I was relaxed and calm with a big smile during labor, thanks to the epidural!

Geoff and I always felt like we were meant to be. We met on his 28th birthday, which is also Valentine's Day, and now what we consider our anniversary because we've been together since that night! We locked eyes across the room. Our cheeks blushed red as we tried to hide our giddy grins. It seemed like a movie. After an hour or two of getting to know each other, his friend took down my number since neither of us had phones on us that night. We shared a kiss and went our separate ways. He wrote to me the very next morning and our love and friendship just grew and grew from then on. He traveled a lot for work at the time so it gave us a chance to share a friendship and to talk and really learn about one another from afar. We would talk about one day getting married, and starting a family, we would bring each other up and encourage one another. It always felt so right with him. Three years later we were married in a breezy meadow and a week before our one year wedding anniversary we welcomed our lovely little daughter. We were excited to start a family and were talking about trying to get pregnant soon after our wedding. We were planning to start trying about 6 months after our wedding but it ended up being 3 months after! Now having Scarlett, it all makes sense. She was meant to come at her perfect time.  

The day we found out that I was pregnant, I was actually compiling a list of baby girl names. I always dreamed of having a girl and my friend was due with a baby girl a few weeks later so I was somewhat looking for her and keeping a list of the ones that stuck out to me personally. Later that morning Geoff was sitting at the end of the couch and I started reading off the names I liked. He passed on the first few and then stopped me at, "Scarlett." He said I love that name. I said I love it too. Right then and there we decided if we ever had a girl, her name would be Scarlett. A half hour later we were leaving the house to get lunch and started talking about my friend who was pregnant which led to me realizing I hadn't gotten my period yet that month. We had a test at the house and decided to take one before leaving the house. Once I saw the sign I shockingly declared, “Oh my gosh, I'm pregnant!” Geoff laughed in disbelief and thought immediately I was joking. We stared together at the test kind of trying to figure out if we were reading it correctly or not. Those things are so confusing. So we decided to run out to the store and get a test with a clear ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ so we could know for certain. Three pregnancy tests later, we got the confirmation, I was pregnant! At that point I was definitely still shocked but I was very much filled with excitment and I was totally calm about it. Geoff was pacing in the living room and making me laugh so hard. He wanted children sooner rather than later so it was funny to see our roles somewhat reversed when we got the news.

Very fortunately I did not have any complications with pregnancy or birth. I experienced carpal tunnel, restless leg syndrome, and general uncomfortableness but overall I didn't have any major issues or troubles during pregnancy and overall it was a very positive experience. Giving birth though, was something I honestly feared my entire life. I always try to be optimistic and use the law of attraction in my life and so I did that in my pregnancy as well.

Every morning I would tell myself that I was going to have an easy, relaxing, lovely labor. I also drank 80oz of water a day and did 100 squats a day. I don't know what made me start doing (only) squats but I totally credit them for helping me deliver Scarlett so easily. I was in labor for 24 hours or so at my house with mild contractions that felt like menstrual cramps. They became more intense in the evening and by 2 AM it was time to go. Geoff was trying to walk me around the living room to distract from the pain. I got to a point where I was in tears and he loaded the car and took us to the hospital. There they admitted me right away and started setting me up for an epidural. I always knew I wanted an epidural and made it clear that it was part of my birth plan when we got to the hospital. After my experience, I am so happy that I got an epidural. It was night and day difference from before I was given the epidural to after. I was instantly relaxed and calm with a big smile on my face after the epidural kicked in. Geoff and I even took a nap for 6 hours. When we woke up, they checked me and decided it was time to have Scarlett. My doctor lathered me in vitamin E oil which I think really helped as well as somehow I didn't experience any tears. It took about 12 minutes of pushing to get Scarlett out. She was just beautiful. 

I had a really great start to motherhood. We had Scarlett all to ourselves the first week after her birth. Both of our parents were out of town and although we were anxious for them to meet her, it was a special week of bonding for our little family of three. Geoff was able to take the first few weeks off of work to be with me too which really helped. I had worked as a Nanny previously and always loved and cared for babies so I knew they were a lot of work. My body kind of went in overdrive and helped me with the night feedings and physical demands of breastfeeding. I think three weeks in is when I crashed and was just utterly exhausted. My Mom and step-dad were visiting during that time and were able to help a lot right when Geoff went back to work which was a huge help!

Probably the most unexpected part for me as a new mother was that breastfeeding was harder than I thought it would be. It was mostly hard when I went back to work and had to pump multiple times a day in a corporate office. I felt pressure to continue breastfeeding if I was able. I never had a large supply. I was only ever a bottle or so ahead of her which was incredibly stressful at times.

Before I had Scarlett I also didn't fully realize all of the health scares that come along with having a newborn! We were so conflicted wanting her to meet our friends and their families but also wanting to quarantine her against all the germs that are out in the world. It was stressful. Every noise or twitch made us nervous. I am not usually this way but I think you are just so in love with this little human and they are so fragile that you don't know what else to do but to worry.

I feel very fortunate to have had such a positive pregnancy and positive, complication-free birth, not to mention, a healthy, happy, beautiful little girl! In the meanwhile we welcomed another healthy baby boy into our family fall of 2019 and are enjoying our new life as a family of 4!

Cynthia - Mom of 2 - Los Angeles, California

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