Here it is y’all! The much anticipated birth story! If you aren’t ready for a little TMI about your Milwaukee Madison Newborn Photographer, you may want to exit this post immediately!
In the weeks leading up to the birth of our sweet girl, the world was in disarray as Covid 19 spread across the nation and families everywhere self-quarantined. My emotions were running high because this was all such uncharted territory for hospitals and I didn’t know what type of situation I would be walking into when I would arrive to have our baby.
Now, before I get into the details, it’s important to note that since our birth with Ramsey was only 2.5 hours long from first contraction to baby in arms, we were anticipating the possibility of a quick birth again. We also were hoping to have our OB deliver this baby because we love and trust her so much. With our due date approaching, she told us that since she would be retiring in a matter of a week after our due date that she planned to deliver every last baby that was hers, so we were under strict orders to let her know if any sign of labor presented itself so she could be sure to be nearby to the hospital.
There are many parts of this birth that felt so familiar, yet it was an entirely different birth. The story starts off exactly the same as Ramsey’s.
It was the morning of May 25th and I woke up to go to the bathroom at 4:00am, just like I had with Ramsey. When I got to the bathroom, I realized that I was starting to lose my mucus plug. I put a note into MyChart right away so that my doctor would have the highest chance of making it our birth if something were to happen as a result of losing the plug, but at that time there were no signs of any contractions. I got back in bed and tried to go back to sleep. Just like I had with Ramsey. By 5:00am I had rolled around for a full hour, but the anticipation of even the possibility of labor starting soon had me too excited to sleep. So I decided to get up and get dressed in case the labor came on quickly.
Once I got up and started moving around a bit, a few very slight contractions started, but nothing was consistent and it was still difficult to even tell exactly when the start or end of each was. Ryley got up to workout; I, of course, was mad that he was going to go workout because what if this was labor and things progressed quickly and then he’d be exhausted and all sweaty. Don’t worry, he finished his workout (eyeroll).
My mother and father in law were staying at our house over the long weekend to be there in case we went into labor during the night. When they got up and noticed I was already dressed, they thought at first that it was go time. No such luck.
Ryley and I decided to quick eat a bagel and get out and walk some hills to try to get things going. Ramsey stayed with his grandparents and played while we walked lap after lap and hill after hill in the 85 degree heat. Contractions were about 10-15 minutes apart and not very intense. Sometimes I still had a hard time identifying the exact start/end to them.
We came back home to grab some water and cool off. I went upstairs to freshen up and suddenly the contractions were 2-4 minutes apart. Last time, we met Ramsey within an hour of having 2-4 mins between contractions. I had Ryley take one last picture of my baby bump on our front porch- the due date picture- just in case it would be the last one! Even though the contractions were close together, they still just weren’t very strong so we were a little unsure of where we were at in this birth.
Since our doula, Rowenna, couldn’t be there for the birth due to all of the covid restrictions, we decided to text her. She confirmed what we were thinking; that the intensity of the contractions was more important than the interval.
I sat and bounced on the yoga ball in our living room while everyone sat around and talked. Contractions 5-6 minutes apart and building in intensity. I remember thinking to myself ‘ok, we are having a baby today!’
As I sat there and bounced and everyone talked, I eventually got to the point where the talking during my contractions was bothering me. I felt like if talking was bothersome, it probably would be a good time to head toward the hospital. I got very emotional leaving Ramsey. It was our first time ever leaving him overnight and I was just so nervous about the whole thing. I’m sure it was much harder on me than it was on him. Needless to say, we gave him lots of hugs and kisses before we left and I cried the whole way to the hospital.
By the time we arrived, my contractions were back to 10-12 minutes apart and not intense at all. Uhg… I was so discouraged. We started to walk around the parking lot to try to get things going again.
Funny side note- While we were walking, Ryley found a $20 bill in the sewer grate in the parking lot and fished it out with a stick.
It was 85 degrees out with bright sun and I was getting really hot and just couldn’t seem to feel relaxed as we walked. We decided to find a shady spot and sit on the yoga ball in the shade to try to relax a bit more into the contractions. Things slowly started to progress again. Dr. A called to see how we were doing. She wanted to know if she had enough time to go for a bike ride. Contractions weren’t super strong or close yet so we agreed that she should go and call us to check in again when she got back.
An hour later, we missed her call and she showed up at the hospital! Talk about an amazing and committed doctor! We were still in the grass under a tree laboring there. She offered to check us in the clinic if we didn’t want to check into the labor and delivery unit just yet. We decided to wait; I didn’t want to be discouraged if she checked and I wasn’t very dilated.
She stayed to watch my labor for a few minutes and then headed up to the clinic and told us to call her if we decided we wanted to be checked or if we wanted to check in to labor and delivery. The nurses must have caught wind that we were laboring down there because they ended up sending a security guard out with a wheelchair (which we obviously didn’t need). We stayed out there laboring for a while longer when Jamie (the nurse and lactation consultant from the breastfeeding group that I went to every week with Ramsey) came out. She said they had our room all ready and they had been watching from the window of our room! Too funny! Jamie took our things up.
