I am so excited to sit down and write Islas’s birth story because it was a wild, incredible experience like none I’ve ever had! In my last Pregnancy Update + Q & A I said I didn’t have a birth plan but “in a perfect world, I will have a quick, unmedicated, vaginal birth but we all know reality isn’t perfect…” Turns out, that’s pretty much how the story goes – haha. Continue reading for more details on how little miss Isla Fe entered this world and changed our lives forever!
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
My due date was June 13, 2021 and I was scheduled to be induced June 11, 2021 because I didn’t want Palmer and Isla to accidentally share birthdays. The day started in typical fashion and my 39-week appointment the day prior didn’t suggest that labor was imminent despite being about two centimeters dilated.
I had a crazy busy work day – actually preparing for the next day which was the one date I was trying to make it past – but I cut out around 5:30PM to go on a family walk with Kevin and Palmer like we try to do every evening. When we returned, we prepared Palmer’s dinner and ordered pizza for ourselves since we were feeling lazy. While we waited for the pizza and Kevin put Palmer to bed, I logged back on to finish a few work things and clean out my inbox when I noticed my first contraction – around 8PM.
They were really subtle and not painful so naturally I questioned if they were even worth mentioning to Kevin. As we sat down to eat, I told him “I don’t want to alarm you but I think my contractions may have started.” I went on to explain how they felt different than the braxton hicks I’d been experiencing and suggested we just monitor them over the next couple of hours before we reach out to my parents [to come down and watch Palmer].
So that’s pretty much what we did. I decided to make strawberry jam using the strawberries we had picked over the weekend and then we ran out of sugar [apparently you need a lot of sugar] so Kevin ran to the store around 9PM to get more. Ironically he also got me NyQuil because I still had a terrible cold and the doctor had okayed it at my 39 week appointment. When he got home, the contractions were getting a little stronger so we started timing them but they were pretty inconsistent. Even so, Kevin urged me to call my parents down just in case things were to escalate over night.
I texted them at 10:15PM, assuming my dad might still be up but after about 20 mins, we still hadn’t heard back. We then texted my brother who was our backup plan and when he didn’t respond, we called both my parents. Neither answered the phone or returned our call. Now we were starting to get a little nervous so we called my 90-year old grandma who lives with my parents and has the loudest ringer you’ve ever heard. Naturally, she answered on the first ring and proceeded to have a full conversation with me before I asked her to go wake up my parents.
After I spoke with my parents, I decided to take a shower while we waited for them to arrive. My contractions started to escalate in the shower and were pretty painful but I had long, painful contractions with Palmer for almost 18 hours so I honestly didn’t think much of it. I powered through and started getting dressed and trying to blow dry my hair. In hindsight, I must have been in transition at this time because I could only dry my hair in 30 seconds increments before a contraction would bowl me over. That was when I finally realized we would be heading straight to the hospital as soon as my parents arrived.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The next hour is a little bit of a blur because I was in so much pain, I didn’t have a good sense of what was happening. My parents arrived sometime after midnight a little dazed and confused as Kevin was bringing our hospital bags down. I threw on a dress, asked Kevin to grab me my “black strappy Marc Fisher sandals” (LOL), and then braced myself to go in and give Palmer one last kiss before we left.
I barely made it out the front door [literally had to pause, scream out in pain and wait for a contraction to pass] before getting into the car and even then I was screaming and asking Kevin to stop the car because every crack, speed bump and turn was sending lightning bolts through my body. I pretty much screamed the entire drive to the hospital with a death grip on the car’s grab handle. Luckily it was the middle of the night so there was no traffic on the way to the hospital and I’m guessing it took only about 10 minutes to get there but Kevin did miss the turn the first time and as he was going around the block asked me – “should we just park in the parking garage and walk?” Good one.
When we pulled up to Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital Labor & Delivery, Kevin and the valet pleaded with me to get into a wheel chair but I kept refusing. Eventually I let go of the grab handle and flung myself into the wheelchair and they wheeled me screaming into the hospital lobby where a security guard chased after us with a mask.
At check-in, the receptionist very calmly tells me the nurses are coming out soon and to breath slowly and deeply – easier said than done. She then proceeds to ask Kevin a bunch of questions that I’m pretty sure I addressed when I pre-registered with the hospital. She asks him for the name of my OB and our pediatrician – both of which Kevin doesn’t know – LOL. She also asks Kevin what race I identify with – which feels a little unnecessary given the state I’m in but I get it – she’s just doing her job. At this point though there’s no real break between contractions so I’m yelling out answers and signing paperwork all while screaming and withering in pain.
After what feels like forever, but is probably only a matter of minutes, the nurses do come get me and wheel me into triage. They tell me I need to take off my clothes and get on the gurney and I keep saying I can’t. Eventually I do stand up and start to undress but as soon as I do [and this may be TMI but is part of the story – sorry!] I feel something poking out of me. I freak out and ask them what it is and they say it’s my water bag. After seeing that, the nurses realize I’m fully dilated, they do a quick COVID swab and then wheel me out and into an elevator up to labor and delivery.
In the elevator, I get the overwhelming urge to push and do it without even realizing what I’m doing. As soon as we arrive in the room, they tell me I need to roll myself onto the bed and once again, I don’t think I can do it but it doesn’t seem like I have much choice so I muster up my last bit of energy and roll onto the bed. As I do this, they realize I’m crowning and as soon as I land, they tell me to push so I do. After one push, Isla Fe Darling was born at 12:56AM CST, weighing 6 lbs. 10 oz. and 20 in. long.
I honestly think I was in a state of shock after Isla was born. Everything happened so fast there wasn’t even a doctor present and Kevin barely had time to get in the room and set down my bag before the baby was out. I learned afterwards that it was about six minutes from the time I checked in to when the baby arrived. It also happened before my COVID rapid test was complete so I wore a mask for the entire delivery which honestly I didn’t even notice.
Luckily I didn’t need stitches so the nurses quickly cleaned her up and took her measurements while I delivered the placenta. Then we got to spend that golden hour together doing skin to skin and nursing for the first time and we were positively smitten with her. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision a birth like this but it was absolutely perfect and I would do it a million times over to get our baby girl, Isla. I just can’t wait to watch her grow and start to see her personality shine through. One thing is for sure though – her looks take after her momma.