Our baby girl arrived (get, this) on our one year wedding anniversary!! Her name is Reeve Colette Sinnard born May 29, 2017 at 11:01pm weighing 7lbs 15oz and 20 inches long. Black hair, blue eyes, pouty lips, chunky little perfection.
(Yes, you can follow her on instagram @ReeveCoco because I just can't overload my work instagram with baby photos!)
Read on if you are interested in my detailed account of our birth story that I tapped out on my phone in between breastfeeding and snuggles in this first week that we've been home with her. It's an amazingly powerful story for me for many reasons obviously but I wanted to share it in the hopes that it encourages any and all women who read it to fight to have the labor that they want and to truly believe in the strength of their own bodies!
REEVE'S BIRTH STORY
I had been having "prelabor" symptoms for about 2 weeks: slight crampiness, low back/butt muscle soreness, lots of low pelvic pressure from her being so low. I had refused cervical checks and membrane sweeps even though I was anxious to get things moving forward because I just wanted everything to happen as naturally as possible and knowing myself, I think having learned my dilation/effacement would have been discouraging for me. Starting at 37 weeks, once she was confirmed head down facing back and healthy sized, I knew we were ready to start helping things along. I ramped up my daily walking, kept going to prenatal yoga, drank red raspberry leaf tea, ate dates/prunes/pineapple, had a half a glass of red wine every 2-3 days, slept as much as possible even though the belly was making that difficult, did some booty dancing to rap music, and spending time talking to the baby to tell her that we've got a safe happy little world ready for her to come out to! The couple of days leading up to going into labor I also went swimming at a friends house, got a prenatal chiropractic adjustment and massage, walked A LOT, and at prenatal yoga the day before I did a lot of step-ups to get baby moving!
On Memorial Day, Monday May 29, our 1-year wedding anniversary, I had been having lots of soreness in my butt muscles but attributed it to maybe overdoing it on the daily walks. Then, I started spotting around 10am (had never spotted before during pregnancy) so texted our doula, Chelsea, to update her. The spotting was very minimal so we just noted it and moved on. We decided to go on a walk on the strand with Nico before getting lunch for our anniversary in El Porto. About 2 minutes into the walk I felt super nauseous and I ended up puking in someone's plants so we went home and had a solid lunch at home and lots of water and by 2pm contractions steadily picked up and we started timing them and send reports to Chelsea through the app but the frequency/duration/intensity varied each time so we all agreed that it was still early labor. My mom wanted to book a flight that night but I told her it was unlikely this was going to happen fast and that it could still be a false alarm like we had been having for a couple weeks. I was still able to walk around and do laundry and finish up some nesting errands. Chelsea suggested I try to rest because it was likely going to set in at night and I would need the energy reserves. Around 4pm, I took a bath, laid down for a couple hours but anytime a contraction would hit, I'd start groaning and Taylor would have to run in and hold my hand through it or I would hop out of bed so that he could press on my hips to relieve the pressure. I didn't want to be in bed anymore as they got more intense and started using the yoga ball to rest my upper body while on my knees in our living room. We told Chelsea she should definitely come over. She arrived at about 7pm and we labored at home for only about 45 more minutes doing a few lunges and breathing exercises before Chelsea said she thinks it's time to go to the hospital. I was shocked because I had expected to be laboring at home all night long like we had talked about in our meetings using massage and aromatherapy and guided meditation but she could tell my contractions were on top of each other and there was a lot more "bloody show" now so Taylor rushed to get everything in the car. I couldn't believe the sun was still out but time had definitely taken on a very weird deminsion for me. The only way I know the timing of all of this is from Taylor and Chelsea's accounts!
I definitely thought I was going to have her in the car ride to the hospital on all fours in the back seat....the pressure was intense! I was moaning hardcore during contractions and kept making Taylor count down from 10 to 1 over and over again while I matched my exhales to his counts. I'm sure it made driving a little nerve wracking for him. St one point, I recall opening my eyes and making direct eye contact with a man driving a minivan, it was so awkward and out of place. When we pulled into the hospital, the valet was closed because of the holiday so we had to go in through the ER. I felt like I was in a movie, it was just too stereotypical Hollywood: I was a huge pregnant chick in a wheelchair clearly in intense labor and everyone in the ER waiting room was staring at me, talking about me. Taylor was outside rushing to deal with parking the car and get our bags because you can't leave the car in the ambulance bay. Luckily Chelsea was with me and they started to wheel me up to L+D. I just closed my eyes and went totally internal, I have no idea how I got there. They did the cervix check when I arrived to see if I could be admitted and I requested that they only tell Chelsea and Taylor how far I was so that I wouldn't get discouraged. Apparently I was at 5cm when we came in at 8:30pm so they checked me in. Had I known I was at 5cm and in that much pain I DEFINITELY would have requested an epidural right then because 5 is half of 10 and couldn't have mentally handled the prospect of twice as much pain as that (although I know now that being at 10cm was not nearly as painful as it was around what I assume was 7-8cm but I'll get there....)
