A lot have asked for me to share Olive’s birth story and I’m so excited to sit down and finally write it up along with some notes about my pregnancy leading up to her birth. It’s wild to me that she is already 2 months old (going on 3) and I’m back at work full time!
Be prepared this is a long post and I’m also sharing some personal photos/video here that I haven’t shared before.
**As a warning: this post will contain mildly graphic language describing pregnancy and childbirth and some potentially triggering images/video**
Let me start out by saying that being pregnant in a pandemic was the craziest scenario I never could imagine. Who could? Besides the fact that in modern times we have been dealing with something so impactful and scary, to also be pregnant on top of that was just bizarre. When Brett and I started the conversation about growing our family in late 2019, after we moved into our new home, we never imagined we would be welcoming a baby in the peak of Covid cases in our state, a week before Christmas, and in a blizzard to boot.
My first set of appointments with my OB were on video chat. In early April it was so surreal to have her log in, from her hospital shift in a break room and remove 3 different kinds of masks. My appointment was her break time to see a patient without a mask. I remember we discussed how to stay safe and healthy, what protocol was like at the hospital and their office for Covid and, at the time, saying how by the time I was due, December 14, we would likely be done with this virus all together (haha).
Throughout my entire pregnancy Brett and I have been lucky enough to be able to work from home and remain sheltered in place since Olive’s birth. Our only real contact have been our small bubble with our immediate family. I was able to see a few friends distanced over the summer but now we are back in our pod with Olive’s arrival! No matter your stance on how bad this virus is, I personally do not want to take any risk of any of us contracting it, even if we’d “probably be fine”. Who wants to be sick while pregnant, or with two young kids at home…or in general?? Not me, but pandemic parenting is a whole other post.
The weeks leading up to my pregnancy were hectic; I was flat out exhausted and Brett was still working on the nursery until the last minute (which I plan to post here soon). Olive always measured larger than average at all my ultrasounds, so I’m not sure if it was her size, the different of being 34 versus 29 years old (when I was pregnant with Rowan), or that is was just my second pregnancy, but my body was just done. Combine that with working from home with an active 4 year old all while getting ready for Christmas, it was just draining. In fact, I feel more rested and active now with a newborn at home than I did being super pregnant. My body just couldn’t move how I needed it to and I was incredibly frustrated wanting to get so much done. The week before my due date I was hanging out at 3cm dilated and 80% effaced for about 2 weeks and when I was leaving that appointment, they doctor told me I could set up my appointment for the next week (my due date) but she would bet that I wouldn’t see it and probably go into labor over the weekend. Boy, did she get me excited, but alas my due date came and I sadly waddled into the doctors office for another check up.
That week there was a huge snowstorm in the forecast where they were predicting about 18″ of snow for our area with wind gusts, a true nor-easter, and for everyday that passed without me going into labor I kept joking that she was waiting for the blizzard. Life is so crazy and OF COURSE that would be when. Why would thing ever go smoothly or calmly for me? 🙂 With that in the forecast and my doctors saying that I would go early, Rowan had been spending a lot of time at my parents, that way if I went into labor in the middle of the night they didn’t have to drive the 20 minutes up here to stay with her.
The day after my due date I had some mild cramping which by the evening turned into some mild contractions and lost my mucus plug (do not google image search this- you have been warned), nothing too crazy. Rowan was still sleeping over my parents so Brett and I hung out, relaxed, watched TV and I told him we’d probably be in baby mode by the morning and hopefully she would be here the day before the big blizzard hit! This is perfect right? Well no, I woke up the next day and not even a hint at contractions were present.
I was so disappointed that they had stopped all together. I started work for the day and went up to gather eggs at the chicken coop before the big blizzard was to start that evening. Later that afternoon, I went to target for some last minute Christmas shopping figuring it would be my last chance to pick up a few things and have some freedom outside the house alone. In hindsight, I should probably not have pushed myself because once I got home I started baking and cooking like the mad woman I always am. Looking back it was all major nesting signs since weeks prior I had no energy for even one of these activities, let alone all of it.
At this point, with the blizzard coming, we set up for a plow man to come to our house and plow us out the next day. He told us if I went into labor during the storm to just call him a bunch of times until he picked up and he would come plow us out to get to the hospital! So nice. Rowan stayed with my parents for the same reason that night- SNOW. I wasn’t ever worried about us getting to the hospital but I was worried about anyone getting to us in the storm.
Brett kept asking how I felt but I didn’t feel like anything by nightfall. We ate dinner and watched some TV while the storm started to rage. By 10/11pm that night we went up to bed and I started feeling some mild contractions again. At this point I started to get nervous because the snow was coming down fast and furious, but told myself that if I just rested and tried to go to sleep they would go away like they did the night before! Baby tomorrow- after the storm is over and roads are clear! Brett on the other hand was laying next to me while we watched a show in bed just asking me every minute what was going on and how I felt. My contractions started to get more intense past midnight but were really far apart. Seasoned parents know that when they start getting closer and ramping up that’s when you call. Mine were still 10 minutes apart- sometimes even 20 minutes apart, not consistent at all. I also felt like I was able to manage the pain better this time- don’t get me wrong it was excruciating eventually, but I was able to focus on my breathing better this time around than the first time. To me it made things more manageable and I was really, at this point, thinking I could not go to the hospital in this mess. It was a white out outside! I had SO much time labor took FOREVER with Ro!….haha, how many second baby stories start out like that?
