Ellie · Japan Life Updates

Ellie’s Birth Story

It’s hard to believe we already have two babies. I never would have guessed at twenty-three that we would have two kids after only three and a half years of marriage, but I can’t imagine a better existence now that they are here.

I have always had lots of contractions through my two pregnancies, and often I physically progressed from these early contractions. I walked around for weeks with Henry at 5cm. When I was pregnant with him, my coworkers used to joke that I had been in labor for months before I actually delivered him. Doctors always tell me to prepare for premature babies with how my body starts labor so early, but alas, both of my kiddos have been considered “full-term.” Henry born at almost 43 weeks, Ellie born at 39 weeks and a day.

My sweet babies both sleeping a few hours after Ellie arrived.

Since I was induced with Henry and never went into active labor without medication, I have always thought that those contractions that I felt while walking around were as bad as they ever got. The only time my contractions became painful with his labor was after they hooked me up to my pitocin drip. Dear Lord, if you have labored naturally with pitocin, you are either crazy or a hero- possibly both. But I had decided this time around that I might not even know when I was in active labor, because my contractions were just never painful, even when I was having them 10 minutes apart for weeks and weeks before Ellie was born.

Boy, was I wrong.

My whole heart in one photo.

I woke up at 5:45am on August 25, and within three contractions I KNEW this baby was coming, and I knew she was coming fast. I had been checked the day before, and was dilated to 4cm but by the time I woke up I was confident I might even be complete and ready to push already.
Poor Drew had made prior plans that morning to help out a couple of his friends with a project, and he was about to leave the house to meet them when he had to call them. I am sure they heard me screaming at him to hurry up in the background. Ha.

I never told Drew that I hated him through labor, although I did tell the anesthesiologist that I loved him more than Drew. Oops. 

We dropped off Henry at our sweet friends’ house around 6:00am, and got checked in to the hospital by 6:30. They were fairly quick to check me, and upon arrival I was already dilated to an 8. They finally got my IV started probably around 7:00. (I say finally only because it felt like an eternity to me as I was still totally unmedicated at this point. My labor and delivery team was speedy and awesome.)
I was begging for an epidural from the moment I buzzed in at the labor and delivery unit, but knew they had to push a unit of fluids first.

You see, I watched the all birthing videos. I totally get it. It’s an empowering thing for women to labor as it happens naturally, and it is totally a thing to be proud of. I don’t deny that.
This just isn’t me. Not at ALL.

At our first hospital when we had Henry, we took every class they offered. Being brand new parents, we really wanted to be prepared. I watched two videos that stuck with me. Both were of women giving birth. One had opted for an epidural during her birth, the other was laboring completely unmedicated in a bathtub. Bathtub lady was clearly sweaty and miserable as I watched her moans turn to screams as she progressed into pushing. Epidural lady was eating a popsicle.

I wanted to be the popsicle lady.

Henry getting to know his new sister. For the first day he only growled at her and told her to “shhhhh, get down!” repeatedly.

So, with Henry, I felt two contractions after pitocin started, and immediately requested my epidural. My anesthesiologist happened to be down the hall, and came right in not even five minutes later. Within 4 total contractions, I couldn’t feel anything from my belly button down. And I had a grape popsicle, and a baby 4 hours later. What a glorious labor that was.

But I was also warned all through this pregnancy that Ellie may come much faster, as my first labor was fast for being a first- and especially fast for being an induction.

They weren’t wrong.
Actually, in hindsight, I didn’t even realize just how quickly things were happening until I saw all of the time stamps on my discharge papers a few days later.

So, they eventually got me set up with my IV around 7am. I was able to walk into the hospital at 6:00, but by 7:00, I was definitely feeling like I might just die on the spot. Shout out to my sweet nurses and doctors, you were all absolutely amazing, and I can’t think of a better team that I would have liked to have in the delivery room with us.

Laying there, I watched as the nurses quickly brought in table after table of medical tools, only around 30 minutes after I arrived at the hospital. It hit me pretty quickly that this little girl was definitely coming soon.
I remember looking at my med tech who was inserting my IV and asking him, “Um… so… I’m not going to get an epidural in time to push this kid out, am I?”
“Well ma’am, that is definitely a good possibility.”
My reply to that might have been a four-letter word.

