NAME: Winnie Claire Burdullis
DATE + TIME: Thursday, February 13 at 3:36pm
SIZE: 7 pounds, 6 ounces || 20 inches long
she’s here! i’m thrilled to share that our second daughter, Winnie Claire Burdullis, is HERE! I love reading birth stories, and shared Lucy’s birth story on my blog, so wanted to write and share Winnie’s birth story, too. I am writing this now just about 48 hours after Winnie was born, and I wanted to write it as soon as possible so I don’t forget any of the special details. Okay – Winnie’s birth story is a long one — but here we go!
My due date was February 14 (Valentine’s Day!) and of course, I always had that date in the back of my mind the entire pregnancy. I knew she would come at her own time and that February 14 was only a guesstimate, really, but was always thinking okay – she’s coming mid-February. As my pregnancy went along, I sort of just assumed she would come a little early. Not based on any research or anything – just sort of figured, oh it’s my second baby – it will just happen sooner. I was definitely hoping and praying she wouldn’t come before February 7th, as that was when we were wrapping up our upstairs renovation. Definitely tight timing! The upstairs renovation thankfully wrapped up, and we got the upstairs ready for visitors (sneak peek here) and then the waiting game for baby really began. I was getting antsy and just feeling so, so DONE with being pregnant. The last 6-8 weeks of my pregnancy I was going to chiropractor and acupuncture appointments weekly to help my body prep for labor. Both helped a lot, but I was still uncomfortable, only sleeping for a few hours at a time, etc. It wasn’t just physically uncomfortable; mentally and emotionally I felt depleted and just over it.
The weekend before my due date (Feb 8-9) I was having contractions but they were pretty on and off and irregular. I was also having really bad low back pain, something I experienced when I was in labor with Lucy. I also wasn’t sleeping well, because I kept thinking IS THIS THE NIGHT? and psyching myself out. I’m not sure why I had a feeling things would kick off in middle of the night, but that was where my head was at. My mom arrived in Nashville on Sunday evening and I immediately felt better — I started sleeping better and my anxiety really decreased. I had been worried about the Lucy + Jack logistics during labor and felt so much better knowing she was at our house and could take care of them when it was ‘go time’. That week, I was truly just READY for baby to come – the upstairs was done, my mom was in town, Lucy knew something was up, my body just felt ready. The contractions continued but again, they were irregular and would fade after awhile. On Tuesday, we dropped Lucy off at school and did a big walk around the mall before getting my membranes stripped around 11:30am, at my 40 week appointment. I didn’t do this with Lucy, but had heard from many friends that this was a slightly uncomfortable, but effective way to ‘get things moving.’ After this, I was really ready – she could come anytime! Well, she didn’t come Tuesday night and I woke up Wednesday just crabby and feeling a little sick. I felt tired and annoyed and weak and DONE. My mom spent the day with Lucy and I spent most of Wednesday in bed resting and being annoyed that I WASN’T in labor. The end of pregnancy is really hard physically of course, but also emotionally and mentally. I kept rereading my birth affirmation cards, especially reminding myself “you have no control over the timing or circumstances of labor and delivery. be open to whatever happens.” and the mindfulness tip of “Patience: understand that events unfold at their own pace, out of our control. There is no schedule; labor is a delicate balance between being and doing.”
On Thursday, February 13 morning, I woke up around 6am feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Again, I’d had contractions in middle of night but nothing that I was timing or experiencing regularly or for an extended period of time. I told Eric I was deciding to have a better attitude about everything and just go with the flow – my mom and I would have a good day together while Lucy was at school and I wouldn’t feel sorry for myself for still being pregnant. LOL. Around 6:45am, I went upstairs to hang out with my mom and lost my mucus plug, and was like hmm okay interesting — knowing that it doesn’t automatically mean labor is starting *right away* but definitely a sign things are heading in that direction soon-ish. A few minutes later around 7am, I went into Lucy’s room to get her out of bed and felt a drizzle down my leg, like I peed my pants a little. DID MY WATER BREAK? My water never broke with Lucy (the doctor manually broke it in hospital before I started pushing) so I wasn’t quite sure if I was just leaking or if my water broke. After a few surreal minutes, I realized yep, my water definitely broke! Now I knew – okay, I think I’m having a baby today! I started having contractions soon after that and just rested on the couch/in bed. They weren’t out of control and I could talk/walk through them, but definitely could feel them happening. In the meantime, our new Peloton bike got delivered (LOL to that timing) and my mom took Lucy to school. I hugged her extra tight knowing this was the last time I’d see her before her baby sis arrived. As contractions got closer together, more regular and more intense, I spent more time in the bathtub, which felt really good on my body. E would also put counter pressure on my back to help provide relief, which was very helpful.
I looked back on my texts with my sisters to check the times on the rest of the morning, haha. Around 11am, we decided to go to the hospital just to get checked and measured. I was feeling okay and again, able to get through contractions, but since my water broke and knowing subsequent labors are often much faster than the first, I wanted to be more cautious. I didn’t want to have the baby in the car! Eric and I joked around in the car and I was able to walk in to the hospital on my own with no issues and was calm and relaxed. I got the triage room around 11:30am and was measuring at 4cm dilated. I told them I’d love a room with a tub so I could labor in there for a little bit before getting an epidural, but as we were waiting for the nurse to come back (about 15 minutes total) the contractions got REALLY intense, quickly. Like went from “okay this is painful but I can do it” to “OMG I FEEL LIKE IM DYING.” The nurse had warned me to not base when I get the epidural around how dilated I was at this point, because I could progress very, very quickly. My lower back pain was all of a sudden super, super painful especially in between contractions, so I opted to get the epidural as soon as possible. I also was all of a sudden feeling SUPER tired and dizzy.
