I am thrilled to share the story of Lillian Jane’s birth. I’ve sat down to write the story multiple times this week and I simply cannot fit it all into one blog post, so I decided to write three parts.
Part one - preparing my body for labor and delivery and details regarding the day of Lillian’s arrival
If you were following my fit pregnancy journey, you know that I was not super patient toward the end of my pregnancy. The third trimester is hard for me. The final month of pregnancy is truly one of the main reasons I did not want to try for a third baby. But of course, now that I’ve delivered Lillian Jane, I’m ready to do it all over again. :)
On social media, I tried to focus on the highlights of pregnancy including my passion to stay fit and healthy through the third trimester, but many of my friends were privy to my impatience in the final weeks.
At 9 months pregnant I just couldn’t be bothered. And frankly, I was worried I would say something on live video or social media that would be the quick end to my career. One of my biggest pet peeves during the third trimester was when social media followers would remark, “The baby will come when she’s ready. There is literally nothing you can do to prepare your body for labor.” Of course, I knew baby girl would come when she was ready and I also knew that I would not be pregnant forever, but I didn’t need 12 people per day to remind me that I had no control. In fact, I personally felt that I did have some control over when she graced us with her presence, or at the very least, I could put a plan into place to do my part and prepare my body for labor and delivery.
For MONTHS I announced to my team, friends, family, FASTer Way to Fat Loss clients, and social media friends that I was planning to have Lily on January 5. I even added “delivery day” to my Google calendar on January 5. When meeting with agency clients to develop a social media marketing timeline, I would jokingly add “January 5 - Amanda has her baby” to everyone’s calendar.
I wanted to deliver Lillian Jane on January 5th for of a few reasons. First, I wanted Lily to have her own birthday instead of sharing one with Jesus. Not that there is anything wrong with a Christmas baby, but I thought a January birthday would be better for her long term. If Lily had come when Emma came her birthday would have been in the middle of Christmas and the New Year. Second, I wanted Lily to come on January 5 also because 5 is my favorite number. The number 5 symbolizes God’s grace, goodness and favor toward humans. I’ve always loved the number 5. Third, I wanted her to come on the 5th is because Emma and Cole went back to school on January 4. I didn’t want to have to worry about entertaining them while I was in labor, haha!
Now, onto the fun stuff. Here is exactly what I did to prepare my body for labor and delivery. Again, I figured I should do my part while I waited for Lily to do her part.
I exercised daily. This pregnancy was different than my previous two in that I did more strength training and spinning overall. I also did a LOT of squats. Frankly, you would think the baby would have slid right out at the gym with all the squats I completed! I followed my Fit Pregnancy Total Body workout program and it made my labor and delivery very fast and easy.
I ate 6 dates per day and pineapple whenever possible during the final weeks of pregnancy. A few friends told me this was a natural way to ripen the cervix.
We did the “dance with no pants” every other day. I’ve heard this is the only true scientifically proven way to ripen the cervix. Sex certainly got my Braxton Hicks going.
I walked … and walked … and walked … and then walked some more. I should have kept track of my mileage during the final month of pregnancy because I bet it would have been a record of some sort, haha. On Christmas day I actually started feeling real contractions I couldn’t talk through, so that was one day I cut my walk short. I did not want to deliver on Christmas day.
I ate eggplant parmesan. Chef Donna made it for me twice. The first week she didn’t add oregano, and then we found a better recipe. I ate the second batch the day before I went into labor. Here is the exact recipe we used.
I used EPO (evening primrose oil). This not only can help to ripen the cervix, it can actually help prevent tearing. And guess what? I didn’t tear at all, so I would say it was worth it!
I drank Peaceful Pregnancy and Ripe and Ready tea from Birds and Bees Teas. I tried to drink a couple mugs each day and I am continuing to drink it while in the first weeks postpartum, in addition to the Easy Naps Calm Nights. I also plan to purchase some Our Lady of La Leche tea for breastfeeding.
I got a prenatal massage and focused on pressure points. My friend and client Ali Damron turned me onto this strategy. I got the massage 4 days before I went into labor. It felt amazing. Ali has an amazing eBook regarding how to naturally prepare your body for labor.
I cleaned. I actually think vacuuming and mopping brought on Braxton Hicks (practice contractions) better than my workouts, haha. I also rarely clean since we have a housekeeper who comes every other day, so I think it was a different physical activity that my body responded to well.
I pumped colostrum. This is something I did with all three of my babies per my doctor's suggestion. I stockpiled about 6 bags of colostrum the week leading up to delivery to feed to Lily with a dropper in between breastfeeding sessions in the first few days of her life. Great way to get Braxton Hicks going too!
I relaxed in my soaking tub. The evening my contractions started I had lost all hope of delivering anytime in the near future, and decided to sit in my soaking tub for 2 hours. I actually think this helped a lot!
As you can see, I did ALL the things. The week before Lily was born, my doc checked my cervix and I was only 1 cm dilated. The week of her birth (one day before I went into labor) I was 1.5-2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. As many of you know, I had a HARD time finding an OBGYN in Florida. I had a fabulous baby doc in Ohio and truly enjoyed my experience being pregnant and delivering there. The office was right next to my house, the docs and NPs were professional and caring, and the brand new hospital was within walking distance from my house. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. In Florida I went through three docs before I found someone who was a good fit. The doc I loved was a huge supporter of my fit pregnancy and intermittent fasting. She personally lost 25+ lbs with IF last year and had the best disposition. The only problem is that I had to see all other docs at her practice … and I didn’t love any of them. In fact, one was so outdated in her research that I didn’t even trust her to deliver my baby and would have asked to only have the nurses deliver if she was on call the night I delivered. On Wednesday, the day before I went into labor, I was supposed to see my favorite doc and I was thrilled. I had prepared questions for her and had been looking forward to the visit for three weeks. I got into the office, and a different doc (one I didn’t care for) walked in. I asked where my favorite doc was and she quickly remarked that the schedule had been switched, and they didn’t feel the need to notify me. Ugh, I was so disappointed. I actually asked the nurse for different OBGYN recommendations before I left because I truly did not trust 3 out of 4 of the docs at my new practice. So stressful.
On Wednesday, after my baby appointment, I was determined to help my body progress past 1.5-2 cm dilated. I did a great workout, ate eggplant parm, cleaned, got some good contractions going, and went on a walk. It was January 3, and I was feeling optimistic that Lillian Jane would come on January 5 as I had hoped.
Then I woke up on Thursday feeling “off.” I was scheduled to work a full day, but I was exhausted. Thankfully, one of my clients canceled a consult which meant I could get in a quick afternoon nap. I got through my morning consults and had hardly eaten because I was feeling nauseated. I took a nap before heading to the gym and instead of hitting it hard like I usually do, I did an easy treadmill workout. When I got home Chef Donna was cooking some amazing food but I just wasn’t in the mood to eat much. I was also feeling overwhelmed with work since January is my busiest month of the year and I hadn’t actually scheduled an official maternity leave. I decided to text one of my team members and communicate my desire to take a proper maternity leave. She immediately responded and said she thought I should take time off and that the team could handle client consults. Wow, what a relief! This definitely helped me release some stress and tension.
The kids got home from school and instead of going on our typical daily walk before dinner, I decided to forego both the walk and dinner and sit in the tub for 2 hours.
I texted one of my best friends with the following text around dinner time on January 4 when I got into my tub:
“I am starting to lose hope and I’m sick of trying to get Braxton Hicks going only for them to stall. Ugh. Pregnant for life on this one.”
Little did I know, everything was about to quickly change.