My Birth Story (Baby #3)

“Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom.” - Harriette Hartigan

Just last year, I was writing my story on Benjamin's birth. It's unreal that I am writing another one so soon, but for our baby girl, who is the sweetest little thing. Her unexpected and quick arrival just after having my cerclages removed was quite a shocker. She was born two days before Benjamin's first birthday!

Her due date was actually in another month (May 8th), but we did think about the big "what if," since we know that there was a possibility that she could be born earlier.

"What if she was born on the same day as Benjamin? Wouldn't that be crazy?" 

Well, she was damn near CLOSE! Really though, we honestly didn't think that she would actually be born a couple of days before her brother's birthday (Benji's birthday is on April 15th). We thought we had at least another week or so, thinking it would be similar to how we had Benjamin two weeks after cerclage removal. Nevertheless, his little sister had bigger plans and wanted to join the party!

So, before we dive into the birth story, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to those who have walked with me through my motherhood journey - from loss to "rainbow baby" to our "pot of gold." Your love, support, encouragement, and shared excitement for my family means  so much more than you know! 

Ultimately, we are so grateful to have not just one, but TWO successful cerclage birth stories within a year! For my ladies who are awaiting their stitches or removals, I send my loving thoughts and prayers. You are one of the most bravest, strongest mamas out there - it takes a mighty lot of courage trust your stitch! 

With love x 

"Do you want to take a break?"

I think for a moment.


I am in pain, my face a tear-stained mess. I am thinking of stopping everything... I don't know if can do this...

The first stitch took some time to come off, and it took a lot out of me. My entire my body is clenched, there is this heavy tension in my belly, and I think I am trembling...

I am holding onto my husband's hand and remember doing this same exact thing and feeling this same exact way as the last time we did this. I had hoped that this time - this year - would be different, if not, better. Last time, I cried and screamed, and had to have it taken out at the hospital.

Fortunately, this time was somewhat better. The pain, not so much.

"The first one is out, but if you could hold on, I could get the second one. I just need to angle the speculum, I can see it."

I take a breath.


I let out a cry, squeal. A few seconds passed by.


I relax... just a little bit... 

Unlike my first cerclage removal, this one was a success at the office with MFM - thank God! I didn't leave the office with a smile, I could barely walk and felt an intense amount of pressure deep in my lady parts. But, I was relieved to have gotten the removal done within 30 minutes and excited to find out that I was already dilated to 1.5 cm. 

Instead of heading home, we decided to have a little time together. Since having Benjamin, going on dates or having some quality "us" time was rare. Little did we know that after our quick date, we would be spending more time together... in the hospital.

It was nearly 6 p.m. (eight hours after cerclage removal) that all of a sudden something felt off. I decided to make a bath, but before I could hop in, I was leaking tiny streams of...  pee? I was confused. I swear, I just peed! It took me a second to think, "Is this my water??" I stood on top of my wet pants, trying to contain the leak in one spot, and waited to see if it continued to flow. 

Me yelling for my husband from the bathroom, "Babe!"



"I'm not sure, but I think my water just broke!"

We spend the next hour packing hospital bags and waited for my mom to come home, so that she could take care of Benjamin. (But even at this point, my mind is still not taking anything seriously and thinks that we will be coming back home.)

I don't know why, but I found this whole thing somewhat amusing, and a wish come true? Here in this moment, my husband is freaking out. He thought we had more time. Me? I am calm as a clam, and stirred up with excitement. I had wanted to go into labor soon after the stitches were out. I was so over and done being pregnant, and super ready to have this baby. I also told my doctor during our last prenatal appointment that "I had a feeling" that this baby was going to come out sooner. I just didn't think that it would be this soon.

I told my husband that I am in no rush to go to the hospital because I'm not feeling any pain or contractions. But the leaking hadn't stopped. 

Slowly, I trickle onto a medium-sized maxi pad with every step; walking seemed to encourage a continuous flow than if I had just sat down, unmoved. This trickling was a sure and convincing sign that it really was my water. Yet, I still needed that confirmation, I didn't want to get ahead of myself. So, I call the hospital just to make sure. 

"I think you should go into triage in labor and delivery. We can do a test that can tell us if your leak is amniotic fluid or something else. It's a quick test and if it's negative, we will send you home. If it's positive, we will take the next steps towards delivery." 

Okay, sh*t just got real after that. Now, I'm freaking out (a little bit). 