By 2am Brett was in a full on panic-mode, for hours now he had been telling me we should just go, he should just clean the car, but I, like many other moms before me, don’t want to get all the way to the hospital for them to turn you away! If your contractions aren’t at a certain interval or you aren’t dilated enough they will send you home and the last thing I wanted was to be in labor for hours in my car downtown New Haven (which he said would have been better than having a baby in the car or our house and needing to call an ambulance). I kept telling him they weren’t close enough to be a thing and it could all stop again.
Then around 3am I got up to use the bathroom and had a rough contraction- no problem I can get through this. Then as soon as it was done another one….and another one. My contractions that were inconsistent and very spread out in time suddenly were right on top of one another and I could not move or function. I eventually got a 30 second break and went back into our bedroom and projectile vomited all over our bed. Brett knows that means it’s go time. I am sadly a labor puker (I did constantly with Ro) and at this point he said he was calling the OB and cleaning the car off, no “buts” about it from me (who was still in denial because I didn’t want to leave the house). When we called my OB they said obviously it sounded like we needed to come in.
At this point for me the night is a bit of a blur because I had such bad back labor I completely zoned out and only focused on squatting and rolling my hips to work through them…..and just try to get my damn shoes on. I had everything I needed set up at the end of the bed…which I threw up on so I had to somehow crawl around my bedroom to find different pants to put on (while Brett was cleaning the car off).
I have a great video of us leaving for the hospital at 3:23am. At this point I was having back to back contractions and couldn’t walk. I started thinking Brett would have to carry me to our car.
I finally got a 45 second break to run out to the car and buckle up. At this point its all Brett rally car driving and drifting around turns to get to the hospital. It was nuts. Looking back if I wasn’t so distracted being in labor I might have had a heart attack from the drive. He went through almost every red light and luckily not many people were out on the roads to get in our way.
We flew up to the front of the hospital doors and Brett was THAT GUY who ran in at 3:45am, forgot his mask, and just started yelling that he needed a wheel chair and that his wife was having a baby. Hahaha. The visual I imagine will live in my head rent free forever. He came back out to the car, where I found us both masks that I had in my pocket, and they brought me a wheel chair. Covid made it so I had to be temperature screened at the door and answer all those questions about travel, which…was…interesting. I guess they have to but like…I’m coming in either way, people.
Once I got up to triage the midwife came in to check me and I remember hearing her say “well this looks like labor” laughing because I wasn’t even able to get up on the bed myself, just hunched over the end of it with my face in the mattress. When I finally got up (with Brett and the nurses help) and they checked me I was 9cm dilated and they were ready to admit me quickly!! Just for reference for those who don’t know- at 10cm the baby is coming out.
Everyone left the room to get things ready and grab my covid test so Brett thought he would be cheeky and try to video record me before I have birth. He did this with Ro (when I was not as progressed into labor) asking what i’d like to say to her before she came into the world. This video is short but it was a whole mood-
Shortly after, I was wheeled down the hall where I felt like I had to start pushing. I remember hearing them say en route “I hope you’re ok with no drugs because this baby is coming now!” It is all such a rush of memories at this point- I remember them breaking my water and doing it so quickly they forgot to put something down below so it went all over the floor.
I asked Brett what he thought when he saw her coming out with a full head of hair (Ro did not have one) and he said he asked “what is that?” and they said “that’s your babies head!!” He thought something was wrong, because besides her having SO much dark hair she also had Meconium all over here which can be very dangerous so they quickly were asking Brett who our pediatrician was. He panicked and said my OBs name and when they were like “no, that’s us” I was able to yell it out and they were laughing. “Mom coming through with the info while actively giving birth”. She also had the cord wrapped around her neck (Ro did too) and what I found very interesting- a “TRUE KNOT”. It’s super uncommon and happens when babies have an extra long umbilical cord. It’s not easy to detect in utero and can be dangerous, but obviously we did not have any issues.
When I say I pushed maybe 7 times I am not joking- this girl came CRASHING onto the scene. She came out so fast I couldn’t even process that I had given birth. It felt like we were at the hospital for mere minutes. Brett took a video seconds after they put her on my stomach. Sorry for my bad editing but I was trying to censor some more intimate parts of my body that don’t need to be here haha, but I love this video too much not to share it.
Olive Maureen Walter born 4:21am 8lbs 12oz
A big baby as predicted. I didn’t even have time to get changed into a hospital gown when we got there, so we couldn’t do instant skin to skin but we were able to do it shortly after she was weighed and within 45 minutes of her birth she was latched on and we’ve been breastfeeding strong ever since!
To touch lightly, on those wondering about the hospital post-birth during Covid, it was pretty much what you would expect. The most disappointing part was not that we couldn’t have ANY visitors, but that meant even Rowan could not come meet her sister until we got home. I welcomed the calm (after the storm quite literally and figuratively) and quiet time to bond with just Olive though. We of course face-timed with Rowan as soon as we could and with both our parents so they could “meet” her. Luckily, Ro doesn’t know any better since this is her first sibling, so she understood that she would be at home waiting for us when we got home to be the first to hold her. And she did-
I have been so lucky that Rowan has adjusted so well to becoming a big sister. I was a little worried no matter how excited she was before her birth. She is constantly wanting to show her sister things and helping me by grabbing small things when I can. It has made the transition from a family of 3 to 4 so easy. Don’t get me wrong there are definitely hard days and the first few weeks were brutal for me in general, but now we’ve adjusted and settled in quite nicely! Welcome to the world baby Ollie, we love you so much! <3