Not long after she left with our bags, I had a couple of very strong and close contractions. I could feel myself slipping into that all too familiar primal state where the world sort of becomes a blur and I felt that if I had any more like that I probably wouldn’t be able to walk up to Labor and Delivery myself, so we headed up.
When we got up to our room, Dr. A was already up there waiting for us. My nurse, Beth, checked us in. After a lot of back and forth about whether we wanted to have a cervical check, we decided to have one. I was at an 8. I went in to use the restroom and when I came back I felt like I need to rest between contractions and decided to lay on my side on the bed. Ryley got out the beaded bracelet that Ramsey made for us and sent with us. I wore it for the rest of the labor and birth.
The entire birth, I was dreading the transition stage of labor. I remembered it clearly from Ramsey’s birth and I knew that once I got through that part, I would be meeting my baby soon! I knew I could handle the pushing stage, or so I thought…
As soon as I laid down, the contractions picked up and the dreaded transition was here. It was as intense, if not more, than I remembered. I screamed through it with Ramsey, and I screamed through it again with Valley. I remember Dr. A asking me if I felt like pushing, I said no at the time, but by the next contraction, my body started to push on its own. I told Dr. A I was pushing and she said she already knew and I couldn’t fool her haha!
The hardest part of this birth was here. I remember the pushing stage during Ramsey’s birth as painful, yes, but not as bad as the transition was. It was more that I needed to focus, but between contractions I could talk and rest as needed. Not this time. The pushing stage with this birth was as intense or worse than the transition. The contractions were right on top of eachother, with no rest in between. I remember telling Dr. A that I needed a break and that the contractions just wouldn’t stop. She was absolutely amazing at talking me through the birth and keeping me in the right head space.
As I started to push, Ryley, who hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, fainted. The nurses pushed him into a chair and threw ice on his lap. He woke up just in time to see his daughter be born.
On my next push, I thought I had pushed her head out- I was waiting for someone to say her head was out, but noone said anything. So I asked if her head was out. Dr. A actually said that it was the bag of waters. I reached down and could feel what seemed like a giant bubble. I totally had forgotten that my water hadn’t broken yet! On my next push, she came out and the water broke as she came out. Dr. A’s first words were “she’s a big one” and she handed her right up to my chest. She looked so blue at first, still had some vernix on her, and she had dark dark hair and big cheeks. I couldn’t stop looking at her and touching her soft skin. The photo below was taken by our amazing nurse within seconds of her arrival, right after she was handed to me!
This time around I did not have the bleeding issues that I had with Ramsey’s birth. It made such a difference in how I felt and how quickly I recovered. She wanted to nurse right away and basically nursed non-stop for the first several hours of her life. I tried handing her to Ryley to hold, but she just wanted to nurse. Eventually, we called everyone to let them know she was here! We decided that since Ramsey couldn’t be there to visit due to Covid restrictions, we would wait to send any photos or facetime until Ramsey had had a chance to meet her first. She weighed 8 pounds 12.4 ounces and was 21 inches long. We went home as soon as she was 24 hours old (which is when they do the newborn screening and hearing screening and then you can leave) because we were so anxious to get back home to introduce her to Ramsey.
(these three images are taken on film and scanned by Photovision)
Her full name is Valentina Ann Laird. Both her first and middle name are special to us; we first saw the name Valentina a few years ago doing something that is always meaningful for our family. We have this favorite pastime of walking around the lake by our house. My parents used to own a home on that lake when they were first married and now we’ve made it one of our go-to family activities. There’s a little stretch of the walk that goes right through the quaint downtown area and there’s this little family owned organic gelato shop so we always get gelato and walk around the lake, sometimes stopping at the park that’s en route for Ramsey to play for a bit. It’s the perfect weekend family activity. It’s relaxing and fun for us all. We first saw her name on a poster in that shop on one of our family walks. Her middle name, Ann, is actually both mine and my mother’s middle name. When we had Ramsey we decided that since all of our children would obviously have the last name Laird that came from his side of the family, that middle names would come from my side. Ramsey’s middle name is my dad’s name. So when we were pondering the possibility of having a second child, we knew the middle name would come from my mom. The tricky part was that my mom never liked her first name, Robyn. In fact, she technically legally changed the spelling from Robin to Robyn because she didn’t like that it was spelled like the bird. Growing up, she always wished her first name was Ann (which is her middle name). When she was very sick, I asked her what she would want us to use for the middle name in her honor if we ever were lucky enough to have a daughter. She immediately said Ann. I feel like my mom hand picked our little Valley Ann for us straight from heaven. She knew we needed her.
If you are looking for a Milwaukee Madison Newborn Photographer reach out to commission Talia Laird Photography for your session!