They checked us into room 314 (I remember thinking that was Taylor's sister's birthday, whose middle name is Reeves😉 - I took it as a good sign)
Right when we got in the room, they hooked me up to all the monitors and heplock in case an IV was needed. We had only been in there a few minutes at 8:45 I felt like I had to pee and my water broke on the toilet! It was a loud POP that everyone in the room outside could hear and I yelled "my water broke!" Taylor and Chelsea were doing a happy dance. At this point contractions got a lot harder and faster. l had no interest in being in the bed (or squatting like I thought I would), I only wanted to be at a 90 degree angle. I sat on the yoga ball to rest every once in a while but we raised the bed up high so that when I stood, bent over the bed holding (and apparently crushing) Taylor's hands across the bed I could sway through contractions as they hit like waves. Chelsea rubbed my back and pressed on my hips because my butt cheeks were in a lot of pain, she constantly reminded me to slow down my breathing and find control. I recall the staff asking Taylor a bunch of questions and I was proud of him for remembering all of my information and also confused at many of the weird questions like "how many steps are there in your home?" Chelsea reminded me this was the "transition phase" which I remembered during our meetings she said was the hardest stage and could last anywhere from 20mins to 2 hours or more. I had absolutely no frame of reference for time, just that I had to focus on getting through what was happening at that exact moment and if that meant moaning like a crazy animal, that's what I was going to do.
They checked me again at 9:30pm - I was at 9cm I think but again I didn't know that. They just said they were calling the doctor who was delivering another baby down the hall. Taylor was amazing but I only looked him in the eyes maybe twice- I was totally internal the whole time. They checked me again when I started feeling the urge to push with contractions and said I think I might want the epidural now thinking that I had to have many more hours of this coming my way but I was at 10cm already so Chelsea said, "too late babe you already did it, it's time to push, the doctor is coming but if she doesn't make it, the nurse is perfectly able to catch her" I was kind of shocked because it weirdly felt like we had only been in the room for 20 minutes. This was the first time in my whole pregnancy that I was actually aware of my dilation number and it was GO TIME! Taylor said "we're doing this Clo, we're about to be parents in a matter of minutes!"
I finally got into the bed to actually push for at 10:15pm, l started pushing before the doctor got there because pushing felt like such relief from the contraction and made me feel like I had so much control instead of the contractions just happening TO me and me having to deal with them. The staff let Chelsea guide me through this process completely. Dr. Richey arrived just in the last 15 mins or so. I could feel that she was so low and they told me they could see her hair. They asked if I wanted a mirror and I considered it for a second but then realized that visuals of current reality had not really been helping me much today and that closing my eyes and talking to Reeve and keeping my happy visuals in my head had carried me this far so I just stayed internal. I listened to my body and only pushed when I REALLY felt the urge super strong with a few more pushes Reeve was out and on my chest right at 11:01pm and my eyes popped wide open just in time to see her being handed to me!! I could see Taylor's eyes filled with tears immediately and I was shot with so much adrenaline and joy and just couldn't stop hugging Reeve tight. I kept laughing, cracking jokes, kissing taylor, and talking about how awesome we all are for accomplishing it so quickly and smoothly.
Our birth plan was so well respected by the hospital staff! No one pressured me to push when I didn't feel the urge, not a single doctor or nurse even said the word epidural the whole time. I felt so incredibly proud and energized afterward. It was seriously the EXACT labor I wanted (other than some tearing and stiches, that wasn't fun but I also didn't care because I had my little babe!) I realized afterwards that when "Active labor" set in while at home I started keeping my eyes closed even between contractions. I basically just shut out the visual world for the entire 7 hours of labor. I just have little snippets of visual memory from the few times that I opened my eyes throughout the whole process and basically just relied on listening to Taylor and Chelsea's voices encouraging me and keeping my eye on the visual of Taylor and Nico and I snuggled up in our bed with big comfy white sheets. I 100% attribute this to the training and reinforcement of visualization and meditation that I've learned from yoga and mostly from the months of prep in prenatal yoga classes! Having a doula through this process was a total game changer for me (and Taylor and Reeve!) It may not be the way to go for everyone but I needed that coaching to keep me on track to remind me of everything I knew I was capable of and that my body was MADE TO DO. I felt like a freaking superhero after delivery, it was unreal. I now know that I am much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.
Reeve scored a 9.9 on her Apgar test and passed everything with flying colors and got a good latch during golden hour. When we got to our recovery room they told us she would probably sleep a ton but Reeve just wanted to be held skin-to-skin and she and I basically just stared at each other for the next 8 hours without sleeping at all... Taylor passed out. I was actually surprised that he could even be tired. I barely slept more than like 30 minutes here and there until we were discharged 42 hours after we rolled up to the ER to be admitted but honestly never really felt tired. Those oxytocin and adrenaline rushes are for real!
I am SO grateful for our health and strength and have never loved Taylor more than when I see him now with Reeve so confident and loving. I feel like we got a pretty solid start to this whole parenting gig this adventure together as a little family. My heart is so full writing this at home now on my phone while Reeve is snuggled on my chest, Taylor and Nico snoozing in bed next to me in our fluffy white sheets. Is this real life????