When we get to the hospital and settled into our room in triage, a part of me is afraid that being there was a mistake. There wasn't any pain or contractions, unlike how I had with Benjamin during early labor. I needed to feel something, anything, besides this leaking water. 

And then we meet our nurse, who took my vitals, asked me some routine questions, and a swab sample.

"The sample takes about 10 minutes to dry, so I'll be back until then."

10 minutes later. 

"We're going to have to do another sample, it's not drying and it's hard to tell what it is (because there was some bleeding/discharge from the cerclage removal). You let me know when you feel a leak and I'll try my best to come running back as fast as I can."

Some minutes later, she comes back and there is still no leaking! It turns out that I had to get up and move, do a silly dance and some shaking, to get the flow started. And I have to admit, it was a little odd having someone swab something that was rolling down my thighs, as if she were collecting an essential ingredient for a magical potion (LOL). 

This time, she comes back in less than a few minutes, "Alright, we didn't even have to wait for that one! It dried up so fast! And it is definitely your water. I'm going to send in your new nurses and they're going to take you to labor and delivery! We'll also contact your doctor and let her know that you're being admitted. Congratulations!"


At this point, my nurses help me change out of my normal clothes and into a hospital gown, a mesh underwear, and a pad; a sure sign that we were not going home any time soon. But, I also couldn't believe it, everything was happening so quickly, my head just couldn't catch up. 

Making our way to L&D was surreal, and yet, so familiar. I had done this and was there not so long ago!

The L&D room was just as I remembered (but not the same exact room number). Spacious. Dad's bed next to the windows. My bed in the middle of the room. A nook with a bassinet for the baby. T.V. Machines. Sink. And my favorite, the bathroom with the jacuzzi tub! If anything, I had planned to labor in the tub for as long as I could, like how I had the last time. I had also planned for an epidural because labor contractions are no joke. After getting an epidural during my labor with Benjamin, I no longer had any reservations or second thoughts about it, and I didn't care if anyone judged me! 


After being poked and prodded to get my I.V. in, which took four pain-in-the-ass tries, my doctor came in. She checked me to make sure I was dilated. And yes, I was exactly where the last doctor said I was at 1.5 centimeters. I was also 90-something percent effaced! 

Dr. A: "I could already feel her head!"

Me: "Omg, really?!"

Dr. A: "Yup! Do you mind if I do a little bit of stretching to help your cervix?"

Me: "Is it gonna hurt?"

Dr. A: "Yeah, sorry. I know, you've been through a lot today with the cerclage removal and all. Just bear with me for a little bit, okay?"

Me: "OK... (Sad face)"

Dr. A shoves her hand in there, counts down from 10, does some twisting and turning of pretty much my whole insides, and then a gush of water comes running out. This hurts like hell - would not recommend.

We discuss induction, or in my doctor's words, "augmentation of labor," which was something I hadn't planned for. Initially, I wanted to do the "wait and see" approach for my labor to start on it's own, but since we were already in the hospital (and my water had already broken) instead of laboring at home, there was no reason to wait. We said YES! to that pitocin.

Plus, to get the ball rolling, we thought I should try the birthing ball - pun intended :)

While I'm trying to get the video on epidurals (for a refresher) to play on my phone, with my I.V. dripping pitocin, I bounce on my smaller-sized red ball. All of a sudden, I felt this POP! somewhere deep in my vag, along with a burst of more fluid leaking out of me. This was new. And I freaked out and called the nurse because I didn't know if I had done something wrong or broken something. 

The nurse comes back and reassures me that it was nothing to worry about. We guessed that the ball really was doing what it was supposed to.

I asked for a new pad as I had already soaked through the one I had on. And then, this was when I had started feeling it, the thing my mind was searching for.


My body had already known what to do. Hold still. And breathe.

I found myself at the edge of the bed (just like last time) with my head hung low and my hands gripping the sheets, the mattress. I couldn't move, couldn't talk. It took a few moments for me to gather myself and my strength to talk. But, the nurse didn't need me to say anything. She knew too. The pitocin didn't take it's time at all and really got everything started.

Just two hours after my water broke and with the help of the pitocin, I was in labor by 8 p.m.! This was the now the beginning of it all.

The contractions came in like rushing waves and didn't stop. It keep coming. Harder. Faster. Closer. Very intense. Things became blurry at this point and I couldn't talk or think or open my eyes. I was already exhausted, running out of my strength too early. All I wanted was to take that bath, but even with the water being nice and hot, it didn't help. Nausea kicked in - probably from the pitocin - and the next thing I knew, I was heaving over the edge of the tub, throwing up in a trash bin.

