Cecilia's birth story

Cecilia Kateri turned one month old on Monday. You can tell by my delayed post that I've been soaking up every minute of snuggle time there is. She's just so incredibly precious.

Our littlest lady surprised us by actually making it to her due date. Even my midwife thought she'd arrive early. With moving to a different house in my third trimester and remodeling the house, along with all of the other activity in our life, I had pretty strong, and somewhat regular, contractions early on. My midwife advised me to take it easy or I'd end up on bed rest. I believe her words were "you need to start taking it easy, and by that I mean delegate everything and stop doing so much". Her advise worked. Cecilia arrived on her actual due date.

When I was pregnant with Amelia I was induced four days past her due date. My labor was hard with her and lasted 38 hours with 4&1/2 hours of pushing. I knew this time I really wanted to avoid induction if at all possible. At my appointment four days before Cecilia was born my midwife did a membrane sweep and told me that if it was going to work, she'd be here either on or before her due date. I spent the next couple of days having very strong, but very irregular contractions. I also really wanted to labor as long as I could at home.

Fast forward to 3:02am on Sunday February 7th. A super strong contraction woke me up and within 5 minutes another one hit. I grabbed my phone and decided to start timing them. 5 minutes, 6 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes... they weren't letting up. By 5:00am I had a pretty good idea that I was in labor. I stayed in bed hoping to catch some more sleep in between contractions, but there was no way I was going to be resting between them. At about 6am I decided to get up and shower. The second I stood up the gush happened. The one you see in the movies. Since my water had been broken for me with Amelia, I had never experienced this before. All over the floor. In the midst of the pain, it made me laugh. At this point contractions started coming on much stronger and definitely regular. Every 4-5 minutes. I decided we should get ready to go in so I woke up Mark. Since we both procrastinate we had to finish packing our bags. I called into labor and delivery and had such a hard time talking through the contractions to tell them who I was. They said to come in right away. I woke up Amelia and got her ready to go to Grace's house. She had kindly offered to keep her for us until we were close to delivery and then she planned to bring her to the hospital. My mom headed our direction and Erica was on standby to come too. I love how my family (mom and sisters) rally around one another.

Mark, mom and I got to the hospital at 8:00am. Because of having symphysis pubis dysfunction I knew I was going to have an epidural. I could barely walk and the pain from spd was a million times worse than the pain from contractions. They checked me and I was only dilated to a 3. Within 30 minutes the epidural was being placed and contractions were 4 minutes apart. The epidural didn't do much for the pelvic pain caused by spd. It was horrible. The anesthesiologist came in two additional times and gave me extra shots directly into the site. At 11 o'clock they checked me again and I was dilated to a 6, and by noon I was at an 8. As 1 o'clock came around I started feeling ready to push. At that point Erica was there and Grace had come up with Amelia, Chris and Liam. They checked me and I was fully dilated... and I kept telling them I needed to push. Erica ran out and grabbed Grace from the waiting room. Oh I should also mention that I had to set my camera at this point. I insisted on taking the very first picture of Cecilia. Blame it on the photographer in me. My midwife hadn't even gloved up yet and was still getting her gown on when she said I could try pushing. First push and Cecilia's head was crowning. That sent everyone into overdrive to get ready. Three pushes later and she was out. I grabbed my camera and snapped her picture. Our beautiful baby girl was here.

The first photo of Cecilia, taken by her mommy who just delivered her. 
Amelia had asked to be in the delivery room when she was born, but I was afraid she would be worried seeing me in pain. She has watched her own birth video so that part didn't concern me as much as her worry for me. The hospital I delivered at does delayed cord clamping so I had my sister run out and grab Amelia as soon as Cecilia was out. She came in, looking somewhat concerned, but I'm so glad she was there. Mark got to cut the cord with my mom, sisters and Amelia there. It was perfect.

A huge thank you to Grace for snapping these photos for me. My epidural didn't wear off for quite a while and I couldn't move my legs to get up and take these photos myself. Having photographed these moments for other couples it was hard to hand over the camera, but she did a fantastic job!!!
Amelia didn't leave her side

I LOVE that you can see Amelia in the mirror, watching every single thing they were doing. 

We spent just over 24 hours in the hospital before going home. It took a few days getting used to life with two littles (one who I have to get to and from school every day on time), and I'm in a permanent state of exhaustion, but my life is more amazing than ever. These girls and their daddy are my everything and I can't imagine life without them. I'm definitely a blessed mommy.

Ashley Elizabeth