My birth story with Duke started differently than Otis. With Otis I went into labor on my own and with Duke I was induced 1 week before my due date. Both were equally incredible experiences. I feel these moments are forever embedded into my memory. What a time to be pregnant during a global pandemic because of Covid-19 and also deliver a baby during this time. I will say my experience at the hospital was incredible and we felt 100% cared for and safe. Keep reading below for the story of Duke’s birthday.
Leading up to birth
Let’s rewind back to my 37 week appointment. At this appointment, I had my first cervix check and was at 2cm dilated, 70% effaced, and -2 station. My doctor also discussed with me that she wanted to induce me 1 week early at 39 weeks based on my 2 risk factors being age and IVF. Since I was already dilated and progressing on my own, we both agreed that induction would be a great option since my body was already naturally preparing for birth as well. WILD!! I didn’t think we would be scheduling an induction but I felt comfortable knowing my body was already on its way. At my 38 week appointment, I was at 3cm dilated, 70% effaced and -2 station but with a very engaged head. My dr gently stretched my cervix (not a full membrane sweep) to help get things rolling. I was starting to get excited and nervous at the same time wondering if the baby was going to show up before my induction or not! Otis was 4 days early but I was much more dilated this time earlier so it was all up in the air. I think because the idea of induction being different from going into labor naturally was a new idea for me, I was a bit more nervous leading up to it. But, it was also a very great thing to have the luxury of planning with Otis and to prep him for birth and us being away. The night I came home from my 38 week appointment and cervix stretch, I lost my mucus plug. So the wait was on and luckily I made it to my induction date!
July 7, 2021 / 12:30 AM – Induction
Our induction was scheduled for 12:30 AM on 7/7/21 so basically the middle of the night. I had to call 2 hours ahead of time to make sure they had beds available and confirm we could come in. So we called at 10:30 and crossed our fingers and were happy to find out, IT WAS GAME TIME. Our friend came over to swap in for Otis duty and we grabbed our hospital bags and we were OFF! Since we were vaccinated, we did not need to do a covid test for the hospital so that was very nice. If so, we would have done one in advance of our induction.
Since last time I was in active labor, going to the hospital not in active labor was different. I was also strep b positive, I needed to get my IV right away to start my antibiotics to protect baby before birth. So by 1:17am, my IV was done and they had drawn my blood for our cord blood kit (we did CBR again to collect cord blood and tissue and we did the same with Otis.) We then waited to finish some antibiotics before starting anything else. At this point, I was 3.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. A nice thing was because we were both vaccinated, we didn’t have to wear a mask in our delivery or postpartum rooms. Only when we were in the hospital hallways. Since the rules were constantly changing I didn’t know what to expect but that was a nice surprise.
July 7, 2021 / 2:37 AM – PItocin
We started my pitocin at 2:37 am. This was the medication that would jump start my contractions to continue my dilation and get labor started etc. I wasn’t feeling much for a while. Just waiting… to see when things would pick up. At 3:27 am they increased my pitocin. I started to feel contractions but nothing major and mostly just discomfort. At 6:06 am, we increased my pitocin again. I was contracting every 3-4 minutes and feeling them more and was not able to rest at all at this point from the discomfort. I was still around the same dilation etc and the nurses informed me that anesthesia was going into a planned c-section so the plan would be to call them in when they were finished. I was ready. My blood pressure was a little bit on the low side so the plan was to get some more fluids before anesthesia came to do my epidural. So at 8:07 am I got my last big dose of fluids before getting my epidural.
July 7, 2021 / 8:34 AM – Epidural
I had ZERO birth plan except for deliver a healthy baby and have a healthy mama… and get the epidural if I could! So now that I was in alot of pain and discomfort, it was time to call in Anesthesia. I WAS READY. This time around, everything was going ok but while we were doing my actual epidural and he was placing everything properly, I started to feel like I was going to pass out. Since my blood pressure was so low, I was in bad shape. I thought I was going to pass out on the floor. This was the opposite of my first epidural experience with Otis but let me tell you, it was NOT fun. Finally everything was placed and in and I was just glad it was over. I had ice on my forehead and started to feel better. I was just happy to know my epidural was in and now it could GET BUSY.
July 7, 2021 / 9:20 AM – Break my water
The laborist on call was able to come and break my water at this time. This is what would speed up and intensify my contractions to help dilate me quicker. Everything went fine and with my epidural, it was easy. No real pain just pressure and done.
