The whirlwind of having a third arrival to our little family has left me without the chance to give updates. I’m happy to announce that I gave birth to a healthy baby girl on July 19th, 2016, Mélina Madelyn Rose. After having a rough delivery for my first daughter, and a speedy delivery for my son, I really did not know what to expect with our second little girl. Living 45 minutes from the nearest hospital made me quite nervous, especially since my son was born only 17 minutes after checking in there. I had emergency birth instructions for my husband in the car and on the fridge just in case! We also called our local family doctor to let him know the end was near – he gave us his cell phone number. I also had the cell phone numbers of two midwives that had been following my pregnancy. I was a nervous wreck, imagining giving birth on a small country road in middle of the night.
My third pregnancy passed quickly and smoothly. The only gripe was constant lower back pain, and hospitalized for stomach inflammation during my 7th month. Like usual, my belly grew so large that I had a constant inflow of twin and triplets comments from strangers. Yes, my belly is large. No, there’s only one child in there. Yes, I’m sure. The picture below is me only 8 days before giving birth. I went on lots of long walks, trying to speed things along. I don’t think it helped this time around. At least, I got to enjoy the beauty around me before becoming a family of five. Next time I’d be able to get outdoors was for long jogs, pushing a jogging stroller with a baby giggling at my suffering. Nothing like trying to lose pregnancy weight with the cause of your misery laughing at you in the face, taunting you with her sweet giggles.
After I was brought to the Manosque hospital by ambulance for stomach inflammation, my doctor gave me a note to have a midwife visit me at home twice a week for a month. After the first visit with the midwife, we agreed that only once per week would be necessary. She ended up coming to see me each week until I delivered. She was very sweet and chatty, and I was thankful to have her checking in on me. These visits were covered completely by our insurance, so we paid nothing out of pocket. Thanks to the excellent medical system here, we’ve never had to pay a dime for medical care for all three of my pregnancies.
At my 39th week, I asked my midwife to do a membranes sweep the following week. She ended up doing it right away, but I quickly regretted it! It only works if the baby is ready to come, otherwise, you get lots of painful cramping and contractions. My little girl definitely wasn’t ready, so I was left uncomfortable for an entire week. She did the sweep again for my 40th week and my daughter was born a couple days later.
I woke up at 5am on July 19th with mild cramping, and just knew this would be the day. I spent the day rustling around the house trying to prepare last minute things for my departure and activities for the kids to do with whomever would be coming over to watch them. Three of our neighbors had agreed to watch the kids for us, so my husband went around to ask who would be able to come that day. One of our retired neighbors came at 2pm, when I was ready to leave. Since two kids can be tiring, another neighbor who has two kids came in the early evening after work to watch over the kids and put them to bed. Our kids had a great time with everyone, and I felt so at ease while I was away.
At 2pm it was uncomfortable for me to walk, not painful. However, since we’re 45 minutes from the hospital and last time our son was born 17 minutes after checking in, we decided to leave earlier than necessary. It was a comfortable drive, with my husband driving at a normal speed. When we reached Manosque, I realized I didn’t have lunch yet and felt it would be a good idea to eat before giving birth. I was afraid of starving if this ended up being a long labor. We decided to make a stop at Paul, my favorite bakery in Manosque. At this point, whenever I had a contraction, it was too painful to walk. They probably thought I would be giving birth there! They laughed because I had to have my usual baguette sandwich before giving birth to my baby… it was like a commercial. We took my sandwich, dessert and drink to go. My husband returned the next day to buy the kids lunch on the way to visit me, they gave him a free dessert to give me as a little gift. So sweet of them!
I finished my entire baguette sandwich and dessert during the short drive between the bakery and hospital. We checked in and I was disappointed to find out that I was only 2 or 3 cm dilated. They let me stay since I lived far away, this was my third pregnancy, and I was the first person to arrive in labor. I was able to labor in the natural laboring room, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for all three labors! I loved lounging in the warm bathtub and freely switching between that and the birthing ball. I tried going on the bed but couldn’t find a way to get comfortable. It’s not as soft as it would seem in the photo.
My first pregnancy I had a bad experience having an epidural. It slowed down my contractions and the doctors tried to force me to have a cesarean (hospital in Normandy). By the time I gave birth, the epidural wore off. Since then, I’ve never been tempted by drugs. This time around, I labored for a grueling 6 hours to the point where I feared I wouldn’t be able to get out of the bathtub. I shouted to my husband to fetch the midwife. She rushed in and they helped me exit the bathtub. She said that I would have to move into the labor and delivery room and asked me to walk. I told her the baby was coming, I could feel her head, so walking wasn’t an option. They continued to try to get me to walk until I suggested a wheelchair. I couldn’t sit in it because I felt like the baby’s head was there, so I pushed myself up with my hands. Two midwives assisted me onto the bed and put an IV in my arm for in case of an emergency. The pain was overwhelming and I tried to control my breathing. One of the midwives insisted that the baby was right there, she could see her. All I needed to do was one large push. So I gathered what strength I had and gave it my all.
The midwives were in awe because my daughter was born still in her waters. The sac never broke! I didn’t know it at the time, but this only happens 1 out of 80,000 births. They popped it open before I had a chance to peek down. I felt the warm water, and then my baby girl was placed into my arms. She was so tiny and beautiful! She nursed, and then the midwives cleaned her up a bit and my husband snuggled with her.
I felt really bad because I was told by one of my midwives that there was a first time mom in labor down the hall that had asked for a birth without an epidural. However, after hearing my screams, I scared her into wanting the drugs. I’m not sure if she ended up actually getting an epidural or not, but I wish I could have told her that it really wasn’t as bad as it sounded! She probably thought I was dying.
After two hours, we were wheeled into our room. As with my other babies, I asked for her to sleep in my bed with me instead of in the bassinet. I was so happy to find out that they were testing new co-sleepers at this hospital. This type of bassinet connected to my bed so it was convenient for nursing and taking her into my arms. This type of bassinet would also be valuable for those who had a cesarean. I think this is a great move and I hope they decide to offer this to all patients.
I only had to stay at the hospital for two days this time around. After Mélina’s birth weight dropped, she quickly regained it, so they said I could leave early if I wished. While I felt good at the hospital, I couldn’t wait to get home. I breastfed both of my other kids until one year old, so I knew the drill this time around and had no problems.
I have nothing but positive things to say about the maternité in Manosque. This was my second birth at this hospital, and from start to finish it was top notch. The midwives, doctors, and staff were always so cheerful, helpful, and welcoming. Since I had such a good experience there with my son, I was not nervous at all about giving birth there again. My only fear was giving birth before reaching their hospital. Other than that, I never even thought about the actual birth.
I am truly blessed and thankful for all that I have. My husband and my three kids are my world and it’s hard to imagine life any other way. Mélina is now 8 months old and is a clone of my daughter and son at this age. Her personality is already starting to shine and I’m loving watching her grow each day.