Baby Dugi

Keira's Birth Story

Hello friends! I know it has been a while since I've written here. The third trimester kicked my butt and I was in survival mode with moving and getting more and more uncomfortable while balancing a full time job. I still want to share my amazing baby shower, and I will, but while it is still fresh in my mind, I want to make sure to get my birth story written down. While it was an incredibly personal experience, reading and listening to other women's birth stories was a big part of how I got through my pregnancy and how I got excited for labor. So here it is, in all its glory!

Ever since I got pregnant, I felt a new sort of intensity in my spirit. I wasn’t quite sure where it came from but it helped me accomplish things I never thought I would be able to in a million years. I just figured I was a mama bear who was driven to do anything for my baby. Now that I’ve met my child and lived through her birth, I know exactly where that intensity came from — it was all Keira.

Keira decided to wait until 40 weeks and 6 days to make her entrance into the world. Having gained over 55 pounds and with the stress of really wanting to start maternity leave, I was at the end of my rope. I had already had a membrane sweep that resulted in days of false labor. Everyday these light contractions would start and increase in intensity and frequency and then completely stop at 10pm, right as I was trying to decide whether or not to catch the ferry to Seattle before it stopped running. Every morning I woke up at 4 am in tears because I was still pregnant. The day before I hit 41 weeks, I had an ultrasound scheduled to make sure I had enough water and to see how the little bug was looking size-wise. Damir took the day off of work and my mom joined us. The ultrasound looked good — plenty of water and she was perfectly average in size (my midwives had been a bit concerned as Damir was almost 12 pounds when he was born).

We spent the rest of the day enjoying Seattle while we waited for a midwife appointment that afternoon. Damir got his haircut, finally, and I joked that our baby would probably come now that he looked so much better. We went to lunch and Damir bought her a really cute onesie that says “future athlete” on it. Once again, I commented on how it would be the perfect day for her to come as it had been so fun to be together. We got to the clinic and my midwife checked me. Still 3cm dilated and 50% effaced — the same as the week before. I felt defeated. She assured me that those crappy contractions were doing some work because the baby had certainly moved down. She offered me another membrane sweep and we talked about scheduling an induction the following week. I gladly accepted her offer (anything to get this baby out) and she gave me what I can only describe as the membrane sweep from hell. “That’s how you do it!” she exclaimed after she was done destroying me. I felt totally exhausted afterwards and immediately started cramping up.

We headed back to the island and I took off for a quick acupuncture session. My acupuncturist offered me a free mini-session to get things going because she knew how much I wanted to avoid induction. I had those crappy light contractions the whole way through. Damir and I decided to grab a pizza on the way home and snuggle on the couch for the night. Once we got home, I put my sweatpants on and plopped on the couch under my favorite blanket next to my favorite dog. I had another mini contraction and I leaned over to give him a kiss and a whole bunch of fluid poured out of me. I genuinely thought I was peeing at first and Damir told me to get off the couch. For some reason I said “I can’t!” and I just sat there for a minute longer. Finally I stood up and pulled my pants down, and sure enough clear fluid was just gushing out of me. I ran to the bathroom while Damir cleaned up and called my parents. I called my midwife who answered the phone by saying “you’re welcome!” (love her!). She told me to get something to eat and think about what ferry to take. I was planning on laboring at my best friend’s house and then heading to the hospital when it got real. So I got in the shower and suddenly the contractions hit hard. I barely could wash my hair. Three minutes apart and super intense. So I called my midwife again who heard the change in my voice. She told me to hop on the next ferry and head to the hospital. We packed up the car, my dad picked up Odin, and my mom hopped in the backseat. I was afraid to tell the ferry people that I was progressing so quickly so I held it together as we paid for our tickets. Once we got on the ferry the contractions were 2 minutes apart and even more intense. The possibility of delivering on the ferry became a little too real. We called the captain of the ferry who sent down a sweet EMT to be there in case we needed it. My midwife was prepared to meet me at the ferry. I felt a lot of pressure as the baby moved down. We were let off the ferry first and in between contractions I had to direct Damir to the hospital (he was nervous). When we finally got there, I couldn’t walk, so my mom had to wheel me up to labor and delivery. I was basically screaming through contractions in front of waiting rooms full of people — it was out of a movie. Finally I got to my room where my midwife and a team of nurses was waiting for me. The labor was so intense and was concentrated in my back and the pressure Damir was applying wasn’t helping. I started to beg for the epidural. My midwife suggested I spend some time in the tub and I was so happy to hear her say that. I got in the water and started to decompress a little bit. It had all been so scary and intense that I needed a bit of a break. I slept between contractions for a little over an hour and developed what I thought was a genius technique of floating during contractions to alleviate some pressure in my back. I held Damir’s hand, told everybody that not to monitor the baby, because the feeling of those things on me was too much (they agreed to intermittent monitoring). I begged for the epidural the entire time, but my family knew how much I wanted to deliver naturally, so they rallied together to help me through it (aka they tricked me). My midwife checked me and saw that I had progressed from 4cm to 9.5cm in the time I was in the tub. She stretched me the rest of the way during the next contraction and then suggested we start practicing pushing a bit. I had already been pushing the last few contractions in the tub. There was nothing I could do to hold that back. My body just took over and I made some noises that were truly primitive.

I got back to the bed after a humiliating bathroom trip where I asked Damir to leave to preserve my modesty (ha! What a concept!). I pushed through my first contraction (Nurse Joan taught me how to NOT push with my legs. I almost knocked my midwife and my mom over who were holding my legs. I’ve got strong legs. After 30 minutes of pushing, my sister walked into the room just as the baby was crowning, which was one of the funniest parts of the experience. I felt like the pushing was taking forever and I begged for a break, an hour nap was all I needed and I would be set. Joan told me I had 4 more contractions and she would be out if I pushed correctly and that’s all I needed to hear. Even though I literally felt like my back was going to break, I kept pushing somehow. I saw her head come out and I’ll never forget the look on her face as long as I live. I also will never forget the hysterical laughter I heard from my sweet husband over my shoulder as she came out. They plopped her on my chest and I was in disbelief. The hormones really took over. I was blissed out as I delivered the placenta and they stitched me up (very, very minor tear). Finally after a few hours and our first attempt at breastfeeding – I have so many thoughts on breastfeeding – we went down to our room. Nurse Joan fought for us to have a big room, with a bed for Damir and a view of Seattle. It felt like our little safe place as I adjusted and began the healing process. We had lots of sweet visitors, ordered yummy food, and after a little over 24 hours, we were discharged. We packed up our baby, put her in her car seat, hugged the nurses, and headed out. As soon as we stepped out of the hospital, we both said to each other how crazy it felt. We rushed to catch the ferry and headed back to our little family with our newest member.

From the time my water broke to the time I had her in my arms, my labor lasted 4 hours and 45 minutes. It was very fast, very painful, and scary at times. But as hard as natural back labor is, it was just the beginning. The past 3 weeks have been the hardest and most intense of my life. There have been many tears from both of us, a surprising amount of pain, and a lot of learning. My fierce baby girl has already challenged me in ways I never thought possible. One thing is for sure, I have so much respect for mothers and I can only hope that I am doing right by this little one!

My Second Trimester

By Camilla

If my first trimester was characterized by refrigerator-induced nausea, weight loss, and non-stop boob pain, then my second trimester can only be described as smooth sailing so far...

So much has happened in the past couple of months since I last checked in here about this pregnancy. If you follow me on instagram or snapchat, you're probably well aware of these things but to review:

  • I got a job. I'm working full time now and commuting 1.5 hours each way (don't feel too bad for me, I get to ride a beautiful ferry and drink hot chocolate). 

  • I found a house! On this island it's almost impossible to find a rental that will accept three animals, 2 people and a bun in the oven so I can't believe how lucky I am. It's a sweet, smaller space with a yard and room to garden. Our future landlords are the coolest and we will be moving in August when Damir gets back. 

  • I've started working out again (more on that later)

  • And probably most excitingly, we found out that the little thing doing all the tossing and turning and kicking in my belly is actually a baby girl!!!

OK so let's get to it. 

Working full time while pregnant is a doozy even if you're used to working full time. After 4 years of studying and living in Slovenia and not commuting to a regular job, I've had to readjust majorly. And doing so while pregnant has been a pretty big challenge. I wake up around 5:30am everyday and commute to work, which includes walking uphill about 10 blocks (really really gets my heart rate going). I get home around 5:30pm completely exhausted and try to cuddle as much as I can with my animals until I pass out around 9pm. It is incredibly tiring and I am incredibly tired but the security of having a job is worth it all. I can't even tell you how lucky I feel to be in this position.

One of the things I've been struggling with the most through this trimester so far is the weight gain aspect of pregnancy. I knew going into this whole thing that my body was going to put on weight. It just does. I have to work hard to keep it off most of the time and with everything I have going on, I don't have as much time as I'd like to put into working out. That and rushing to eat breakfast and lunch don't allow me to make the best food decisions (neither does craving strawberry milkshakes). Honestly, my main concern is making sure I eat enough to not feel sick and to keep my body running through this whole crazy process. That said, I've felt a little bit sad that I don't look like the girls I see on Instagram or blogs — the ones who are praised for being "all bump!" and "not even looking pregnant". I see and feel the change in my face, arms, hips, butt, love handles...pretty much everywhere. And while I remind myself constantly that it's all for a good reason and I can lose it after the baby is born, I find myself going through a bit of an identity struggle. I'm really really tired and stretched pretty thin, so I don't have the time or energy I would like to put into my daily appearance, which makes me feel kind of crappy daily. I do wish we saw all the different kinds of pregnancies shared and praised so I could feel like I'm not doing something wrong by gaining some weight in places other than my belly. As far as excercise goes, I walk 30 minutes a day to and from work and 2-3 times a week I go for a 1 hour+ hike with the dog in the forest. I also ride the bike and do strength exercise whenever I have time and energy. And I even went kayaking last week with my dad and the dog! So I know I'm putting in as much effort as I can to stay active and healthy. I just have to own that and feel good about it. 

And finally, I am so excited to finally be able to talk about my baby girl. I wasn't sure I wanted to find out the gender, if I'm being honest. I thought it would be such a great surprise to find out at the end, but my husband really wanted to know and so did the rest of my family. In time, I realized I wanted to know as well. It was sort of killing me not to be able to give an identity to the little entity moving around in my belly. So when we found out on Friday that "it" actually was a "she", everything suddenly felt so much more real! I absolutely love being able to talk about all of her movements and think about what she will look like. And while almost everybody in my life was betting on it being a boy, I have known from the beginning deep in my soul that I was having a girl. I've had several dreams about it and a very strong feeling I couldn't shake, despite everybody's best efforts to convince me it was a boy. I could not be more excited about this little one joining our family and I will burst into a puddle of tears if I imagine Damir holding his baby girl. I mean, I basically turn into the heart eye emoji just at the thought. Ugh I can't wait!

I've still got about a month to go in this second trimester and while I definitely want to blog more, now that I've gotten into more of a routine with work and life in general, I don't want my only contributions to this blog to be about pregnancy. I am planning on a few more posts to share some of the things I have found essential to surviving pregnancy as well as being as open and honest about this whole process as is appropriate.

See more pregnancy posts here.

My First 1st Trimester

By Camilla

I really shouldn't complain about my first trimester. I didn't have a job. My husband and in-laws were immensely helpful. I had a nice warm home to cuddle up in and watch lots of Netflix. Things were pretty cushy and easy for me. And yet, as I'm nearing the end of the last week, I get the chills just thinking about it all. 

My first trimester was characterized by enormous, painful breasts (literally thought somebody was stabbing me at all times). There was immediate gagging and vomiting upon thinking about things like the refrigerator, dirty dishes, leeks, and, ugh, chicken. I had this brilliant vision in my head of taking light jogs and daily hikes while smiling and glowing through the forest, but just walking up the stairs got me out of breath, let alone dragging myself through several feet of snow and attempting not to slip on the ice. I didn't wear deodorant because I couldn't find any natural stuff in Slovenia so that was pretty. I watched an embarrassing amount of Netflix. I ate pretty much only caprese salads and grilled cheese sandwiches. I actually lost a pound over the first 11 weeks (I have more than made up for that since — nearing two hundo, folks!). And there was one pretty epic puke-through-the-nose-into-a-pile-of-dirt-in-pitch-black experience that will haunt me for some time. 

All I could think the entire time was "how on earth do women do this with jobs and other children and actual responsibilities other than getting themselves to the toilet or sink before throwing up everywhere"? Major props to all my mom friends out there. And to my own mom who worked a MORE than full time badass job while pregnant with both me and my sister. She tells tales of pulling over on the freeway to throw up during her hour long commute to work. Maybe it's easier to have a distraction from all the nausea and boob-stabbing pain and hormonally-induced worries that come in those first three months. Or maybe it just makes everything about 100x harder. Either way, women are freaking tough.

And yet the clichés are true. As soon as I got confirmation that all was well last week and I saw my little bug wiggling around, I was like, oh yeah, this is worth it.

So the nausea has let up. My energy levels are getting back to normal. My appetite has exploded and I want to eat everything anyone puts in front of me. If you eat lunch with me I might ask to finish your food, fair warning. My back is beginning to ache more often, which I expected given all my back issues from rowing. My nails are on fleek (is that still a thing?) and my skin has cleared up. And I finally feel like I can celebrate and be excited about this baby! Bring on the second trimester! 

Do I sound like a first time mom or what??