July 7, 2021 / 10:05 AM – Cervix Check and Bloody Show
Around this time, we did a cervix check and I was already at 5cm. So this was great news that I was progressing. I also had what they call my “bloody show” so the nurse said this was all good signs pointing toward labor. At this point, my contractions were starting to get way more intense and it was a little strange because I was feeling A LOT and still very uncomfortable. I told the nurses about it… didn’t think much of it. They pushed the button on my epidural to get some more medicine flowing. In hindsight, I should have called the anesthesiologist back. Basically my epidural was NOT working well… I mean maybe it was working a tiny bit.. But essentially I was still feeling everything.
July 7, 2021 / 10:43 AM – OMG I am in so much pain
Um wow. Things progressed VERY quickly. From 10:05 to 10:43 am I went to 8cm and 90% effaced and 0 station. I was feeling ALOT of pressure which is why the nurses checked me again. When I tell you I was in so much pain… I was gripping the bed basically laying sideways telling the nurse I didn’t think my epidural was working. The pain was INTENSE and I was moaning… it was.. Not how I envisioned feeling with my epidural. HA!
July 7, 2021 / 10:55 AM – GO TIME!!!
I was feeling MISERABLE and in so much pain and had so much INTENSE pressure in my lady parts. I had to tell the nurse I literally felt like the baby was coming. They checked me again and she said, “YOU ARE READY!!!” Holy crap in 10 minutes I had gone to 10cm and was ready to push. At this point, I was having such intense pelvic pressure constantly. They called my dr to come immediately. She was at her office which was a 5 minute drive. The nurses were bustling around the room getting everything together. No one envisioned me getting to 10 cm this quickly so everyone was rushing to get things prepped and ready. We kept losing the baby’s heart rate on the monitor because he was just so low trying to get OUT. It was INSANE. I was basically holding my legs together afraid that the baby was literally going to come out. My epidural felt non existent and it was never able to catch up. I think at that moment, I realized that hey… this was happening whether or not my epidural was working.
My dr arrived soon and I could barely focus at this point from the pain. Once she was ready and in position, I basically pushed for 3 contractions (each time pushing 3x) and baby was out in less than 5 minutes!! HOLY CRAP!!!!! Blake was trying to coach me to help me with my breathing and pushing because I just couldn’t focus so I feel I likely could have pushed him out faster if I was more focused but WOW. He came so fast and all of a sudden… he was here!!!!!!!!!
July 7, 2021 / 11:20 AM – Happy Birthday Duke Ray Lapides
Duke Ray Lapides was born at 11:20 am at 7lbs 4oz and 19 inches long. His cord was wrapped around his neck when he came out but my dr worked fast and all of sudden my baby was on my chest and I am telling you whether you have had a baby before, it’s one of the most life changing, mind blowing things to ever happen to me. Ever. The shock of baby finally being on the outside, here, breathing and moving on my chest… it’s just one of my life’s most powerful moments. I had a very small tear so after delivering the placenta, I got stitched up and then we were done.
We got to snuggle our special guy for some uninterrupted time before the nurses came back to measure him, and do their tests etc. We got rolled to our recovery room and I was able to breastfeed right away which was incredible. The second time around I felt a sense of calm and confidence when it came to approaching breastfeeding and it went so smoothly and I am SO thankful that it did. I will say that the uterus cramping second time around was a lot more intense. Especially when breastfeeding the cramps were really bad. I made sure to constantly stay on top of my pain meds (rotating motrin and tylenol) and not miss any doses. Second time around though, we were ready to get home to Otis. We stayed in the hospital for a little over 24 hours to ensure Baby Duke was healthy and ready and I was medically cleared.
After being home, I stayed consistent with my pain meds and for the first 2 weeks the pain and cramping was worse than I remembered with Otis. But it was all signs that my uterus was shrinking back down to its normal size. I actually stopped bleeding between 2 to 3 weeks postpartum which was amazing. All in all the worst part of the recovery tends to be a quick blur thankfully at least for me. I had to include this side by side picture of Otis and Duke in the hospital. Love seeing how similar their sweet faces were at that newborn moment!
So there you have it. Happy Birthday sweet little Duke. After the years of struggling with fertility, I have this overwhelming sense of peace leaving that chapter behind us and moving forward with our lives. This past week I was able to stop by my fertility clinic with notes and a small gift physically and figuratively say goodbye to this intense chapter in our lives. It has been filled with some of the darkest moments of my life, but also some of my brightest. I will forever be grateful to modern medicine for aiding us in our journey to become a family of 4. For anyone struggling with infertility, my heart aches with you. I know it’s a tough road no matter what your struggles are but I want you to know you are not alone. Linking my IVF related articles below. I shared a pretty in depth look at our process and I hope it might help to support you if you need it.
I wrote a few posts on infertility and IVF and you can find them below: