because she hugs, cried tears of joy with me as I thanked her after she delivered Nancy (and thus helped my dreams of becoming a mommy come true!), and even kissed me on the cheek after I thanked her for making that dream come true. Also, she says God bless you. My kind of doctor. Anyway…let me not gloss over that I very much intentionally scheduled my checkup with her and very much knew that she was on call the next day.
As soon as she walked into the room, I told her my dream plan. Strip membranes, hope it works like it did with Nancy, come into the hospital tomorrow morning, have her deliver my baby…on Mark’s birthday. We laughed, and I became super hopeful when the membrane sweep coincided with “bloody show.” She said, “I think this is going to work!” and we said our goodbyes with a hopeful “See you tomorrow morning?!”
Additionally, as she felt my tummy, she also scheduled an ultrasound for me, declaring that she was pretty sure Sterling was already between 8-9 pounds. My ultrasound was scheduled for the next day at 3:30, but of course I never made it to that appointment.
11:30 AM | Following my check-up, we “ladies lunched” because my mommy, sister, and I do that every Monday with our baby girls. A Laurel Market lunch was in order.
1:30 | I wanted to make sure that sweep worked, so Hope and I did the booty loop. With Nancy I was super insane and walked 7 miles with mom that day (I am bonkers). This time we narrowed it down to 3.2. 😉
2:30 PM | I put Nancy down for a nap at my moms, and I took a nap too. After all 1) I am a nap queen 2) if this sweep was going to work anything like Nancy’s, I knew I’d be up all night laboring.
8:oo PM | Contractions were starting again, but I didn’t get too excited because I’d been having contractions daily for the past several weeks. I’d had them all day too, but they were inconsistent.
11:oo PM | I laid down and still tried to suppress any excitement as contractions steadied to about 5 minutes apart. I tried to catch some sleep, but that didn’t really happen.
38 Weeks 6 Days
3:00 AM | Just like last time, I let Mark sleep while I labored on my own through the night. There’s no point in both of us being tired. And the introvert in me doesn’t mind being alone sometimes either. 🙂 At this point I needed contraction distractions, so I showered, dried my hair, straightened it, and put on makeup. I just had to pause and breathe through every contraction, so it took a while.
6:00 AM | I woke Mark up and told him that I thought we should wake up Pie, drop her off at my mom’s, and head to the hospital. He smiled and jokingly teased, “Is this going to be another trip to your favorite place, triage?” (WOMP WOMP), and I knew it was the real deal (for real) this time when his response made me burst into tears out of frustration from the pain I’d been laboring through solo all night long. Tears. Yep, this was real. 3rd time’s the charm for this pregnancy.
7:00 AM | We pulled out of mom’s and headed to the hospital. We both smiled thinking that it was 7am when we headed to the hospital to check in when Nancy was born as well. Also–shift change–I knew Dr. Brown would deliver this baby too, and that made me SO happy!
At triage I was 5cm and relieved that I wasn’t going home. I texted my L&D nurse-turned-friend who also delivered Nancy to fill her in. She was going to come to the hospital later that morning. YAY! Was this too good to be true or what? Same doctor, same L&D nurse, AND it was Mark’s birthday?! God sure knows how to show off. This birth day was beyond anything I could’ve planned, imagined, or hoped for! (Ephesians 3:20!!!)
8:30 AM | By this time we were in the delivery room, and it was time to make my epidural vs. non-epidural decision. Mark has always been on Team Epidural. 100%. I was always on Team Not Epidural. 100%. I wound up being in transition before my epidural took last labor, and no part of Mark wanted to experience that again. As wonderful of a coach as he is, he couldn’t stand seeing/remembering me in that kind of pain and has taken a pro-epidural stance ever since. Bless. And then after the night of laboring and crying at my mom’s house from the pain before we left, I started to waver. I have mad respect for all moms who labor any way they want or choose…natural labor warriors to epidurals to c-sections and anything in between. I’m #teammama. Bringing babies into the world rocks any way you choose to do it. So my story is that I was like SKRRRRRRT NOPE. Give me that epidural. K thanks bye. #owningit. I called my nurse, Colleen, on the phone before she came in to join me in the delivery room and had her talk me through my decision. She’s the best. I just needed someone else to tell me it’s okay to change my initial plan. 🙂
And then it was time for Kelly and Ryan, even though I still call it Regis & Kelly/Kelly & Michael. Mark and I smiled again at the same details that happened on Nancy’s birth day. I looked forward to watching that little talk show before she was born as well!
9:15 AM | Epidural ordered. My contractions slowed upon my arrival to the hospital. That change of scenery (and my white coat syndrome) always stalls me a bit. My blood pressure was through the roof. Oops. Needed to chill out. Apparently my BP skyrockets when I’m in pain because as soon as the epidural took, things regulated.