After my IV was started and I got my bag of fluid pushed through, the anesthesiologist came to my room. By this time, I knew I was likely complete and ready to push, but I was dang determined to get that needle in my spine before that ever happened.

I held as still as humanly possible, and waited as they did their procedure. Both of my epidurals have been absolutely amazing. Basically no pain at all during the insertion, fast and quick, and no side effects afterwards.
Epidural was successfully places, I was checked again, and was absolutely ready to push. Unfortunately, I could still completely move my legs and the epidural had only slightly numbed me up to my shins. Perhaps it took the edge off a little bit, but I definitely felt every bit of this labor compared to the labor I had with Henry.
Nevertheless, I had delayed for as long as I could. It was time to push, and so I did.

My OBGYN that was with me from the very beginning of my pregnancy unfortunately moved about two weeks before my delivery, and the second OB that I had routinely seen for appointments as well also moved the week following the first one. Thus, I met my brand new OB when I was 10cm, and ready to push. He walked into my room, and I shook his hand probably a solid ten minutes before our baby girl arrived.
My water never broke on its own, so he broke it at 7:52am at 10cm. I pushed for what I felt was quite a while, but in reality, Ellie Alice was born at 7:58am.
So yep, I gave birth before my epidural even numbed me.
Yep, I was the woman that got an epidural at 9-10cm. (Most likely 10cm.)
Yep, I was the lady that screamed bloody murder and probably scared every other laboring woman in that unit, even though I only pushed 3 times.
Although I felt the labor and the pushing, it was quite nice to not have to deal with any of the painful following details.

It’s funny- in hindsight, I am still pro-epidural to the core of my being. I had a lot of friends ask me if I regretted getting it this time around since Ellie was born so shortly after I did. I guess my answer is yes and no.
Yes, I regret it only because I probably could have pushed 25-30 minutes earlier if I had not got it. I’m pretty confident I was at 10cm well before the anesthesiologist even came into the room, so I likely did prolong my labor by fighting the urge to push while I tried to wait. I sat there just trying to see if the numbness would creep up fast enough as my anesthesiologist pushed several doses to my IV. In hindsight though, my postpartum recovery was a million times better because my legs never became completely numb, so I was up and walking about 4 hours after Ellie was born. During my recovery with Henry, I was unable to walk for around 16 hours after delivery.
But also no, I don’t regret it, because I hate pain. Ha.
We were already pretty confident that we will not (intentionally) have any more biological babies after Ellie, and I am pretty set in that decision after experiencing a mostly unmedicated labor. Ellie makes me want to have another baby because she is such an angel, but pain that makes me barf uncontrollably and tell men that I don’t know that I love them more than my husband is just not for me.
Kudos to all of you women who labor for hours and hours and hours before your babies make their arrivals, and kudos to you women who push more than three times. My three times convinced me that my body might be splitting in half, and that I will never willingly do that again, so I am very confident y’all are the real MVPs.

Hospital attire for babies always cracks me up.

It’s amazing how as soon as you give your final push, and that little babe makes their entrance into the world, you are instantly relieved.

They laid the squishy and gross little girl on my belly, and suctioned out her mouth and nose as they did. We chose to do delayed cord clamping, meaning we waited until the cord stopped pulsating before messing with it, and so it was several minutes later before Drew cut the cord. (And somehow sprayed blood ALL over our med tech when he did. Poor guy. Ha.) Ellie latched immediately, and has been an absolute champ at nursing so far. She made the hours after delivery so incredibly easy.

Our poor med tech, covered in my blood. Haha.

It’s funny how I hated this entire pregnancy so much, and honestly didn’t feel super connected to Ellie for most of it. I was just so sick during the first trimester, and so tired during the third, and those two trimester’s symptoms each bled into the second, too. I was so busy during my entire pregnancy that I had a hard time connecting with my babe before she was born. Maybe that makes me a crappy mom to admit, but honestly pregnancy just isn’t something that I enjoy. I love my babies with every fiber of my being, and I am forever grateful that we have had no problems conceiving or carrying children, but that 9 months is pretty much hell for me.

But the second that that little girl was laid on my chest, my heart expanded more than I ever thought it could.

Ellie is the sweetest and most perfect little addition to our family, and our family feels so complete. Maybe this will change for me in a few years, but for right now, I can’t imagine life any different than it is right now.


Welcome, my darling Ellie Alice! The world is so much better now that you are here.

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