Yes, you read that correctly. I had TWO, 9lb babies, both delivered naturally (with an epidural), no tears, and no stretch marks. This is not a brag; this is me sharing my badge of honor. It’s not every day we, as women, get to walk around talking about the single most physically and emotional day of our lives. Giving life is BRUTAL – and there’s really no way to ever prepare yourself for it. You just need to go into it with a positive mindset. Birth plans are great, but 99% of women I know had an opposite experience to what they had prepared for.
Carrying a 9lb baby around (I’m normally 5’4” 130lbs) during the hot summer, extreme nausea, aversions to foods, difficulty sleeping and other perks of pregnancy surely hit me hard and that’s why when it came down to go-time – nothing could stand in the way of me getting these babies OUT! God blessed me with two very healthy pregnancy and deliveries. For this, I am forever grateful.That doesn’t mean that I didn’t have my own challenges. Watching my body change, deciding to forgo on my career to be an at-home mom, renovating a house, moving to the suburbs – all these stressors weighed on me heavily as I transitioned away from a successful career women with a fabulous wardrobe and city lifestyle (quite frankly, I’m still transitioning). Perhaps the most difficult of these is the decision to solely raise my son and daughter as we live in a very work-centric society that often views at-home parenting as a step-backwards as there’s no financial compensation tied to the endless amount of hard, really hard, days and nights of giving all of your attention to little humans that need you. I do believe there’s a societal perception and stigma towards childcare that needs to be better understood and supported (more on this later).
Back to the birth! Aston Rye Bard was born January 25th at 10:45pm weighing in at 9lb 5oz. He literally resembled a 3 month old defense linebacker – take a look at his shoulders! : ) I checked into the hospital on January 25th at 5:30am and was in labor for a little over 14 hours. The doctor advised me to wait 1 minute in between each contraction before I went to the hospital. I didn’t even get the chance to count; I woke up that morning yelling at my husband that I wasn’t getting any sort of break – it was just full on contractions! By the time we made it to the hospital I was 5cm dilated. Whether my theory is right or wrong, my decision to have an epidural to manage my pain slowed up the delivery tremendously. It de-escalated from a fast process to me laying in a bed with little to no progression for hours. In fact, my leg started to fall asleep, then the other side fell asleep. It was uncomfortable not having much feeling. Half of my body just froze for the entirety of the delivery despite them rolling me from side to side. I hated that feeling. Not to mention, I was pumped with an extraordinary amount of penicillin as a precautionary measure to Strep B that I tested positive for at my 30-week checkup (a very normal bacteria that you can’t treat during pregnancy). The outcome was headaches, a fever, an oxygen tank and severe thirst (my husband kept feeding me ice chips to help, but it didn’t do much).
Then around 9pm the nurse told me it was time to push. Aston was ready to come into the world. I used my lower Pilates abs (I owe it all to them!) to push until about an hour in when I noticed my doctor walk into the room. I was praying to myself that he wouldn’t decide to have me deliver via c-section at the risk that Aston wasn’t going to delivery naturally after all my invested effort. Instead, he told me that we’d try to use the suction cup to help me push. Great – a cone head! That’s all I could think of, my baby boy with a cone head! As soon as the suction cup clamped down, I gave my damn near strongest 3 pushes and slid into a blackout state. My husband’s voice resonated in my mind – Tiff come on, he’s almost there, his shoulders are just stuck. WTF – monster baby. With the grace of God, Aston was born. I was exhausted. My doctor cheered me on and told me he was shocked that I had no apparent tear.
My first words were to my husband– “Do you like him?” The delivery room started to chuckle. They said they’d never heard a mom say this before….. It’s no secret I’m an overachiever and pleaser, but I just wanted to check that he was acceptable, right? : ) Our beautiful boy now is 3 years old and has brought us so much joy and laugher.
Part 2 is a more recent memory. My daughter Arabella Rosaria Bard was born on August 25th 2019 at 9lb 2oz. This go-around my OBGYN agreed that we should schedule an induction at 39 weeks. I pushed hard for it and was able to convince him to help start the process a week early. The ironic part of this story is the morning I went into the hospital for my induction, I used the restroom and had my first contraction. Baby girl knew it was time! Arabella’s delivery is a lot less dramatic. It was shorter … but the pain was very real. I received another epidural that partially worked. The needle going into my spine is really my least favorite thought process. I was asked if I wanted to receive another stronger dose and I declined. Having some feeling in my legs was a good thing – I also believed it helped me manage the level of pushing so that I didn’t just blindly over-push and tare (again, my theory). This time I didn’t test positive for Strep B (thank goodness for no drugs!) and I didn’t need an oxygen tank. The induction was quick, and I opted for a medicine ball so that I can sit straight up to help my body stay mobile and help pass fluids as my water broke. I’d highly recommend using a medicine ball before they force you into the bed!
I must admit, right when they told me it was time to push (after about 3 quick hours), I asked the nurse for a moment and just let out large screaming cries. I was scared, afraid, happy, shocked that it was happening faster than expected – and she replied, you take that minute you need. I really think the moment caught up with me. I knew what to expect, I knew what was on the line, I was about to give life…. again. I’m tearing up just writing it. Baby girl flew down, so quickly that she came out with a PURPLE (bruised) face – poor baby! It was quite alarming to see but I was assured that her oxygen levels were great, and this is a normal occurrence. My sweet baby girl Arabella is now 5 months old!
Now the recovery process; well, is that worth mentioning? ) We’ll touch on that some other time …Thanks for reading and sharing in my journey!