I texted my sisters at 1pm right after getting the epidural; after it was in I felt a LOT of relief within a few minutes. At that point, I’m pretty sure I was further along than 4cm, but not positive. It was over an hour from when I was last measured! I was feeling cold and shaky – so the nurse covered me with lots of blankets and I just kept my eyes closed, laying on my side. I didn’t sleep, but just rested.I I could feel the contractions coming and going and some pressure ‘down there’ but tried to just let my body recharge. One hour later at 2pm, the nurse measured me and said I was 9cm dilated! WHAT?!?! I was truly so shocked and NOT expecting that, because I knew the epidural often slowed labor down. With Lucy’s labor, I got the epidural at 5cm and didn’t get to 10cm until 10+ hours later. The nurse said I could start pushing soon, or just keep resting for a little longer. Around 2:45pm, she measured me and said I was definitely fully dilated and ready to push. Let’s do this!
In the room at first it was just me, E, our birth photographer Whitney, and our incredible nurse, Lauren. She was so supportive and calming and basically said we could do some practice pushing rounds before my doctor came in. We had relaxing music playing and the room was serene. Eventually, my doctor came in with three other nurses and I kept pushing. It was truly an amazing experience – it didn’t feel rushed or forced or scary. The baby’s heart rate and blood pressure were staying consistent, so there were no reasons to feel anxious, which was such a relief. The nurses and my doctor (and E, of course) were so encouraging and cheered me on. Everyone in the room except E was a woman, and I really felt so much support and just this awesome sense of empowerment from everyone in the room. It was seriously STRANGELY relaxing – of course, I could feel the pressure of pushing and was out of breath after each set of pushes, but the overall experience was pretty serene and calm. After 40-45 minutes of pushing, the doctor placed her in my arms. SHE WAS HERE!
Her head was a crazy cone shape at first, because she was ‘sunny side up’; basically rather than being faced down and tucking her chin as she came out of the birth canal, she was face up and came out at a funky angle. The photos of her head right away are CRAZY! I’m going to keep those private, and you can see a little bit more of my nether-regions than I feel comfortable sharing on my blog. 😉 Her head went back to a ‘normal’ shape within an hour. I found out I had no tearing – yay! Within an hour or so, the epidural wore off and I was walking around the room. I felt SO good. Physically, I felt strong and just…good. Emotionally and mentally, I felt so relaxed and less ‘on edge’. It’s so cliche, but really, when they place a new baby in your arms, you forget everything – the aches and pains of pregnancy, the pain of labor and pushing, everything. It was a true moment of bliss and joy and just so special for us.
OVERALL EXPERIENCE, RECOVERY, ETC
The entire labor and delivery experience felt so, so different than my first with Lucy. I labored at home with Lucy for 12+ hours, got an epidural, the doctor popped the water bag, and didn’t start pushing for 10+ hours later. The pushing phase lasted over two hours and was stressful; her blood pressure rose and heart rate dropped, and as a last resort before doing an emergency C section, they used the vacuum (more like a suction cup thing) to assist her delivery. There were SO many people in the room by the time she arrived, and I had a small tear, which of course, was painful. I actually considered my labor and delivery with Lucy an overall good experience, although slightly stressful at the end. But now looking back and experiencing things differently with Winnie, I realize the overall experience of Lucy’s birth was more traumatic than I may have let on or acknowledged.
Of course, my water breaking on its own and a MUCH faster labor and delivery experience are two big differentiators between the births, but the main difference was the overall atmosphere and my attitude. I felt so calm and peaceful during the pushing phase and bringing her into the world felt so much more supportive and encouraging, rather than so ‘medical.’ There weren’t as many people in the room, the baby was stable, recovery felt easier this time around vs. last time. I’ve been telling Eric over and over again since Thursday afternoon just how different this felt and how grateful I am that it was such a smooth, fast, and supportive experience.
We spent two nights in the hospital (Thursday and Friday) and were discharged on Saturday. I was truly in a blissful haze most of the time and felt really good – I wasn’t super sore, bleeding was manageable, etc. By Saturday afternoon, my milk started to come in (much sooner than my first time around!) and I was VERY sore and uncomfortable. I was super engorged that night and most of Sunday and constantly massaging my breasts to try to find relief. Thankfully, by Monday morning (as I’m typing the rest of the post now) it was much better. I’m tired, of course, but overall feeling good. Winnie is eating well and we are getting *some* sleep, which is better than no sleep!
A few people have asked me about her name! We actually came up with this name fairly recently, about a month ago! Before that, we were tossing around the names Ellie and Charlie (still love both!) but I had heard the name ‘Winnie’ as a nickname for a longer name and it just clicked. I didn’t want to make it just a nickname – we liked it by itself! We paired the name with ‘Claire’ because it’s a beautiful, classic name I love (but not one E wanted for a first name). I love that the name ‘Winnie Claire’ is whimsical, cute, and classic at the same time. 🙂
And, wanted to quickly say THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out to us with your sweet words and encouragement. We really feel so loved and grateful to be surrounded by so much support and love! I’ll be sharing photos from our ‘Fresh 48’ session when Lucy met Winnie (hello, heart explosion) very soon. <3
Photos by Whit Marie Photography