"Do you want medicine to help you with your nausea?"

I couldn't even say, "Yes," just gave the nurse a nod.

I had tiny breaks in between contractions and when I opened my eyes, I saw bits of vomit in my bath. I saw a vomit bag at the corner of the tub. I couldn't do this in here, I was too uneasy and felt ungrounded. My moans became louder, breathing was harder. I don't know how long I was in that bath, but it wasn't for as long as how I had hoped for.

Again, things were blurry. I was in and out of myself, taking blows, breaths, blows. Breaths. It took some time for me to get through the contractions just to lift my legs out of the tub. I couldn't do this anymore, and it was like my nurse knew to ask.

"Do you want that epidural now?"

I choke out a, "YES!"

"Okay. We'll get that epidural in 10-15 minutes. Do you think you can wait for 10-15 minutes?"

I nod.

Eventually, we made it back to the bed. The nurse guides me to sit at the head of the bed, just at the edge. She helps me position my body for the epidural. I moan some more. 

"That was the fastest epidural in the world," says the nurse. And it was. I didn't feel the needle at all and the only thing I remember feeling was the anesthesiologist cleaning my back, and then he was gone before I could thank him (complete opposite experience than my first epidural). I couldn't wait for the epidural to start working, the contractions continued coming on hard and fast, and I was close to screaming.

After some time, I realized that there was something wrong with my epidural. The entire left side of my body was numb and I kept asking over and over again why this was happening. They had to call the anesthesiologist back to my room to fix this, but before he made it back (which took forever), I had already labored most of the way on my own; the epidural barely made a difference. I was screaming for maybe hours now, the pitocin was kicking my ass!

It was during this time that I remember how we were also getting closer to delivery.

My doctor had mentioned the option of giving me steroids (although this was from the opinion of another doctor) because our baby girl was considered "late preterm," and her lungs were just a little premature at 36 weeks. The steroids would kind of help "jumpstart" the lungs.

We needed time to think it over.

At every pause from the contractions, my husband would explain to me the risks and benefits of getting the steroids, asking me if we should or shouldn't go with it. But being that I was in full swing and head deep into contractions, I couldn't make an informed decision. Not to mention, getting the steroids at this point in labor would most likely be pointless because it needed time to work, and we were running out of time. The baby was already coming. 

Some more crazy contractions and more screaming passed by. My husband tried to guide me through my breathing, it helped me get pretty far. Then, there was this familiar pressure coming on down below. And I knew what it was - her head. I told my husband to call for the nurse or my doctor because I thought I was feeling her head getting lower. And just when I said it, my doctor had already made her way back. 

She checked me, "Yup, that's her head! I see a lot of hair!!"

Obviously, there was no time to get the steroids. However, after just four hours of starting the pitocin, we made a speedy run to pushing. Everyone was mind blown by how quickly everything had progressed and made it to this point in labor.

My doctor told me to hold on and wait (for everyone to prep the room), but I could feel her head pushing against me, harder and harder - the worst feeling ever. It was like trying to stop mid-poop; it didn't care about waiting, it was coming out whether or not I could hold it. I wanted to push so bad.

The energy of the room had changed from chaos to anticipation, even my screaming had stopped. I was calm. I already knew what to do and my doctor trusted me to do it on my own. She sat at the end of my bed and said, "Push when you're ready." 

There was no counting, no one guiding me. It was quiet. I took a breath. Pushed. Paused. Another breath. Pushed. Paused. I didn't feel any pain, I was at ease with the slowness and smoothness of it all. My body was in sync with everything it had to do, I was only breathing through it.

And she was out!

Despite the intense labor, my third time giving birth was the easiest. She slid out of me with so much ease that I had forgotten how much pain I was in to get there.

"That was so fast, mama! All you did was breathe her out!" 

My doctor was ecstatic, she had helped me deliver not just our baby girl, but also her brother just last year. And she was surprised to see how fast this delivery was - she barely did a thing!

Within 14 hours after cerclage removal, we had our baby girl safe and sound, and in our arms. And two days later, we would celebrate the arrival of her big brother, who was born nearly a year ago! 

Emalee Isla Saeteurn
April 13, 2021 at 12:26 a.m.
5 pounds 1.8 ounces 17.5 inches


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