10:00 AM | Hurry up and wait. Dr. Brown had a busy morning with a C-section and two outpatient procedures, so she wouldn’t break my water till after those were done even though I was ready to get the show on the road and meet my baby boy! She knew that as soon as my water broke, we’d be having a baby in no time, so I had to exercise some patience and wait.
11:00 AM | My Mimi walked into the room. I was surprised because I’d just left her a voicemail saying hello and filling her in that I was at the hospital. Then 15 minutes later she was in the delivery room. I was so confused because I hadn’t even told anyone in my family our room number. Bless my little Mimi. She found her way in and wound up staying all afternoon. She was in a very sassy, hilarious mood and had Colleen and I cracking up every minute.
How many people get to hang out with their grandmother before they give birth? Mimi, you are too much. (And you are VERY beautiful.) I will always cherish these precious, unplanned hours of ours together. I love you!
12:00 PM | Just hanging out with Mimi, Colleen, and Marky. My contractions slowed to about 7 minutes apart but two minutes long, so we started some pitocin. At this point I was 7cm.
1:00 | I took a 15-20 minute power nap (seriously I can nap in any situation, plus I was so tired from not sleeping a wink the night before).
2:20 PM | Mimi was still hanging with us and cracking us up. Hope and Mom were wishing they were at the hospital. And Dr. Brown came in to break my water. She predicted that we’d have a baby by 3:30/4 at the latest. She remembered how quickly things went with Nancy and knew I could push this guy out in no time. 😉 Dr. Brown knows her stuff! Sadly, Colleen had to run out because her son was sick at school, but it meant sooo much to me to have her spend the morning/afternoon with me in this labor too. I just love her to bits!
3:00 | Mom rolled up to the delivery room! And we promptly said peace out to everyone and sent them to the waiting room. It was just about time to push. Hope showed up right after we kicked everyone out & excitedly went straight to the waiting room!
3:20 PM | Pre-push pic before Sterling joined us! At this point my epidural had completely worn off on my left side, so I was bracing the bed rails with white knuckles when every contraction hit. So I guess you can say I halfway got my dose of natural labor. 😉 Kidding. I know it was still a lot easier than the natural route. But, yes, I could feel everything on my left side.
We did one practice push with my nurse, Linda, to see if I could work Sterling over some sort of cervical lip problem there was, and within one push she said, “Okay stop! You’ve got it! No problem with that. I’m calling in Dr. Brown.” (EEEEE!)
Dr. Brown came in the room in no time. (TMI? I’m always pro-TMI.) I had them bring out the mirror the whole time too. I’m so glad I did because of the way things happened. We pushed 4 times before Sterling came out. In between push #2-3, I saw Sterling wiggle his head, which was so weird. But it was cool/crazy/unexpected to see. Mark looked at me, we laughed, and Mark said “This is so weird, isn’t it?” He always makes me laugh. Then came push #4. Very much crowning at this point. We took a break after the contraction, and in the mirror I literally saw (this is also very weird) Sterling’s head coming out even more. Like, he was deciding to come out (!!!). He was pushing himself out…somehow…not on a contraction. Dr. Brown quickly instructed “Just go with it! Elise, go with it! Just push!” And there he was seconds later. My sweet boy.
3:37 PM | Happy birth day, Sterling. You came on the perfect day–your Daddy’s birthday–and on your own perfect time, not even on a dang contraction. You are strong-willed and our “wild man.” Throughout the day the nurses were even laughing about how much you would kick and move in utero as seen on the contraction monitor. Their notice of that reminded me of your higher heart rate at the beginning of pregnancy. Always on the move, you precious one…always on the move. 8 pounds 3 ounces of pure joy.
My cup overfloweth. My heart is overwhelmed. My Sterling. My son.
4:00 PM | After Sterling’s birth, we FaceTimed Mark’s parents before calling my family in. Nana and Fanta’s first reaction: “He looks just like Nancy!” This continued to be the most common response for everyone who met Sterling over the next week.
4:20(ish?) PM | My family came out of the waiting room and got to meet Sterling. I kept hold of him so we could have skin to skin for the entire first hour of his life, but they doted over his precious self. After that first hour of his birth, they watched carefully as he was measured and assessed and all of that good stuff. My mommy, sister, brother, Mimi, and Papaw were all there. I love my family so, so, much and LOVE the PRIVILEGE it is to live in Charlotte with them.
Happy birthday, my sweet, handsome boys.
A few hours later, Nancy met her brother. To say she has blown us away as a big sister is an understatement. My heart could never prepare itself for seeing the two of them together. It can be described as nothing short of a complete gift of grace from God. Thank you Jesus for my two precious babies.